Industrialization of AOC Camembert Covered by New York Times

You heard it here first, but there's an article in today's New York Times Dining & Wine section that covers the A.O.C. Camembert controversy in a bit more depth. One quote I found particularly interesting concerned the actual differences between raw-milk Camemberts and those made from treated milk. The following would imply that the differences are more subtle than commonly thought, and that using treated milk poses more of a marketing challenge than anything else:

Officials at two of the top cheese emporia in Paris, Quatrehomme and Barthélémy, said they will continue to sell only raw milk Camembert even though there is only a slight difference in taste between it and cheese made with milk that has been thermized or microfiltered.

“If the Camembert is from treated milk, I will warn all my customers — and I know my sales will go down,” said Nicole Barthélémy, owner of Barthélémy on the chic Rue de Grenelle in the seventh arrondissement.

While the vast majority of Camemberts made with treated milk are gummy and tasteless, I must say that the sentiment above actually gibes with a recent experience I had with Hervé Mons' Camembert from Whole Foods Fromagerie. It was easily the best treated-milk Camembert I'd ever tasted, and it certainly rivaled some of the raw-milk versions I've had. I don't know the specifics of the milk treatment on the cheeses that Hervé ages, but if anyone out there does know, please leave a comment below!

Industrialization of AOC Camembert - Passing Fad or Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Associated Press is running a story about a French Camembert producer that wants to switch from using raw milk to using micro-filtered milk. Isigny-Sainte-Mere, one of France's largest producers of AOC Camembert, is asking the National Institute for Origin and Quality to change the rules that govern the cheese.

Les From' Girls sont de retour

Info calendrier 2007.jpg
Just about a year ago, we mentioned a calendar being released by Fromages de Terroirs, a French non-profit devoted to regional cheese, that would feature every month a different scantily-clad woman posing with an equally scantily-clad block of cheese. Well, the 2007 edition has been released, with some fresh, umm, faces in the mix.

From the press release:

Misses Estelle Livarot, Adeline Camembert, Adèle Pont l’Évêque, Bérénice Brie de Meaux, Barbara Munster, Apolline du Crottin de Chavignol, Emma de la Tomme de Savoie, Éléonore de Mont d’Or, Eva Morbier are joined by three new young faces making their first appearance in the 2007 calendar: Clara Chaource, Solène de Selles-sur-Cher and Elsa de la Fourme d’Ambert.

The calendar is available for purchase now on the the Fromages de Terroirs website. The cost is 15€ and all profits will go to help promote awareness of the organization.

Herv&#233 Mons, Affineur

The folks at Big Cheese Stories, the Murray's Cheese blog, have posted an incredible essay today about Hervé Mons, a third-generation French affineur. If you think of affineurs simply as cheese ripeners, this article will convince you that they are, in fact, artists. Also included are some fantastic pictures, as the authors visit a

E. Coli Outbreak in UK

Reuter's is reporting today on an outbreak in the UK of E. Coli in some unpasteurized French cheeses. The recall involves some varieties of A.O.C. Camembert made in France by Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d'Ay-Etablissement Reaux.

I don't know much about this firm, but according to their website they harvest milk from "auprès d'une centaine de producteurs," or nearly 100 producers. That means that milk from many different cows are being comingled to make the cheese, and only one of those cows has to be infected with E. Coli to infect an entire batch of cheese. Then again, they do say on their website that they check for bacterial quality of the milk they use, so it's puzzling that they could've missed such an outbreak.

In any case, this will certainly heat up the debate over the safety of young raw milk cheeses.

Smelly cheese and pinup girls

France's regional cheese association has released a cheese-of-the-month calendar, but with a twist. Posing with every cheese are the likes of Mademoiselle Méline Camembert, Mademoiselle Bérénice Brie de Meaux or Mademoiselle Pont l'Evêque. "I realised that French local products, cheese in particular, had a stuffy image," said Véronique Richez-Lerouge, founder of France's regional cheese association. "Everyone associates smelly, unpasteurised cheese with fat, ugly women and men with berets and baguettes. I wanted to give people back their taste for fromage au lait crû by giving it a sexier image."

Read the entire article from the Daily Telegraph.

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