Fromagerie Réo & Camembert de Normandie

March 26, 2024 2 min read

Fromagerie Réo & Camembert de Normandie
Whilst we have recently witnessed a revival of farmhouse Camembert, it's important to recognise that this is a cheese whose manufacture has historically been dominated by much bigger producers. Among these, Réo, a semi-industrial producer, proudly commands a significant 15% share of the AOC Camembert market and processes an impressive 23 million litres of milk annually, but still manage to produce what we believe are some of the best cheeses available.

Established nearly a century ago in 1931, Réo has gracefully navigated a path toward growth and profitability while steadfastly upholding the essence of their craft: quality, authenticity, and a profound respect for nature, animals, and the human element involved. Sourcing milk from 46 carefully selected farms situated within a 30-kilometer radius of their dairy in Lessay, Basse Normandie, Réo has cultivated enduring relationships with its suppliers. Predominantly sourced from Normande cattle, this milk undergoes rigorous testing upon collection to ensure not only cleanliness but also a vibrant, diverse microbial profile crucial for flavour development—an affirmation of the emphasis placed on animal welfare and good farm management practices. Not least, it allows them to make raw milk cheese - which would be unheard of in the UK at this scale!

At the core of Réo's operation lies its meticulous cheese-making process, where every step embodies a commitment to tradition and excellence. From the carefully controlled pre-ripening of milk overnight to the precise hand-cutting and ladling of curds into molds, each cheese bears the hallmark of meticulous craftsmanship. Notably, Réo's approach transcends conventional large-scale production norms, opting to instead add miscroscopic quantities of starter culture to guarantee safe coagulation, leaving the flavour to indigenous cultures produced by their own milk

Despite the formidable scale of their operation—producing approximately 15,000 cheeses daily—Réo maintains a distinctly human touch. Expansion is pursued not through mechanization but through investment in skilled cheese makers, who work by hand over traditional vats of curd, thus safeguarding the integrity of their craft. Following rigorous aging and selection processes, Réo delivers Camembert of unparalleled quality, with each batch representing a harmonious blend of tradition, innovation, and dedication to a craft.