Will visits the Ile de France region to learn more about the benchmarks of the style, Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun, before visiting Brie’s close cousin, Chaource, in the Champagne region
Le Marquis Farmhouse Brie de Rambouillet
In France, it is increasingly hard to find farmstead cheese made with milk from a single farm. Most examples are produced in very small quantities from raw milk, and these are rarely found outside the area of production.
This soft, surface mould-ripened cheese, specially selected by Will, is a wonderful exception. It is hand made in a modern, purpose-built ‘fermier’ that lies in the shade of the Rambouillet deer forest, south west of Paris. The original ‘Fromages de Brye’ made on small farms in the countryside outside the city varied in size depending on the season, and amount of milk available. Following in this tradition Le Marquis Brie de Rambouillet is made in two sizes using fresh pasteurised milk sourced exclusively from a small herd of pampered cows.
The unique combination of moulds, cultures and a traditional poplar wood box helps to ensure that the chalky centre of the young cheese slowly breaks down to a soft gooey texture over 3-4 weeks of careful ripening. One can tell when Le Marquis Brie is at its optimum because it has a distinct fungal aroma and is soft when pressed. The ‘cowy’ barnyard flavours of the mature cheese are a perfect reminder of why ‘fermier’ cheese is so special.