Camembert is a soft and creamy cow’s milk cheese that was first created in 1791 by Marie Harel in Camembert, Normandy, in the North of France. This was the time of the French Revolution. Legend says that Marie Harel gave refuge a priest from Brie (near Paris) during this time, and it was he who taught Marie Harel the methods behind great cheese making, using similar methodology to brie cheese. Traditionally, the cheese was made by using only unpasteurized milk. However, the majority of Camembert available today uses pasteurized milk for health reasons and for the simplicity of production. Camembert that uses the traditional method can be labeled “Camembert Normandie” and abides by AOC guidelines. As the cheese ages, it forms a smooth, runny interior and a white bloomy rind that is typical of Camembert cheese. It has a rich, fruity and buttery flavor.
Camembert became increasingly popular during the 19th and 20th century in France and the cheese was fed to French troops in World War I, making it a staple in the French diet. Today, Camembert is enjoyed many ways. One of the most popular ways to serve Camembert is baked. The rich, savory flavor pairs very well with a sweet and fruity topping, such as figs. Adding walnuts provide a crunchy texture that compliments the soft rind and runny cheese. This dish is best paired with a glass of light red wine.
1 wheel camembert
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried figs, sliced
1/4 cup fig jam, divided
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Microwave the fig jam for 30 seconds to soften it. Spread half of the jam over the top of the camembert wheel.
With the remaining jam, mix in the walnuts and the dried figs. Spread the mixture over top of the camembert wheel.
Place the cheese in the oven and allow to bake until bubbling, approximately 10 minutes.
Serve with baguette or crackers. Don’t forget the wine!