Brie de Meaux is a soft, cow’s milk cheese made of raw milk and produced in the town of Meaux in the outskirts of the Paris, from where it takes its name. An essential figure on the plates of France, Brie de Meaux was crowned the “King of Cheese” at the Vienna Congress of 1815 during a dinner organized by the famous French historical figure (and diplomat) Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Possessing a very large diameter and imposing weight, it is rarely presented in its complete, uncut form except at cheese-sellers’ shops which present it to customers on foil. Originally, the cheese was only produced in the small area around Meaux, but from 1953 on the production area extended outwards slightly.
A true raw milk cheese, the Brie de Meaux is produced in respect of a rich tradition and was first produced in the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre. In 1793, a French politician even wrote of this cheese “Brie, loved by rich and poor alike, preached equality before we had even imagined it possible.”
It takes about 25 liters of milk to produce about 3.5 kg of cheese. The milk is fermented over 16 hours, then is placed in a basin with rennet to produce the curd. The entire production cycle takes about 2 months (eight to ten weeks) before the cheese is ready to be enjoyed. Its yellow outer layer reveals a taste of hazelnut with a slight odor. The more it is aged, the stronger the smell. Numerous wines, both red and white, can accompany this cheese, including Burgundy wines, Côtes du Rhône, or even Champagne.