Camembert originated in the 18th century, although it was considerably later before the white mould, penicillium camemberti was identified and introduced. Early Camemberts would have been mottled with a number of different moulds. Legend has it that the original recipe was taught to Marie Harel by a Catholic priest from the Île de France (home of Brie de Meaux), whom she had taken into hiding.
Camembert’s fame only spread in the late 1880s, when an engineer called Riddel invented the wooden box which houses it. This box allowed the Camembert to age perfectly in a controlled, humidified environment, and protected the cheese so it could be transported to the markets of Paris.
This ‘petit’ Camembert is the little brother of the classic Camembert de Normandie, and is made at the Graindorge dairy in Livarot. Cheese-making has been in the Graindorge family for three generations, since the dairy was set up by Eugène Graindorge in 1910. Although cheese-making has expanded under Eugène’s grandson, Thierry, a century later, the cheese is still hand-ladled and made from only the best, unpasteurised local milk from the Norman cows of the Pays d’Auge. Petit Camembert is just as delicious as the classic Camembert de Normandie, but less rich and intense. It has a golden, buttery interior, with a delicate aroma of hazelnuts.