April 28, 2017
Marie Harel’s 256th Birthday
If not for Marie Harel, born April 28, 1761, brie might have no gooey counterpart. Harel, who’s credited with creating the first camembert in 1791, is said to have encountered a cheese whisperer at the Normandy manor where she worked as a dairymaid. According to legend, a priest (purportedly from the region of Brie) took shelter at Beaumoncel near Vimoutiers during the French Revolution, and he shared his secret for making the now-famous soft-centered cheese. Harel added her own signature, packaging the cheese in its iconic wooden boxes.
Like brie, camembert is made from raw cow’s milk, but without cream. The cheese is yellow in color, with an earthy aroma, creamy taste, and an edible white rind. Today, only camembert made from unpasteurized milk receives the designation Camembert de Normandie. The village of Vimoutiers, home of the Camembert Museum, boasts a statue of a cow — as well as one of Harel, who made such a delicious contribution to French cheese culture.
Our Doodle celebrates Harel’s 256th birthday with a slideshow that illustrates how camembert is made, step by step. It's drawn in a charming, nostalgic style reminiscent of early 20th-century French poster artists, such as Hervé Morvan and Raymond Savignac.