'Real' French Camembert plays David to industrial Goliath – Berita Daily
CAMEMBERT (France): It’s a cheese maker’s tackle David and Goliath.
Camembert, the village that gave its name to France’s most popular – and imitated – cheese, only has one remaining traditional “fromagerie” still making the specialty.
And it’s holding their own against big industry.
As they tend cows and ladle curdled raw milk into low, wooden cylindrical moulds, the Durand family and employees don’t resemble militants inside a Gallic culinary battle against globalisation.
But they can be to the front line on this Normandy locality, population 200, on the picturesque hillside where Camembert was basically created over the French Revolution.
Dairy producers “are certainly in dire straits,” said Nicolas Durand, 43, owner of the Heronniere farm while in the northwestern French region where Europe’s biggest dairy group Lactalis has purchased numerous farms like his.
For a little operation, the “only way to live is with direct distribution,” he stated.
Durand’s family acquired the farm in 1961 and has produced Camembert since 1987.
Today his seven employees turn 90% with the milk from his 90 cows into 700 to 800 cheeses a day, up from 600 throughout the year 2000.
Durand sells the minuscule all his output to Agrial, one of France’s top agricultural cooperatives and food processors.
French way of life
Dairy production is actually a hot-button issue in France. Only last month, the agriculture ministry were forced to element of to mediate between Lactalis and farmers angry over whatever they say are unsustainably low milk prices.
Lactalis today is France’s biggest maker of Camembert, mass-producing it found in supermarkets both at home and abroad under labels much like the ubiquitous “President” brand.
But ask anyone in a Heronniere farm how the “Durand” is different from a factory-produced Camembert for this keyword . laugh, saying also the question for you is an “insult”.
Real Normandy Camembert – a soft-cheese staple on France’s post-dinner cheese plates – finally won the coveted AOP, or Protected Designation of Origin, only 33 yrs ago.
The label makes a product’s origin and fabrication is within a strict geographical area and adheres to fliers and business cards and craftsmanship.
Local pride is becoming a stone monument in honour of Marie Harel – who invented the creamy cheese in 1791 with, as legend has it, some help from a priest – stands in Vimoutiers, the nearby village where she died.
Camembert itself incorporates a museum recounting the background from the speciality, synonymous with the “French manner of life”.
Yet half the museum is rented by Lactalis, whose industrial Camemberts are usually made out of pasteurised – not raw – milk.
Also, since it is not necessarily from Normandy and is also ripened quickly, it cannot bear the “AOP Camembert de Normandie” label.
Bloomy white rind
Durand notes that his cheese is not just AOP additionally, it is “fermier”, or entirely made on a single farm – an indication of distinction inside of a France struggling to defend “terroir”, an almost untranslatable notion evoking the goodness of your particular patch of countryside.
“It’s made out of milk from cows rather than originating from a mixture off milk from different farms. That could be essential for the flavour,” Durand says.
“Durand’s flavour stays with you” possesses a greater, richer scent, said one cheese seller from the Normandy port of Caen.
While an advertisement version costs a handful of euros within the supermarket, a Durand Camembert is costlier, fetching 4.40 euros (about US$5) within the farm and 5.60 euros (about US$7) with the Caen merchant’s store.
But the scene at Durand’s farm appears just like the cheese making portrayed from the ageing white or black celluloid film for the museum.
The milk preparation is set in moulds to drain for a day in rooms heated to 32 degrees Celsius (89 Fahrenheit).
Because modern sanitary standards require farmers to sterilise the cows’ teats – removing both positive and negative bacteria – lactic acids need to be included with aid coagulation.
The forms will be delivered to the “haloirs” or drying rooms, and kept at between 12 and 17 degrees Celsius. Salt is added along with penicillin, which assists to make Camembert’s characteristic bloomy white rind.
This part takes 2 weeks, after which the cheese remains again to mature properly.
While Durand’s supply is necessarily limited, demand is robust as well as the farm is already attracting some 10,000 visitors yearly.
He is making use of partners to cultivate his marketing plan in order to improve tourist interest substantially more.
The cheese maker says he attracts around 2,000 euros ($2,250) monthly, that he or she must pay the balance of 500 euros in loans until 2018.
He might also want to replace his brother and sister-in-law, who left the farm to begin a cheese store at Granville within the Normandy coast last July.
Numerous candidates show interest, including some from as miles away as China and Russia. But Durand says something he’ll not doing is selling up, to Lactalis or anybody else.