The bread and wine make the perfect accompaniment to Normandy cheese!
There are four Normandy cheeses produced in the region – Camembert, Livarot, Pont l’Evêque and Neufchâtel.
Camembert takes its name from the village in Calvados where it was first produced. The methods used to produce Camembert haven’t changed much over the centuries. Artisan Camembert is made by hand with the milk mixture being ladled into moulds before being turned several times until the skin forms. It is left to mature for a minimum of 14 days. Some Camembert cheese has been awarded the appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) certificate. This means that the Camembert can only be made with milk from Normandy cows who must have grazed on Normandy grass for a minimum of 6 months.
The heart shaped cheese in the photo is called Neufchâtel and is the oldest Normandy cheese dating from 1035. French folklore says that farm girls who fell in love with English soldiers during the Hundred Years War started making heart shaped cheeses as a sign of their affection. Neufchâtel has a soft velvet rind like Camembert. It tastes like mushrooms. It also has a slightly nutty taste.
If you’d like to try the Gavray camembert it’s sold in the Super U supermarket. There are two delicatessens in Gavray and they both stock it too.
Fun Facts About Normandy Cheese
- Did you know that it takes 2 litres of milk to make a single 250g camembert?
- Eating cheese seems to be a national past-time with the average person consuming around 25 kilos. That’s per year!
- There are quite specific ways to cut cheese especially if you are a guest at someone’s house. If in doubt, just ask.
- A cheese course is eaten before the dessert course in France.