Camembert (cheese)

Camembert (cheese)

Infobox Cheese
name = Camembert

othernames =
country = France
regiontown = Normandy, Camembert
region =
town =
source = Cows
pasteurised = Not normally
texture = Soft-ripened
fat =
protein =
dimensions =
weight =
aging = at least 3 weeks
certification = Camembert de Normandie
AOC 1983, PDO 1992

Camembert is a soft, creamy French cheese. It was first made in the late 18th century in Normandy in northwestern France.


Camembert is made from unpasteurized cow's milk, and is ripened by the moulds "Penicillium candida" and "Penicillium camemberti" for at least three weeks. It is produced in small rounds, about 250 grams in weight, which are then typically wrapped in paper and packaged in thin wooden boxes.


When fresh, it is quite crumbly and relatively hard, but characteristically ripens and becomes more fluid and strongly flavoured as it ages.

Camembert can be used in many dishes, but is also popularly eaten uncooked on bread or with wine or meat, to enjoy the subtle flavour and texture which does not survive heating. It is usually served at room temperature.


Camembert was reputedly invented in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, thanks to advice from a priest who came from Brie. [ [ The Invention of Marie Harel] , "Camembert de Normandie" web site]

However, the origin of the cheese known today as Camembert is more likely to rest with the beginnings of the industrialization of the cheese-making process at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, an engineer, M. Ridel invented the wooden box which was used to carry the cheese and helped to send it for longer distances, in particular to America where it became very popular. These boxes are still used today.

Before fungi were properly understood, the colour of Camembert rind was a matter of chance, most commonly blue-grey, with brown spots. From the early 20th century onwards the rind has been more commonly pure white, but it was not until the mid-1970s that pure white became standard.

The cheese was famously issued to French troops during World War I, becoming firmly fixed in French popular culture as a result. It has many other roles in French culture, literature and history. It is now internationally known, and many local varieties are made around the world.

The Camembert de Normandie was granted a protected designation of origin in 1992 after the original AOC in 1983.

Chemical composition

Camembert cheese gets its characteristic flavor from many naturally occurring chemical substances, including ammonia, succinic acid and salt. When present, bitter notes may be caused by ornithine, cadaverine, and citrulline. [cite journal
first = J.
last = Kubíckováa
authorlink =
coauthors = W. Groscha
year = 1998
month =
title = Evaluation of Flavour Compounds of Camembert Cheese
journal = International Dairy Journal
volume = 314
issue =
pages = 11–16
id =
doi =10.1016/S0958-6946(98)00015-6
] Over-ripe camembert contains an unpleasant, excessive amount of ammonia, which is produced by the same microorganisms required for ripening.cite book |last=McGee |first=Harold |title=On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen |publisher=Scribner |location=New York |year=2004 |isbn=0-684-80001-2]

Camembert and Salvador Dalí

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most famous paintings by artist Salvador Dalí. The painting has also been popularly known as Soft Watches or Melting Clocks. The original idea of this painting came to Dalí on a hot summer's day. He was at home with a headache while Gala, his wife, was out shopping. After his meal he noticed some half eaten Camembert cheese and how runny it had become on account of the heat of the sunny day. That night, while he had been searching his soul for something to paint, he had a dream of clocks melting on a landscape. He went back to the unfinished piece he had been working on, which had a plain landscape with rocky cliffs in the background and a tree on a platform. Over two or three hours he added in the melting pocket watches which made this the iconic image it is today.Fact|date=July 2008

ee also

* Brie cheese, a similar cheese from a different region


Further reading

"Camembert: A National Myth" by Pierre Boisard ISBN 0-520-22550-3 claims that Camembert was one of the first globalised, homogenised and standardised foods.

External links

* [ Old camembert labels]
* [ Camembert website]
* [ The true Normandy Camembert]
* [ Camembert AOC]
* [ The story of Joseph Knirim's so amazing homage to Marie Harel and the camembert cheese]
* [ Good camembert and Brie article]
* [ Pictures of Camembert cheese]
* [ Recipes with Camembert (in French)]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Camembert cheese — Camembert Ca mem bert , n., or Camembert cheese Camembert cheese A kind of rich, soft, unpressed cream cheese made in the vicinity of Camembert, near Argentan, France; also, any cheese of the same type, wherever made. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Camembert (cheese) — or Camembert [kam′əm ber΄, kam′əmbərt] n. 〚after Camembert, village in Normandy, where first made〛 a soft, rich, creamy partly ripened cheese * * * …   Universalium

  • Camembert (cheese) — or Camembert [kam′əm ber΄, kam′əmbərt] n. [after Camembert, village in Normandy, where first made] a soft, rich, creamy partly ripened cheese …   English World dictionary

  • Camembert (cheese) — or Camembert [kam′əm ber΄, kam′əmbərt] n. [after Camembert, village in Normandy, where first made] a soft, rich, creamy partly ripened cheese …   English World dictionary

  • camembert cheese — noun see camembert * * * Cam|em|bert «KAM uhm bair», noun, or Camembert cheese, a rich, soft, ripened cheese: »Some 200 commercial varieties of cheese are made in France, the most important, in order, being Camembert, Gruyère, Port Salut, and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Camembert cheese —  classic cow s milk cheese of Normandy, named for a village in that region; its characteristic creamy, ivory coloured interior and downy white surface, resembling that of Brie, result from the Penicillium camemberti mold with which the curd is… …   Universalium

  • Camembert cheese — type of soft cheese first developed in the village of Camembert (France) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • camembert cheese — сыр камамбер Brie cheese сыр бри brie cheese сыр бри Jack cheese сыр джек brick cheese сыр брик soy cheese соевый сыр …   English-Russian travelling dictionary

  • Camembert de Normandie — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Este artículo trata sobre una queso con denominación de origen. Para otros usos de este término, véase Camembert. Camembert de Normandie País de origen Francia Regió …   Wikipedia Español

  • Camembert (queso) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Este artículo trata sobre un tipo de queso. Para otros usos de este término, véase Camembert. Queso camembert El Camembert, como señala el Diccionario de la RAE, es un queso …   Wikipedia Español

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