Brie de Meaux French Cheese. Soft velvety texture with a tender bloomy rind. It is a rich golden cheese with an earthy character contrasting with the texture of the crust. The ideal condition to enjoy this cheese is with the centre of it not too ripe but firm, with the edges of the cheese almost melting.
Brie has a rich milky taste underlined by sweet and buttery flavours of mushrooms or truffles and almonds. This is a raw, soft unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese covered with a bloomy rind, a result of inoculation with moulds. Therefore, as the cheese ages, the rind develops red or brown patches. When nearly half of the straw-coloured pate is ripe and soft, it indicates Brie de Meaux is ready for consumption.
Production of Brie de Meaux
The production territory of Brie de Meaux is limited to the departments of Seine-et-Marne, Loiret, Meuse, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne and the Yonne. There is, however, no production close to Meaux, and oddly there is barely any celebration of the cheese in the town.
Brie de Meaux is made with raw cow’s milk. It takes about 25 litres of milk to make a large cheese. The fermented milk is placed in a tank for 16 hours, then put in a bowl for curding which lasts one hour. It is then cut into small cubes with a slice-curd. Finally, it is moulded by hand by thin layers with a brie shovel. The temperature in the room where casting is made must be increased to 33 °C for four hours to evacuate the whey, then at 24 °C for six hours and finally at 19 °C. It is then drained on mats made of reeds.
The next day, the cheese is then salted and they will then remain in the curing room for two days. Then, the cheeses are placed in a room at 12 °C in which they will begin to be refined. Eventually, the characteristic white rind will begin to appear. After one week, the cheese will be placed in another refrigerator at 7 °C. It must wait 3 weeks minimum, typically 6 to 8 weeks to reach full maturity. Throughout the ripening period, cheeses are routinely turned by hand. The time of manufacture of Brie de Meaux is two months.
The most traditional pairing is a slightly acidic fruit like apples, grapes, and pears. Both fresh and dried fruit goes well with brie. You could also try unsalted pecans, candied walnuts, and a little honey. Preserves are always great to spread on brie. The cheese pairs perfectly with Champagne, a red Bordeaux or Burgundy.
History of Brie de Meaux
Brie de Meaux, named after the town of Meaux, is a French cheese produced in the region of Brie, located 50 kilometres to the east of Paris. Evidence in the chronicles of Charlemagne suggests the tasting of Brie by the Emperor in the year 774. Louis XVI last wish was a tasting of Brie cheese. In 1814, the European Tournament at Congress of Vienna awarded the cheese the “Le Roi des Fromages”. Translating as The King of Cheeses it has an unarguable flavour and texture.
Brie de Meaux, an AOC cheese should be matured in the regions of Seine-et-Marne, Loiret, Aube, Marne, Haut-Marne, Meuse and Yonne. Above all, the difference between production and maturation places is a typical Brie tradition.