Brie is known as "the Queen of Cheese" and acclaimed as one of the world's great cheeses. As France's most popular and recognizable cheese, Brie is the quintessential Bloomy-Rind. This is the cheese that so many others emulate.
Legitimate Brie is made in the town of Seine-et-Marne just south of Paris. Though many countries produce a cheese with the same recipe as Brie commercially, the French tradition goes back to the 8th century.
In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, the Monsieur de Talleyrand brought Brie to one of the parties to share with other representatives and they all loved the cheese so much it was proclaimed "the Queen of Cheese".
In no other cheese is the rind as responsible for affecting the flavor and texture as much as in Brie. With Bloomy Rind cheeses the maturing process is critical. The proper care ensures the rind will not overpower or die. It is an important role of the affineur (those who deal with the aging care of the cheese) to coax the rind to flourish and then select the right moment to tame the rind so the cheese evolves into the alluring tasty mystery that it is.
The flavors of Brie range from grassy, fruity and eggy when it's young, to mushroomy, garlicky and nutty when it's riper. The texture is soft and voluptuous. At its peak ripeness it is velvety on the rind and creamy rich on the inside.
Brie's popularity is mainly because of its versatility. It can be served in many forms. On a sandwich, on a cheese board, for dessert (cold or hot), en croute and many other ways. My preferred way to eat Brie is heated with honey and walnuts and served alongside a full-bodied Champagne for dessert.
What are your favorite ways to eat Brie?