The year robot-aided Camembert was considered to be parfait
As of 1986, 'electronic ladles' were helping pump out thousands more servings of top-quality fromage
An artisanal cheesemaker could only ladle so much Grade-A Camembert in one day.
Only enough to manufacture 1,500 individual cheeses, in fact.
A machine, on the other hand, could help produce many more, which is how robots ended up becoming part of that process.
But it took years for the robot-aided process to be refined enough to make an equivalent top-notch product.
'Stringent standards' must be met
"These machines couldn't master the stringent standards set by the Academy of Cheese," the CBC's Don Murray explained, when recapping the history of machine-assisted Camembert production on The National in December of 1986.
"Five ladled layers of curdled milk, each layer ladled at 45-minute intervals."
Yet, by 1986, Murray said that "after two years of planning, practising and testing, electronic ladles are scooping out Grade-A Camembert, a world-first."
Murray said the machines, with the assistance of one human, could produce 10,000 units of that Grade-A Camembert in a single day — and the robot-aided variety had a sixth layer of indulgence that had been ladled into the final product.
'A bit better'?
To confirm the ascendance of this new Camembert product, Murray, who taste-tested some cheese while on camera, turned to Androuët — a renowned French cheese shop, where 400 premium varieties were available for purchase.
"And now the question: Is robot cheese as good as hand-ladled Camembert?" Murray said near the end of his report, before revealing the surprising answer.
"I would say that made-by-robot Camembert is a bit better," said Patrick Arena, a cheese master with Androuët.
Murray finished his report as a snippet of La Marseillaise played, telling viewers the French revolution still lived.
"Liberty, equality, Camembert," he said.