Brie à la Moutarde
At Fromagerie Ganot in Jouarre, to the east of Paris, fifth-generation affineur Stéphane Gay ages cheeses for three farms and one cooperative cheesemaking facility in the region. He specializes, among other cheeses, in AOC-certified Bries, including Brie de Meaux, Brie de Melun and several variations such as Coulommiers and Brie Noir. The practice of sending fresh cheeses to an affineur is historically common in this region, where the tough clay-filled soil made it difficult for every small farmer to dig out his own cheese cave. Above Stéphane's temperature and humidity-controlled caves, he runs a small Brie museum filled with old farming implements, where guests can learn about the history of cheesemaking in the region.
Right after salting, Stéphane slices the fresh version of what would otherwise become a Brie de Meaux in half and sandwiches in some local mustard. The cheese is then aged like a regular Brie de Meaux, a bloomy white rind developing as the paste becomes increasingly soft and creamy, sealing the mustard inside.
After 5-8 weeks of aging, the cheese has a thick white rind surrounding an oozing straw-colored layer. That in turn surrounds a fluffy, buttery layer containing the mustard, whose tanginess stands up well to the creaminess of the cheese.
Pair it with a red Burgundy wine.