Monday, June 14, 2010

To Brie or Not to Brie

I wasn't sure about Brie. Over the years, all the Brie I'd had was tough-rinded or too runny. Until I started researching cheeses for The Long Quiche Goodbye, I didn't know cheese could be too young or too old. It was in the store. I bought it. I tasted it. I decided.

Well, guess what? Cheese can be too young and/or too old and it doesn't taste as good. {For years, I thought Brie tasted like cardboard.}

So I decided I really wanted to give Brie another chance. It is, after all, the "king of cheeses." It won a contest in 1814. Check out my June 15 newsletter for more info on that.

So, my taste! I bought a Supreme Brie, which is a double cream cheese. Double...creamy. Delicious. I let the Brie get to room temperature (which takes about an hour) and then I made a yummy chutney--inspired by one of my favorite sauces to drizzle on cheese--Pickapeppa. [It's not exactly the same. I didn't steal the recipe. But it tasted GOOD! You'll need a spoon to scoop it onto a cracker or bread. Then top it off with the cheese.]

By the way, according to Culture Magazine -- which I LOVE!!!!! -- here's the scoop on knowing how ripe is too ripe for bloomy and washed-rind cheeses. [I hope Culture won't mind that I copied and pasted, but it's such a well written piece! Click the magazine's link to learn more.]

"Knowing what to look for when selecting cheese will help you pick out that perfectly ripe piece. When examining bloomy and washed-rind cheeses, look at the cream line. This translucent layer just below the rind signals where the bacteria on the surface have begun to break down the proteins in the paste—from the outside toward the center. This layer is softer and usually more assertive than the middle and adds a welcome variation in flavor and texture from the rind and center paste. But here’s the important thing: the wider the cream line, the riper the cheese. Left to age, the cream line would overtake the smooth, compact interior, leaving a core that is more liquid than paste." [Cheesemonger, Nathan Raskopf]

I strive to know more about cheese. I hope you will, too!


Mango Chutney and Brie

½ yellow onion, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon cloves

2 slices mango, chopped
½ tomato chopped fine
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
4 ounce wedge of Triple Cream Brie * brought to room temperature
8-10 crackers or crisp bread

Cook chopped onion in oil until wilted. Add brown sugar, vinegar, thyme, cloves. Cook one minute. Remove from heat. Toss in mango, basil and tomatoes and toss until combined.
Set on a plate.
Adorn wth a wedge of brie and crackers or slices of crisp bread.
Use a spoon to put chutney on crackers. Add slice of cheese. Yum!

And now for other news...

"You Be The Sleuth" Contest!

My first book in A Cheese Shop Mystery series, The Long Quiche Goodbye, debuts July 6. [Three weeks. Just three weeks. I'm so excited... can you see me doing the Snoopy dance?]

To celebrate its release, I'm running a contest from June 9 to July 6! You be the sleuth! Track down the recipe on my website that includes eggs, Edam, and white pepper. Enter your answer by clicking on this link: CONTEST ENTRY FORM.

One of you will win a $25 gift certificate at your favorite bookstore. Two of you will win signed copies of The Long Quiche Goodbye. Three of you will win a Long Quiche Goodbye magnet. You can ask friends for help. Spread the word and share the fun. And while you're there, consider pre-ordering a book on My booksellers page.

Here is the link to my website to help get you started. Have fun.

[Note: you might wonder about all the contests. Why, why, why? Well, a lot of publishing is about buzz. Those pre-order and first week sales matter to the publisher. They decide whether the series is a hit or not based on those numbers. So we run contests to help our fans spread the word. Tell a friend.]

Oh, and check back on the launch date, July 6. I'm having a Long Quiche Goodbye VIRTUAL PARTY. It'll be fun!


  1. When I encounter a really good Brie, I want to roll in it like a dog (but that would be a waste, so I'll just slather it on French bread and make happy humming noises while I eat it).

    My former stepmother-from-hell had a good recipe for a warm dish that combined Brie and diced tomatoes (and basil?), but no way do I plan to talk to her again.

  2. I love chutney and mangos and brie. This sounds wonderful. In fact, your chutney sounds like it would be great with other dishes, too.

    My very favorite time to eat brie (I know, bad, bad, Krista) is when I get it home from the grocery store. It's really at room temperature then and creamy and full of flavor. Yum. It's a reward for shopping. Yeah, that's what it is, a reward! ; )

    ~ Krista

  3. I love mangoes and I *really* love brie! I've had bad brie before, but wasn't sure what to look for. Thanks for giving us tips for the cheese store, Avery!

  4. Krista, you're not bad to have it when you get home from the grocery. It is a reward and sometimes grocery shopping can make one tired and cranky. A bite of Brie can solve that! And Sheila...rolling in it? I bet it would make a good facial mask. Has just the right consistency. About your SFH, not sure I can address that, but perhaps she could find her way into one of your novels? Cue: spooky music.


  5. Wow, Avery, I just love how much I'm learning about cheese! I never knew half of this and it's all great knowledge! Thank you so much. You're just whetting my appetite for your book!


  6. I've never had brie...I need to attend a cheese tasting event.

  7. Dru, it's never too late to have your own cheese tasting event! Put a cow's milk cheese, sheep's milk cheese and goat cheese on a platter. Add a few crackers. Have some honey and/or olives around, and get started. A local cheese shop should be able to give you some good suggestions and it there isn't a cheese shop, just take a chance at your local market, choose three, and taste. It's quite eye-opening the variety of flavors. Enjoy!

  8. Wonderful post -- love the recipe, tips, and links, too. Brie is such a wickedly good treat. The hardest part for me is taking it out of the fridge and *waiting* for it to come to room temperature to eat!

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. Avery, what a fabulous post. I am a cheese lover
    (esp brie) but I didn't know any of that! Thanks
    so much for sharing your knowledge!

  10. I'm so glad you're enjoy the "history" side of Brie. I've learned so much since I started writing this series. So much fun and tasty, too. Lucky me.

  11. I do love Brie and thanks to you, Avery, I'll love it even more. Terrific recipe too, but they always are.

  12. Oh, thanks, MJ. So glad you came to visit.