What’s So Great about Brie Cheese?

Rich and creamy, with a distinctive tang, brie cheese is a cocktail-party favorite with good reason. While it is delicious served on its own with sliced French bread or crackers, it can also be slathered with jam and chutney and baked until oozy, or spread on a sandwich for satisfying flavor and richness. What Makes a Great Brie Cheese? A high quality brie cheese should have a semi-soft appearance and not look overly firm or rubbery. The aroma and flavor profiles should lead with a cultured brie intensity and include green, grassy, vegetal, earthy, mushroom, hay and dairy notes. The dairy will include milky, buttery notes, but the overall aroma and flavor profiles should not be overly “milky” like that of a young, uncultured cheese. There may also be some ammonia notes, but they should remain low as to not have a dominant, over-ripe note. The taste profile should lead with salt, supported by sweet, sour and minimal bitter intensities. The brie should have a semi-soft interior texture and not be overly firm. The rind should be tender, not tough nor waxy. The mouthfeel should be rich and there should be some coating/adhesion inside the mouth. The cheese should spread easily on a slice of bread. The ChefsBest Tasting Process  After the certified Master Tasters at ChefsBest defined the ideal qualities of brie cheese, the blind taste test was administered. A statistical analysis of the results revealed that President Brie Cheese was the best tasting in the group. With the best consistency, flavors, texture and other attributes that chefs consider important, President Brie Cheese’s overall quality makes it worthy of the Best Taste Award.

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Tasting terms

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • richness

    Associated with creamy and dense mouthfeel; often evident in products containing significant amounts of butter or cream. Example: Alfredo sauce, coffee and super premium ice cream can be described as rich.

  • appearance

    The visual quality of a food. Used to organize attributes such as color and consistency of size, it is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate food. The other dimensions are aroma, texture, flavor and taste. Example: The appearance of green olives includes attributes such as color (pale to dark) and consistency of size (inconsistent to consistent).

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • grassy

    A natural flavor or aroma suggesting grass. Example: Green tea, olive oil and some dairy products can have grassy notes.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.

  • waxy

    When a product leaves a coating on the palate that does not dissolve easily. Example: Poor-quality chocolate, margarine and white chocolate can leave a waxy film after being swallowed.

  • mouthfeel

    The texture experienced while food is being eaten. Examples include smooth, chalky, grainy or greasy. Example: Super premium ice cream is often described as having a rich and smooth mouthfeel.

  • taste profile

    The expected levels of each basic taste in any given food; defines the overall taste balance. Example: The taste profile of baking chocolate is led by bitterness that is balanced by a low amount of sweetness.