It’s a question I get asked a lot – so here is the low-down in simple terms…
Sometimes a Brie can have a higher fat content if is a double or a triple cream brie. That is where there is an increase of milk solids in dry matter – which is achieved by pouring cream into the milk before making the cheese.
A single cream brie and camembert (which are the most common varieties) have the same milk/fat content.
The main differences between brie and camembert go back in history.
Champagne is made in Champagne – and as we know is now an appellation origin controlled license – called AOC Brie is a town in Champagne – and the cheese make there uses the milk of Brie in the climate of Brie.
Camembert is a town in Normandy – and the cheese made there uses the milk of Camembert in the climate of Camembert The words Brie and Camembert by themselves are not AOC names. Instead, words like Brie de Meaux AOC is the licensed word.
Brie (and the use of surface white moulds) was developed by Monks living in Brie – they had to fast from meat 100 days of the year and so they developed an earthy protein substitute. It was being made 1000 years before Camembert was created.
The monks had to flee religious persecution in Brie and ended up in Camembert where they taught a local lady who sheltered them (called Marie Harel) how to make Camembert
Brie was originally the size of a big pizza – possibly 40cm in diameter Camembert was made the size of a saucer – possibly 10cm in diameter The size effects the make and the ripening process quite dramatically, even though the principles are the same
In my opinion, Brie can get quite earthy and mushroomy; whereas Camembert can get Cauliflower/Cabbage flavours through it. So think mushroom and cheese, or cauliflower and cheese.
In Australia, it’s up to each individual cheesemaker to create the difference between these cheeses. A bit like winemakers all make chardonnay, but each winemaker determines how they will make it using chardonnay grapes.
In terms of what is more delicious…well it really comes down to how ripe each cheese in, what the season is doing and your personal palate. Either way – you’re on to a good wicket!