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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/

            2. Every single brie is going to be different. Some have wonderful flavour and others are simply bland. I suspect that cheesemakers are, to some extent, catering to an unsophisticated and undeveloped palate when they create these tasteless cheeses. You have to try a lot of different brands to find one that has good depth of flavour - it's not just a matter of ripening. I personally snap up any raw milk brie when I find it, which almost always have more flavour. But some pasteurized milk brands are not bad. I just bought a cheese called Le Rustique which is extremely flavourful but is made from pasteurized milk. It's French and available in Canada, anyway. Highly recommended. To nitpick, I don't think it's officially a brie - the box calls it coulommier.

              1. Agree with recommendation to leave cheese at room temp. (for about 1 hour). I also look for raw milk cheese.
                We have access to many good French cheeses here in Quebec, and we also make excellent cheeses here, which I prefer. I don't know if you can get any Quebec cheeses where you are; I know we do export them to Europe for instance. (Otherwise, something to look forward to if & when you come to Montreal for a visit some time!)
                Quebec brie info here (interesting descriptions of each, in French only):
                Check out the winner of 2006 Canadian cheese competition(which I haven't tried yet but looks great):
                I highly recommend a semi-soft cheese (which is not a brie I know, but it's so amazingly good!) called Migneron de Charlevoix:
                General info on brie here, which has a link to recipes in which brie is used:

                2 Replies
                1. re: morebubbles

                  Migneron!!!! I was at Fromagerie Dufour this summer and fell in LOVE with migneron! It came home with me in my suitcase. Such tragedy that I must wait til next summer to return to Quebec to have more migneron! Outside of Quebec, it's only sold in New York (according to the girl who worked there)

                  (the bleu at Dufour is not too shabby, either!)

                  1. re: amandine

                    Good to know it is available in NY. For the blue, I'm not sure if you're referring to Le Ciel de Charlevoix; because that one's good too.
                    Migneron rules though!

                2. If you are buying raw milk Brie in the United States, I would not publicize it -- it is illegal, unless it has been aged for sixty days, which is unlikely. Brie de Meaux used to be raw milk, and it slipped through customs for years until someone wised up. Now it is pasteurized specifically for the U.S. market. Same with epoisse.

                  For a goat's milk brie, try Florette. It is imported from France and has a fuller flavor than most cow's milk bries.

                  The list of my favorite cheeses is too long to publish, but a few are:

                  La Tur, a soft mixed milk from Italy
                  Any goat from Le Fermier
                  Fourme d'Ambert Sauternes -- a Belgium affinoire buys the cheese in France then ages them in Sauternes wine -- to die for!
                  Roquefort, especially Carles brand
                  Aged pecorino Toscanos
                  And there's nothing like a good Reggiano Parmesan

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pitterpatter

                    Brie de Meaux is still made with raw milk. It is available in some cheese shops in the US. Fromage de Meaux is made with pasteurized milk, possibly for the US market.

                    1. re: cheryl_h

                      Raw-milk Brie is available in the U.S., but as pitterpatter says it's illegal, and shops that sell it do so very discreetly.

                    2. re: pitterpatter

                      Fourme d'Amber goes great with a glass of Sauternes, but when I tried the aged-in-wine version I thought the I thought the wine overpowered the cheese. None of the half-dozen people at the table liked it.