Rightfully Brie is often called the King of Cheese and the Cheese of Kings. This expression stems from the post Napoleon war peace conference in Vienna, where the French Secretary of State, Talleyrand, brought in some Brie de Meaux. It seems to have eased the negotiation atmosphere because it was unanimously declared the world’s best cheese. Under the circumstances it’s right to use the word declare. Moreover, seems like France came out of the negotiations more favourably than deserved.
A lot of Brie
There is a lot of so called Brie around. Both French and foreign. Well, there is the real stuff and there are more or less successful copies. Then there is Brie style which of course is fair enough. Comtesse de Vichy is a high quality example og this style worth trying if you can get hold of it.
Only cheese from the designated area is real Brie. This area called Île-de-France with the towns of Meaux and Melun. Therefore, we have Brie de Meaux and we have Brie de Melun. They are the only Bries that have Protected Designation of Origin. But there are other excellent cheeses from the area; local, from raw milk, excellent quality, but not protected and famous that is also counted as real ones. Best savored on location.
Cheese with a history
Old stuff this. From the end of the medieval period Brie was one of the most appreciated cheeses in all Europe. Hedonism is not what I associate with the medieval age, but so it be. And the rather rapid rise in popularity probably originates from the close proximity to Paris. There was a market for the cheese being it commoners or royals. Paris was, and still is, a place where people from all over Europe met; and there you go. The rest i history.
Real Brie is a French soft bloomy rind cheese from the Paris region made from raw cow’s milk. Matured from four to seven/eight weeks, sometimes even longer and Brie Noir up to a year. Widely copied.
Never tried this cheese? Hurry off to your nearest purveyor of fine cheese.