Sunday, October 05, 2014

Melun Fete son Brie

In the US I never thought I was much of a Brie fan.

But eating Brie where it's made is a delicious shock to the taste buds.

The first Saturday of every October, Melun, just 20 minutes east of Paris, celebrates it's Brie. The festival that takes over the town. Melun's shield design dates from the 15th century.

Last year I left empty handed. Not this time. The first Brie seller I came across, conveniently placed in front of a local fromager, immediately got my euros.

Soon as I turned a corner there was the whole fete don't you know.

Tent after tent offering Brie tastings, local honeys, rose nectars, Champagne. Plus a lunch menu at restaurant 'Maryland', every course soup-to-nuts embellished with Brie

No less then the head of the brotherhood (le Confrerie des Chevaliers du Brie de Melun) was cutting slices himself, wearing a Brie-like wheel of a hat.

Back in the cheese shop less auspicious hands cut up my quarter slice.

Bries from all the surrounding towns, Coulommiers, Meaux are on offer with subtle aromas of cream, butter, hazelnuts and made from raw cow's milk.

Cows always participate at the fete by the way. Glasses of their fresh milk are handed out on the spot.

Cows are pretty much everywhere in Melun.

Rose syrups from nearby Provins.

I was tempted again this year by the ready cooked chestnuts but 2 1/2 pounds is a lot of chestnuts for one person unless I have a chestnut party...

I loved the Champagne jeroboams including a set of glass flutes.

The Normans sacked Melun in 845. There's plenty of history lurking here.

A different view of the Seine from a different bridge. Melun is in district Seine-et-Marne.

Back in Paris I ran out to catch my first 'Nuits Blanches' at the as yet unopened musée Picasso.
When I got home I remembered my Brie left out on the counter. Runny, almost soupy, perfection on a slice of pain de Brie. There is absolutely nothing like eating French food bought at it's site of origin. Nothing compares. More Brie pictures on Flickr.

36 comments:

  1. And yesterday was such a nice day for being out! My landlord lives in Melun . . .

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    1. Yes it was a perfect day.
      You should have gone kim.
      Great fun!

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  2. Annabella11:20 AM

    Funny about buying the something or other when you see it.
    And hen finding tons more just a little bit further on. Happens all the time when you're traveling. Or else you refrain from buying at all and regret later..

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  3. Anonymous12:25 PM

    Melty brie and bread + wine + chocolate surely provides full sustenance. If a person had time she could paint that beautiful view of the Seine river from a bridge?

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    1. If a person wasn't running for the bus to get to the train to get back to Paris she could indeed paint the view of the Seine river from the bridge. It would help if the person had her paints with her as well surely..

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  4. So sweet your aquarelles..
    You are SO energetic.. Je t'applaudis!
    I love things like that festival..so charming..
    The brie..like fondue so yummy.

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    1. You described the Brie best.
      It is exactly like Fondue but not hot.
      I think I propbably did best to buy from the fromager in the end since it was so perfectly ripe.
      The others at the fete didn't appear to be ready-to-eat.

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  5. Your collage is perfect. Yummmmm.....pretty much sums the rest of this lovely post up - What a unique and wonderful little festival and picturesque town - and so close by! I shared this post with a milk lover who swooned at the thought of milk direct from a cow ... We saved the glass milk bottles obtained on a trip to Paris - One day he ventured out to get milk ...what a nice surprise that it was routinely sold in a glass bottle.

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    1. Thanks Geri!
      Would this be a milk and cookies lover.
      Or the milk stands alone?

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    2. Absolument cookies too...too many! Sorry - just saw this days later.

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  6. Its very effective that you used the pages of a journal to paint, indicating the date and day of the week. How clever.

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  7. So inspiring...(we don't get that ripe Brie here...too bad).

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  8. Good one! Love how the figure organizes the page

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  9. The opening shot is great, as always, & then the shots of the town & the cheese. But, my favorite shot is the canal, and your island at night!

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  10. Love fete days like this, & to able to eat Brie... goo-ey so delish. fabulous sketches especially the head of the brotherhood with his Brie style hat. the French really do things in style.

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  11. Maureen7:30 AM

    Why on earth does that poor cow have it's head pulled down with two short chains so that it cannot raise it's head any higher than the short chains? How cruel! Surely it could be tethered more humanely? Wonder how the owners would like to be held in that nasty position all day?

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    1. I wondered about that too.... ?! Seems not very animal-friendly!

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  12. What a fabulous excursion. I remember your trip from last year- can't believe that it's been a year already...I also remember our wonderful trip to Fontainbleu very fondly, and think of it often. That last shot made me most jealous- brie in a state of molten perfection! I'm sure it was fantastic.

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  13. Gooey heaven – I can relate to that! We had twice invited friends when we were in Switzerland a short while ago and I arrived with ‘shallots, wine, and (amongst other stuff like grape-seed-oil etc) various goats’ cheese, comté (a waste as our Gruyère surchoix is straight from heaven), some hard and strong cheeses, plus – bien sûr – a large (and luckily well packed) piece of Brie de Meaux and Bresse Bleu… (as well as others). They largely contributed to a nearly never ending feast of French food & wine…. Your ‘trip’, so well documented and beautifully presented, made my mouth water all over. Now a tiny slice of each of the above and some freshly boiled spuds from this season, some tomatoes from my garden, and a glass of wine – and I’m a happy chappy (girl)!
    Thank you

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  14. Love the sketch at the beginning---especially the cow. Do you think the cheeseheads in Wisconsin were inspired by the chapeau de Brie? LOL...DId you drink the fresh cow's milk? I like mine more processed---into cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, ice cream and whipped cream. Another beautiful day!

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  15. Gosh, I have to come back again... There is never any reason NOT to buy chestnuts - you can cook them with (red) cabbage & an apple (cut in small pieces) and a bit of either apple juice/cider/vinegar, as a soup, purée, vermicelles (I honestly don't know if they are known outside Switzerland, but again, pure delight and literally not more than a million kcal...!) - as a spread on your tartines etc. Go on, Carole, I know and YOU know you want them :)

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    1. Thanks for all the cooking tips Kiki!
      I'm sure I'll see them again soon. Pari Fermier is coming up in a week or so at Champertte

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  16. Yum. I love brie so much! Just delicious, and with that wonderful bread - in heaven. You are livin' the dream, Carol :) xo

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  17. Deborah11:06 AM

    Wow, that Brie looks delish. I have little shame when it comes to cheese and would have licked the paper wrapping clean after consuming the slice.

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    1. This stuff is trés riche Deborah fortunately.
      Gobbling not possible. Only a few bites at a time or severe 'crise de foie' awaits gobblers.

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  18. Margerete12:08 PM

    Thank you so much for this post. How lovely is little Melun! IMHO a brie, chestnut, bread, champagne party sounds like a great idea. Next year ? I'm in and will help share the cost. Can't let that huge pack of chestnuts just sit there at the stall now can we?? It's all calling my name.

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  19. Oh, what a lovely post! I could eat brie for every meal. Well, that is if would limit myself to just a small bite. Yum! This all looks delicious and what a fun experience. Envious of your French lifestyle. Glad you share these tidbits with your readers. Merci!

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  20. Janice C3:18 PM

    my mouth is watering! I want to borrow that fellow's wonderful hat and be a Brie for Halloween! Thank you Carol for a delicious post.

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  21. It all looks so marvelous - grand fete, delicious brie, French bread - beautiful!
    PS - I'm no longer automatically receiving PB.

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    Replies
    1. Can you email me Suki so I can check?
      Contact at top
      Thanks

      Delete
  22. Carol1:42 AM

    nothing like getting food from the source...thank you for the Brie tour.

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  23. Drooled all the way to end of post! You covered basic food groups...chocolat?? C'est bon!

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  24. LOVELY photos :-) NOW I am hungry...Love Coulombiers, especially farm direct!!! You could have made des marrons glacé with all those peeled chestnuts. The good ones are soooooo expensive at Christmas time :-)

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  25. Just got back from Europe, would have loved to have gone. Thanks for sharing the event and all your beautiful photos! Maybe next year!
    Jody

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  26. Makes me want to go back to Paris. Maybe I'll make that side trip from Madrid in April. Love your sharing.

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  27. No doubt about it. This is MY kind of festival. I am ready to pack up and head over and brie to the max!

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