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Thermalized vs. raw-milk Camembert

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  • Robert Lauriston Apr 5, 2006 03:55 PM

From the SF Bay Area board:

"Several months ago, I noticed that the inner wrapper of this camembert has changed from a thinnish, plasticized paper to a much thicker, all-plastic wrapper. The old wrapper was printed with the Le Chatelain trademark, and the new wrapper is plain white. I also noticed that whenever this newer wrapper is used, the cheese is bland and scentless, like a feeble American knockoff."

What you're describing sounds like the recently introduced thermalized version.

It's illegal to import the raw-milk version. Always was, but now it's enforced, and the fines are very steep.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/california/b...

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  1. I haven't seen the new version. But raw milk Camembert is widely available in good NYC cheese shops. Its an open (very right in your face open) secret that its available retail.

    Link: http://www.wesfoodie.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks for your answer.

      Hmmpf. I thought that raw-milk cheeses were all right to sell in the U.S. as long as they were aged past a certain date, and that Le Chatelain was an example of this. If you're right, then unless I go to France, eating a properly funky camembert is going to be only a memory for me. Quel dommage! And me a cheese-aholic.

      8 Replies
      1. re: teela brown

        "Chatelain" camembert has always been made pasteurized milk. That's a reason why you don't buy it in France, you choose a Lanquetot. Here in the US, you have little choice, unless you want to eat that gross rouge et noir from Wisconsin they sell at trader joe's.

        I think you can import cheese if it is *not* aged. I read somewhere that people do the "affinage" here in the US so they can import French cheese and sell it ripe.

        1. re: cedichou
          Melanie Wong

          The FDA rule is that raw milk cheeses must be aged at least 60 days. Since camembert typically matures at 4 to 6 weeks, it's over-the-hill if imported after 60 days of aging.

          1. re: cedichou
            Robert Lauriston

            Le Châtelain is produced in raw-milk, thermalized, and pasteurized versions. Theoretically, only the latter two are imported into the U.S.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              That explains why I find two versions. The new and predominant version is wrapped, like I say, in a plain white plastic inner wrapper. The other version, which used to be widely available, is wrapped in a thinner "plasticized paper" wrapper, and the wrapper bears the Le Chatelain trademark. I did discover one place that sold this latter version still - but now that I read about how the thermalized version is going to be the only one which is mostly available, I'm going to keep my source secret.

              Yes, I'm aware that Le Chatelain is not the pinnacle of camemberts, but it's the best I can find in the U.S. I'm going to France the first two weeks of June, and I fully intend to O.D. on the real thing at that time!

              1. re: teela brown
                Melanie Wong

                Here's a photo of the cheese tray at a small bistro outside of Beaune to tide you over in the mean time. Doesn't look like there's any camembert . . . the Mont d'Or in the upper right corner was fabulous. (vbg)

                Image: http://static.flickr.com/47/120550610...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Wow, I can practically smell that from here. Isn't it amazing the cheese selection you can find at the smallest bistros in France? Thanks, Melanie, for posting that.

                  1. re: teela brown
                    Melanie Wong

                    Actually, this one was quite exceptional for an 8-table bistro. Sadly, some larger and more expensive establishments didn't match this one in selection or quality.

                2. re: teela brown
                  Robert Lauriston

                  When you're in Paris, try Marie-Anne Cantin.

                  Link: http://www.cantin.fr/

          2. Ooh, here's a great article, from the Wall Street Journal in 2003.

            Link: http://foodhaccp.com/msgboard.mv?parm...