A bit about Brie

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I’ve been in France all week … well, okay, in my mind … and I know that’s not the same as actually being there in person. But almost … really … I’ve been working on my next novel for several hours every day and my characters are in France so of course I’m right with them.

We’ve been driving the winding backroads of the Luberon region in Provence,

hiking the hills, inhaling the aromatic fragrances of lavender, rosemary,thyme,

exploring the enticing warrens of ancient laneways in picturesque villages,

drinking perfectly chilled rosé

and, of course, enjoying the most amazingly delicious gastronomic interludes (i.e. eating – but that word just doesn’t cut it in France).

My DH kept encouraging me to take a break but I simply didn’t want to leave France. When I finally did surface to acknowledge I have another life and do some grocery shopping this afternoon, I had only one thing on my mind. BRIE!

There happens to be, what my friend Natalie Hartford would describe as an AHHHsomely, überlicious, epicurean emporium in our neighbourhood called The Cheese Boutique. Don’t let the name fool you, this place is magic (and will be the subject of a later post). If you ever want to feel like you have stepped into a shop in France, it’s right here. After immersing myself in all things Français this week, I couldn’t stop thinking about having a perfect slice – or two – of Brie.

I was rewarded. The rosé is chilling and as soon as I finish this post, I’m actually going to have a conversation with my DH and we will eat Brie. I’ve been kind of *absent* this week.

Here are a few facts you might find interesting:

Legend has it that in the eighth century, French Emperor Charlemagne first tasted this cheese at a monastery in Reuil-en-Brie and fell instantly in love with its creamy, rich flavor. The favorites of kings eventually become favorites of the people. Louis XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie. Hmm – well it makes for a good story.

This soft cow’s cheese was originally referred to as the “King’s Cheese” but after the French Revolution any reference to “the king” was a major non-non so Brie was called the “King of Cheeses”.

Legitimate Brie must be made in the Seine-et-Marne area south of Paris, but many countries now commercially manufacture a similar cheese which is sold as Brie. For the best taste, look for the French label.
Of the 400+ kinds of cheese made in France, Brie is considered the most popular. In fact, I mentioned in an earlier post that the fromagier extraordinaire we got to know in Antibes told us it was obigatory to serve Brie after a meal if you have French guests. Obligatoire!
Make sure you always serve Brie at least at room temperature. Here’s a website with more recipes for making appetizers with Brie than I ever imagined possible. Bon appetit!
Do you get totally caught up in projects and lose track of time and everything else? I’m betting every writer is raising his or her hand right now, shouting “Guilty!”  There are a lot of excellent blogs offering us good advice on the subject. Here’s a great article on Zenhabits.net that works for everyone.
For the finest in writing tips, drop in on Kristen Lamb, Jenny Hansen, Jane Friedman, for starters. As always, I highly recommend the blogs listed down the right side of this page for a wonderful variety of topics, insights and personalities!

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website www.patriciasandsauthor.com She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

34 thoughts on “A bit about Brie

  1. I don’t just like this post, I love it. Ahhh, Brie. I’ve had a secret love affair with Brie for as long as I can remember. My daughter and I are the two cheese lovers in the family and we’ll go out of our way to find good cheese places around town. I wish I had a store like you do! Then again, my thighs are happy I don’t. There used to be a sweet place down in the village and they sold this amazing drunken goat cheese. Dang, now I want some cheese!

    Love the pictures! Those sunflowers – are they the same ones I see each year during the Tour de France? What an enchanting area to explore.

    Happy Writing!

    1. Thanks Tameri. I am having such a good time with the story right now but in that setting, who wouldn’t? You and your daughter will enjoy some of the recipes I linked to and from the sound of it, you could probably add a few of your own!

  2. Thank you for the uberliciously lovely shout out Patricia. Soooo nice!
    The pictures…the brie…the wine! Love it! Ahhmazing! Brie is one of my favs. I enjoyed some on crusty bread with pasta last night and there is nothing like a baked brie with cranberries, pecans ans maple syrup to send your taste buds into climatic joy! LOL!
    Have I mentioned, I love brie! LOL! FAB post darlin’!!

    1. Mmmmm – your comment made me hungry for baked brie and it’s only breakfast time! When it comes to anything uberlicious who else would i think of? That word defines you!

  3. Patricia,
    My hubbie and I just loved your post. We were supposed to go to France for my honeymoon. However, I was married one month after September 11th and they were telling Americans no to go to foreign countries unless they were prepared not to speak English. We decided it was safer to cancel our trip. We’ve never made it there, but your imagination and experiences help me feel like I have.

  4. I love your subtle sense of humour. I’m still chuckling. Loved the photos too. I’ve seen those lavender fields and could almost smell that lovely aroma again. Thanks for the trip!

  5. Looking forward to that future post on Cheese Boutique. I’m suggesting to make it ‘extra’ interesting that if you’d like to contact me I can offer a personalized tour of our vault? I know a Parmigiano-Reggiano or two that may want to take umbrage with the title ‘King of Cheese’.
    Good read. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    1. Hey Alex – thanks for dropping by! I will definitely contact you … probably in a month or two. As you can tell, I LOVE your store and have shopped there for years! I even mentioned it in novel I’m working on at the moment!

  6. I’m excited about your novel taking place in France! I love your pictures, especially the lavender fields…would love to smell that fragrance. I think I’ve only had Brie once and don’t quite remember it. Nat’s mention of baked Brie with cranberries, pecans and maple syrup sounds delicious! I’ll have to find a store that sells great Brie! Thanks, Patricia!

  7. Evocative! Brings back memories of so many wonderful holidays in France over the years with my family. Thank you for ‘taking me back’ there Patricia – especially when it’s freezing here!

    1. It’s not too warm there at the moment either, from what I hear! We’re having a milder winter in Toronto … bizarre! Put some logs on the fire and drink lots of hot toddies!

  8. OMG Patricia you won’t believe what an important role brie has in one of my next projects! Spooky! This was a brilliant piece and had me right there in France with you! Ooo I wish I was there right now – wine and cheese YUM!! Can’t wait to read it!

  9. I think I have to raise both hands. My husband tells me that when I’m writing a new manuscript, I ignore him completely. Sorry, honey! I can’t help myself. My characters are very demanding. Is there a support group for this? I may need one.

  10. Would love to visit Provence, and drink that rose. (And how, I wonder, without putting one’s mouth directly on the glass and slurping a bit first, would one do that without spilling?)

    However, the lure of Brie escapes me. I’ve tried it several times, plain, on different substances, and… the rest of you may have my share of Brie, in perpetuity.

    Love to visit those lavender fields though, and stroll the cafes.

    1. LOL! So true about that glass of rosé. There is a fab restaurant in Les Tourrettes where the owner believes in filling your glass that full. A delicate slurp is indeed necessary! Perhaps you just haven’t met the right piece of Brie yet … don’t give up.

  11. My fav cheese and wine, and lavender which I love, and fab pictures as well. Have never been to France. Think I might enjoy after reading this. Great post. Makes me think summer not really too far away. And you’ve just reminded me of a recipe for brie. Now I know what to do for lunch. Thank you Patricia. X

  12. Thank you for the insiders’ character walk. Those are nice visuals and a good idea to share as you write and after publication. I wish I, at least, had a minor role in your book to go to Paris too. I’ve been twice and loved it.

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