Yesterday I sampled and was somewhat traumatized by the older twin of this cheese, Pierre Robert, a Brillat Savarin that was sent back to the cave to “age” for a bit too long-in my humble opinion. Thus, it is with some trepidation that I consider today’s cheese, the unripened version.
Naming your cheese after the most famous gastronome of all times is a lofty move-Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1755-1826) was a French epicure-also a politician and lawyer. He is the father of the gastronomic essay, and thus, I follow-humbly-many decades later, in his cheesey footsteps.
His most noted work, Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste)- was published in December 1825-and has not been out of print since-wow! His essays on food analyzed the pleasure of food in what he considered a scientific manner-breaking down the elements of taste, step by step. I first heard his name while watching Iron Chef, Chairman Kaga always begins with this quote by Brillat Savarin, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Well, Mr. Brillat Savarin, if that is true, then I am cheese, my friend. Brillat Savarin also deeply loved cheese and stated, “A desert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.”
Brillat-Savarin is a soft brie-like cow cheese-triple cream- made from pasteurized milk in the Bourgogne area of France. It has at least 75% fat (I suspect I will not be any thinner when these 100 days are over, and I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I am making). It is produced all year round and comes in 12-13 cm wheels. Brillat Savarin is aged for one to two weeks. It is also available as a fresh cheese which has not been ripened at all-and I suspect that my little slice may be that cheese as the wrapper states “fresh rind, unripened.”One online source said the rule of thumb for this cheese is “the younger the better,” which leads me to ask-then-why in the world did we stick it back in the cave to create yesterdays hot mess?
My little chunk of Brillat Savarin-potentially the unripened version-looks like a little plop of cream cheese. I c
an’t see any rind whatsoever and it is perfectly white. It’s a pungent little cheese-I can smell it a foot away AND I have a head cold, so that’s significant. It smells like red wine to me-which is weird-I have no idea why.
The texture is delectable-it is like a cream cheese-no chewing required. It’s a little less “wet” that Pierre Robert which melted before it even reached your mouth, but is clearly buttery and melty. The flavour is quite lemony and salty-it’s like a lemon cheesecake where someone put in salt by mistake-instead of sugar. In fact, that’s EXACTLY what this tastes like-salty lemon cheesecake.There is no hint of nastiness, ammonia or rot in the least, it’s utterly and butterly benign. I quite like this cheese, and would definitely buy it to smear on something crusty if I were feeling indulgent-luckily, I often am! I recommend keeping this little darling out of the cave, we are all a lot happier that way.
Brillat Savarin, I give you a 4 out of 5 for restoring my faith in your kind-this includes a small deduction for tasting like a cheesecake error.