Renowned food writer Harold McGee wrote an article recently about a delicious pasteurized Camembert. Of course pasteurized versus raw milk is an age old debate in the cheese world. If I had a nickel for every time a customer complained about the bland US version of Camembert...
Enter Herve Mons Camembert. First thing first is that this cheese is seemingly sold almost exclusively at Whole Foods (apparently there are a couple of exceptions). So don't bother asking me if I can get it because it seems so far I cannot.
Of course if the NY Times says something is good then it must be. So I decided I should go to the Whole Foods down the street and buy a little cheese--gotsta see what the fuss is all about.
First thing is that the Camembert were stacked up in the cooler next to the lettuce in the produce department. Kind of a weird place but I figure WF must know what they're doing. I opened one up and noticed it was pretty darn soft and smelled nice and ripe. The price tag said 9.99 but when rung up it cost me only 6.99 for 8oz. That's pretty darn cheap.
I popped it open back at the shop and gave a good whiff. A hint of ammonia, but not too overwhelming. The rind is nice and thin and not too chompy. The paste is nice and buttery but unfortunately it seems our cheese friend might have been sitting around a touch too long. It finished a tad bit bitter and with a little ammonia in your nose. For the most part I could see liking this cheese, but I am not sure I would go out of my way for it.
The Camembert we sell at the shop that we like is the Graindorge Camembert au Calvados. It's a little like comparing apples to oranges because the presence of Calvados does make a difference in the flavor of the cheese. The fruitiness of the Graindore Camembert really perks up the cheese and makes it rich and full flavored. Not proper Camembert, but pretty darn delicious.