At Limoncello we love bringing you an Italian take on familiar items. Be this Rio Mare Tuna instead of what you’d find in a supermarket; or Panettone instead of Christmas cake; or simply our relaxed and approachable style of hospitality in place of formality. So in that vein we bring you an Italian Buffalo Mozzarella Camembert!
Everyone is familiar with the iconic gooey cheese from Normandy. Some of us have family members who love the stuff so much it is their highlight of the Christmas feasts. But only provided it is so overripe that it resembles more of a toxic sludge than a cheese. While others of us firmly insist that said “cheese” be stored outside of the house so as to not stink up the place, thank you very much!
As such an icon of French cheeses, you might expect Camembert to have its roots in the medieval French kingdom. But it actually came into being around the Napoleonic Era when a cheesemaker in Normandy merged new industrial cheesemaking processes with the wisdom of a master cheesemaker from a little town called Brie. And the rest is history. Though Camembert was only truly elevated to national icon status during the First World War when French soldiers on the western front were issued Camembert as part of their standard rations.
But surely with such a history, Camembert should be a protected regional trademark (PDO), right? Well, yes and no. There is a PDO named Camembert de Normandie. However, this is explicitly made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. This both falls foul of certain country’s hygiene regulations, and leaves the name “Camembert” itself as fair game provided pasteurized milk is used.
Camembert di Bufala
Into this situation strutted a few cheesemakers from the Piedmont region in particular. Piedmont is more used to the production of Robiola style cheeses such as La Tur, but they figured that if they could divert a small portion of the Buffalo milk used in mozzarella production they could turn out a wicked Buffalo Mozzarella Camembert.
And they certainly did! The result was a cheese instantly recognizable as Camembert, yet also quite distinct. Buffalo milk Camembert is delicate and fruity with a fresh smell and slightly acidic aftertaste. And since Buffalo milk boasts double the fat content of cow’s milk, the result is a much creamier style of Camembert – a great winter warmer.
It is true that those family members who love the toxic sludge that is an overripe Camembert may turn their noses up at a Buffalo milk Camembert. But for the rest of us it is a far more approachable cheese, milder and creamier than the French version.
Naturally you can find Buffalo Mozzarella Camembert at Limoncello. And we have two top serving suggestions for you:
Most cheeses should be served at room temperature to bring out their full flavour. But at room temperature the soft centre of a Buffalo milk Camembert tends to turn the consistency of a fondue. So perhaps served just out of the fridge with some bread and fresh basil is the wiser course here.
Or alternatively you can embrace the gooey fondue idea and grill the Camembert with a drizzle of olive oil and perhaps a sliver or two of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. You can find this version on our restaurant menu, served with fresh Italian bread.