With its soft rind, creamy interior, and iconic round shape, brie holds an important place in cheese culture. But for the uninitiated, a key question remains — what does brie taste like?
Brie offers a rich, buttery flavor with hints of nuts, mushrooms, and grass. Its smooth, pillowy texture that softens as it ripens makes it a versatile table and cooking cheese.
In this article, we’ll cover everything that defines brie’s taste, texture, production, and usage. We’ll also distinguish between types like double and triple crème brie. Read on to become a brie connoisseur!
Table of Contents
Overview of Brie
Here’s a quick introduction to brie and its origins:
- Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese named after the Brie region of northern France where it originated.
- It has a white, edible rind formed by penicillium mold that ripens from the outside in as it ages.
- The interior “paste” starts solid then softens to a creamy, spreadable texture around the edges as it ripens.
- Traditional French brie is made from raw cow’s milk while US versions use pasteurized milk.
- Classic brie wheels are around 1-2 pounds and 5-6 inches tall. Smaller wheel sizes also exist.
So in summary, brie is a classic soft-ripened French cheese recognized globally for its velvety interior, bloomy rind, and signature wheel shape. But what makes brie so special? Its taste!
Describing the Flavor of Brie
The flavor of brie can be broken down into these main tasting notes:
- Rich and creamy – The high butterfat content gives it a lush, indulgent mouthfeel.
- Mushroom essence – Savory, earthy undertones are reminiscent of mushrooms.
- Grassy – Slight grassy, hay-like flavors from the cow’s milk.
- Toasted nuts – Subtle hazelnut and almond notes.
- Pungent – The rind and “gooey” center deliver a potent cheese punch as it ripens.
When perfectly ripe, brie offers an irresistible duality between its molten interior and funkier exterior flavors.
Brie Texture and Consistency
In addition to its rich flavor, brie’s texture transforms unique as it ripens:
- Chalky interior – The interior “paste” starts out dense and chalky when young.
- Creamy and oozy – As it ripens, the center softens and becomes pillowy, even runny close to the rind.
- Edible rind – The rind retains firmer texture with concentrated flavor compared to the gooey center.
- Smooth – Well-ripened brie has a viscous, smooth mouthfeel when eaten.
- Meltability – The high fat content makes brie melt beautifully when warmed.
Brie offers a dynamic textural journey from the firmer inner paste to the molten edges closest to the rind. Eaten together, they provide divine contrast.
Flavor and Texture by Ripening Stage
Brie’s flavor and texture evolves dramatically through the ripening process:
- Interior paste very dense and chalky
- Minimal flavor
- Rind thinner and less wrinkled
- Does not spread
- Interior begins softening to creamy
- More prominent mushroom, nutty notes
- Rind has light white mold
- Can be sliced but doesn’t spread
- Interior very creamy and spreadable
- Robust, earthy, nutty flavors
- Rind fully crinkly with white mold spotting
- Can be scooped and spread fully
Knowing the indicators helps identify the perfect ripeness stage for your desired texture and taste.
Types of Brie
While traditional brie is made from cow’s milk, there are some variations:
Double Crème Brie
- Made using double cream for extra richness
- Around 60% butterfat vs 45% in regular brie
- Super silky, lush texture when ripe
- Potent, amped up brie flavor
Triple Crème Brie
- Made with triple cream for decadence
- Around 75% butterfat
- Ultra creamy, thick, and oozy when ripe
- Very pungent in flavor
- Also called “Brillat-Savarin”
Goat Milk Brie
- Subtler tang from goat’s milk
- Leaner and less creamy
- More crumbly curdy texture
- Herbaceous, grassy flavor notes
Understanding the differences helps select your preferred style – from decadent triple crème to lighter goat brie.
Flavor Affinities and Pairings
Brie’s rich flavor complements:
- Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, pecans
- Dried fruit – Figs, apricots, cranberries
- Fresh fruit – Apples, pears, grapes, stonefruit
- Hearty bread – Baguette, whole grain, rye
- Fresh herbs – Thyme, rosemary
- Honey or preserves – Apricot jam, orange blossom honey
- Wine – Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet
- Charcuterie – Prosciutto, salami, dry-cured ham
The possibilities are endless for crafting cheese boards or platters focused around the star cheese brie.
Dishes That Showcase Brie
Looking to highlight decadent brie? These dishes make it the centerpiece:
- Brie baked or grilled in puff pastry
- Brie drizzled with honey and roasted nuts
- Brie melted into grilled cheese sandwich
- Roasted squash, brie & prosciutto tart
- Creamy brie and wild mushroom soup
- Endive leaves filled with brie and cranberry
- Scrambled eggs with brie and fresh chives
- Fettuccine with melted brie, walnut and arugula
When warmed and allowed to get molten, brie becomes the ultimate comfort food. But it also pairs nicely with fruits, greens, nuts and breads at room temperature.
Tips for Serving Brie
Follow these tips for serving brie:
- Room temperature – Take brie out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors open up.
- Keep the rind – Serve whole with rind or cut rind-on wedges so the contrasting textures can both be enjoyed.
- Provide spreading knives – To spread ultra-ripe brie on bread, provide small knives for each person vs double-dipping.
- Offer pairings – Serve with sliced apples, pears, toasted nuts, jam, and sliced bread or crackers.
- Cut away mold – If any unwanted mold develops on an older brie, gently scrape off the spot before serving.
Serving brie at room temperature enhances the aroma, flavor, and spreadable texture. Offer pairings that make it shine.
Key Takeaways – What Does Brie Taste Like?
- Brie has a creamy, rich flavor with hints of mushroom, nuts and grass from its rind through soft interior.
- The edible rind offers concentrated funky flavor compared to the pillowy center.
- Brie becomes more oozy, molten, and pungent as it ripens from the outside in.
- Types include decadent double and triple cream as well as subtle goat milk brie.
- Serving brie with fruits, nuts, bread and wine makes an appetizing cheese course.
- Brie excels when incorporated into baked dishes, sandwiches, tarts, omelets and more.
The next time you encounter the iconic bloomy wheel of brie, slice off a wedge to experience its luscious and complex flavor that has made it a legendary cheese.