Brie versus camembert: Look like a connoisseur with this cheat sheet

Cheese
From flavour to texture, here's everything you need to know about Brie and Camembert cheese. Source: Getty

Crazy for cheese? If you love creamy French cheeses, you’re probably a fan of brie and camembert. Gooey and delicious, both cheeses have a lot in common, but do you know what sets them apart?

While both are made from cow’s milk, are soft-ripening and have a white, bloomy rind, brie and camembert have a few difference in their flavour and texture. We chatted with deli attendant Owen Hughes, from Brisbane, Australia, to find out what they were and how to make the most of them. Read on to surprise friends with your knowledge of fine cheeses at the next party!

Brie is higher in fat and creamier in texture than camembert, Owen says. That’s because during the cheese-making process, cream is added to brie, but not to camembert. But brie still isn’t the creamiest cheese – double brie and triple cream brie are even creamier 

Brie tends to have a whitish inside, while camembert has a yellow colour, and if ripe, it will also have a runny inside. As for flavour, brie has a lighter, buttery flavour with a salty finish, unlike camembert, which has a more intense earthy flavour. 

The best part about eating cheese is pairing it with wine, and brie tends to pair well with a bubbly glass of champagne. “For a creamy brie you want to cut the high creamy/fat content of the cheese, while also resetting the palate this can be done with a nice crisp clean bubbles,” Owen explains.

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Camembert, on the other hand, works better with a light red wine, he says, explaining that “due to it sometimes being tart, you want to pair it with sweet fruit wines and reds that are light”.

Most of us probably purchase camembert and open it straight away, but it actually tastes better if it’s been sitting for a few weeks. Brie, however, is fine to eat straight away because it’s not as mature a cheese.

If you’re on the hunt for a new cheese or want to try something different at your next family get-together, nowadays most cities have at least one fromagerie that you can visit to both try and buy. If you’re not sure where to go, some of the big Australian names include Milk the Cow (Melbourne), New Farm Deli (Brisbane), The Stinking Bishops (Sydney), The Smelly Cheese Shop (Adelaide), The Fromage Artisans (Perth), Deli Planet (Canberra), Gourmet Deli (Darwin) and The Italian Pantry (Hobart). 

“The best way of learning about new cheeses is trying them,” Owen reckons. He advises grabbing a nice baguette or crackers as a simple base and digging in, which sounds like an instruction most people would be happy to follow!

Did you know the difference between brie and camembert? What’s your favourite cheese?