Camembert is a soft ripened French cheese that becomes stronger in flavor as it ages. It is not as strong as Roquefort, which at its best brings to mind off-prime baby diapers. Camembert is similar to Brie in flavor and consistency, but has been aged considerably longer — in deference to the true afficiando. You can think of Camembert as Brie on steroids.

Camembert has becoming increasingly difficult to find in the local SF Bay area. I usually have to settle for Brie. I once asked a food clerk at our local upscale market if they carried Camembert.  I received the stare that told me the clerk was wondering exactly why I would want women’s lingerie and why I came for it in this store.

In Phoenix, no one seems to even carry Brie. It is almost like the old gag about looking for the Velveeta in the Gourmet Cheeses section.

When I asked at my local Trader Joe’s they other day, they told me they consider it a Christmas item, and a shipment had just come in. I did the mature, grown-up thing, purchasing two rounds. It ages quickly, you know, so it must be eaten promptly. Mine has a pull-by date of 11-17-2008. A half a round a day will guarantee people will keep their distance for the better part of a week.


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