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Brie Expertise?

For lunch I made my wife a Brie & Cranberry Baguette (one of the few things she found edible when she studied abroad in London)... which she had been craving... but was unable to have during pregnancy.

She enjoyed it very much... but the Brie was not as good as I expected. I used Saint Andre Triple Creme made in France... it was silky, but the flavor was more like butter than Brie... overall too mild & did not make a particularly brilliant pairing for the fresh cranberry sauce.

Anybody know what is the deal with Brie... do you lose character... with "more" Cremes... are there versions made from Sheep or Goat milk that might have more character etc.,

The education is much appreciated.

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  1. Probably your brie was just young and unripe. Stick it in the back of the fridge and forget about it for a few weeks. Then let it sit out on the counter for a few hours to come up to room temp.

    Alternatively, go to a cheesemonger and ask for a nice, ripe Brie.

    1. Saint Andre is not Brie.

      Some Brie is single-cream, some is double-cream. If you can't find good Brie, a good subsitute is Reblochon.

      In London, you'd get raw-milk Brie, which is the good stuff. Officially, that is not imported to the U.S.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Not this Saint Andre... it was clearly labeled Triple Creme Brie.

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          I think that might be made by the Marin French Cheese Company in California. It can actually be kind of nice if you age it yourself until ripe, but it will never taste anything like real Brie or real Saint Andre.

          I took a tour there once years ago. They put the exact same cheese in boxes labeled "Camembert" and "Brie."

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            No, this was labeled as Made in France... and it is made from Raw Milk.

            BTW, so are you suggesting there is a type of cheese called Saint Andre?

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Saint Andre's one of the most famous French triple-creams, up there with Brillat-Savarin and Explorateur.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                No wonder it wasn't cheap. So do you think they dumb it down for the U.S. market... or the product degrades somehow? Maybe Triple Creme is the Grade A Maple Syrup of the soft cheese world?

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Compared to good Brie, yeah, it is sort of like Grade A.

                  Triple-creams are like butter that died and went to heaven. I appreciate them but won't eat much if there's more flavorful cheese on the platter.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    "A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be over-sophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk's leap toward immortality." - Clifton Fadiman

      2. While Saint Andre is brie-like in being a soft ripened cheese with a white moldy rind, I've never really thought of it as being a brie, and the French AOC folks certainly don't think of it as such. I agree that the flavor is somewhat similar, but milder and more buttery - so look for a ripe brie or camembert, or ripen one yourself.

        1. Next time try my favorite, Brie de Meaux. Definitely has character.

          1. Brie is my favorite cheese, but I don't dare say I know anything like the rest of you, FlyFish, please suggest a good brie for me! Thanks!

            1 Reply
            1. re: potbelliedkiln

              I have to confess I really don't eat a lot of brie, and when I do I just go in to my local specialty cheese shop (shameless plug here for Concord Cheese Shop, Concord, MA) and ask Bill to give me whatever's good. Another poster mentioned Brie de Meaux, which I recognize and I believe is considered one of the better ones (certainly one of the best known), but I suspect the best bries never even make it to the states. Actually, when I'm in the mood for that style of cheese more often than not I'll buy a Hudson Valley camembert made by Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. out of Hudson, NY. I believe they mail order: www.blacksheepcheese.com/