The Brie cheese is definitely one of the best known French gourmet products! Speciality from Meaux, in the Champagne region of France, this fine, creamy cheese has now its place on every honourable "Cheese platters" throughtout the world. The French Brie received its name from the eponymous former region of France where it is believed to have been produced for more than 1,000 years!
The Brie is indeed one of the gems of the Champagne and French gastronomies, and especially the Brie de Meaux cheese which is widely considered as being the finest variety of cow's milk cheese.
Its worldwide success actually began in the early 19th century, when the Frenchman Talleyrand introduced the Brie cheese into an international competition meant to elect the "Finest National Cheese".
Nevertheless, according to the regional legends Brie's production started in the area of Meaux in the early 9th century. Dairymen of the Champagne region of France even assert that Charlemagne was a Brie lover!
Made out from Champagne Ardenne unpasteurised cow's milk, this disc-shaped cheese used to be strictly for the Parisians' consumption. Besides, provided Brie's success, its production is actually still limited to the French regions surrounding Paris, and has been regulated by the AOC French Quality Label since 1980.
About 23 litres of milk are used to make each 35cm-diameter Brie cheese! Fresh cow's milk is heated to 37 °C for the renneting and then manually poured in circular moulds using an authentic Pelle à Brie - "Brie shovel".
The cheese is salted with a dry salt and finally ages for about 4 weeks in cool cellars. During this maturing period, the traditional Brie de Meaux is regularly delicately turned, while its tender, straw-coloured rind is forming.
Top Tip! To fully enjoy Brie's aromas, it is recommended to eat this creamy cheese at room temperature, accompanied with a glass of French red wine - a Côtes du Roussillon for example would be perfect!