Possibly the best known French cheese, genuine French Brie is a
soft cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk in the
Seine-et-Marne area, which is south of Paris. The three finest
French Brie cheeses are considered to be Brie de Meaux, Brie de
Melun and Brie de Montereau. These varieties come in a one or two
kilogram round and packed in a wooden box. However there are many
versions of Brie sold under the same name, commercially
manufactured all over the world.
If this was not the case, no Australians would ever have tasted Brie cheese; true French Brie is
illegal to import to Australia because raw milk cheese must
be aged for a minimum of sixty days to meet our import requirements.
This would make the Brie too ripe to be eaten. This means that the
Brie varieties sold in Australia are made from pasteurized whole or
While genuine Brie forms a natural mold on its edges–which is
completely edible–pasteurized Bries need to be sprayed with
artificial spores to encourage mold to grow. The other main
difference between true unpasteurized Brie and the pasteurized
version is in the taste; pasteurized milk tends to produce a
slightly milder flavor.
Brie is known for its rich, fruity taste
and its soft, gooey texture. Some modern Brie creations include
Brie coated in herbs, peppers or mushrooms. Blue Brie is a popular
variety: it is injected with mold to make a combination of Brie and
When buying Brie, you should make sure it is ripe–but not too
ripe! Unripened Brie will feel hard to the touch, while overripe
Brie will feel too watery and runny. Ideally, it should have a firm
surface and a softer center. Ripe Brie should be refrigerated and
eaten within a few days. Provided it is not cut, ripe Brie may be
frozen for up to six months. If you are buying Brie in slices, and
can therefore look at the inside of the cheese, go for that which
has a nice shine to it.
Brie is best served at room temperature, so
if it has been refrigerated make sure you let it warm before
eating, to make sure you enjoy it at its finest. It is no surprise
that Brie is often known as “The Queen of Cheeses”; no cheese board
is complete without a generous round of it. Brie tastes fantastic
with a glass of champagne or port.
Keep being ewenique!