• Brie cheese originates from the Île-de-France region near Paris, home to, the two famous AOC protected Bries: Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun.
• The appellation is important because it is a guarantee that a Brie called de Meaux or de Melun is only made with unpasteurised milk. It is this raw milk that gives the cheese its characteristic, fruity flavour.
• The 3kg wheel Brie de Meaux is larger and more delicate than the rustic, full-flavored Brie de Melun (where the curd is set over a longer period of time).
• Camembert cheese, its ‘sister’ cheese originates from Normandy. Only the AOC cheese ‘Camembert de Normande’ still comes from this area. It is also made traditionally with unpasteurised milk (from the Normande breed of cow), through long acidification and is hand-ladeled (moulé a la louche)
• The generic names ‘Brie’ and ‘Camembert’ were not protected/trade-marked, so they are now used indiscriminately throughout the world to describe any bloomy-rinded cheese with a yielding texture.
• The white bloomy rind on these cheeses is created by the addition of Penicillium Candium or Pencillium Cameberti: which adds flavour and helps the cheese to break down and become softer. The traditionally made unpasteurised cheeses tend to have a more pronounced fruity and vegetal flavour, whereas many modern pasteurised bries are much milder and creamier.
• Eating the crust is usual and gives a different flavour to the paste, so they should be consumed together.
• A ripe Brie cheese or Camembert cheese should ‘give’ when squeezed and not run away. A thin white line running through the cheese, or ‘chalk ‘ as it known, means the cheese is not ripe and ready to eat. If the cheese is cut and sold too young, it will never ripen, so buying Brie cheese and Camembert cheese through specialist cheesemongers is recommended.
• At The Fine Cheese Co we only stock the traditional and original French Bries cheese like Brie de Meaux and also Camembert de Normande. We carefully select our producers, so that we have the best cheese to offer our customers.
Our producers include:
o Domaine de St Loup Camembert – one of the last traditional producers who hand–ladle.
o Brie de Meaux Dongé – Dongé are one of seven producers of Brie de Meaux. The produce an exceptional, traditional brie that has been nine times Winner of the coveted Medaille D’Or.
We also offer
Fougerus - made by the Rouzaire family (another greatly respected producer of Brie de Meaux ).This raw milk cheese is decorated with a fern.
and from England:
Sharpham Brie – a brie -style from Devon made with unpasteurised Jersey milk which is rich and creamy.
Tunworth a fruity vegetal - camembert- style good enough to convince a Frenchman it was made on his terroir.
History of Brie Cheese
The history of cheese production in the Meaux area can be traced back to at least AD 420 when the newly crowned Frankish King was given cheese as a gift from the tribes of this area; yet it was without doubt a very different cheese from today.
Traditional Camembert cheese from Normandy is in fact an offshoot from this cheese, yet it has developed in its own way. it is said to have been created in 1791 when local farmer Marie Harel was taught how to make cheese by a priest from the Brie region.
The proximity of Paris to the Ile-de-France region and also to the Normandy region meant that a fresher, younger cheese could be made and sold, as it did not have to travel far before being eaten.
The creamy-white ‘coat’ of today’s cheese is a recent development. Prior to the advances of microbiology, Brie and Camembert ‘coats’ would have been dappled and covered in a variety of moulds both grey and black, as well as the white we see today.
Like the English with Cheddar, the French failed to protect the names of Brie and Camembert and they became copied all over the world. Retrospectively they protected the names of their cheeses in the 80’s by use of the suffix: de Meaux, De Melun and de Normande, while laying down strict guidelines as to the location, milk and method of production.
Wine to partner Brie cheese
Brie is best partnered by a lighter wine that will not overpower its subtle flavours. In red wine Bourgogne Pinot Noir Ronceive 2007would be perfect, or a Bourgogne Aligoté with its citrus aromas, and stewed apples and lemon notes, if you prefer white wine.
In France the people of Normandy also love a crisp cider with their Camembert. To echo that with an English twist, try Tunworth and Julian Temperley’s Somerset Pomona.
Fruit to Partner Brie cheese
All cheese likes something sweet, so why not try Damson Fruit Purée for Cheese for Cheese with Brie and Camembert? We call it caviar for cheese because you only need a little.
An alternative would be our Whole Pears in sweetened white wine vinegar. The Rouzaire family of Brie makers think these are particularly delicious with their Fougerus
Crackers to Partner Brie cheese
The French always like bread with their cheese, but in England we prefer crackers.
The Fine Cheese Co. Chive Crackers with a hint of onion are perfect with Brie, but if you prefer your crackers to be neutral, The Fine Cheese Co. all-butter Natural Crackers are the perfect carrier that won’t impose themselves on the cheese.
If you prefer to combine your fruit with your cracker try our Date, Hazelnut & Pumpkin Toast For Cheese. The cracker is ultra crisp,packed with fruits nuts and seeds and oh so delicious with Brie cheese.