It has been a testing year for food lovers, with whispers of croissant shortages and an impending cocoa crisis cropping up in the news and making us confront our worst food fears. To add to these doomsday predictions, it is now being forecasted that the magnificent Camembert cheese may be on the brink of extinction.
The unctuously creamy soft cheese rounds we all know and love are a staple on our cheeseboards, but due to a crack down in the regulations surrounding the way in which Camembert is made, we may be fooling ourselves with cheap imitations going forward.
Much like the DOC restrictions, which dictate that certain products must be crafted in a particular way using ingredients from a specific area in order to qualify for a protected title, in order to be called Camembert and meet the new French PDO specifications, the cheese must be made with unfiltered raw milk, with a fat content of at least 38%.
The cows producing the raw milk must be fed grass from local pastures in Normandy and ladled in four or more layers, in order to create the distinctive creamy Camembert texture.
The predicted shortage of authentic Camembert is therefore reportedly due to the mass production of the cheese, with large companies buying out small cheesemakers and then cutting corners to create copy-cat ‘Camembert’ with pasteurized milk, which is a cheaper alternative.
The use of pasteurized milk results in a rubbery centre nothing like the oozing creaminess of traditional Camembert, and it is likely if you are picking up a wheel in the supermarket this is what you’ll be getting – a trip to Normandy may be necessary if you want the real deal.
The good news here in Ireland however is that the raw milk movement has had significant victories in recent years. as the sale of raw milk and cheese produced from it no longer entirely prohibited here.
We can get our raw milk fromage fix from award-winning producers like Corleggy, who make a ‘Cavanbert’ far more tempting than anything in the supermarket aisles, at farmers markets across the country.