The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Camembert. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.
What Camembert etiquette is
Camembert etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Camembert. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Camembert etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.
What you should know about Camembert
Camembert is a soft cheese from France. It is a product with the AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) certification. Only the Normandy region in northern France can produce it and market it under the name Camembert.
Camembert is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It must have a minimum aging time of three weeks. It has a bright yellow body, and a white moldy rind. Its texture is soft, moist, and creamy.
Etiquette tips to serve and eat Camembert
1) How to store Camembert
Store Camembert in the fridge. It can last for up to 1 or 2 weeks.
After opening it, it is best to consume Camembert within 3 to 5 days. To store it, wrap it in waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternatively, wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil. You can store it in a sealed container too.
In the freezer, Camembert can last for up to 3 months. However, freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Camembert only if you plan to cook it.
Store dishes with cooked Camembert in the fridge. They can last for up to 3 and 5 days.
2) How to clean Camembert
You do not need to wash Camembert.
Its rind is edible and has natural mold. If you notice mold of a different color and texture than the rind, discard the cheese immediately.
3) How to cook Camembert
You can bake a whole Camembert in the oven. After 6 to 10 minutes at 180°C (350°F), the body should be fully melted.
Alternatively, you can bake it as an ingredient for savory tarts, quiches, or pies. Camembert is great for sandwiches too.
4) How to serve & present Camembert
If you bake Camembert, serve it immediately after taking it out of the oven.
Otherwise, serve Camembert at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 1 and 2 hours before serving.
Present Camembert whole. Alternatively, slice it into wedges. Accompany it with bread or crackers.
Camembert is best served after the meal, before the dessert. It is also appropriate as an appetizer, to accompany pre-meal drinks.
It is common to include Camembert on a cheese platter. Camembert is usually a mid-way cheese. It should not be the mildest nor the strongest on the platter.
Before serving Camembert, make sure that it hasn’t gone bad. The best way to tell is to look for mold different from the rind. If you notice it, discard the cheese immediately.
5) Food and wine to pair Camembert with
Camembert pairs well with many cooked vegetables. Potatoes. Onions. Tomatoes. Zucchini.
It is not very common to pair it with eggs or meat. However, it can be great with burgers. Avoid it with fish or seafood, pasta, and pizza.
It is best to pair Camembert with white wine. Chablis. Unoaked Chardonnay. Chenin Blanc. Red wine is not optimal. However, a light Pinot Noir or a Merlot can be a good match. Alternatively, you can accompany Camembert with Champagne, cider, Calvados, or beer.
6) How to eat Camembert
The rind or skin is edible. You should not discard it.
When Camembert is served at room temperature, first cut a full wedge and place it on your plate. Then, use a knife to cut bite-sized slices and place them on bread or a cracker. Then, eat it in one bite. Avoid using your fingers.
Eat baked Camembert with a fork and knife.
Camembert etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Camembert etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Serving spoiled Camembert.
- 7/10. Pairing Camembert with fish or seafood.
- 5/10. Eating Camembert with your fingers.
- 5/10. Discarding the rind.
- 5/10. Adding it to pasta.
Additional information for properly serving Camembert
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Camembert contains 299 calories per 100 grams. An average wedge is around 38 grams and contains 114 calories.
How to buy the best Camembert
A crucial factor in Camembert etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
Camembert is available all year round.
Choose the best
Camembert from France must have an AOC seal on its packaging. The seal means that the cheesemakers complied with all the necessary quality requirements.
Before buying it, check the expiration date. Then, smell the cheese. Good Camembert should smell.
Alternatives to Camembert
Brie is often compared to Camembert. However, the flavor and texture are very different.
Hungary produces its own Camembert. The Czech Republic makes a similar cheese, called Hermelín. The equivalent in Slovakia is Plesnivec. Cornish Camembert is produced in the Cornwall region of England.
What is the difference between Camembert and Brie?
The main differences between the two are in the flavor and texture. Camembert has a stronger and more pungent flavor than Brie. Camembert tends to be softer, creamier, and melts better than Brie.
- AOC guide: inao.gouv.fr