product review

To Heck With Canadian Brie.

well, not all of it, but come on. the brie canadien they have on sale at PA right now is not even worth it. it’s not good. i mean, discount brie, okay, but i’m not expecting the sublime, i’m expecting…adequate.

particularly compared to the triple crème chevalier they had on sale last week for more or less the same price (i’d like to thank the good people at google translate for rendering “Chevalier, c’est 5 fromages à savourer” [“Chevalier: 5 cheeses for you to enjoy,” more or less] as “Knight is 5 to enjoy cheese“). great for the brie/red anjou (pear)/arugula sandwiches i fell in love with, although i’ve been too lazy to rinse my arugula, so as often as not they taste like brie, pear and driveway sandwiches, but that i can at least blame myself for.

if you bother to look into it, there’s all sorts of controversy over whether it’s even possible to get acceptable brie or camembert in Canada, as the laws surrounding the import, manufacture and sale of unpasteurized dairy products effectively prohibit the consumption of traditionally made brie/camembert within the time frame in which they are actually considered good. this is part of larger pasteurization debates which rage the food and civil rights world over. the long and short of which, as it relates to fine French cheeses, is as follows:

  • the Canada allows the import of unpasteurized dairy products so long as they are aged longer than 60 days before being sold to consumers, in order that potentially harmful bacteria have the time to die out
  • traditionally produced (ie: unpasteurized) brie and camembert are considered best enjoyed at the age of around 30 days, and have a very narrow window of absolute deliciousness
  • pasteurized versions of so called “fresh milk” cheeses taste markedly different (a difference we certainly remarked when in France, eating 3€ wheels of le rustique for breakfast every day, yet another yawning dearth that trip has left carved in my soul, if you’ll forgive the mixing of metaphors. souls don’t exist, so i feel that it’s permissible) from their unpasteurized antecedents (corollaries?), and so of course cheeseheads all over North America feel like the government is perpetually shooting their dog
  • Quebec, however, in its longstanding dedication to keeping the king of England out of our face, has amended the rules surrounding the sale of unpasteurized cheeses within it bounds, so long as they are subject to a series of stringent safety guidelines. good on ’em.

that said, i don’t know how easy it is to find raw milk cheeses hereabouts, but the abovementioned two, being imports, are pasteurized. so it goes, right?

wait, what was the point? oh, i guess “canadien” is just code for mediocre in this case. go figure.


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