Norman cheeses 

The carré de Bray & the demi-sel

Carré de Bray, demi-sel, carré frais.

Description

Type Carré de Bray
- Flowered rind cheese.
Demi-sel
- Salted fresh unripened cheese
Milk Carré de Bray
- Cow. Whole milk.
Demi-sel
-Cow. Pasteurised milk.
Aspect Square of 7 cm.
Approximately 110 gr ( a bit less for the carré frais, generally 70 gr)
40% of fat.
Region Gournay-en-Bray - Forges-les-eaux - Seine Maritime.

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History

The carré de Bray is traditionnal of the east part of the Normandy (Bray country) and it was generally produced around Gournay-en-Bray. Its making is close to the Neufchatel one, nevertheless its maturing period is generally shorter (usually two weeks).

The Demi-sel was born later but it was originally produced in the same country side, in the same dairies and it has the same shape, nevertheless its making and its taste are rather different.

There is also a kind of debate to know who was the creator of that cheese.

It is commonly admitted that Mr Pommel, a great producer of cheese in Gournay-en-Bray, created it by adapting the method used to produce Neufchatel. As soon as the drain-off was over the pastry was salted (2% of salt) and it was moulded. It was sold "young" often wrapped in aluminium.

For some people, it was created by Charles Gervais, the adoptive father of the petit-suisse.The Gervais brand goes on producing those Demi-sel, often sold as Carré Frais.

One should remember that at the beginnning of the century, these societies (Pommel & Gervais) were competitors at the beginning of the XXth century. Both were installed in the east of Normandy, sold the same products (Neufchâtel, Petit-Suisse, Demi-Sel), were well organised ( industrialised production, efficient distribution) and vied in inventiveness with each other.That probably explains the fact that both of them claim that they were first to produce Demi-sel.