Cheese matters

Have you heard the news?

Last month, in Madison, Wisconsin, a panel of connoisseurs at the World Championship Cheese Contest awarded the prize for the best camembert on the planet, and the winning cheese comes from…you guessed it! The best camembert in the world is made in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec.

Made by the dairy cooperative Agropur, L’Extra camembert is known for its creamy texture and nutty, mushroom flavor. It is a well-known cheese here in Québec, and with this latest honor it will undoubtedly make its mark in other markets as well.

This news has not gone unnoticed in France. In fact, some sectors of the French media have been…well…concerned that camembert, much less the greatest camembert, might be made outside of Normandy.

Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Parisien, and Le Point reported the Agropur win objectively, in just-the-facts articles that explain, among other things, that “camembert” is not a protected designation. “Camembert” can be — and is — made throughout the world. In Libération, the news was categorized as insolite – unusual – but the reporting was nonetheless calm and respectful. On the other hand, in Paris-Normandie, a newspaper published close to the heart of France’s camembert country, the reporter took no pains to hide his distaste for the tasty Québec cheese. He refers to L’Extra as “pasteurized, lactose-based plaster” that is made in a machine and is but a mere copy of the original. He argues that Québec camembert cannot, by definition, be authentic; it is not made with raw milk, and the milk it is made from does not come from French cows. “Normans,” he exhorts, “don’t be afraid! We know very well, they know very well, that the only true camembert is made in Normandy.”

I will leave the territorial bickering to others. All I know is that L’Extra is extraordinary! Look for it in a supermarket near you.

(Photo Credit: Agropur)

23 thoughts on “Cheese matters”

  1. I have many friends from Wisconsin. I will not pass on this information but I will be looking for this cheese.

  2. Très intéressant comme article et on commence à être fiers de nos fromages. Neil tout ton site est intéressant. Félciitations!

  3. Come to Quebec! It is a province of local great cheeses!
    Neil can take you on a cheese tour. What do you say, Neil?

  4. Love all kinds of cheeses. What does this one go with, maybe crackers and wine?goat cheese is Oklahoma go to. But it’s good.

  5. Thanks for the article Neil. I was very excited to hear this news and it just so happens I bought some of ‘the best Camembert in the world’ to see what all the fuss is about. Sorry to say I think some of the judges may have been suffering from a cold. There are some great cheeses made lovingly in Quebec by passionate craftsmen and farmers. Unfortunately this cheese is not one of them!

  6. J’ai entendu la nouvelle. Il était question d’appelation d’origine contrôlée dans ce qui s’est rendu ici.

    Est-ce qu’un camembert doit être obligatoirement fait de lait cru ? Certains semblent le penser de l’autre côté de la marre.

  7. Well… was to be expected. On n’arrive plus a innover ici. Bravo!! And of course I must try it – je vais le quanter ..

  8. Myriam Lemieux

    It is hard Neil in this world to accept that someone or something could be better than you. Poor Normandie, they will be shooken up for a while. Thanks again for ghe info.

  9. I hadn’t heard this news, Neil! Thanks so much for letting us know! Great news for the evergrowing Québec cheese industry!

  10. Liz and Barry Ellis

    I shall keep looking for it in English supermarkets, then we shall really know it is internationally recognised.

  11. I think that the Paris-Normandie reporter shall come for a visit in Quebec and realise that we do not only make the best camenbert but we also produce a lot of “fine” cheeses.
    Whose the “paillasson” the first cheese of Île d’Orléans since 1635.
    a delight.

  12. Congratulations to Quebec and to L’Extra! I trust that L’Extra will now update their label to reflect “2018 World Cheese Awards”. We’ll watch for it here in California.

  13. Hi Neil,

    I worked in a cheese factory for more than 10 years, and our cheesemaker always told us that cheese is like wine, the best one is simply “the one you prefer” !!! A great philosopher as you can see…. And for sure, Québec produces very good cheese.

  14. Merci Monsieur Neil Schomaker, les voyages forment la jeunesse, le camembert reste un délice, avec une pomme ou une poire ! bravo à L’Extra de la compagnie Agropur Signature. Je m’émerveille toujours de la qualité, je demeure toujours surpris que le prix reste semblable peu importe sa provenance. Un Camembert de Normandie, lait et fleurie, de Calvados, de la Manche, de L’ Eure ou de L’Orne le même prix que celui de Ste Hyacinthe. Cela ne m’empêchera pas d’acheter L’EXTRA pour le palais mais pas pour la médaille. Je lève mon verre à ta santé. Merci pour la découverte.

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