Say Cheese!! Camembert Label Collecting

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>At French flea markets you see a variety of collectibles you never knew were collectible! You find old (and by old I mean really old) mustard pots, tin boxes and yogurt jars. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – especially if the trash is a few hundred years old! One perfectly-packable collectible I adore is Camembert Labels – those bright round labels found on boxes of pungent cheese from Normandy. So popular is label collecting that there is even a name for the people who do it – tyrosemiophiles!

Over the years I’ve bought my fair share of camembert and being the Frugal Diva that I am, I’ve saved the boxes (cleaned by filling with baking soda to remove the “smelly cheese” smell). I use these boxes as organizers, holding tacks, clips and other accessories that get lost in cavernous drawers. It seems so charmingly French that camembert comes in “wooden boxes” rather than cardboard containers. But in fact this tradition was started in the 19th C for exporting the cheese to America! The wood provided the perfect humidity for transport but as technology passed by the tradition lingered!

Popular scenes on labels include everything from luscious milk maidens to man’s first walk on the moon! Prices for labels run less than a euro each ($1.40) but move upwards the rarer the scene depicted is. Occasionally artisans will turn camembert boxes into small wall clocks – selling these for $10-15 each. Of course, you can make them yourself by picking up a clock kit at your local hobby store.


The Antiques Diva™

(seen at right with the famous Gouda cheese of her second home, Holland)