My vocation for wine goes hand in hand with my curiosity for cheese. I love creating easy or unusual combinations and enjoy each other's company. A day can go well or badly, but if you end it with wine and cheese, I am sure it will have a delicious ending in any case. That is why today I want to introduce you to the best cheese in the worldat least to my taste: the Brillat-Savarin PGI in truffle version (with truffle). I combined it with the Champagne Eric Isselée Grande Sélection Brut which I must say has also pleasantly surprised me with its excellent value for money. Together they enhance each other to perfection and you really feel like you are tasting a piece of heaven! So I sent half a cheese to my mum too, I can't wait to hear what she says!
'Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are' Is there anyone who does not know this phrase? Yet few know that it was actually Anthelme Brillat-Savarin – a French politician and gastronome lived between 1755 and 1826 - to coin it. A law graduate in the family tradition, he spent his life with political appointments from Constituent Assembly deputy to Court of Cassation councillor and wrote numerous treatises on the subject. Yet his figure and the notoriety that revolves around it is linked to a single rambling and aphoristic book: The Physiology of Taste. A milestone in gastronomic culture, it was prefaced by none other than Honoré de Balzac: "He writes with love, his word is as solemn as a bishop's mass". Physiology of taste or meditations on transcendent gastronomy He amiably mixes science, philosophy, history, advice and personal memories and becomes an emblem of the new bourgeois cuisine.
"The pleasure of the table is of all ages, of all conditions, of all countries and of all days; it can associate itself with all other pleasures and remains last to console us for their loss".
Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1755-1826)
In 2020, one of my food and wine history professors, Alex Ravelli Sorini, together with gastronomic journalist Susanna Cutini, wrote a version purged of the prissiness of the time that I can't wait to read! The first time I attended a lecture by Alex Ravelli Sorini I thought, "That's it, I want to be called an oenogastronomer in life: I've just found my role in the world!"
Without digressing too much, I think naming this cheese-masterpiece after Brillat-Savarin is the best of dedications.
For those who say Instagram doesn't work, I discovered the existence of this cheese by following the profile of @Amaury.Fromager who, on 13 January, published this post that made me enjoy myself with my eyes. Within three minutes I had already written to him: 'when will you send me that treat? And along with that came many others, but more about those later! Now let's concentrate on this French cheese unbelievable! He writes Amaury Jimenez:
This cow's cheese with a flowered rind was created in 1930 by Henri Androuët, the first Parisian fromager, as a tribute to the famous French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826). Described as the 'foie gras des fromages', Brillat-Savarin PGI was created at a time when fat was considered noble, nutritious and beneficial. 🌝
As you can guess from the picture (truffle version), this cheese is delicate, creamy and rich with an addition of crème fraîche. Its paste has flavours of hazelnut, cream and butter while its rind gives it a mushroom scent. 🍄
Is it any coincidence that my two favourite foods are foie gras and this cheese?
This cheese was created in 1870 in Forges-les-Eaux under the name Excelsior e Délice des gourmets. [That's what those boring Latin studies were for! Excelsior! means the highest, the highest excellence. Combined with the rest of the sentence in French, the translation is the highest excellence and gourmet's delight. I absolutely agree!]. As Amaury writes, it was only in 1930 that it took its current name thanks to the cheesemaker Henri Androuët. Since 2017, it has become a PGI product, i.e. Protected Geographical Indication. A soft cheese with a flowered rind 'triple cream' produced in Burgundy that contains a very high fat content and therefore calls for a bubbly accompanimentbut not just any bubble! Especially in its truffle version, it has really intense notes that combine with a slightly acidic finish.
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The one I got to know thanks to Amaury is from the producer Maurice Girard from Torcy and does not actually contain that much fat: 34g per 100g of product. That's why the calorie intake is gluttony-proof: 346 kcal per 100g. It also contains 3% of summer truffle.
Laiterie Fromagerie Girard was founded in 1910 but it was only with his grandson Maurice that it became a gastronomic temple. Maurice si diploma at the Ecole Laitière de Mamirolle and tried to revive the family business after the very difficult period of the war. Brillat-Savarin PGI was created in 1981 by his son Patrickalso a dairyman who studied at the same school as his father.
Their Brillat-Savarin PGI is the only one with thermised milk, i.e. heated as little as possible so as not to lose all the characteristics provided by the raw milk. The Brillat-Savarin milk is that collected from their 5 farmers in the region, and the cream they add comes from skimming the same milk, (supplemented, if necessary, with cream from neighbouring dairies that meet the special specifications for cream reserved for Brillat-Savarin). La processing è entirely manualladle moulding, salting, turning, refining and packaging.
This cheese is so good that I have already told Amaury that I want to subscribe: once a month I will order a 500g wheel and always enjoy it with a different bubble!
And now let's talk about his travelling companion, the Champagne from Eric Isselée, an 8-hectare estate in the heart of Cramant. Cramant is located at the northern end of the 'Cotes des Blancs', only 5 km from Epernay, with a spectacular view of the villages of Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil. The cellar was dug by hand by Eric's father, through constant work in the evenings, after the hard work in the vineyard. Even today, candles are still used for lightingjust like back then, creating a very atmospheric atmosphere. Eric runs the company together with his wife Carole and still makes the traditional remuage rotating about 800 bottles a day by hand.
La Grande Sélectione Brutwhich is processed with the 50% from chardonnay grapes and the 50% from pinot noir grapes, has a beautiful deep straw colour and intense, ripe aromas of that style of champagne that I am sure you have realised by now that I love, without giving up a great freshness and to a good tastiness. Its intense butter and hazelnut notes are in perfect harmony with those of the Brillat-Savarin PGI, which it enhances with its fine effervescence. It lingers well in the mouth and this characteristic is also crucial for a successful pairing.
I brought Champagne and Burgundy to my table with great pleasure... and I look forward to repeating it!
Thanks to Amaury Fromager and Bevo.it for the great experience! 😍
As always, I remind you that you can scroll down the page to leave me a comment! Have you ever tasted this cheese or this Champagne?
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