Soft Ripened – Decadent and Delicious

Le Fougerous

Welcome to Part Five of the “Cheese In Depth” Series.  Earlier, we explored the nuanced and refreshing world of unaged and rindless Fresh Cheese.  Now we’ll take a closer look at soft cheeses with a rind.

BrieCamembert, soft ripened, funny looking cheeses with the velvety white rind:  whatever you call these mysterious and tasty cheeses, they are easy to spot on a cheese plate and provide the perfect opportunity to explore a variety of aroma, flavor and texture profiles contained in this decadent style of cheese.

Brie de Meaux was crowned “le Roi du Fromage,” the King of Cheese,  at the 1814 Congress of Vienna.

The history of brie is firmly planted in the Seine et Marne region around Paris where it has been produced for hundreds of years.  Today, there are only two “true” Brie cheeses in production – Brie de Meaux and Brie du Melun.  Both have been granted AOC (controlled origin) status in France.

Because they are produced traditionally with raw milk and not aged over 60 days, you’ll have to travel to Europe to savor “true” Brie.  Luckily for us, there are some darn good Brie style cheeses widely available here in the US, many using the same recipe and techniques but using gently pasteurized milk to ensure great flavor.

Veterans returning from Europe after WWII brought with them an appreciation for French cheeses, including Camembert.

Camembert, a diminutive cousin of Brie, was first produced in the coastal, Normandy region of France.  The cheese is made in small, 8 oz. rounds and have a slightly salty edge to them due to the marine terrior of the region.  The cheese spiked in popularity in the U.S. after WWII when vets returned with a taste for cheese.

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