What's the Difference Between Brie and Camembert?

What's the Difference Between Brie and Camembert?

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Kelli Foster
Feb 24, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

If you love creamy, earthy French cheese with a bloomy rind, you're probably familiar with Brie and Camembert. Spread over a piece of crusty baguette these fragrant cheeses are delicious in the most funky of ways.

They have quite a lot in common, but do you know what sets them apart?

Brie and Camembert look similar, are often served in similar ways, and even come from a similar recipe, yet there are subtle differences that set these two cheeses apart. Here's what you need to know about them.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Brie vs. Camembert

History & Origin

While there's no official record, it's believed that Brie has been around longer than Camembert. And, while both cheeses originate in France, Brie hails from Ile-de-France, and is also the name of a region there. Camembert is made in Normandy, in the northwest of France.

Production

Both Brie and Camembert are cow's milk cheeses, though one has a higher fat content. Do you know which one? Cream is added to Brie (though not to Camembert), giving it a higher milk fat content, and a creamier texture. You can also find triple-cream Brie which are exceptionally smooth, creamy and absolutely delicious.

Size

This is one area where these two cheeses really stand apart. Until shopping for both of them at the same time I never really noticed it before. Maybe you haven't either. Brie is often sold by the slice, a wedge of the larger wheel, while Camembert is sold as a whole wheel. The reason for this is size. Traditionally, a wheel of Brie measures between 9 and 17 inches in diameter, while Camembert is a fraction of that at just 5 inches across. However, many grocery stores now carry "baby Brie", which is similar in size to Camembert — only sparking further confusion between these two soft cheeses.

Taste

The flavor profiles of Brie and Camembert are quite similar. Both are typically described as tasting earthy, nutty, fruity, grassy, and even mushroomy. The variations in taste are subtle , but Brie is milder with a creamy, buttery taste, while Camembert has a deeper, more earthy and intense flavor and aroma.

Do you have a preference between Brie and Camembert?

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