Camembert from Normandy is a raw cow milk cheese, with a soft, slightly salty crust and whose milk is produced and processed exclusively in the Normandy region of France. It has been protected in the European Union by protected designation or origin status since 1982. Camembert is also the name of a small village in the Normandy region, where it is believed to have been made for the first time.
According to legend, Camembert from Normandy was originally sold in 1791 by a female farmer named Marie Harel, on the advice of a priest coming from the Brie producing region of France who as seeking refuge on her farm during the French Revolution. While this story isn’t supported by much in history, it has been recounted numerous times in multiple works. The first reference to a cheese by this name dates to 1708, but it wasn’t popularized until much later.
The cheese comes exclusively from the Normande breed of cattle, who must spend a minimum of half the year at pasture with strict minimum limits on the size of the pasture per cow. There are also strict rules on the composition of the grasslands the cattle graze on, in order to maximize the quality of the cheese produced from their milk. Additionally, Camembert from Normandy must be sold in a traditional wooden cheese box.
Camembert from Normandy is similar to Brie in appearance, with a slightly yellower crust and a robust, strong taste.