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Feb 16, 2013 09:54 AM

Camembert and brie: is there any difference?

Do you perceive a difference in the taste of camembert and brie? I am talking about imported, properly made, French versions of both. I used to think that I did and preferred camembert, but a recent experiment made me question my conclusion about these cheeses made 40 years ago.

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  1. Which brie? Even after the two AOP Bries (Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun) there are about another 6-7 tied to specific place names, and yes, they're all a little bit different.

    I find there's a significant difference between the two -- they are similar cheeses, cousins you could even say, but the texture and taste are enough to be able to pick one from another.

    1. Sunshine842: I don't know. Is there a difference in flavor between between Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun? Please describe the difference.

      You said that the texture and taste "are enough to be able to pick one from another." I am not challenging you. I am just curious. How do they differ? And also, are you talking about the two bries you mentioned or brie versus camembert? Thanks!

      1 Reply
      1. re: gfr1111

        There's a distinct difference between any Brie and Camembert -- they're similar, but there's a difference.

        I've had a cheese course at my house that was a flight of all of the regional Bries (I live in the region) -- some are creamier, some are more liquid, some are sharper, some have more of a tang.

        The best thing I can tell you is to put them side by side and taste them yourself.

        more from a book published by the French association of AOP dairy products (translations are not exact):

        Camembert de Normandie is made with partially skimmed raw milk, and has a soft paste with a white bloomy rind. The paste is mostly white with some red pigmentation. It's molded with a strainer in five progressive steps, and has an aroma of fresh milk and the forest.

        Brie de Melun is considered the ancestor of all Bries, and is made in smaller rounds that have a darker color (a pale straw color). It is more fragrant than Brie de Meaux, with a rich, complex aroma that is well-balanced between animal and vegetable. It is lightly acid, with a persistent flavor, and because of a slight difference in the aging process, is slightly more solid and less runny.

        Brie de Meaux was crowned the King of Cheeses at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It's a large cheese, in both diameter and weight. It has a creamy color, with a subtle aroma of cream, butter, and hazlenuts, and is softer than Brie de Melun.

        (for those so inclined, this info was published by CNIEL and CNAOL -- French cheese and dairy industry groups -- the website is

      2. Real Camembert (from Normandy) has a more distinctive taste. I used to think it was a bit saltier but maybe not. They make Cam in many places in France but apparently the "authentic" is from Normandy only.

        1 Reply
        1. re: realtorav8tor

          "real" Camembert is tagged "Camembert de Normandie"

        2. Yes, I love good brie, not so much camembert.