Brie de Melun
Brie de Melun and the more famous Brie de Meaux, are both produced in the region of northern France known as Ile de France. However, whereas Brie de Meaux posseses refined flavors and a soft texture, Brie de Melun is smaller in size and tends to be a more robust cheese, often quite salty and with a firmer texture. The reason for these differences lies in the way each is made. Production of Brie de Meaux is relatively fast (about 30 minutes) because the milk is coagulated with the addition of rennet. On the other hand, Brie de Melun is made using lactic fermentation, a process whereby milk is allowed to ripen for a period of approximately 18 hours, at which point is has formed a gel-like curd. Wheels of Brie de Melun are also matured for a minimum of four weeks and often up to seven or eight - considerably longer than Brie de Meaux which is often released after about three weeks.
Aromas of Brie de Melun are slightly musty and straw-like. The texture is semi-firm and while still classified as a mold-ripened cheese, the exterior rind has a tendency to be slightly dry - especially in older wheels.
As mentioned above, flavors are robustly lactic and slightly salty, with a gentle barnyard finish and subtle sour notes. The best cheeses are often made between June and October.
Brie de Melun pairs well with red Burgundy, Chilean Merlot or a southern French Syrah.