As we roll into September, the days are getting shorter once more and there’s a chilly breeze in the air (winter is coming!) so we’re beginning to long for heartier cheese choices.
Enter the famously rich and brilliant Brillat Savarin, it’s delicious and certainly not diet-friendly. Just how we like it!
The cheese was invented in the late 19th century, and was then renamed in the 1930s by Henri Androuet, who was a highly regarded French fromager. He named the cheese after the famously gourmand (a term that roughly translates as food-loving) Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, pictured right.
Among his well-loved quotes is this gem (and we certainly are fans of his philosophy):
“The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star”.
He also reckoned that any meal without cheese wasn’t worth eating - not something we’re going to disagree with either!
Brillat-savarin is produced year round, principally in Burgundy but also elsewhere in France so this cheese doesn’t qualify for AOP status but does hold IGP protection. Put simply, this status means the product is recognized for its unique manufacturing process within a specific geographic area, but the ingredients themselves may come from further afield. The thing that's special about this cheese is that it is a triple-cream. You heard that right. For comparison, brillat-savarin is an aged version, while an example of a fresh triple-cream would be mascarpone. The distinguishing aspect is that it must contain 75% fat per 100g, so it's pretty sinful stuff. We love it.
Another peculiarity is that it is actually made from pasteurized cows' milk which is somewhat uncommon among French-made fromages. The milk is molded into wheels which are about 4 inches in diameter and 4 centimeters thick, before being aged for a minimum of three weeks. Brillat-savarin is uncooked and un-pressed so the outside is soft with a white mold.
When fresh, this is a delectably soft, creamy cheese, with a buttery colored interior. The texture is moist and rich, thanks to the high fat-content in the recipe, and has hints of lemon among the creamier flavors. As it ages further brillat-savarin becomes more complex, taking on earthier and saltier notes.
Serve this cheese at room temperature. A brillat-savarin would be well placed with another creamy cow’s cheese such as a chaource - but if you're looking for some tips on building the perfect assiette de fromage you'll want to check out our blog post here! It's also a great choice to serve at the end of the meal, especially with fresh fruit, such as grapes or pears, and a crusty loaf. As this cheese has a lovely mellow taste you would do well to pair it with a fruity white wine or a delicately sparkling wine (any excuse!) If you are more of a red wine fan, then something hearty like a Bordeaux or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Happy tasting – let us know what you think!