June 02, 2005
Brie de Meaux
Posted by Gordon Smith

I would have taken a photo of my own slice of Brie de Meaux and posted it, but that would have required me to let go of the knife and extract my fingers from my mouth. Not to mention that I would have had to snap fast, as the slice was gone in about 10 minutes. I love this cheese.

It has been nicknamed the King of Cheeses or, alternatively, the Cheese of Kings. The origin of this nickname apparently dates to the Congress of Vienna, where Talleyrand reportedly challenged ambassadors from other European nations to a cheese duel. Talleyrand selected Brie de Meaux to represent France, and, of course, the cheese prevailed. (If it hadn't I wouldn't be telling this story.)

Brie de Meaux is manufactured only in certain parts of the Ile-de-France, the region that includes Paris. As you can see in the photo, it has a white mold rind and a creamy paste, which is quite mild. My favorite description of the taste: "It will cause a sensation in your mouth similar to that of licking the bottom of a freshly emptied butter churn (which, we're sure, many of you out there are familiar with)." Having never licked the bottom of a butter churn, I am hard-pressed to gainsay the comparison.

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