Camembert cheese is a soft cow’s milk cheese with a white, bloomy rind that originated in Normandy and traditionally takes three to four weeks to make.
It has been made since the 11th century.
Camembert can be eaten alone but it also pairs well with fruits such as pear or apple, nuts like almonds and walnuts, chutneys like raspberry or fig jam, some meats such as ham or prosciutto di Parma.
If you’ve ever wondered what Camembert cheese tastes like, then this blog post is for you.
What is Camembert Cheese?
Camembert is a soft, unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Normandy.
It has an edible rind that gives it the appearance of a rough ash coating.
The flavor can be described as earthy with notes of mushroom and fruit in addition to its creamy butterfat taste.
It was created by Marie Harel, a dairywoman living near Camemberton-Sur-Mer, northwest France sometime between 1790 and 1815.
She had been commissioned by King Louis XV who wanted a variety of cheeses for his court.
Camembert is made by adding milk to a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk before it becomes curdled or clotted, then rennet is added so the other liquids can be drained off.
The cheese is shaped into rounds about 10.2 cm (4 inches) in diameter with an indentation on top that holds about three tablespoons worth of cream per round.
It matures for two weeks at room temperature under a layer of white mold caused by Penicillium Camembert, then stored at cooler temperatures between 12°C-14°F until ready to eat.
Is Camembert Cheese Good for You?
Camembert cheese is a soft, creamy, and pungent French cheese that can be served as an appetizer or used in cooking.
Despite its popularity, controversies are surrounding the health benefits of eating this particular type of cheese.
The main concern about Camembert is that it contains high levels of saturated fats which could lead to cardiovascular diseases if consumed regularly.
Camembert cheese is quite high in calories as well, so it’s not a good option for people who are trying to lose weight.
The other side of the debate finds that Camembert can be nutritious and beneficial when eaten moderately.
The cheese contains vitamin A which helps boost immunity and maintain healthy skin cells.
It also has plenty of calcium which improves bone strength, regulates muscle movement, strengthens teeth, and maintains nerve function.
This cheese has both good and bad points, so it is important to keep the consumption of Camembert in moderation.
How Expensive is Camembert?
Camembert cheese is a type of soft-ripened, unpressed cheese traditionally made from raw milk.
It is typically considered one of the finest cheeses for eating out of hand and has been attributed to aphrodisiac properties.
Basic Camembert can cost anywhere between $5-$10 per kilogram, but more expensive varieties can be up to $150 for just one wheel
The price per pound will vary depending on where you are located in the world.
In France, it ranges anywhere between $18 to $90 per kilo which equals about .46-.88 cents USD per ounce but some stores have sold Camembert as low as .30¢/ounce.
In America, prices can range between $12-$28 per pound, with the average cost being about $16.
Costs go up if you purchase imported Camembert from countries like Switzerland or Italy.
The price of the cheese will depend on several factors such as where you live in France, import taxes, and shipping costs.
Most importantly though it depends on how much milk it is available for producing cheeses like Camembert.
Why is Camembert Illegal in the USA?
Since Camembert is typically made with unpasteurized milk, it is illegal to sell in the US.
The reason Camembert cheese was first produced has much in common with its illegality today: a lack of sanitation and refrigeration caused by World War I.
But even if you’re able to get around these restrictions on selling Camembert, there’s another problem lurking that would make importing it difficult: FDA regulations prohibit unpasteurized dairy products from entering into United States territory due to safety concerns like Listeria or Salmonella contamination.
Pasteurized Camemberts are imported legally and sold at stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but they’re not the same for two reasons: pasteurization kills bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses and people don’t like the way it tastes.
So if you want the real Camembert experience, you’ll have to save up the money for a trip abroad.
What Does Camembert Cheese Taste Like? Does Camembert Cheese Taste Good?
The answer you’ve been waiting for. Camembert cheese is traditionally made with raw or pasteurized goat, sheep, or buffalo milk.
This has a lot of benefits, including making the cheese significantly less perishable than other raw-milk cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta because it is acidic enough to discourage bacteria from growing in it.
Camembert cheese has an intensely nutty, buttery flavor with a hint of earth and mushroom undertones to it.
It also has a soft, creamy texture without being too runny or drippy on the tongue.
When you bite into this deliciously pungent cheese, there’s just enough resistance from the velvety-soft surface before giving way to jiggly bits of tangy goodness inside – not unlike eating curds and whey.
The flavor and aroma depend on what type of milk is used as well as how long it was aged.
Aged Camembert will have a white rind and an ivory interior while fresh Camembert will have a yellow rind and an off-white interior.
Regarding Aged Camembert, it’s even more buttery and nutty than for fresh Camembert.
If you’re a fan of cheese, then this is a cheese that you’ll want to add to your repertoire.
Camembert has many delicious qualities that make it worth the high price tag on store shelves.
But when purchased from an artisanal producer or farmstead vendor, the experience can be well worth any splurge in cost.
How Do You Eat Camembert Cheese? Can You Eat Camembert Raw?
Just like most soft cheeses, Camembert cheese can be eaten at room temperature or warmed to a certain degree.
Camembert is typically served with wine, chives, and/or blackberries which are then mixed in a dish called Camembert au forage (literally “chamber of the oven”).
The traditional way to eat Camembert cheese is by cutting it into thin slices and eating it with baguette, but there are also other ways of serving this type of cheese.
One popular dish made from soft cheeses is called Croque Monsieur which comprises a breaded ham and cheese sandwich that has been fried in butter or oil and optionally garnished with bechamel sauce, chopped parsley, and sometimes grated nutmeg.
This dish can be served as an open-faced sandwich (without crust), topped with Mornay sauce; baked on top of something rich like pasta or rice pudding; covered in bacon bits for breakfast.
You certainly can eat Camembert cheese raw, but it’s not recommended for the same reasoning that you wouldn’t eat any other type of cheese raw.
Raw Camembert cheese (without mold) is often served either as a spread on bread or with grapes and walnuts.
It’s important to remember that Camembert cheese must be refrigerated at all times because its shelf life can only last up to one month without spoilage.
In conclusion, Camembert cheese is a soft, creamy cheese that has a slightly tangy taste.
Eating Camembert is an acquired taste and not everyone will be able to appreciate it.
If you enjoy the intense flavors of blue cheeses like Roquefort or Gorgonzola then you may find this cheese more palatable.
Otherwise, stick with something more traditional such as Cheddar or American Cheese slices.