Babybel is a brand of semi-soft cheese originally from France, made by the Bel Group. It is most commonly sold in very small wheels (about 20 gm) encased in red wax as Mini Babybell cheese. The cheeses come in a net bag with 6 small wheels.
The cheeses have a similar hardness to Monterey Jack. Inside the red wax rind is a pale, off white cheese. The cheese has been described as "mild, but not weak." The taste is stronger than most cheeses labeled as mild, but is in no way overpowering, and couldn't accurately be called strong. It is often compared to Dutch Edam.
Babybel was invented in 1931, but not marketed widely until later. By 1952, the cheese was available throughout France, in 200gm wheels. In 1977 the small Mini Babybel was introduced in France. It arrived in the U.S. in 1979. Today, about 3/4 of all Mini Babybel is eaten outside of France.
In the U.S. it is marketed under the Laughing Cow brand.
In 1998 other varieties were introduced. In the United States five varieties are sold. Mini Babybel Original, Mini Babybel light, Mini Babybel Bonbel, Mini Babybel Cheddar, and Mini Babybel Gouda. In Europe there are Goat and Emmental versions as well. (The Goat version has only 10% goat milk.)
Where to buy
We only found one place online that sells Babybel, cheesesupply.com, however, Mini Babybel is available in several grocery stores throughout the U.S. and Europe.
U.S. customers can use the store locater in the upper right-hand corner of the Mini Babybel Website. You just need to enter in your zip code to get a list of nearby stores selling Mini Babybel.