Why You Should Stop Serving Brie

Brooke Newberry
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Brie, the popular Queen Cheese, relentlessly begs to be served at your Emmys party.  It’s the go-to choice for many a “classy” happening, and it’s also what your guests may expect to be served.  So you like Brie. That’s fine, because authentic Brie is amazing. But unless you’re buying it from a cheesemonger or specialty retailer, it’s most likely factory produced (AKA not the real thing). Real Brie isn’t as bland and rubbery-rinded as those plastic-wrapped chunks that you see stacked in the chilled section of the grocery store. 

She is a soft, decadent, mold-embossed darling with an edible rind. She should be buttery and earthy with an outstanding mushroomy taste. Ripe, real Brie is an even, pale yellow color and is invitingly bulging at the rind. The oldest and most admired varieties are Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun and they are required by French law to be made with raw milk. Unpasteurized, raw milk cheeses aren’t permitted on American soil unless aged for a specific amount of days.

So let’s plate an alternative for your Emmys party or whatever special occasion you’re planning that demands a bite of cheese. We’d love for you to taste and serve a Reblochon. Reblochon has a softer-than-Brie texture, a nutty cellar-like aftertaste, and a strong herbal aroma with a velvety washed rind. A rich and sexy cheese. However, this stuff is almost as hard to find as real Brie, unless it’s sourced illegally (if you look hard enough and do your research). Some alternatives that are perfectly classy, still sexy, and interesting enough to serve: a cheese called Preferes des Montagnes, available at Murray’s Cheese (closest to Reblochon), Tomme de Savoie (the next-closest to Reblochon), Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnimere (made in Vermont), and Italian-made Tallegio. No class will be lost, and flavor will certainly be gained. 

If you must entertain with Brie and you have access to a monger, ask them if they have any authenticity-inspired “Bries.”  They wont be unpasteurized, of course, but there are small batch producers that take time with their milk and flavor concentration to make something worthy of crackering up.

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