All about Brie Cheese

Brie appetizers are not only mouthwatering, but they are so versatile. It’s amazing

what you can do with a Brie cheese. How did “real” Brie cheese come about in the

first place? Well, according to cheese experts, producing Brie cheese started in the

French province called, not surprisingly, Brie – a town 60 miles from Paris!

The oldest recorded evidence of its existence was found in the chronicles of

Charlemagne. The Emperor at the time, tasted the cheese in the city of Brie around

the year 774 BC. And here’s another interesting tidbit about Brie cheese… Louis

XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie.

It is sometimes called Brie de Meaux and is considered one of the most popular of

the 400+ cheeses from France. Brie de Meaux’s popularity can be attributed to a

competition that took place around 1814. During a Vienna Congress, an argument

broke out regarding which country made the best and finest cheese.

As a result, a Frenchman by the name of Talleyrand, suggested a competition

between the different countries and their national cheeses, as he was convinced that

France would win. And of course, they did! Brie de Meaux was the winner and

became known as the “King of Cheeses” and as you can imagine, instantly became

an overnight success that swept Europe and has retained that distinction ever since.

As a matter of fact, Brie Cheese from France won a gold medal from the Brie

National Contest in both 2000 and 2001.

What makes it so darn good? Brie is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and has

an appealing combination of flavors including hazelnut, fruit and herbs. And it takes

approximately 6.6 gallons of milk to make one round of brie cheese!

The process of making it consists of heating the milk to no more than 37 degrees C

– but only during the renneting stage. Therefore, the cheese is never cooked. After

being put into a mold with a special, perforated shovel called “pelle à Brie”, it is

salted with a dry salt. This salting process is used to balance the sweetness that

occurs because of the high quality of milk used.

Maturation takes place in a cool cellar. The cheese develops a white mold around it

and the creamy part turns to a light straw color. The whole process takes at least 4

weeks and sometimes more.

In France, there are only 5 or 6 real Brie de Meaux producers left. Apparently it’s an

economically-challenged industry to get into. Brie has a very fragile curd that is

easily broken and requires a special room built only for the use of making Brie and

Triple Crème. It has to maintain just the right temperature or the maturation

process will not work. This, in itself, makes Brie hard to make and evidently requires

quite an investment. Therefore, farmers are not as inclined to invest their time and

money on such a delicate, not always reliable process.

To serve Brie cheese properly, it’s best to allow it to come to room temperature.

Some good suggestions of wine to serve with any kind of Brie appetizer is a red

Côte-du-Rhône, a red Bordeaux or Burgundy and it always goes well with a good

quality Champagne.

In the United States, we don’t sell “real Brie” because of the pasteurization laws that

have been installed in this country. US FDA regulations say that you can only make

cheese with our pasteurized milk. Our “Brie” is not true Brie, but it’s as close as we

can get to make it taste like Brie de Meaux from France. If you were to put true

French Brie next to Brie made in the United States, the difference would be highly

noticeable. You would get hooked on the French Brie and have to make yearly trips

to France to feed your new craving!

In lieu of going to France, try this savory Brie appetizer. You’ll be glad you did!

Amaretto Brie Appetizer

There’s nothing like serving this yummy Amaretto Brie appetizer. Especially when

you watch everyone diving into it without leaving a trace behind. Your friends and

guests will beg you for this recipe. It’s simple to make and the creamy almond flavor

is fantastic with a baguette or gourmet-type crackers.

What you’ll need:

– 1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

– 1/2 cup butter

– 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 oz. of amaretto liqueur

– 1 round of Brie cheese

– 1/4 cup sliced almonds (chopped walnuts will work also)

– Toast points, sliced apples, baguette or crackers

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then melt the butter and add the brown

sugar in a heavy sauce pan. Stir until heated through and consistency is smooth and


Remove the pan from the heat and add cinnamon, nutmeg and the Amaretto. Mix

ingredients well.

Next, place the Brie round (remove Brie from packaging) in an oven-safe dish. Take

the sauce you just created and pour over the Brie. Then, top the sauce with the

sliced almonds.

All you need to do is bake it for 10 or 15 minutes until the cheese is soft. You could

also microwave it if you are in a big hurry. But only put it in the microwave for 30

second intervals until it is soft and warm. If you microwave it for too long you will

end up with Amaretto Brie appetizer soup, and that is not what we want here!

You can serve the melted Brie on a pretty plate surrounded by apple slices, sliced

baguette and crackers. It will fast disappear!

If you are interested in other Brie appetizers and other easy to make appetizer

recipes, please visit Easy Appetizer Recipes found at the URL below where

you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the variety of choices.

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