Brie vs. Camembert

Both are cheese. Both are round, mild and creamy. They are usually next to each other at the supermarket or cheese stall. Camembert and Brie both sound Frenchy, and in fact both are French. So… um like what is the difference?

Honestly, previous to researching this post I could not tell them apart on a cheese board. So here I am ready to present the relevant information to your life.


For the dieter.

Eat Camembert over brie!

Theoretically extra cream is added to the Brie as part of the cheese making process (hence your double, or even triple cream brie options). Whereas with Camembert, no extra cream (or calories!) are added. Although I must warn you, when I compared the kilojoule content of one serving of Brie to one serving of Camembert they were identical. This is New Zealand though not France, so perhaps we decided to make these cheeses non-traditionally (we’ve done it with wine, so why not cheese?).


For the lovers and haters.

Lovers: I recommend an oozing Camembert.

Haters: I don’t know why you are reading this, but regardless I recommend trying a delicate Brie.

Why? Well, Camembert is made using several more lactic acid starters than Brie, this results in a slightly stronger flavour.

Brie can be described as creamy, light, nutty and fruity. Camembert is more on the earthy, mushroomy side.

Camembert is also designed to be left to ripen, this intensifies the earthy, creamy taste and creates an oozy melted centre as the bacteria breaks down the milk solids in the cream (you knew cheese was basically fermented milk with fungi right?).

If you live in a westernized country, you will need to leave your Camembert a few extra days (or weeks) to achieve this effect. We tend to pasteurize our cheese and milk (it knocks bacteria back a bit, keeping us healthy), in this case we actually wanted the bacteria – so ripening can take a bit longer.

If you live in France, your Camembert will probably be ready to eat as soon as you buy it.


For those wanting to impress.

I would serve up a Brie. Plenty is known about the origins of Brie, making for an impressive and long-winded monologue at your next dinner party. Give the history of Brie de Meaux a read, and perhaps consider a puppet show? Each guest can have his or her own lines and character in this thrilling saga.

And for heavens sake please serve the cheese with bread and not crackers.