Travelin’ Cam’

Although today Käserei Champignon is well-known for its unique Cambozola, the first type of cheese that Champignon produced was actually Camembert. Julius Hirschle, cheesemaker and founder, developed a Camembert using the milk from local Bavarian-raised cows. The resulting Camembert’s subtle aroma of mushrooms inspired the company name “Champignon” (French for mushroom).

This Camembert may be mild in flavor, but it is big on adventure. Not long after its development, tins of Champignon’s Camembert were loaded on a steamer and sent on a voyage around Africa. Cheesemakers wanted to test how the cheese’s flavor and aging process were affected by travel and change in climate. Not only did the cheese withstand the long journey, but the wheels had ripened and improved in flavor.

 

Camembert cheese actually has a natural preservative: its rind. The bloomy rind, owed to the coating of Pencillium candidum/camemberti added just before ripening, gives the cheese its soft texture and creaminess, but because it is a living mold, it also acts as protection against other microorganisms. In fact, scientists have begun studying the role of Pencillium candidum used on cheeses in order to develop similar protective living surfaces.

Storing Camembert in tins certainly adds  another layer of protection and has the added advantage of convenience. The cheese is first wrapped in wax paper and foil before it is hermetically sealed. Because the cheese is not exposed to air, the tins preserve the cheese longer in the refrigerator than plastic-wrapped cheeses. Though these tins still must be kept cold, they are excellent to travel with, fitting easily in a cooler or cold pack to sustain you on your next voyage.