“Authenticity is about being true and honest to yourself and others. Then to have convictions and know how to defend them, without changing course in the face of difficulties, but to move forward by working with determination in the direction we want to go. It is also knowing how to make arbitrations and explain them. For example, today we can be blamed for not having flavored Goudas in our range. I do not control the production of these cheeses. Is it only the pesto that gives this fluorescent green color? In terms of taste, it is surely interesting to the palate, funny for the appetizer, but for me, it’s not cheese anymore. It is important that customers become aware of how it is produced so that they can freely choose what they want to consume. We should regain this perseverance, to get to the bottom of things and seek for the real information, rather than just being content with the nice bits and judgments that do not reflect the reality. In our of channel surfing, we are distracted by a plethora of information that we accept as being true. In addition, we judge, classify and categorize to create even more inaccurate and superficial contents. While we must take the time to understand and seek the right perception of things. To persevere is largely to overcome the inevitable failures in order to find the truth, because this is the path that leads to authenticity. And so is the case with cheeses.
It is difficult to judge what is incomparable, especially if you do not really search for a moment of emotion and pleasure, while eating cheese. Do we really know what a real cheese is worth and all the work behind it? That’s what’s important. To appreciate the experience, the heritage and the work of artisans, especially when it involves multiple factors and requires a lot of attention and time. Refining helps us to be humble and let go. It is a profession of belief, courage and self-denial, where the work bears fruit if it is made to perfection, from preparation to finishing. And what happens is a real offering, like that cheese named “Vieux Present” that we restarted, and that was usually brought as a gift to the marriage of the feudal lord. It is giving new meaning to the cheese life and bring back its authenticity. This is how you gain in-depth knowledge, precision and maturity, as when it is transformed, day after day, in our cellars. I am a fervent advocate of good taste and the ambassador of local cheese, made with tradition, by passionate people who choose to perpetuate these values. It makes cheese much richer in terms of taste, smell and texture. My maternal grandfather who was a former teacher, used to say: “if there are words in the French language, it’s not for nothing”. And there are the words “eat” and “feed”. We have chosen, for our part, to be in the healthy and natural, because there lie the sources of true pleasure. Eating properly will limit the development of diseases that is brought by our Food and Drink industry. The true wealth is therefore to be able to feed oneself only by eating, because then we will find meaning, by the pleasure that it generates and by our acts, like respecting the environment and the entire value chain that is behind every product.
The prism of authenticity arises permanently to find our company’s point of differentiation. What is paradoxical in France, is that people are still very attached to the idea of savoring good cheeses, and yet the majority still consumes industrial and pasteurized cheeses, bought in supermarkets. For a century and a half, we have eliminated and standardized a large number of varieties and denatured the typicity of taste to expand and sell more. In Normandy, for example, there are four magnificent protected and controlled appellations of origin: Camembert of Normandy, Pont-l’Evêque, Livarot and Neufchâtel, and all the milk producers and dairies resources have been concentrated around them. A reform for 2021-2023 may even authorize pasteurized milk for Camembert de Normandie! While we should, on the contrary, work diversification. For example, seeking for excellence with the traditional historical variety with more than twenty traditional specialties such as Pavé d’Auge, Gournay, Bouille or Brillat-Savarin. This is a form of cheese biodiversity that is really necessary, essential, to the economic equilibrium.
Ultimately, true luxury is surely in the health of our body and mind, and there, we can enjoy these exceptional moments eating good things. Pleasure is an essential value, that we have to create for our customers, but also in our teams and with our producers, and even with the animals that has to be well treated. It is our priority and the ultimate thing is not to have just a beautiful cheese, but a cheese that generates a positive emotion, and if it does, then we will have won our bet!”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on March 28, 2018, in Boulogne-sur-Mer
Link to the website of Maison Philippe Olivier
Read also the portrait of Romain Olivier