Fromagerie Les Courtenay Brie de Meaux

Fromagerie Les Courtenay Brie de Meaux
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Made just 50km east of Paris in the region of Ile-de-France, Brie de Meaux can trace its history back to Emperor Charlemagne who, in 774 CE, extolled the virtues of Brie in his Chronicles.

The worldwide reputation of Brie de Meaux was established in 1814, when it was declared " The King of Cheeses " at a culinary tournament during the Congress of Vienna. The close proximity of Ile-de-France to the markets of Paris and the charming wooden box in which it is sold have also contributed to its rise to fame.

It is one of only 40 French cheeses protected by the AOC label, which guarantees the quality of a cheese as well as where and how it is made. To qualify, Brie must be made in specific areas with calf rennet and 25 litres of unpasteurised milk. The curd must be ladled by hand into the molds and each cheese must be dry salted then ripened slowly at a specific temperature and humidity.

FLAVOUR: Brie de Meaux is probably the strongest of all the soft white cheeses. The aroma should be of mold, damp leaves, and mushrooms, becoming more intense with age. AT its peak, it has a glossy pale straw to butter-yellow coloured soft interior that oozes irresistibly toward you, and a characteristic rich taste like wild, smoky mushroom soup made with beef consommé. If it smells strongly of ammonia, then it will deliver a vicious bite. However, one man's meat is another man' poison. If you prefer Brie that is runny rather than with a chalky band of immature curd through the center, buy it near its "best before" date. Don't be alarmed by any white mold 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.

HOW TO SAVOUR: 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 Côte-du-Rhône, Bordeaux, Burgundy, or because it is the king of cheeses, with a glass of champagne.