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Help... need quick answer! Thanks! [Moved from Home Cooking Board]

I bought this cheese thing at Trader Joe's a while back.... it's called brie fondue. The expiration date says January 18. I opened it and it had a pretty powerful smell of ammonia. I put it in the oven as the directions said... it still smells like ammonia. Now I've never had this stuff before so I don't know how it's supposed to smell. It may sound stupid, but is this brie bad? I was going to serve it to guests tonight. Should I just chuck it? Thank you so much!

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  1. Have you tasted it? That may make this decision a hell of a lot easier. If it tastes like crap, throw it out.

    1. I smell ammonia - I toss. But you probably want to hear from others.....

      1. Dont chuck it...return it to TJs. They will happily give you your money back!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chelleyd01

          Thank you all so much for the quick answers. Normally, if something smelled like that I would've thrown it away, but I've never had it before. I did taste a little of it and it tastes ok, but I'm not going to chance it. Besides, ever since I mentioned the word ammonia, my husband looks like he'd rather eat dirt:) chelleydoll, thanks for reminding me that TJ's will take it back. I think that's just what I'll do. Oh well, less apps= more wine:) Have a great weekend!

        2. cheese with white, bloomy [moldy] rind - e.g. camembert, brie, chevre - that smells like ammonia is either overripe, or was somehow mishandled. it won't kill you to eat ammoniated cheese, but it wouldn't be too pleasant either. glad everyone caught you in time.

          btw, if you have the receipt from tj's, you don't even have to save the cheese...just tell them it was bad and you tossed it, and they'll refund your money. gotta love that return policy!

          1. If it smells like ammonia, it's gone bad. Don't have any experience w/ TJ's, but as other posters suggest, I'd return it.

            1. I'm curious, every brie I've had the misfortune of having/buying/eating has had some trace of the ammonia smell. Is that natural? Or have I always met less than optimal brie?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Blueicus

                I think you have always met less than optimal brie. To me, the smell of ammonia is always a sign that the cheese is well past its prime.

                1. re: Blueicus

                  a very slight hint of ammonia just means that the cheese is a bit overripe or was perhaps stored at a less-than-optimal temp...but it's still safe to eat. however, if the ammonia odor is really strong, it's bad.

                2. The smell of ammonia in anything, means THROUGH IT OUT, OR TAKE IT BACK TO THE STORE AND GET YOUR MONEY BACK!!!

                  1. Brie left at room temp ALWAYS smells of ammonia. I don't care for it, I always eat my brie straight out of the refrigerator. But I had friends/roommates back in university days that liked their brie at room temp and that's what I recall - it's mushy and the oil leaks out, it's really easy to spread on crackers/baguettes and it smells like ammonia. None of us ever got sick - at least not from the brie :)

                    1. Most Brie has a degree of ammonia in the rind. I find that only the best versions have so little, as to not be objectionable. I cut the rind away, especially as ammonia does not pair well with the usual white Burg, or mildly-oaked domestic Chard, that I will be serving.

                      I've only had a very few whole Bries, that I did not do this to/for, and each was baked (one in a pastry), and usually wiith almonds, pecans or other "crusts."

                      Did you taste the cheese, excluding the rind? How familiar are you with Brie, in general? If you are dissatisfied, I'd return it to TJ's, and at least ask for their opinion.


                      1. Wow. Until now I thought I didn't like brie, because of that ammonia taste. Turns out I just don't like bad brie. I learn something new every day on this site... :-)