Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Brie one of the most famous soft cheeses in the world, has been made in much its present form since early medieval times; or, if the account of the Emperor Charlemagne sampling and praising a wonderful local cheese near Meaux is reliable, since the 8th century or even earlier. Because of its renown it has been much imitated; and its name, unfortunately, is not protected. Genuine Brie, from around the city of Meaux (to the east of Paris), is rich, mild, and creamy. It is a mould-ripened cheese, made from whole milk. When fully ripe it is runny, and a slice will not hold its shape. It is to be eaten entire, rind and all, as Charlemagne was reputedly taught to do.