One of these days, I’ll have to spend time in Normandy, tasting my way through the 12 cheesemakers who produce Camembert under Apellation d’origine controlee standards (AOC). Tonight, however, I must be content with only one, Camembert d’Isigny, made by Isigny Ste-Mere, #3 on the map above.
And content I am! Although Camembert dates back only to the 18th century, it is one of the most famous cheeses in France, and my d’Isigny is outstanding. Ten weeks after it was made, my small wheel has developed a deliciously strong creaminess, with the typical salty taste, and with the paste still white at its heart. Cheese Boutique, 250 grams, $16.99.
Camembert is named after a Norman village where there is a statue of its creator, Marie Harel. In 1855, legend has it, the cheese was presented to Napoleon, introduced as from the village of Camembert. He enjoyed it greatly and from that moment Camembert became known everywhere by this name.
As tradition and the AOC require, d’Isigny is made from raw cow’s milk cheese. Most of the Camembert we eat in Canada is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. When you first place a chunk of d’Isigny on your tongue, there is no doubt the source is a cow. Despite the aging, it tastes fresh, a testament to the quality of the milk from the herd that likely grazes overlooking the English Channel.
I had some bread at hand, and plenty of nuts and dried fruit, but, one hour later, I see I devoured most of the small wheel neat. As I’m in training for Lent, I washed the cheese down with San Benedetto, an Italian mineral water, splashed with cran juice.
For dessert, there were several slices of Lactantia on rustic white bread. Man, I love my unsalted cultured butter!
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