Brie, was the favorite cheese of Charlemagne. This soft cheese has a unique history and many variations.
The history of Brie
The origin of Brie cheese goes back several centuries, in the abbey of Rueil en Brie. Favorite cheese of Charlemagne and Henri IV, it is present on the tables of kings. From then on, its success was dazzling, in particular because it was used in the manufacture of the bouchée à la reine, invented by Queen Marie Leczinska herself. Over the centuries, its method of production has remained the same, earning it the nickname “king of cheeses”. Much appreciated by gourmets and great chefs, Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun received the AOC in 1980 and the AOP in 1992. Brie is also sung by the poet Eustache Deschamps, who was not only a famous rhymer , but also a formidable fighter with Charles V and Charles VI. He was very fond of Brie cheese, which he said “was the only good thing that came from this country”. In the 13th century, cheeses from the town of Provins were very successful at major annual fairs.
Favorite cheese of Charlemagne and Henri IV
The casei Brienses, Latin name given at the time, are the denomination of all the sorts of Brie of the region in an undifferentiated way. Much later, these cheeses will give Bries de Nangis, Melun, Meaux, and others. At the start of the 20th century, the department of Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, fed more than a hundred thousand cattle and produced millions of cheeses a year. In 1927, the Brie trade was still flourishing in Meaux and Coulommiers. In 1950, the herd still numbered fifty thousand dairy cows, a figure that has fallen to barely half today, following the rural history of the 20th century.
Nowadays, Brie has remained, as Talleyrand said, one of the kings of cheeses with all its variants :
• Brie de Meaux PDO
• Brie de Melun PDO
• Brie from Montereau
• Nangis Brie • Brie from Provins
• Black Brie
Considered the ancestor of Bries, Coulommiers has a pronounced taste, similar to that of Brie de Melun and Brie de Montereau. Round in appearance with a diameter of 15 cm and a thickness of 3 cm for a weight of around 500 g, the Coulommiers has a soft texture and a thin crust downy white. Molded with a ladle like Brie de Meaux and Brie de Nangis, Coulommiers is matured for 3 to 4 weeks in a cool cellar.