What is that White Mold

Learn about the basics of white mold, how it is safe to eat on Camembert and Brie, while also adding a powerful and rich flavor.

| June 2019


You want me to eat mold? Is that safe or even legal? It is common to get this reaction from the timid cheese eater. The rind on Camembert and Brie is safe to eat and adds to the overall enjoyment of the cheese.

It is not compulsory and some people need to work their way up to it. But to know it is to love it, so here are the basics. Several members of the white mold family producethe white rind or bloom. Penicillium candidum, Penicillium camemberti and Geotrichum candidum all produce the white surface bloom and perform three key roles for the cheese.

The first is ripening. The molds feed on the cheese, just like a mushroom would feed on the forest fl oor, sending out a web of roots. The molds convert the lactate in the cheese, changing the texture and pH of the cheese as they go. These chemical changes in the cheese help create the lovely unctuous glossy ooze that a perfectly ripe Camembert has.


The second is flavor. Foodies describe a ripe white mold cheese as having a mushroom flavor and for good reason. The molds impart fungal, earthy flavors and aromas as they ripen the cheeses.



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