What is Brie?
Brie originated from an area of the same name in the South East of Paris, back in the 8th century. It is known for its whitish-grey colour, creamy consistency and salty umami flavour.
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What is Camembert?
Camembert was first made in the 1800s near the coast of Normandy. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavour, dense texture and noticeably yellowish tinge to it.
How do the two differ?
While Camembert and Brie have many similarities (they look alike and both have bloomy rinds and pale interiors), there are a few qualities that set them apart:
While both varieties of cheese are made with cow’s milk, cream is added to Brie during the cheese-making process, resulting in a far higher fat content (60 per cent compared to Camembert’s 45 per cent). In addition, ‘lactic starters’ (substances that help in the fermentation process) are added to Camembert’s cheese mould five times but only once for Brie. This is what gives Camembert it’s stronger flavour.
Taste and smell
Brie has a mild buttery flavour and aroma and Camembert carries more intense, earthy notes (e.g. barnyard and mushroom). However, these differences are subtle and both cheese can be described as tasting nutty, grassy, eggy or fruity.
Traditionally, Camembert is sold as a whole wheel, while Brie may be sold as a single slice. This is because the two cheese moulds differ greatly in size. Brie is much larger and measures between 9 and 17 inches in diameter, weighing up to 3kg. Camembert is just 5 inches across, 250 grams and can also be very runny when ripe.
Camembert is best left six to eight weeks before opening so that it has time to ripen and develop in flavour. Remove it from the fridge at least half an hour before serving and accompany with bread, crackers and preserves. Brie, on the other hand is made to be consumed immediately and is the perfect complement to fresh apples, pears, honey and walnuts.
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