A whole Camembert cheese, baked in its wood-chip box is the perfect opener for brunch or a barbecue. I like mine soaked in Calvados but apple juice does well when kids are around. Crisp toasts of French bread, or sticks of carrot and celery, are good for serving to scoop up the runny cheese.

Serves 4
Vegetable oil for the baking sheet
One baguette (125g/4 oz) of white bread, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing
One 9-oz/250-g whole Camembert cheese, in the chip board box
2 tablespoons Calvados or 3-4 tablespoons apple juice
Sticks of carrot and celery

1. Heat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C and set a shelf low down. Brush a baking sheet with oil, thinly slice the bread and set the slices on the sheet. Brush the top of the slices with oil. Bake the bread until crisp and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Set the slices aside to cool, then pile them in a serving basket.

2. Discard the wrapping from the Camembert. Line the box with foil so the melted cheese cannot escape and return the cheese to the box. Prick it with a fork and sprinkle with Calvados or apple juice, letting the liquid trickle into the holes. Put back the box lid. Bake the cheese in the oven until it feels soft and melting when you press it with a finger, 9-10 minutes. Serve at once while still warm and runny.