Saturday, July 21, 2012


This post outlines some of our adventures on our Spring Trip in April/May 2012.

Here we are, still galavanting through the green, rain-soaked hills of Normandy - this time in the wee town of Camembert.


This village was a 'must see' for us given we're all cheese lovers and this is the birthplace of the famous camembert variety.

Why the cows are so happy in Normandy

There's not much in Camembert any more, just a Maire (town hall), a church, a few houses and the cheese museum.

The Mairie

At the start of the museum tour you get to watch a short film that tells you all about the history of the cheese and how they make it.

Then you can walk through the small museum which does a great job of showing all the processes involved, from cow:


to milk truck:


to the factory:

These aren't real, BTW  (although they would've fooled me after a few sherbets) 

Here is Marie Harel, the lady given credit for the creation of camembert after talking to a priest from Brie.


Camembert was invented in the late 1700s and remained very much a regional cheese for over a hundred years.

Still not real

During the First World War the producers decided to donate one day's production a week to the French troops as their contribution to the war effort. As a result hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen discovered the divine gooeyness that is camembert and the cheese became a national sensation.

That's what I'm talking about

There was a taste test at the end. We were all pretty excited.


The main differences between the three are (from left to right):
1. Made with hot, pasteurised milk
2. Made with not-so-hot, pasteurised milk
3. Made with hot, raw milk.

Regarding the commercial use of the name 'camembert' for a cheese - many of you would have seen local non-French camembert in your supermarkets and might have wondered how that is possible. (Given that you can't call your sparkling white wine 'champagne' or your blue cheese 'roquefort' unless it's made in that region to the required standards.)

Lucky this gorgeous vintage cheese box was behind glass, otherwise I would've swiped it.

So if you want the 'real deal' AOC camembert you want to look out for 'Camembert de Normandie' - this will be made according to strict quality regulations from delicious unpasterised Normandy cow's milk. All the others are just posers (but yummy posers).

La mooooo

It will be 38% fat or higher and it will blow your mind.  We bought a wheel to have for dinner that night with baguette and a Normandy apple cider. Heaven.

That was Camembert (well, most of it) and we loved it. A great half-day visit if you are in the Normandy area.

In other news - remember this day? Well, that was exactly a year ago. I can't believe he's one already! You'll find a much more recent photo of him over on my Facebook page.


Welcome to Friday, clink (that's my glass touching yours). I think we need another French pop video to lead us into the weekend.

This single, Je veux le monde (I want the world) has been released in the lead up to the musical play 1789: Les Amants de La Bastille, which opens in Paris in September. Honestly, I didn't pay that much attention to the music as I was too busy squeeing over the fact it's filmed at Versailles in costume.

What are my chances of getting the mister in a powdered wig? Phwoar.

Have a great weekend!


Jennifer said...

I love your cheese posts! And WOW, I can't believe he's one already. Happy birthday!

Jennifer :)

Unknown said...

What a beautiful baby boy! I love La Moo...and pretty much all cheese. Thanks for the video.

Mark said...

Happy 1st to your Baby Boy! How wonderful. Now you got me in the mood for another one! But I think my eggs are getting too old.
Anyway, I don't think I trust that Marie Harel. I'm wondering what's the real story about her and the Priest... Well, whatever way, all ends well as Fred and the kids are able to enjoy the Camembert President variety all the time. Yes, we can get it here! Me, not so much a fan. But I love seeing the rest of the Family enjoy it.
Thanks for taking me on the tour.
Maybe I'll send Fred over here to check it out.

American Mom in Bordeaux said...

Awesome post...thanks for clearing up the differences of camemberts...I know what to look for now..or ask for! Have a good weekend!

Katy Cameron said...

Oh I LOVE camembert, and that was a seriously good bit of marketing PR to support the war effort there! Actually I think I have some in the fridge, I'll be right back...

Susan said...

Happy birthday to your little man! Yummy cheese, cider and baguette! Yummy! yummy!

Salley said...

Party time over there? FB Baby photos? I have drool all over the keyboard... said...

I wish I would have known about the museum when we were in the Normandy region all those many years ago (2001).

Nicola said...

Happy birthday to your little guy I remember reading about his arrival when I was packing up to leave the US last year and that is exactly what I am doing again tonight! Time flies. Does he like camembert too?!

midge said...

and why wouldn't those cows be happy? i would stand in a paddock eating grass to live there. Happy birthday little man, where did that year go?

blandina said...

I had no idea about the origins of Camambert. I still can eat small amounts of this cheese because it is very low in lactose, but it used to be one of those that I most loved.
Happy birthday to Monsieur H., I can not believe that he is already 1!

Betty said...

You in that kind of frock and the mister with a powdered wig!
Your youngest is a real cutypie! (I went to FB)

Eva said...

A trip that ends in a cheese tasting can't be bad! :-) Thank you for all the info, it's really interesting to learn more about Camembert!

One year! Wow! Congratulations to the little guy! :-)

Wendy said...

Aww, happy birthday to the wee man! What a darling baby...and having read your birth story post, I'm thanking my lucky stars for that shot of local anesthetic before any post-delivery patching-up got underway. They'd better be handing out chocolates after that experience, the least they can do!

Sara Louise said...

Why would anyone want to eat cheese that had less than 38% fat anyway?!
Sometimes I think I should just take the camembert out of the package, tape it directly to my thighs, and be done with it x

Bouts Choisis said...

Ah - I wondered why it had suddenly stopped raining for a while in Normandie - you must have brought the sun with you from Provence!

Eli said...

do you mean the guy at the front? He's David Ban - one of my favourite singers/actors and a really nice guy (and hopefully he will introduce me to the one who looks a bit like Keanu Reeves!. The cd came out on my birthday - guess who was outside Virgin at 10am??

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