Brie de Meaux AOC and Brie de Melun AOC Presented today by ACS CCP® Marcella Wright:
In 2013, when I sat for the ACS CCP Exam® there was a question that related to today’s Cheese of the Day discussion. Because the exam is copyrighted, I cannot share the exact question but understanding both the similarities and differences is important for the exam.
Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun are the only two brie whose production is protected with the government’s AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée.) designation. Both granted the AOC in 1980 and again the PDO designation by the EU in 2009, the production of these two brie is strictly regulated. Both are made using unpasteurized milk in the Ile de France region northwest of Paris. Both are soft-ripened cheeses, ripening from the rind inward creating a creamline around a paste center. Both are inoculated with Penicillium candidum to produce the white, snowy bloom on the rind. That is where the similarities end.
Brie de Meaux is made in a larger format than Brie de Melun. Brie de Meaux weighs between 2.5 to 3 kilos and Brie de Melun weighs in closer to 1.5 to 1.8 kilos. Brie de Meaux has concave sides while Brie de Melun has a convex shape; although both use straight-sided moulds (likely a result of aging time and/or temperature). Brie de Meaux is more widely available with a larger production of around 7000 tons per year while Brie de Melun’s production each year is less than 300 tons.
The aging process differs with Brie de Meaux aged four to eight weeks and Brie de Melun four to twelve weeks.
Brie de Meaux is coagulated with veal rennet and allowed to sit about 30 minutes before a brie shovel is used to transfer both the curds and whey into moulds. Although a small amount of rennet is used to start the crudling process, Brie de Melun is lactic set; the milk is allowed to sit and ferment for up to eighteen hours without the addition of rennet. At that point a ladle scoops the curds into moulds.
The flavors are different. Brie de Meaux is generally sweet and buttery while Brie de Melun is generally stronger with a sour finish. If allowed to age for several months, Brie de Melun becomes a much different cheese known as Brie Noir; the rind becomes dark and crumbly and the flavor becomes much stronger with heavy mushroom and straw-like flavors. Some would refer to the flavor as barnyardy.
Because of its milder flavor, Brie de Meaux is more “approachable” for those new to the French cheese declared the “Kings of Cheese” by Diplomat and Gourmand, Tallyrand, in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna.
Brie de Melun is considered the ancestor of all Bries, including Brie de Meaux.
Because both are made with raw milk, you’ll never legally find either of these brie in the States… you’ll just have to travel to France to find these amazing delicate cheeses…
THIS JUST IN: THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF SO MANY IN OUR CHEESE COMMUNITY, TWO SCHOLARSHIPS HAVE BEEN FULLY FUNDED!! WE ARE ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR A THIRD SCHOLARSHIP UNTIL 4/30 AND WINNERS OF THE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE ANNOUNCED MAY 1.
Our Facebook Cheese Study Group is raising funds to send worthy ACS CCP exam® candidates and ACS CCPs® who want to attend the 2017 ACS Conference in Denver, Cheese With Altitude. You can apply for a scholarship by clicking hereand you can contribute to the scholarship fund by clicking here. All monies raised (withe the exception of the fees charged by GoFundMe) go to the winners of the scholarship. everyone involved in the scholarship efforts is donating their time and receiving NO fees or monetary compensation… just the feeling of helping those who need our help. Complete rules and information can be found here