There’s nothing more comforting than slipping into some sweatpants, queuing up something on Netflix, and diving a knife into a wedge of brie. I choose brie because I love the taste, but I also love that brie is often saved for special occasions, making any evening feel like I’m treating myself. While I’d like to think I’m a connoisseur, I’m just a regular cheese loving student, content with the cheapest cheese I can find, and so is my wallet.
Because brie is my go-to, I thought a little investigation into the subject would be a fitting place to start my blog. As aforementioned, I’m no connoisseur, so to heighten my experience I decided to see whether I’m missing out on mind-blowing brie by settling for the cheapest wedge, or if it’s worth snacking on brie of a higher quality. I also wanted to do my own experiments in what fruits, breads, and wines, to pair with each cheese.
I started by popping into Sheridan’s Cheesemongers in Galway city, asking for the most basic brie they had. I assumed it would still best the grocery store varieties, and left with a wedge of Brie De Meaux, and some salamis for good measure. The Brie De Meaux wasn’t as expensive as I had anticipated, but would it be worth the slightly higher price? I then strolled to Dunne’s Stores and bought their most basic as well, which was effortlessly labelled as ‘French Brie’. I then grabbed the rest of my items, all of which are listed below.
Once home I prepared my platter immediately. I began with the Dunne’s brie on both a cracker and a baguette, and it was heavenly. The cracker does more to enhance the flavor, while the baguette toned it down, which is recommended for more hesitant consumers of the cheese. Next I sampled the Brie De Meaux; at this point I was dreading it as it gave off a pretty pungent odor. Nevertheless, I forged forward. It was exceptionally strong, so I took to eating it on the baguette. I then tried each cheese with grapes and olives (traditional meat and cheese plate offerings). I do not recommend eating grapes with either brie as it tasted very tangy and left an unpleasant aftertaste, which I absorbed with salami. The olives were lovely with both cheeses as there were no overpowering flavors and the smoky taste of the olive masked some of the chemical type flavors of the cheese. My housemate later reminded me that raspberries are excellent with brie, which I have tried and do love.
Finally, I sampled each cheese with two different wines. After a brief google search I found that both merlot and chardonnay were recommended with brie so I picked up a tiny bottle of each. I started with the red and it was amazing with the Dunne’s brie. I’d even say that the two together tasted like candy. I read that a fruitier merlot is best with brie, and it certainly worked. I didn’t care for it with the Brie De Meaux since, like the grapes, it was pretty tangy and left an unpleasant aftertaste. The white went well with both, enhancing instead of masking the flavor of the Dunne’s brand, and muting some of the overwhelming tones of the Brie de Meaux.
With a tear and a slide of the pricier Brie de Meaux into the trash bin I feel comfortable sticking with store brand brie, and will now always pair it with some olives and a nice, fruity, merlot. I suggest that one do the same. Sweatpants not required.
What I bought:
Brie De Meaux- From Sheridan’s Cheesemongers
.206kg, 5.87 euro
Dunne’s Stores ‘French Brie’
Standard size wedge, 3.50 euro
Jacob’s Creek Semillon Chardonnay
J.P. Chenet Merlot
Macelleria Falorni Antipasto
6.90 euro at Sheridan’s Cheesemonger’s
Finocchiona (fennel salami)
Filzetta (mild flavored salami)
Salame Grevigiano (typical salami)
Extras purchased at Dunne’s:
Mediterraneo Lightly Salted Crackers