"When you have the goods, you darn well have the right to flaunt them."-Mae West (not really but it sounds right).
Brie de Meaux Rouzaire is the best brie available here to our knowledge. It defies category in that its pungent earthiness indicates an unpasteurised, raw milk product but if you go to www.fromagerierouzaire.com, the Rouzaires go to great length to show how much care is taken to meet every international food preparation standard and yes, the cheese is pasteurised. They maintain traceable records of every process from the release of the product to the marketplace back to the origin of the raw materials. For instance the Rouzaires buy milk from twenty neighboring farmers. All milk must be from cows that feed only upon on-site grown hay and other nutrients, then the milk is purchased and used immediately in cheesemaking.
Meaux is located outside Paris and has its cheesemaking origins in the 8th century. It received its AOC (see January 21st blog) in 1980. The Rouzaires belong to the trade group, the Agricultural Pollution Control Organization. Other arcane trade information is available at the website listed above. Here are a couple of tidbits though: Twenty-five liters of milk go into each wheel of brie and "pointing the brie" is the taking of the first cut from a wedge out of the interior tip, theoretically the best piece in a wedge, and a serious social faux pas!
Get your Superbowl provisions here, of course, and mention this blog for a 20% discount on cheese!