Let’s rewind ten or fifteen years ago to my Quest for the perfect brie. The Quest wasn’t for a blog article; it was because I loved food. I purchased various brands from Costco, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods until I found the most delicious cheese on earth: a double-creme brie called Fromager d’Affinois. I’ve been gushing about it to my friends ever since.
The heavens agree: Saint Angel brie is a good choice
So when dcfud asked me to review cheeses from Fromagerie Guilloteau, the family owned business that makes my all-time favorite cheese, you can imagine how much I bounced off the walls with excitement. They let me try two different cheeses for free, and I loved their triple-creme brie so much that I couldn’t resist buying some for my parents when I visited them that weekend. On my way back from Whole Foods—cheese in hand—I kept giggling because never before had the heavens parted as if to say, “excellent choice, Mark.” When I stopped at a red light, I had to capture the moment. My parents loved it.
Here’s the story behind this review. On my way to work, I stopped at Murray’s in Grand Central Station in New York City. As a purveyor of fine cheeses I thought they’d have a better selection than Whole Foods, who I already knew carried Fromager d’Affinois. Luck was not with me that day, because d’Affinois was all Murray’s had. Given my adoration for that cheese, I couldn’t just review it myself and toss journalistic integrity to the wind. “But wait a second,” I thought. “I have coworkers.” Problem solved.
A pound of double-creme brie
Welcome to my office, toasted crackers and a pound of double-creme brie. Don’t mind the lustful gazes from my colleagues.
Later, as the brie was being demolished, here’s what everyone had to say:
“I am not a brie expert, but I find it delicious”
“It’s a good one. Not too strong. Not harsh. I like the crust actually.”
“Very creamy. You can tell the difference between cheap brie and good brie. You can tell it’s not a cheap one. After a second helping I would say it’s not just creamy, it’s buttery.” (she informed me that if she came back for thirds, I was to send her away)
“Yeah, it’s double creme. A little nutty.”
The guy with the most sophisticated palate—a Frenchman, as it happens—had the most critical feedback: “It’s good. It’s definitely not a triple creme brie, but it’s good.”
Not a triple-creme? What is this heresy about my favorite cheese sullying my virgin ears! This was the smoothest, sweetest, creamiest brie I’d ever had, and he dared scorn it as “just a double creme?” The rind (white crust) on many bries is bitter or too strongly flavored. Not Fromager d’Affinois. It has a delicate flavor that will hook any cheese lover. And it was being challenged.
I did the only thing I could do. After work, I went to Whole Foods and found Saint Angel, a triple-creme brie from Fromagerie Guilloteau. Could I really tell the difference? Is a triple-creme that much better?
An hour later, I found myself in a molten puddle of cheesy ecstasy. I’m dairy intolerant, but I ate it anyway. It was worth it.
Stock photo (and it’s gorgeous) of the triple creme brie Saint Angel
From the first nibble, I couldn’t believe how silky and smooth Saint Angel is. The mouth-feel was so good that I ate it plain. This cheese is so decadently buttery that I wish I’d known about it as a kid. Back then, I used to saturate my corn on the cob with fresh slabs of salted butter. Broccoli got the same treatment because butter is delicious. Saint Angel would have been a perfect addition. A purist would kill me for saying this, but it’d be good with spicy chicken wings, too. Dear purists: marry this brie to your favorite French baguette. You’ll love it too.
Where does this leave us? It leaves me with a new favorite brie and several variations of Fromager d’Affinois to tease me:
- Garlic and mixed herbs
- Truffle (I’m told this is especially good)
- Florette (made from 100% goat’s milk)
- Brebicet (made from 100% sheep’s milk)
- Campagnier (rind tinted with annatto and promises of subtle fruity flavors)
- Bleu (or Saint Géric, which is the triple-creme version of this bleu cheese)
What about you? Care to join me?
–Mark Feghali (MFF)