Keith’s anti-firebagger rant includes an obligatory reference (my italics):
“….. the brie cheese-eating, Ph.D.-holding, Cornel West-worshiping, shrill blog-writing and sanctimony-cultivating segments of the Democratic Party. ”
It’s an odd meme. When the EU harmonised rules of origin on food in 1992, it extended the Appellation Contrôlée system originally designed for French wine to the myriad varieties of cheese, sausage, and so on. Some cheeses like Roquefort and Stilton had stayed closely linked to specific places, and comfortably secured their PDO appellations, while others like Cheddar have spread all over the world and lost out as generics. Database here. Camembert and Brie were hard cases. Camembert made the cut to “PDO” status, and you can’t make it now outside Normandy, but Brie and Emmenthal did not. So anybody can make a wheel of soft cheese and call it Brie.
The popular association of Brie with snobbery is most peculiar. Brie and Cheddar are essentially undistinguished middle-class mass-market cheeses. The equivalent in cars would be a Ford Escort in Britain or Toyota Camry in the USA.
A real cheese snob will of course not seek out not just any cheddar, but English “West Country farmhouse cheddar” (PDO) and “Brie de Meaux” (PDO), to go with the sun-dried tomatoes and Arbequina olive-oil. The local recommendation of champagne (PDO) to drink with Brie makes no sense to me. A nice Beaujolais-Villages from Chiroubles or Saint-Amour, perhaps?
The snag for Beltway cocktail party-givers is that Brie de Meaux is a raw milk cheese, and more or less illegal in the USA. Smuggling it in and taking your chance on the
staphylocci staphylococci (grovel to commenter ShadowFox) are, I would have thought, risks for Real Men. A French Chuck Norris would be defending his God-given right to eat unpasteurised cheese from the Eurocops, barricaded in his farmhouse with six cows and a shotgun.
The minimum fat content of Brie de Meaux and Camembert is 45%, as bad for your heart as a Real Man’s double cheeseburger and fries.