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Camembert Cheese - Defined and Described

Camembert—Name of an imported cheese, put up in round flat boxes like brie. Is in its prime when just soft and creamy with an inclination to run; served in small quantities with toasted crackers.

There is good evidence that more than one type of cheese is placed upon our markets under the name of Camembert. All of them have sufficient similarities in texture and appearance to lead to classing them together, hut in flavor and odor they show marked differences.

Camembert cheeses secured from different regions show much variation. The study of the brands offered for sale in several cities emphasizes an entire lack of uniformity among them. The stage of ripening makes a marked difference in their appearance.

One can find upon the same counter cheeses in which ripening has bandy become distinguishable mixed with those in every stage of fitness and unfitness for use, even to those which are absolutely putrid, and all are likely to be sold as in prime condition for the table.

Such cheeses on the surface may be whitish or grayish in color, or yellowish to reddish, and may be dry or sticky with the accumulation of bacterial growths. They may be practically odorless, or at least inoffensive to smell, or they may emit very objectionable odors.

These differences are not due wholly to the degree of ripeness, for cheeses with very different appearance are often found of the same texture and flavor within. Moreover, cheeses with almost identical surface appearance often differ decidedly in texture and flavor.

The external differences, we have learned, are due chiefly to the different kinds of microorganisms that grow on the outside of the cheese, some of which are quite unnecessary to the production of the desired ripening.

Consultation with dealers shows that there is no accepted ideal among them for Camembert cheese; they disagree constantly on such matters.

There also appeal's to be confusion in many quarters between the types known as Camembert, Brie, and Isigny. This is probably due to the fact that the imported Brie is ripened in very nearly the same way as Camembert, differing only in size and shape and details of making, while the type we have discussed as American Brie, which includes the cheeses sold as Isigny, is very different in its appearance and ripening process, as well as texture and flavor.

It has been shown that certain makers use these names as practically interchangeable— that is, regard them as the same general type of cheese molded at different sizes and marketable at different degrees of ripeness, and sometimes the same cheese exactly is sent to market bearing different labels.

The True Camembert Type

The true Camembert type of cheese is that imported from France. These are shaped so that they fit wooden boxes about 4 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches thick. Upon the removal of their wrappings, the cheeses usually have a rather firm rind about one-eighth of an inch thick composed of interlaced fungous threads supporting dried cheese.

Within, the ripe cheese should be a yellowish cream color, of a waxy or creamy texture, often almost liquid in age, and with a distinctly characteristic flavor that is often not present in some American types, even though they are labeled Camembert.

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Epicurean Cooking Terms

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