Large flat discs with a distinctive pale grey rind of mold, this soft cow’s milk cheese is named after the Brie district in the Île de France. First mentioned in 774 and known (until the Revolution, anyway) as the fromage de la reine, or the queen’s cheese, Brie is often compared to its much younger cousin Camembert, and like it, is properly made with lait cru (raw milk) in France, although exported versions are usually pasturized.
Its taste is tangier and less mushroomy than Camembert, unless it’s Brie noire, or ‘black Brie’, aged for more than five weeks. The rind is edible; also like Camembert it can be baked. Unlike Camembert, it is often sold by the wedge. During truffle season, the cheese course is often Brie impregnated with bits of black truffle, which is pretty orgasmic.
Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun were designated AOC in 1980. Brie de Melun has a stronger taste.
Crème de Brie de Meaux is a creamy spreadable version.
Images by Coyau , Myrabella