Brillat Savarin is my most recent delectable discovery on this French cheese adventure of mine. It’s a specialty of both Burgundy and Normandy.
Made from cow’s milk, Brillat Savarin is a triple cream, soft-ripened cheese. The triple cream status is obtained by adding cream to whole milk to reach a 75% fat content, which means this is decadent stuff. This cheese was originally created in the 1930s by Henri Androuët, though it’s named for the epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
Since Brillat Savarin is produced in various regions throughout France, it’s designated as an IGP rather than an AOP. This basically means the cheese is classified in specific zones, but it’s ingredients can come from elsewhere.
How It’s Made
Brillat Savarin is typically made from pasteurized cow’s milk, which is uncommon in France. For pasteurization, the milk is heated to 160°F for 15-20 minutes to kill off any bacteria, molds, and yeast.
Next, the milk goes through a filtration process before coagulating into cheese curds. Then the curds are shredded, drained off of any remaining whey, salted, and milled. Cream is then added to take this cheese to triple cream status. It’s put into 4cm thick molds with a 4in diameter, then aged for three weeks under refrigeration, uncooked and unpressed. The outside forms a soft bloomy rind of white mold throughout the aging process.
Brillat Savarin is a lusciously creamy cheese. The soft rind is bright white, but the interior is a buttery cream color. This cheese has a rich texture that becomes even creamier when served at room temperature. As you get towards the rind, the texture is ever so slightly chalky. The cheese has mild earthy, grassy flavors with a bit of tang and butter, too. Every so often it’s just a touch piquant on the finish with a spiciness comparable to that of a radish.
With every bite of this cheese, I kept wishing I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The grassy, herbaceous, and grapefruit citrus notes would complement Brillat-Savarin perfectly. For a red, I’d reach for a Cabernet Franc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape , or Vacqueryas.