The Basics

Make Soft
Sub make Cheese for further ripening
Post-make External mould/yeast ripened
Sub post-make Predominantly Penicillium candidum‌
Typical age profile Minimum four weeks. Typically ripe at six to 10 weeks
Approximate size(s) 2.6kg
Geographical origin The Brie region (Seine-et- Marne and Île-de-France), just east of Paris, France
Protected status PDO – made with raw cows’ milk and animal rennet in the Eastern Parisian basin
Species of milking animal Cow
Breed of cow Breed not specified
Raw/pasteurised milk Raw cows’ milk
Vegetarian/animal rennet Animal rennet
Commonly encountered variations N/A

The Story

Known as the ‘king of cheeses and cheese of kings’ in France, Brie de Meaux was also popular with emperors. According to legend, it was the favourite cheese of Charlemagne in the Middle Ages, who was introduced to the cheese by the monks of Abbaye de Jouarre, who made it.

Protected by a PDO, the cheese must be made with raw milk in the Brie region (now mainly Seine-et-Marne and Île-de-France) 30 miles east of Paris. The coagulation temperature must not exceed 37°C and the curd is ladled into moulds by hand using a scoop-like tool called a pelle à Brie. This stops it from breaking up and helps retain moisture. The cheeses are salted after they drain and acidify in the moulds.

 

The Character

The white rind of Brie de Meaux comes from the mould Penicillium camemberti, which breaks down the underlying cheese as it matures. Young cheeses have a chalky texture, but become soft and gooey as they age, ripening from the rind inwards. A strong aroma of ammonia is a sign that Brie de Meaux has been over matured. The flavour is complex with vegetal, dairy and mould notes.

 

Perfect Partners

Try a buttery white burgundy or lighter, fruitier reds such as pinot noir and gamay. The bubbles of sparkling wine can also work well, rebooting the palate after the creamy cheese, while spicy saison beers provide a nice contrast.