On what would have been her 256th birthday, Friday’s Google Doodle honors Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert cheese.
The story of one of France’s most popular cheeses goes back to 1791, when Harel was a 30-year-old dairymaid in Vimoutiers in Normandy, northern France.
Legend has it that a priest from the northern region of Brie fleeing the anti-clerical French Revolution that was sweeping the country, took shelter near Vimoutiers and taught Harel how to make the soft cheese famous in his home region.
Harel added her own twist on the recipe, making her Camembert cheese in smaller wheels and without added cream. She also packaged the finished product in thin, round, wooden containers that have become an international icon.
Camembert became a firm fixture in French culture after wheels of the cheese were issued to soldiers fighting in World War I. Harel’s famous container also made Camembert ideal for transporting across the Atlantic, where it found a new stateside following.
Google’s Doodle features a slideshow illustrating how the cheese is made, step by step.