Published on 4 May 2020
Reading time: 3 minutes
Deep in the heart of the Domfront bocage (hedgerow country), you’ll find Champ Secret cheese farm, ready and raring to teach you how to make some of the best farmhouse camembert in Normandy.
So far, three generations have worked at Champ Secret, which was set up in 1990. In 2000, owners Patrick and Francine’s mission to improve the quality of their products fell in line with the general trend of farmers to respond to the demand for locally grown (AOP) organic farmhouse produce – in effect without realising it – and they reverted to production methods that had come naturally to their forefathers.
How now, brown cow?
For nine months, the Norman cows graze contentedly in the fields at Champ Secret. In the winter, they are fed with cereals and hay ‘done the olden ways’, i.e. grown locally. Mixed farming this way allows them to have complete traceability of their produce. No question here of imported maize, GM foods or pesticides! The result is a milk of impeccable quality and from it, the Camembert du Champ Secret, just about as authentic a cheese as you could wish for. These farmers have simply taken back the know-how of the past and adapted it to modern tools and conditions, while always respecting the environment. Healthy fodder and calming milk parlours ensure a perfect equilibrium between the animal and nature.
Camembert du Champ Secret is unique in acquiring three labels of recognition of excellence. One is that it is 100% certified organic, so no chemicals at any stage of production; another is fermier (farmhouse), which guarantees everything is locally grown and converted to the finished product on the farm, and finally, the AOP label (protected designation of origin), guarantees the geography of the product, i.e. in this case, it is made in Normandy and nowhere else.
This cheese farm fulfils the criteria of values that are part and parcel of the AOP: 50% of their cattle are of the Norman breed, which feed outdoors for at least six months of the year; they produce their own raw milk; and the cheeses are prepared in moulds by five measures of hand-held ladling.
See for yourself
The Champ Secret cheese farm was designed from the outset to receive visitors. There are large bay windows giving onto the manufacturing areas and ripening rooms, guided tours of the farm and cheese-preparing areas, as well as free tours with petting areas where children can get up-close to some of the smaller animals. And of course, there’s cheese tasting and the possibility to take home products from the range of 100% organic products. We guarantee you’ll be coming back for more!
Ferme du Champ Secret
43 la Novère, 61700 Champsecret
+33 (0)2 33 37 60 19