10
Aug 09

Brie de Melun, Persillé de Malzieu (Cheesy Lover 12 & 13)

FT + Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 689 views

Sorry, two unrepentantly good cheeses here; a squishy sweet old brie, and an intensely salty blue.

Brie de Melun
A raw-milk cow-milk cheese, bought from Mons.

This is a well-aged cheese – the rind has gone a mottled golden brown, and inside the slightly translucent rich yellow cheese is oozing out. It’s gone so soft that it’s pourable. My colleague L describes it as a rather scarily mature looking brie-like cheese which wanted and deserved respect. I can see his point.

It tastes fantastic; very nutty – predominantly hazelnuts, but there’s also the creaminess of roasted chestnuts. And it’s very mushroomy, as is the way of brie, and creamy as well, and reminds me of a hearty autumn mushroom soup. There are hints of truffle and butter and biscuit and toast. The rind is really interesting – it’s got that bitter, slightly dusty taste that white-mould rinds have, but it’s old enough to have developed its own nutty toastyness as well. It is delicious, and much more interesting – and beefier – than the average brie, and quite all-consuming, tastewise.

Persillé de Malzieu
Also raw, but this time a blue sheep’s cheese, also from bought from Mons.

This is a pale buttery yellow with big pockets of lovely furry-looking blue mould, fairly hard, and crumbles as I cut into it. It’s salty! Really salty! It’s a good saltishness, in the back of my throat, like a tiny mouthful of cool clean saltwater when swimming in the sea. It’s like a roquefort, but a lot less subtle. There’s also a mushroomishness to this; that might be left over from the brie I’ve just been eating, but don’t think it is. There’s lots of crumbly creamyness, and the flavour of smoked meat. (I think nicely overdone bacon, but it’s been years since I ate that.) It tastes incredibly clean, especially in contrast with the brie. The brie was lovely but quite cloying, and the salt of this cuts through that.

Conclusion:

I can’t decide which of these I like more. I think they make a fine double-act; they’re very different cheeses, but they complimented each excellently. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed either of them quite as much if they’d been a solitary cheese. The brie might have been too sweet and sticky and nutty, and the salt of the blue cheese might have been overwhelming. The two together made one of the tastiest lunches I’ve eaten in a while.

Comments

  1. 1
    Pete on 11 Aug 2009 #

    These look terrific. I must have had a Persille some time a few years ago, as I made some HILARIOUS jokes about the similarity between its name and a certain washing powder. I concur about the Roquefort without the subtlety (not that roquefort is often cited for subtlety!)

    I think we may need to start constructing some ideal cheeseboards from this bunch. Or at least a unified theory of cheeseboards.

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