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hat is the difference between Brie and Camembert?

Whether you’re an Appenzellar aficionado or a Roquefort rookie – do you really know the difference between a Brie and Camembert? Living here in Australia, having been exposed to supermarket ‘Brie’ and ‘Camembert’ – it’s no surprise no one really knows the difference, because……..well, they’re pretty much identical.

What we are discussing here is true French Brie and Camembert that has been granted AOC (controlled designation of origin) status in France (like Champagne).

To the lovers of the gooey, creamy, deliciousness that is a French bloomy-rind cheese, it’s time to get the facts straight.

Yep, it’s true Camembert and Brie cheeses are both made from cow’s milk, both come from France, they’re both round and both have a bloomy-rind – but there are many differences that set these cheeses apart. To really understand the difference, we need to take a look at the history and production of these cheeses.

BRIE VS CAMEMBERT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

  • The History And Origin of These Cheeses: While there is no official record, evidence of Brie dates back to the 700’s and Camembert cheese was first recorded approximately 1000 years later. Brie originated in Ile-de-France and acquired its name from a region based there (Brie), and Camembert cheese is manufactured in the northwest region of France, Normandy.

  • Production of Brie and Camembert: Both cheeses follow similar recipes but because of the difference in pastures (stony river beds and lush grass) between Ile-de-France and Normandy, the cows produce milk with unique characteristics giving a slightly different flavour. Camembert is only granted AOC status if it is made from raw milk, whereas this doesn’t apply to Brie.

  • Size: Traditionally, Brie is made in a large flat wheel, and Camembert is made in a small round wheel.

  • Taste: Although similar, due to the differences in milk origin and diameter of the cheeses, Brie has a more buttery fragrance with a salty flavour and Camembert a more earthy smell with a strong umami flavour.

As you can see, most of these differences don’t play a role in Australian ‘Brie’ and ‘Camembert’ and therefore it’s often hard to differentiate the two cheeses. Only true AOC Camembert and Brie will have these differences.