Camembert was reputedly first made in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, following advice from a priest who came from Brie. However, the origin of the cheese known today as Camembert is more likely to rest with the beginnings of the industrialization of the cheesemaking process at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, an engineer, M. Ridel, invented the wooden box which was used to carry the cheese and helped to send it for longer distances, in particular to America, where it became very popular. These boxes are still used today. The cheese was famously issued to French troops during World War I, becoming firmly fixed in French popular culture as a result. It has many other roles in French culture, literature, and history. Here’s an idea for baked camembert.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Take a 250g camembert cheese from its box, unwrap it and put it back in the box. Rub the surface with a little white wine then put the lid on and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes till the cheese is soft and wobbly inside its crust. Don't feel you have to add the wine, you can simply bake it as it is if you prefer. The usual accompaniments are sourdough bread, some thinly sliced ham and a few tiny cornichons, but steamed waxy-fleshed potatoes are also worth trying. Spear a potato on your fork and dip into the melted cheese. TIPS:Bring the cheese to room temperature before you put it in the oven, otherwise it will take forever to cook. Place the box on a tray or ovenproof dish just in case it leaks. Make sure that the box is a wooden one and that it is stapled together and not glued. The glued ones tend to come undone in the oven.