Luscious, creamy Camembert is one of our absolute favorite cheeses—and its rich texture and buttery, earthy flavor notes make it ideal for pairing with wine, beer, and other foods. Whether it’s firm and mild or runny and ripe, this snowy-white bloomy rind can be the star of any cheese board or cheese tasting. Here’s how to serve French Camembert cheese, plus some of our favorite foods and drinks to pair with it.
How to Serve Camembert Cheese
Camembert cheese makes a great addition to any cheese board. It can also serve as the centerpiece of a cheese plate that includes several different accompaniments. (If you love baked Brie, know that you can make it with a wheel of Camembert, too.)
First, be sure to let the cheese come to room temperature. Cold temperatures mute flavors and aromas and keep textures firm and waxy. Letting the cheese warm up a bit will give you the most delicious eating experience.
Remove the cheese from the fridge 30 minutes to one hour before you plan to serve it. If you store your cheese in the Cheese Grotto on your kitchen counter, it’ll already be at the perfect temperature for service.
Before you cut into your wheel of Camembert, give it a gentle squeeze around the sides. If it feels relatively firm, the cheese is probably on the younger side. A soft, liquidy wheel that feels sort of like a water balloon is likely to be quite ripe.
This is important to note for two reasons: You’re unlikely to get nice clean wedges from a ripe, runny piece of Camembert, so it informs how you should serve and cut the wheel. Also, a younger cheese will tend to have a milder, milkier flavor profile than a ripe one, which can be funkier, earthier, or barnyard-y. Generally, stronger-flavored pairings will better complement a riper wheel.
The Best Beverage Pairings to Serve With Camembert
The best drinks to enjoy with Camembert offset its rich texture and buttery flavors. Think bright, acidic beverages, ideally with a lot of fizz.
Dry, bubbly Champagne is the classic choice here (or any nice, dry sparkling white). White wines like Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a nice dry Riesling work well, too, as do light or medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais.
Play up the subtle funk of this soft-ripened wheel by pairing it with a rustic saison or biere de garde, or select a tart, fruit-infused sour. Try an off-dry Norman-style cider or poiré (made from pears), made in the same region of France as Camembert.
Fizzy, citrusy cocktails made with gin and vodka pair beautifully with bloomy rind cheeses. Mix up a refreshing French 75, Gin and Tonic, or Moscow Mule to serve with Camembert.
The Best Food Pairings to Serve With Camembert
While fruity, sweet, and acidic flavor profiles go well with Camembert cheese, we can also amp up its earthy, mushroomy, or barnyard-y notes with savory accompaniments like cured meats, sauteed mushrooms, and olives.
Fresh Fruits and Preserves
Berries—fresh, jammed, or pickled—are Camembert’s BFF. Serve this cheese with whatever juicy fresh fruits are in season, or try it with raspberry, apricot, or strawberry preserves. Pickled blueberries bring additional acidity to the party.
Veggies, Pickles, and Olives
Sauteed crimini, oyster, or king trumpet mushrooms make an ideal savory pairing with a hunk of crusty baguette and a wheel of Camembert, as do mellow, buttery Castelvetrano olives. Reach for the cornichons or other pickled veggies for a bright, acidic bite that will cut through the cheese’s rich texture.
Charcuterie and Cured Meats
Funky and loaded with umami, cured meats provide a rustic foil to snow-white Camembert’s milder profile. Try it with savory saucisson sec or rich pork pâté.
Chocolate and Sweets
Take Camembert in a dessert direction by pairing it with sweet accompaniments like squares of dark chocolate or candied walnuts. Drizzle slices or a whole wheel with your favorite wildflower honey.
What are your favorite Camembert cheese pairings? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!