Brie de Meaux AOC
Cheese of the Parisian Heart
Brie de Meaux, the most popular type of Brie in Paris, has been produced the same way for centuries. This raw cow’s milk cheese has been AOC-protected since 1980.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
This is the Brie often called the King of Cheeses. From the town that shares its name, this cheese is made from raw cow’s milk—25 liters to make one disc, to be exact—and requires 6 to 8 weeks to mature and gain its signature pungent aroma. Its velvety rind develops small red or brown patches, and is thinner than that of its close sibling, the Brie de Melun. The pâté of the Brie de Meaux is of a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture, fattier and runnier than Camembert. It has a rich, buttery taste with notes of mushroom and truffle.
PREPARATION OR PAIRINGS
Traditionally, Brie cheeses have their own course or form part of a dessert selection, but serving them as appetizers is definitely acceptable. Do take this kind of cheese out of the refrigerator an hour before serving, though, to allow it to come to a creamy room temperature. What do you serve with it? Plain crusty breads like sliced baguette will not detract from the flavors of this type of cheese, and fruits of all sorts—be they dried or fresh or jams—complement the earthiness of Brie. And to create a pièce de resistance for your gatherings, bake the cheese with jam and nuts in its center!
For drinks, the traditional pairing for Brie, as with almost all creamy cheeses, is Champagne, but a fruity Pinot Noir or acidic, herb-forward Sauvignon Black will work wonderfully too. Fruity beers like Frambozen, carbonated ones like Pilsners, or heave, hearty ones like Stouts and Porters also pair well with Brie.
AN IRON-CLAD PARTNERSHIP
Pascal Beillevaire has made a name for himself in partnering with the best artisans and experts in every cheese region of France. For his Brie de Meaux, Beillevaire has partnered with the Bries de Saint-Rémy cheese dairy, formerly called Société fromagère de la Brie, and which produces only nine different types of cheese. Foremost among these are the Brie de Meaux and its close sibling, Brie de Melun.
Brie de Meaux has been produced about 50 kilometers east of Paris from as early as 774, originally by monks in the Priory of Rueil en Brie. It became a favorite of Emperor Charlemagne and other kings on both sides of the English Channel over time. But it truly gained popularity at the Congress of Vienna, when the Duke of Tallyrand broke up the somber meetings for a while to host a cheese contest. Brie de Meaux was there crowned the new King of Cheeses.
Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the butter drawer of a refrigerator, not on the shelves themselves. This is to help regulate their temperature and humidity levels—and prevents the formation of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their original packaging. Soft cheeses with delicate rinds need to breathe, so they are best placed in glass containers lined with paper towels to absorb extra moisture. Leave the lid open a tiny bit for air to circulate. Cheeses are air-flown from France on demand. They are meant to be consumed within 1 to 2 weeks of their arrival at your residence.