Brie de Meaux

Brie de Meaux

French cheese’s king of kings. Since the Middle Ages this cheese has captured the hearts of all those who have experienced its outstanding taste. In the 19th century is was considered the finest cheese in Europe, thanks to the French statesman Talleyrand who introduced it at a diplomatic dinner. It is produced near Paris, which has no doubt helped its reputation. The geographical separation between the places of production and “affinage” is a Brie tradition. In 1980 this cheese was accepted into the AOC family. The taste is creamy, and as the maturing process continues one detects a subtle nutty flavour. As maturing process continues one detects a subtle nutty flavour. The “pâte” is compact, supple and evenly textured. Its colour is pale yellow, reminiscent of straw. Its rind looks like white velvet.
Region: lle-de-France
Milk: Cow
Seasons: Summar, Fall, Winter
Classification: Soft White
Weight and Shape: 3Kg, Wheel

Tasting Notes:

Brie de Meaux is probably the strongest of all the soft white cheeses. The aroma should be of mould, damp leaves, and mushrooms, becoming more intense in age. At its peak, it has a glossy pale straw to butter-yellow coloured soft interior that oozes irresistibly towards you, and a characteristic rich taste like wild, smoky mushroom soup made with beef consomme. If it smells strongly of ammonia, then it will deliver a vicious bit. However, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

If you prefer Brie that is runny rather than with a chalky band of immature curd through the centre, buy it near its “best by” date. Don’t be alarmed by any white mould that grows down the cut surface – this just tells you the cheese is alive and well, and merely trying to protect its soft interior from drying out. It’s best kept in its original paper or wax paper. Plastic wrap prevents the cheese from breathing and the ammonia, released during ripening, will be trapped and, within a day or so, the cheese will start to sweat.

How to enjoy:

It would almost be a crime to do anything with Brie de Meaux except allow it to reach room temperature and enjoy it with a red Cote-du Rhone, Bordeaux, or Burgundy or, as befits the King of Cheeses, a glass of vintage Champagne.


White wine: Savenniéres (Chenin Blanc grape)
Red Wine: Monthélle (Pinot Noir grape)
Sources: The World Cheese Book (Editor-In-Chief: Juliet Harbutt)
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