Make mine Camembert

I love cheese.. and I mean I LOVE CHEESE.  From the Queso de bola back home which is actually EDAM Cheese to your everyday Kraft Cheddar Cheese (and I’m talking about the one in Manila and not the American cheese you find in groceries here), I have learned to sample cheese not just as a sandwich ingredient but as an appetizer, pica-pica to go with drinks, and since I had it in Paris, dessert.

Locally, my favorite remains to be Edam which they never get quite as sharp as the PATO or MARCA PINA brand back home.  (Which reminds me, I must go to the Filipino store this coming weekend to get our cheese for the Christmas Noche Buena and the New Year’s breakfast.)  I love to munch on Swiss and Sharp cheddar with my preferred wine, Reisling, and although some friends love brie, I prefer camembert.

When we arrived Friday morning at the Hotel Westminster, there was a small fruit basket and a bottle of champagne as a welcome gift from the hotel waiting for us.  When we transferred to the Hotel Warwich Champs-Elysees Monday morning, a huge basket of fruit was on the coffee table.  Although I arrived in the evening from Chartres and we had decided to eat in the suite, I stepped out to grab some cheese from the Monoprix not too far away on champs Elysees.

With mounds of grapes in the basket, I played safe by getting a small camembert.  It went perfectly with the grapes and was a delicious dessert after we had our meal.  Not even the macarrons that came compliments of the chef equalled the pleasure of having the fruit and cheese melt in your mouth together.

I am no expert on cheese, but I like cheese and I grabbed two small rounds of camembert at the duty free shop on the way home.  (They pack it in aluminum foil and seal it in plastic before putting it in the regular duty free bag.)  I can’t wait to have it for dessert one of these days with the family or with friends.

Camembert is apparently a place in the province of Normandy in France, and legend has it that ” (it) dates back to the 18th century and is named for a Norman village in which there is a statue of the creator of this particular variety (Marie Harel). Originally, this cheese was dry and yellow-brown, but after a few modifications it became softer and more earthy. In 1855 one of Marie Harel’s daughters presented Napoleon with a piece of that cheese, saying that it came from village called Camembert. He liked it a lot and from that moment Camembert became known by its contemporary name. At the beginning of its ripening, Camembert is crumbly and soft and gets creamier over time (usually 2-3 weeks). A genuine Camembert has a delicate salty taste.” (Source:  Perhaps next time I’ll try and see if a day trip to Camembert is doable from Paris or Lyon.. meanwhile, I have some cheese I can’t wait to enjoy.