Some Interesting and Fun Facts about Normandy’s AOC Cheeses :
Normandy produces many specialty cheeses and of these, four have achieved AOC stripes: Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont-l’Évêque .
We know that Normandy’s fromages AOC are absolutely delicious, but here are some interesting and fun cheese facts that not many people know about …. or need to know about!
- Pont-l’Évêque has been made in Normandy since at least the 12th century and a local legend claims that it was first made in a Norman abbey.
- In the 12th century, Pont-l’Évêque was called “Angelot”. A manuscript from the time proclaims that a fine meal should always end with some “Angelot”.
- Another legend has it that during the Hundred Years’ War, young girls offered the heart-shaped Neufchâtel cheeses to English soldiers at New Year’s celebrations as a token of their love!
- Camembert was invented in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy thanks to advice from Abbott Bonvoust who came from Brie. She gave refuge to this resistance priest and in exchange he taught her the secret for cheese-making from Brie. If you’ve ever wondered why Camembert and Brie are frequently served together, perhaps herein lies the answer!
- Camembert was issued to French troops during World War I, making this cheese firmly entrenched in French popular cuisine culture as a result.
- Salvador Dali’s inspiration for his famous painting “The Persistence of Memory” apparently came from the runny Camembert. At home with a headache on a sunny day, Dali noticed how runny some half-eaten Camembert had become. That evening he dreamt of clocks melting on a landscape.
- If you hear of Livarot being referred to as ‘Colonel’, it’s because the rings of dried bullrush resemble the stripes on a colonel’s uniform.