Saturday, January 8, 2011

Product Review: Président Brie

After the Yanni grilling cheese that I bought turned out to be so tasty [1], I felt emboldened. So I decided to try another cheese I'd never had before: Brie. I found some on sale at Smith's so I bought a stick of it. The label said it was "creamy and delicious".

Brie is a soft white cheese made from cow's milk. In addition to the rennet (the enzyme used to convert the milk into cheese [2]), the fungus Penicillium candidum [3] and/or the bacterium Brevibacterium linens are inoculated into the mixture. This is what gives the Brie its…distinctive…flavor.

My verdict: I tried to eat this. I really did! But after three bites I couldn't take it any more. Delicious it was not. If you've ever tasted bread that has a greenish tinge to it—even if you can't see mold actually growing on the surface of it—then you know what Brie tastes like: green bread mold.[4] Yuck.

UPDATE: My friend from Wisconsin, Daniel, brought some expensive Brie to lab meeting for treats a few weeks later. At this point I discovered that the reason I had such a bad experience was because I was eating the rind. You're only supposed to eat the creamy cheese inside the rind. Turns out that Brie's not so bad.


[1] See my previous post, Mediterranean Kabobs.

[2] For more info, see my post Cheese.

[3] This fungus, also known as Penicillium camemberti, is also used to make Camembert cheese. Even though it is related to Penicillium chrysogenum (the fungus used to produce the antibiotic penicillin), people who are allergic to penicillin won't be allergic to Brie or Camembert cheeses.

[4] Other people have reported a tinge of ammonia; I didn't detect any.
      I'm not really a fan of eating Swiss, Parmesan, or Romano cheese by themselves but they can be pretty good when cooked into the right meal. So I'll admit the (small) possibility that Brie could be a good cooking cheese even though I think it's a terrible snack cheese. Given its flavor, though, my expectations are low. A friend of mine, from Wisconsin, who is a cheese connoisseur, tells me that Président doesn't make very good cheese and that I shouldn't count Brie out, yet. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. i tried brie and i also didn't like it, i found that it has no flavor and is pretty bland