The Good Life France

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My French Life: Say Cheese

 Brie Cheese

I once had the pleasure of interviewing a man called Matthew Feroze. Just about every newspaper in the UK carried an article about him since he won a French competition for the best cheesemongers in the land – cheeseland that is. France.

You might not think that is much of a news item but… he is English. It’s the first time a foreigner has won such as prestigious award. Not only that he has only been working in the world of cheese for just 24 months. Before that he was an accountant for the Civil Service in London!

He is an immensely modest man and told me he was utterly astonished at all the interest and we had a great chat about him, his training, cheese and – his award winning cheeseboard which just blew me away!

I have to say, after talking to him I came away with a bit of a thing about cheese myself. Matthew told me that every French cheese has a story, a history… a reason to be. He told me about a cheese in the shape of a wheel – in the old days easy to roll down a mountain, and lots of mad cheese facts and I thought I’d have a little look-see at cheese and guess what – he’s right. The world of cheese is full of fabulous, crazy, and amazing history and facts.

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite findings (so far – there may be more) with you:

Brie facts –  A cheese fit for royalty

Brie cheese

Legend has it that on his first taste of this very ancient cheese in 774 Charlemagne fell instantly in love with it.

During the French Revolution Louis XVI was asked about his final wish – his answer? A last taste of brie.

A revolutionary – name unknown is said to have pronounced “Brie, loved by rich and poor alike, preached equality before anyone dreamed it possible”.

Brie is officially recognised as a “royal cheese”. In 1815 a competition was held to find the best cheese in the world following months of feverish argument on the matter.  The judges at the Congress of Vienna declared Brie the winner and it became an overnight success in Europe and is still one of the best loved of French cheeses.

Brie is from – Brie! A department in the Seine-et-Marne, south east of Paris.

It’s a soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese with a smooth edible white rind (though the rind not to be served with wine I am told) and a creamy rich buttery interior. The name Brie is not a protected one so there are many varieties made around the world but none can beat a real French Brie!

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