The entire nation of France is reeling this Monday morning as a Canadian cheese was named the world’s best over the weekend.
L’Extra, a silky smooth Camembert, was finished in first place in the Camembert category at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin. The creamy delicacy hails from St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, just east of Montreal. It is characterized by notes of mushroom and hazelnut.
But it also comes with controversy: L’Extra contains pasteurized milk, which is a big faux pas in professional Camembert circles (thanks, Health Canada!)
“We salute World Championship Cheese Contest winners for their innovation and commitment to excellence in their craft,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Anyway, just look at this delight:
Canadian Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne – a most fantastic name – couldn’t contain his excitement about the big win:
L’excellence des produits laitiers de chez nous à l’honneur. Félicitations à @agropur et son camembert l’Extra. Un camembert québécois sacré meilleur au monde, rien de moins! @L_MacAulay @PLCLaPrairieJCP https://t.co/tSPwjKpu1u
— François-P. Champagne 🇨🇦 (@FP_Champagne) March 18, 2018
Publications in France, meanwhile, expressed deep sorrow over what they had anticipated to be a guaranteed victory. ““How can it be?” decried one; “a humiliation for France” lamented another with appropriate nuance. Paris-based publication franceinfo could only muster a delightful meme in response to the upset.
— franceinfo plus (@franceinfoplus) March 17, 2018
France did redeem itself as being the home of the hard, sheep’s milk Esquirrou, which was chosen as the world’s best cheese overall.
Those new to L’Extra should know that the award-winning Camembert is an outstanding choice to pair with pinot gris rosé, sauvignon blanc, and sour beers.