This cheese is a national symbol.
Almost a national symbol, it’s also a cheese at the heart of many controversies and trench wars, with manufacturers and artisans clashing over its appellation, specifications, production zone, etc…
The name was never registered, and cheeses made on the other side of the world can be found under Camembert. Only the Camembert de Normandie appellation guarantees a local, artisanal product made with Normande cows and, of course, raw milk. It’s the latter that manufacturers are seeking to circumvent, in order to offer pasteurized or thermized cheeses that are less complicated and, above all, less costly to produce, and easily exportable with a name that’s known well beyond its borders. It’s a battle that’s been going on for decades, and is regularly reignited.
For our part, we are fortunate to be able to mature the Mercier family’s farmhouse Camembert de Normandie in our cellars. It was a long process of patience and mutual trust before we were allowed to buy them, as production of such a product is by nature very limited.
Let’s cut through any misconceptions that the last few lines might suggest. Yes, a farmhouse production of this PDO is very rare, and yes, it’s made entirely by hand. The milk from Normandy cows, the rich meadows of the bocage, all contribute to making it a treasure. But above all, it’s a product with a character and identity that are asserted beyond all else, even the youngest Mercier Camembert has a taste, a personal touch that disconcerts uninformed amateurs. A cheese like this needs to be apprehended, to quickly forget everything everyone thinks they know about Camembert. It’s the quintessential farm product, changing with the seasons, capricious, fragile, demanding a lot of attention, but offering rare tasting pleasures.