Product Type: The Lubborn Creamery Cheese
Newest Review: ... varieties that might be a bit cheaper or a bit more expensive. I love this Lubborn Somerset Camembert because it's got such a yummy full ... more
Camembert, by any name...
Lubborn Somerset Camembert
Member Name: grahamt
Lubborn Somerset Camembert
Advantages: Superb taste and aroma ; reasonable price
Disadvantages: May not always be available ; goes too quickly
The issue of product names is always a thorny one. The Champagne producers of France are probably most famous for jealously guarding their unique right to produce wine under this designation; all other is "merely" sparkling wine, even if it is produced by the "traditional method". By the same token, I have never been able to understand why every man and his dog, all around the World, are able to get away with calling their usually uninspiring cheese, Cheddar!
Acquiring the right of use and benefiting from a name of regional origination can, however, spectacularly backfire. Scottish & Newcastle fought for the right to have exclusive PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) use for the Newcastle Brown name for that ubiquitous brew, the condition of so doing was that it must forever be brewed in Newcastle. Then they wanted to close the brewery and move production elsewhere, and found that they weren't allowed to! Is that not the definition of schadenfreude?
Mind you, we do love getting one over on the French don't we, and making cheese is, I have to confess, something at which the French are exceptionally good. Two of my all-time favourite cheeses, Morbier and Ossau Iraty, come from across the Channel. Not that we aren't great at making cheese as well; genuine Cheddar, the stuff that is permitted the PDO designation; the Grand Master of British cheeses - Stilton; and that recent winner of the smelliest cheese in Britain - the utterly delicious Stinking Bishop, all demonstrate that we are no slouches.
The French are also rightly proud of their own produces and many are known around the World. Possibly the most famous of all is Camembert. Perhaps surprisingly, Camembert suffers from the same "handicap" as Cheddar: the name was legally declared "generic" back in the 20s and as a consequence may be produced anywhere. The only restrictions apply to Camembert AOC (Camembert de Normandie) and those only apply to the method of production, not the location.
It is perhaps, therefore, not surprising that an enterprising British producer, Lubborn Creamery of Somerset, has taken advantage of this chink in the French armour and produced, amongst others, a Camembert cheese that is not just as good as anything from its traditional home but, if anything, even better.
I acquired a roundel of this cheese from our local Tescos, where it is sold under the name Lubborn Somerset Gold. Perhaps this is a unique designation specially for the Tescos organisation; Tescos has a world-wide operation, including France, and so perhaps they thought that the Camembert name on a non-French cheese might not be a wise marketing tactic.
The Lubborn variety is produced with pasteurised milk and so is comparable to the standard Camembert as opposed to the AOC version, which has to be made with unpasteurised milk. Personally, I have tasted both French versions and have to say that I can tell little difference, certainly not enough to make a song-and-dance about it. Be that as it may, the Lubborn product knocks every other I have ever tasted into a cocked hat!
Opening up the wrapper, the cheese is presented with the traditional snowy white rind that so characterises this and similar cheeses such as Brie. Cutting into the cheese releases the aroma that is recognisable anywhere and which has been unflatteringly described as that of sweaty socks. I have eaten Camemberts where is this is very off-putting but with the Lubborn the aroma is hugely enticing.
Biting into a small wedge (I don't remove the rind: I believe that it's important to the overall enjoyment) the immediate taste is one of a noticeable acidity, largely attenuated by a mouth-watering creaminess and a slight sweetness. The taste and the aroma form a perfect balance.
If you can be persuaded not to down the lot in one sitting (difficult, I know) then you will be rewarded as the cheese develops an even richer flavour and stronger aroma. At the same time the cheese becomes even softer and the rind starts to change from white to an orangey colour. Even when this happens I am still not tempted to remove the rind. I generally enjoy Lubborn Somerset Gold on plain crackers with just a slight smear of butter although leaving off the butter is something I usually do as the cheese matures.
Priced at less than £2 for a whole cheese of 220g, this works out very reasonably at under £8/kg. Tescos is not the only store that has Lubborn's Camembert for sale: I have seen it at Sainsburys as well and no doubt it will be on sale at other major stores as well as speciality shops. If you haven't tried it already then next time you shop, remember to put some in your basket.
You won't regret it.
Summary: A classic Camembert that beats the French at their own game
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