Canadians beat France to take top Camembert prize

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Lovers of “real” Camembert have suffered a further set back after a Canadian version of the creamy cheese was voted the best in the entire world.

“Normandy Camembert dethroned by a Quebec cheese!” was the horrified headline of the Paris-Normandie newspaper from the region where the delicacy has its spiritual home.

There were similar reactions across French media as the news reached France over the weekend that L’Extra, produced in Saint-Hyacinthe, near Montreal, had taken first prize in the Camembert category at the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The top French Camembert presented was Isigny Sainte-Mère which limped in at a lowly 12th place in the competition that it won back in 2010.

There was some comfort for France however as the country won the overall top prize at the event, which was held in Wisconsin and is seen as one of the world’s top cheese events.

Esquirrou, which is crafted in the French Pyrenees, must be aged no less than 90 days, and which features nutty notes and a toasted wheat aroma, was judged the best cheese in the world.

But that did not prevent a minor bout of gloating from the Canadians, who were delighted at the victory over the French of their Camembert from Quebec.

“France insulted by a cheese from here,” said a gleeful headline in the Journal de Montréal.