A Quebec Camembert won an award and French media made a stink
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:15PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 3:02PM EDT
When a Quebec dairy co-operative netted the prize for the best Camembert at the World Championship Cheese Contest earlier this month, journalists in France and Belgium seemed more than a little cheesed off.
“Shame,” a headline in the weekly French magazine VSD read. “How can it be?” French newspaper Ouest-France asked incredulously. The Belgian edition of the Paris Match weekly used a very French Canadian profanity.
“I don’t understand exactly why they are reacting so strongly against our success,” said Maryse Lamoureux, technical director of fine cheese at Agropur -- the Saint-Hubert, Quebec-based co-operative that netted the Camembert prize. “We had a good product and we got it!”
The biennial World Championship Cheese Contest was held between March 6 and 8 in Madison, Wisconsin. The contest saw 50 experts judge some 120 categories, sampling more than 3,400 cheeses from 26 countries.
With its smooth L’Extra Camembert, Agropur edged out French dairy producer Lactalis by a slim 0.05 points to win the coveted ‘Best of Class’ award in the Camembert category. Coming in a close third place was Courtenay, B.C.’s Natural Pastures Cheese Company’s product, Comox Camembert.
Soft and creamy, Camembert is believed to have been developed in the 18th century in the village of Camembert, which is located in France’s Normandy region.
That French connection probably goes a long way to explain the stink that followed Agropur’s win.
"It's a scandal, a fraud,” the VSD article proclaimed. “The jury must have been bought. Or, if not, it's a shameful and stinging defeat.”
“They were saying that it’s not a real Camembert, etcetera, etcetera,” Lamoureux said of the foreign coverage of Agropur’s win.
“You know, there were 17 Camemberts that were coming from all around the world, and we presented the best one and we won,” she added. “This L’Extra Camembert is a very good product.”
If you’re keen to find out what all fuss is about, you can find Agropur’s L’Extra Camembert in supermarkets across the country.
With files from CTV News Channel and The Canadian Press