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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Livarot a soft cheese made in and around the village of that name in the Calvados region of Normandy in France, may well be one of the most ancient French cheeses, although the first record of it under the name Livarot dates back to the end of the 17th century (Rance, 1989). Best made from the milk of Normande cows, in this instance partly skimmed, it is slightly larger than its relation camembert, and differences in the ripening process give it a much more pungent aroma and flavour.

Brown (1955) notes that Livarot has been characterized as a ‘decadent’ among cheeses, ‘the very Verlaine of them all’. His free translation of a verse by the French poet Victor Meusy neatly evokes an image of an over-runny specimen:

In the dog days,

In its overflowing dish,

Livarot gesticulates,

Or weeps like a child.