The Queen of Cheeses: Brie | European Cheese Part 2

In continuation to my fascination for European Cheeses, the next cheese that I needed to know more about was Brie. Commonly known as the queen of cheeses, Brie is often confused with Camembert, the cheese I wrote about in my previous European Cheese post.

Know about Camembert cheese here.

In order to know what the confusion is all about, Brie had to become the next cheese to be devoured. Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, Brie is a soft, creamy off-white or yellow cheese with an edible rind that is simple and versatile, that goes well with champagne, nuts, and fruits.

Brie

Brie cheese was slightly pale in colour with a greyish tinge under a rind. The white and pale rind was edible and delicious. This cheese takes anywhere from one to three months to ripen and when properly ripened, the centre of the cheese is soft and oozes as if warmed.

While both brie and camembert are cow’s milk cheeses, have soft-ripening, a white rind, are often served in similar ways, and even come from similar recipes, the two aren’t cannot be substituted for one another. And this is what I realised after I tried both of them together. After doing some research I got to know the following differences between the two:

History & Origin
It is believed that Brie has been around longer than Camembert. Even though both the cheeses originate in France, Brie comes from Ile-de-France and Camembert is made in Normandy, in the north-west of France.

Size
Brie is often sold by the slice, a wedge of the larger wheel and Camembert is sold as a whole wheel. Traditionally, a wheel of Brie measures between 9 to 17 inches in diameter, while Camembert is around 5 inches across. However, the reason for the confusion is that these days even brie cheese is available in small 5 inch discs, making it difficult for the naked eye to detect the difference.

Production
Both Brie and Camembert are cow’s milk cheeses, though since cream is added to Brie, it gets a higher milk fat content and a creamier texture.

Taste
The variations in taste are very subtle. Brie is milder with a creamy, buttery taste(because of the addition of cream during production), while Camembert has more earthy and intense flavor. This is what made me choose brie over camembert. It was the creamier texture of the brie that went well along with a slice of warm multigrain bread and crackers, that I could easily binge on to.

How to cut Brie Cheese

My experiment with Brie
After finally understanding the difference between the two cheeses, it was time for me to cook Brie. Unlike what I did with camembert, this time I decided to keep it simple as I wanted the natural flavour of the cheese to shine. I simply sprinkled some curry powder along with chopped roasted peanuts and thyme and placed it in the oven for 5 minutes on high. The result? Gooey and moist centre that I demolished in seconds with toasted multigrain bread.

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