Anything like a good Brie? Got to be a mature Brie de Meaux. King of Cheeses and the Kings’ Cheese as it was so lyrically described after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The French statesman Talleyrand had a load of Brie de Meaux shipped to Vienna and served during one of the dinners to smooth the negotiations. Or it could just be he was home sick and some French cheese would ease his yearning desire to go home. But the cheese became a success at the dinner and wicked tongues have it the French escaped the negotiations without being too seriously wounded. Could be. I am Norwegian and we want our Brie de Meaux or any of the many wannabes, well matured. What about you? And what is best?
Brie de Meaux the French way
Norwegians and the French are definite opposites in many ways, but also when it comes to how we prefer our Brie. We want it well matured while the French want it rather fresh. Fresh means about four weeks old; that’s the minimum maturing time for a Brie de Meaux. But of course, it might be older.
I have to admit that I usually have had my Brie rather mature. And with a fascination for the farmyard aromas and flavours it develops with time. Which again some find a bit too opulent. Well, then my recommendation is to look for a younger version. The difference between young and mature is easily detected, just look for the somewhat lighter and firmer core as shown on the picture above.
Dairy and fine acidity
There is a huge difference between a young and a mature Brie de Meaux. Flavours of milk and a fine acidity. Nothing like farmyard at all. Even though I quite like the mature version, I think this young cheese was very refreshing and will choose it when I find it. More common in France than here, I suppose.
Not just young Brie in France
As it is, they don’t just eat young Brie in France. There is something called Brie Noir, which, as the name indicates, is rather on the dark side. Matured for at least eight months. I’ve never tasted it, but would love to. The French have it for breakfast dipping it in their café au lait. And with a touch of prejudice, a Gauloises as well.
Brie de Meaux pairs well with a red wine. Preferably from Burgundy, but not necessarily. Not on the heavy side though, no Parker pleaser. Otherwise, Champagne of course. Mature.