How Some of the World’s Most Famous Cheeses Are Made: Camembert, Brie, Gorgonzola & More

Atten­tion cheese lovers!

Do you sali­vate at the thought of a Cheese Chan­nel?

Care­ful what you wish for.

Food pho­tog­ra­phers employ all man­ner of dis­gust­ing tricks to make junky pan­cakes and fast food burg­ers look irre­sistibly mouth­wa­ter­ing.

Food Insid­ers’ Region­al Eats tour of the Ital­ian Gor­gonzo­la-mak­ing process inside a ven­er­a­ble, fam­i­ly-owned Ital­ian cream­ery is the inverse of that.

The fin­ished prod­uct is wor­thy of a still life, but look out!

Despite the delib­er­ate­ly gen­tle motion of the cus­tom-made machin­ery into which the milk is poured, get­ting there is a stom­ach churn­ing prospect.

Per­son­al­ly, we don’t find the smell of that ven­er­a­ble, veined cheese offen­sive. The pun­gent aro­ma is prac­ti­cal­ly music to our nose, stim­u­lat­ing the cil­ia at the tips of our sen­so­ry cells, alert­ing our tongue that a rare and favorite fla­vor is in range.

Nor is it a mold issue.

Mar­co Inv­ernizzi, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Trecate’s hun­dred-year-old Caseifi­cio Si Inv­ernizzi, exudes such deep respect for Peni­cil­li­um roque­for­ti and the oth­er par­tic­u­lars of Gorgonzola’s pedi­gree, it would sure­ly be our hon­or to sam­ple one of the 400 wheels his cream­ery pro­duces every day.

Just give us a sec for the visu­als of that griz­zly birth video to fade from our mem­o­ry.

With the excep­tion of a close up on a faucet gush­ing milk into a buck­et, the peek inside the Camem­bert-mak­ing process is a bit eas­i­er to stom­ach.

There are curds, but they’re con­tained.

The cheese at Le 5 Frères, a fam­i­ly farm in the vil­lage of Bermonville, is made by old fash­ioned means, ladling micro-organ­ism-rich milk to which ren­net has been added into per­fo­rat­ed forms, that are topped off a total of five times in an hour.

The steamy tem­per­a­tures inside the arti­sanal brie mold­ing room at Seine-et-Marne’s 30 Arpents caus­es Food Insid­ers’ cam­era lens to fog, mak­ing for an impres­sion­is­tic view, swagged in white.

Near­ly 20 years ago, Mad Cow dis­ease came close to wip­ing this oper­a­tion out.

The cur­rent herd of friend­ly Hol­steins were all born on 30 Arpents’ land. Each pro­duces about 30 liters of milk (or slight­ly more than one dai­ly wheel of brie de Meaux) per day.

Get the scoop on Swiss Emmen­taler, Italy’s largest buf­fa­lo moz­zarel­la balls, and oth­er world cheese MVPs on Food Insider’s 87-video Cheese Insid­er playlist.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Ani­mat­ed His­to­ry of Cheese: 10,000 Years in Under Six Min­utes

How to Break Open a Big Wheel of Parme­san Cheese: A Delight­ful, 15-Minute Primer

Does Play­ing Music for Cheese Dur­ing the Aging Process Change Its Fla­vor? Researchers Find That Hip Hop Makes It Smelli­er, and Zeppelin’s “Stair­way to Heav­en” Makes It Milder

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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