Camembert is another representative of the group of French soft cheeses that are characterized by mild mold. Its name comes from the village of Camembert, located in the northeastern department of Orne in Normandy. Camembert is made from cow's milk and has a soft creamy texture.
Though some often compare Camembert with Brie, the two cheeses have differences - starting from the location of production (Brie is produced in Ile de France) and down to the type and shape of mold, which is quite greater on Brie.
Both cheese are inherently a part of French culture, but Camembert has presence in literature, history and art. It is assumed that it has inspired Salvador Dali for his painting "Persistence of Memory" and the "melting" clocks.
History of Camembert
For the first time Camembert was made from unpasteurized cow's milk, using manual technology in the 18th century. Norman peasant Marie Harel is the one who in 1791 made the first Camembert cheese, on the advice of a priest from the region of Brie.
Mary tried to improve and upgrade their technology for making cheese and write their name into history. Nearly a century later, in 1890 an engineer named Riddle crafted wooden boxes, typical of Camembert that allows this dairy delicacy to travel safely around the world.
Camembert is very popular in the Americas, especially the United States. At the outset, bacteria that keep the color of Camembert white were selected, which in 1970 was a standard for Camembert. Napoleon became a true fan of Camembert and from that moment on, the eponymous village and its specialty are famous.
Technology for the production of Camembert
Camembert is made from unpasteurized cow's milk curdled with the addition of bacteria such as Penicillin (Penicillium candida and Penicillium camemberti). Camembert is small - diameter 10, 5 to 11 cm and weight of about 250 grams. The technological maturation process of this type of French cheese is at least 21 days.
In the early stage of maturation, the cheese is characterized by a soft and grainy texture that becomes creamy after 2 -3 weeks. Very fresh Camembert is crumbly, but the more mature, the softer the texture and aroma become.
The cheese has a soft white skin covered with light mold in which has reddish-brown or yellowish spots. Below, in the flesh is closed in the crust – having an oily and rich texture with a pale yellow color. The cheese has a complex flavor resembling minced meat with delicate salinity. Camembert has a mild fruity flavor and a hint of mushroom.
Composition of Camembert
Camembert is known in France by its nickname "Legs of God" because of its deep flavor compounds of ammonia and sodium chloride. Calories in 100 grams Camembert are 297 and around 23 g fat. Camembert cheese has a high fat content - at least 45%. Overripe Camembert cheese has a very intense ammonia smell, which is produced by the same bacteria necessary for its maturation.
Selection and storage of Camembert
If you find cheese with label and stamp on which is noted Camembert de Normandie Appellation d'Origine Controlee au Lait Cru, this means that you hold in your hands a real quality product with a guarantee from Normandy. Although Camembert later received AOC status (in 1983), it is one of the most copied and produced cheese in the world. Because of this fact, it date is a challenge to find real Camembert. There are many counterfeits of original Camembert, but few of them have its quality.
When choosing Camembert, watch the production date and place where the cheese is made. The original cheese contains absolutely no preservatives and additives. Good Camembert cheese has a very soft texture, but once you cut the cake, it begins to lose its flavor. Cut Camembert cheese should be stored in a cool place, for no more than 5 days.
Culinary use of Camembert
The soft cheese Camembert, which gets a stronger flavor with longer ripening, can be consumed in a lot of different ways. It is great to serve with slices of toasted bread and as an appetizer to different wines, or just put it in the sauce for pasta, for example. The delicate taste suits many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats. It is important to remember that cooking destroys the flavor of Camembert.
Camembert goes well with fruity red wines, white wines and light champagne and sparkling wines, as well as red wines, such as Merlot. The French strongly recommend the consumption of Camembert on baguettes in combination with red "Bordeaux" wine or "Beaujolais".
Dangers of Camembert
For pregnant women, it is advisable to give up on this cheese because some of it may contain bacteria that can harm the fetus. This type of bacteria is called listeria and is found in soft cheeses that contain mold, such as Brie and Camembert.