August 27, 2008

La Fête du Fromage - Brie de Melun

Brie de Melun is not your average Brie.

It achieved AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) status in 1980 along with Brie de Meaux and is produced in the same area as Brie de Meaux, about 50 kilometers outside of Paris in the Île-de-France region, but that is where the similarities end.

Brie de Meaux is soft, Brie de Melun is robust.
Brie de Meaux is refined, Brie de Melun is lusty.
Brie de Meaux is perfumed, Brie de Melun is heady.
If Brie de Meaux were Jackie O, then Brie de Melun would be Marilyn Monroe.

The difference in flavor has to do with the method of production. Whereas Brie de Meaux's production uses rennet to achieve coagulation in a mere 30 minutes, Brie de Melun relies on lactic fermentation, which takes at least 18 hours.
Seven to ten weeks of affinage* produce a dense, pale yellow colored interior and a bloomy, white rind that is brushed with reddish-brown streaks. The flavors are fruity, salty, slightly sour and rustic. I also tasted hints of mushroom and hazelnuts.

Brie de Melun is strong and absolutely fantastic!

Serve with red wine such as Sancerre, Bourgogne or Gaillac.

* the process of maturing and ripening cheese Pin It


Rossella said...

I want some of this cheese. I can't resist. :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Looks delicious!!!

Love the Fig photo :-)

Danielle said...

Thanks for the cheese lesson-- very interesting to learn the difference between the two bries!

I suppose that the imported brie we can purchase in the US is rennet-coagulated... I doubt that the French would take the time for lactic fermentation when they have to start with pasteurized milk. :(

Loulou said...

it is sublime! You should try it if you can find it.

it is! I know it is available in england. If you like strong cheese, then this is a lovely one.

It is from unpasteurized milk, thus not available in the States.
Maybe you can try making your own?
I loved reading about your ricotta making.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks for this topic. I knew there was a difference between brie de Meaux and brie de Melun but I couldn't have put it into words. Soon I will go to the market in Saint-Aignan and get some Melun brie to do a new taste-test.

spacedlaw said...

I like your Jackie O/Marilyn simile...

Loulou said...

We loved the Brie de Melun. It is more difficult to find here, but as soon as I see it again, I'm buying some more!

Merci! :)