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Jun 26, 2002 07:10 AM

What is considered a true brie?

  • k

what is a true brie? what about the ripening period? how do imports (stabilized bries) differ?

i keep hearing stories that raw milk bries are sometimes seen sold in stores, but i'm dubious as raw milk cheeses that can legally be sold in stores must be at least 60 days old, and bries, as i'm told are best eaten young???

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  1. From Mr. LisaPizza, the cheesemonger:

    A true brie is made traditionally with unpasteurized milk in its purest form; unhomogenized etc... It can be made virtually anywhere because it is not name controlled (A.O.C.), but its origin is Il-de-France.

    The ripening period is within sixty days from production but varies depending on the atmosphere in which it is ripening.

    Brie made with pasteurized milk is usually, but not always, mass produced in a factory.

    The difference between the two is flavor. The raw milk brie will actually have it. It will have a complex mushroomy, earthy flavor. The pasteurized milk brie will have a one-dimensional creamy flavor.

    Yes, whlie true brie and camembert are sold around the country, the FDA confiscate some of these cheeses at the point of destination before they reach the wholesaler and subject them to tests for Listeria and may even fine the importer.

    If a cheese shop advertises or tries to sell you a raw milk brie or camembert, be wary. Since it is illegal to import, the seller will not likely draw attention to it - rather you will have to ask if they have any. You will have to ask on more than one occasion, since they will turn you away - in case you might be an undercover agent of the Department of Agriculture.

    I would suggest that you tell them a story of a recent trip to France and falling in love with the cheeses.