A French cheese, the characteristics of the genuine product protected both by a French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, and a European Union Protected Designation of Origin.
Only a bit more than 10% of the Camembert produced in France qualifies for the Camembert de Normandie A.O.C designation. To begin with, the milk must come entirely from cows in Normandy, with rules for their feeding. The milk must not have been ultrafiltered nor heated above 37°C (i.e., it is neither “thermalized” nor pasteurized). The milk is ladled by hand into molds between 10.5 to 11 inches in diameter. Each mold is filled by hand in a minimum of four separate passes.
The cheese is salted with dry salt.
After a minimum of 21 days affinage, the finished cheese must weigh at least 250 grams, with a fat content of at least 38%.
Camembert originated in the late 18th century; the familiar circular split-wood packaging appeared around 1890 and facilitated wider distribution. In 1926 the Cour d'Appel of Orléans found that the term “Camembert” had passed into the public domain, but in the 1980’s the term “Camembert de Normandie” was granted AOC status.
Around 2007 the larger producers of Camembert de Normandie began to lobby the AOC to permit the use of thermalized or filtered milk, instead of raw milk.¹
1. Elaine Sciolino.
If rules change, will Camembert stay the same?
New York Times, 20 June 2007.
The A.O.C. was promulgated on 26 December 1986. The decree may be found, in French, at
Another site of interest, also in French, is
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Last revised: 1 July 2010.