The origins of soft-ripened cheeses are often confused with that of Brie, a true royal gift, literally, since Charles d’Orléans would give it to the ladies of the court as a present! Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun are protected by the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC).
- Brie de Meaux - Brie de Melun:
- AOC since 1980.
- Soft-ripened cheeses.
- Brie de Meaux: 27 to 28 cm in diameter, 3.5 to 4 cm-thick, with a thin, soft, bloomy white rind.
- Brie de Melun: 36 to 37 cm in diameter, 3 to 3.5 cm-thick, with a thin rind covered in white mould and a faint reddish undertone.
- Traditionally, Brie is made from raw milk. Today, the majority of Brie is made from pasteurised milk.
- Production: 105,000 tonnes, including 8,300 tonnes of Brie de Meaux and 230 tonnes of Brie de Melun.
Brie is the main ingredient in several recipes that originate in the Brie region, such as gratin briard, a potato gratin made with melted Brie, cream, and milk. Brie, particularly when fresh, has been used for a long time in cooking and in pastry making. It is even believed that the word “brioche” comes from Brie.
Maria Leszczyńska insisted that it be used for baking her famous bouchées à la reine. Fruity Burgundy wines or Bordeaux wines like Saint-Émilion beautifully enhance Brie’s flavours.
The production area for Brie de Meaux covers all of Seine-et-Marne, and certain villages in the Aube, Loiret, Meuse, Yonne, Marne, and Haute-Marne departments.
That of Brie de Melun is smaller as it only covers Seine-et-Marne and parts of the Aube and Yonne departments.
Pasteurised Brie is primarily produced in eastern France, in Normandy and in Pays de la Loire.