Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses - April 16, 2014

Cantal - This is one of the world's oldest recorded cheeses, having been mentioned by Pliny the Elder. A cow's milk mountain cheese from the Auvergne region of France, it is made generally in the same way as cheddar (curds formed into large wheels, months of storage) and shares some of that characteristic. Do not eat the rind. Flavor and strength are affected by age and can vary widely. Therefore, test it before you buy it!

Brie de Meaux Rouzaire - Brie dates back at least to the days of Charlemagne and was traditional in an area near Paris. It did not travel well and was sensitive to the weeks of aging so it was a local thing. With the coming of the twentieth century, transportation improved and new markets required higher volumes, turning this from a farm-produced item to a factory item. Also, Brie was made in more locations so its flavor became variable based on source. The name "Brie" is not protective of location, only for its form. Poorer cousins have smaller wheels and indistinct flavors. The best times to buy are December through March.An edible white rind can have brown or yellow splotches. Once cut, it stops ripening. Serve at room temperature. This is the real thing: farm-sourced, large but thin wheel, "de Meaux" being the original locale, aged so that the center is oozing but not running.

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