Brie de Melun is said to be the ancestor of all Brie's which originated in the region of northern France known as Seine-et-Marne. It was granted an AOC protection in 1980 that requires that the cheese be manufactured under strict guidelines for supreme quality. Brie de Melun is produced from either whole or skimmed, raw milk of cows grazing in the valleys of Seine et Marne and some departments of Aube and Yonne. It is semi-soft cheese inoculated with a Penicillium mold and aged in a cellar for at least 4-5 weeks. If the cheese is left to ripen for a longer period, say several months then it matures to a Brie Noir. Since, Brie de Melun is coagulated with lactic acid as opposed to animal rennet it is a vegetarian cheese. It is an aromatic cheese with slightly musty and straw-like smells floating the air. Over-ripening the Brie can result in an unpleasant odor from bacteria that are used to ripen the mould. The texture is semi-soft and the rind slightly dry. As the cheese matures to a Brie Noir, the rind turns darker and crumbly. In addition, the pate is drier and darker and the flavour stronger to taste. The usual flavours are strongly lactic and slightly salty finished by soft, barnyard, sour notes. Brie de Melun is used to prepare regional dishes like croûte au brie. It pairs well with Gaillac and wines from Burgundy or the Rhone Valley.


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