Gault Millau magazine whoops it up…


…when it comes to testing food. The French edition of the magazine, published bimonthly, is an offspring of the world famous food guide. It contains a double-page spread called banc d’essai, which roughly means “test track”, and the tone is harsh to say the least. In fact, these people crucify any product they don’t like. Look at the picture below: It  shows a random Camembert test from last year. Back then, Gault Millau chose twelve brands you can buy in any French supermarket or in real French fromageries. The verdicts are brutal yet appropriate.

Bad, worse, worst: a typical "banc d'essai", concerning cheese.

This doesn’t concern the top finishers. They get their nice comments like “aromatic nose”, “delighting your palate”, “fleshy, slightly spicy” or “expression of real terroir“. The loosers though – they really get crushed. The Camembert ranked 9th for example, Le Rustique, is characterized as “dull” and “of rubber texture”. Number 10, Coeur de Lion, “makes you think of marshmallows”, it’s a cheese “doomed to be forgotten in the depth of your refrigerator”. The last-ranked Camembert finally, Monoprix Bio, is described as “tasting like cardboard” and “a product that lacks everything – and delivers nothing”…

Easy to guess that I love Gault Millau magazine. Wether its Camembert or smoked salmon, salted butter or cured ham, greek olives or yoghurt – they never mince matters on their banc d’essai. They call bad what is bad and they even call disgusting what is disgusting. That’s what I would call journalism, actually.

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