Marie Harel created the original Camembert cheese from raw cow's milk in Normandy, France, in 1791. Presently, only a handful of producers adhere to Harel's traditional process of making cheese from raw milk. Those following Marie Harel's method can legally label their product as Camembert Normandie, under AOC guidelines. The Camembert de Normandie attained AOC status in 1983 and PDO in 1992, emphasizing a curd-preserving production method, manual drainage, and a minimum maturation period of three weeks.
Some varieties like Camembert Le Châtelain are made from pasteurised milk and can be found in Normandy.
Camembert St Loup, produced at Farm Saint Loup in Pays d'Auge, Normandy, adds to the regional diversity.
Fresh Camembert is characterized by its blandness and a hard, crumbly texture. The young version exhibits a milky, sweet taste, a smooth, runny interior and a rich, buttery flavour as it matures. The distinctive white bloomy rind results from the presence of a white fungus.
This cheese is best paired with a light red wine such as Beaujolais, Chenin Blanc, St Emilion, St Estephe or traditionally a glass of Normandy cider.