It denounced the brand new guidelines as “shame, scandal, imposture,” even “treason,” whereas dismissing pasteurized milk camembert as “lifeless matter,” “pasteurized plaster” and “an ocean of mediocrity.” Pasteurization kills harmful germs, however uncooked milk camembert lovers insist that it additionally kills taste, robbing the cheese of richness and “terroir,” the character imparted by a selected place.
Some of the signatories, just like the letter’s creator, Véronique Richez-Lerouge, president of a group devoted to traditional cheeses, and François Bourgon, a famous cheesemonger, even referred to as for a boycott of camembert if the change takes impact.
“Camembert is the emblem of French cheeses,” Mr. Bourgon mentioned. “If it dies, others will follow.”
In truth, the outdated approach has been waning for a very long time, and it’s not clear what number of French shoppers perceive the distinction, or care deeply about it. Most of the 65,000 tons of camembert bought annually in France is mass produced from pasteurized milk, and solely eight.5 % earns the coveted designation “Camembert de Normandie,” that means that it’s made in that area, to exacting requirements, from uncooked milk.
From the baguette to Champagne, France has lengthy seen its gastronomy as a sacred treasure, and not one of the 1,200 sorts of cheese produced within the nation are as a lot a nationwide image as camembert. Dating again nearly to the French Revolution, it turned fashionable throughout World War I, when its producers gave free camembert to troopers and adorned its iconic spherical, picket packing containers with patriotic messages.
“Camembert is a monument of the French culture and should remain so,” mentioned Patrick Mercier, one of many few remaining producers of uncooked milk camembert.