Brie is an amazingly versatile cheese. It’s rich and creamy but not overwhelming, making it an amazing and essential part of every charcuterie board. It’s a little tricky to display, but don’t let that put you off, follow our simple tips and tricks to make the most out of your charcuterie board and bring your cheeses to life!
What Is The Flavor Profile Of Brie?
To find out the best way of displaying brie, we should have a think about what its flavor profile is. With this, we can then determine the best things to accompany it to bring out the most in our brie. This method rings true for any element of your charcuterie board.
Brie has a really light and almost buttery consistency, with a taste that can range from subtle and delicately cheesy to more punchy and fragrant.
For the most part, a brie is an in-between of cream cheese and rich camembert. The rind of brie is eaten with the cheese, as it’s not too hard and holds a lot of nuances and flavor, whilst also holding it together nicely on a cracker, and making it easy to slice.
Originating in northern France, brie is a popular staple amongst cheese enthusiasts around the world for its subtle flavor and great texture.
Be sure to let your brie cheese ‘breathe’ so you can reduce the pungent ammonia smell that can appear after storage in the fridge, as this can be pretty unpleasant and detract from the subtle and delicate flavor of the brie.
What Flavors Go Well With Brie?
Brie is such a light and delicate flavor, it is best complemented with other light and plain-flavored tastes that won’t try to compete with the taste of the cheese as it can be easily overpowered.
A sharper or tangy cheese like a robust cheddar conversely will pair nicely with strong flavors that balance out the intense zingy flavor profile, but brie will easily get overwhelmed if you let it!
A brie pairs nicely with the following ingredients in any number of combinations:
- Unsalted nuts- salted nuts or strong flavors like peanuts don’t work too well with this cheese, but a lovely smattering of unsalted walnuts, pecans or almonds is a great combination.
- Lightly flavored fruits- a lightly aromatic fruit like grapes, sliced apples, pears, or berries work particularly well as they are slightly sweet but also a touch acidic, letting the creaminess of the cheese really stand out. A strong cheese like Wensleydale on the other hand pairs well with complimenting strong flavors such as punchy dried fruits.
- Brie goes well with acidic and dry white wines such as a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc. Cava, Champagnes, and other dry sparkling wines also work fantastically with a good brie to balance out the flavor without overpowering it like a red or richer wine may do.
- Brie is best served with crackers that don’t try to compete with its delicate flavor profile. Choose something plain like an unflavored bread that isn’t overtly punchy and simple crackers such as water biscuits or cream crackers.
- Honey- it may seem contradictory to have such a strong flavor with your brie, but the sweetness works very well with the brie, bringing out its creamy notes and savory flavor. Trust us, try a slice with a dab of honey and a sliced grape, and you’ll have yourself the perfect bite to convert even the most skeptical of tasters!
How Do You Serve Brie On A Charcuterie Board?
Brie is glorious all by itself but on a charcuterie board, it sings with the addition of a few perfect ingredients!
Using the list given above, place ingredients and complementing flavors around your brie to encourage your guests to pair these flavors together when creating that great combination.
Of course, your guests can eat however they choose but a few well-placed ingredients such as white grapes or a light cracker accompaniment around your brie will encourage them to take that monumental perfect bite.
Serve your brie sliced for the ease of your guests, though if you are going to be snacking on your cheese or charcuterie board for a while throughout the night, you may want to serve your brie as a whole wheel and let your guests slice off what they would like.
This will keep your board looking fresh, minimize anything getting sticky, or make your pre-sliced cheese start to look a bit sweaty.
If you are serving it as a full block rather than sliced, be sure to provide a sharp knife that is made for cutting soft and sticky cheeses like brie to maximize your guests’ experience and keep your board looking clean and put together throughout the night.
How Do You Serve Baked Brie?
Baked brie throws all caution to the wind as the flavors develop when brie is cooked a little and gorgeously melted. Baked brie is best served in a terracotta dish, or something else that can hold heat for a decent amount of time, and is perfect for going crazy with some dipping!
Flavor-wise, it’s still lighter and creamier than baked camembert or traditional swiss cheese fondue.
Serve this with easy to dip retreats like breadsticks, toasted baguette slices, and more hardy crackers that can take the force of a dip without crumbling. For a festive flair, dried cranberries, or some toasted nuts is great on baked brie, especially if you want to element your presentation game a little bit more!
A selection of more punchy jams or chutneys works well with baked brie too.
What’s The Best Way To Store Brie?
If you have been storing an open brie in your fridge, you may start to notice a pretty offensive smell, despite it having a relatively light flavor compared to many kinds of cheese.
Brie is produced by using unpasteurized or pasteurized milk that is then mixed with various enzymes and rennet to create a culture. This culture is basically cheese mold and gives it a unique flavor profile.
The cultures that are created give off ammonia fumes and other smells as they bloom the cheese and this can be pretty pungent! When brie is stored in the fridge, these fumes don’t have a chance to dissipate, so when you open up your door you are hit with the strong smell.
We eat with our noses and all our senses as much as we do with our taste buds, so the best way to diffuse the smell and enhance the flavor of your brie is to leave it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
This way, you can prevent that rather off-putting smell from nauseating your guests! It also tastes better when it’s come down to room temperature as the flavors travel better when it’s not stunted by the cold.
Whole cheeses need to breathe, so never wrap up your brie in tight plastic wrap or cling film as this can cause mold to develop (not the kind we want on brie…) Wrap up your brie in wax paper instead. If you have sliced brie, wrap it up in plastic wrap but only for a few days.
Can You Freeze Brie?
The more water content in a piece of cheese or other food, the more susceptible it is to damage and taste change in the freezer. In the case of a moist cheese such as brie or camembert, it’s a very delicate and soft cheese so should stay far away from the freezer.
Brie is a fabulous cheese that is essential to any charcuterie board. It can be overpowered pretty easily however so be sure to serve it with a few of these great complimenting flavors to maximize its creamy excellence!
Hopefully, you now feel more confident in the best way to serve this great cheese and showcase it at its best!