Brin d’Amour, also known as ‘Fleur du Maquis,’ is a semi-soft artisan cheese hailing from the scenic island of Corsica in France. This delightful cheese, lovingly crafted from the milk of local Lacaune ewes, is renowned for its creamy, firm, and moist texture.
What sets Brin d’Amour apart is its unique preparation process. The cheese is uncooked and unpressed, necessitating a maturing period of at least a month. But the real magic happens when the cheese’s outer rind is coated with aromatic herbs native to the Corsican ‘maquis’, or scrubland, such as rosemary, thyme, and juniper berries. This imparts an original and unmistakable flavor to the cheese, with hints of citrus and a mild yet complex taste profile.
Quick Facts About Brin d’Amour
|Made From||Sheep’s milk|
|Cheese Type||Semi-soft, artisanal|
|Taste||Nutty, tangy with herbal undertones|
|Texture||Smooth and creamy|
|Rind||Covered in herbs, usually rosemary and thyme|
|Aging Time||At least 3 months|
|Also Known As||“Fleur du Maquis“, meaning flower of the scrubland|
|Pairings||Light to medium-bodied red wines, crusty bread, and fig jam|
|Production Season||Primarily in spring and summer|
|Shelf Life||Up to 8 weeks when properly stored|
|Nutrition||High in protein and calcium, but also high in fat|
|Culinary Uses||Great in salads, on cheese boards, or melted over potatoes|
|Unique Feature||The rind is rubbed with olive oil and covered in local Corsican herbs|
|Storage||Keep it wrapped in waxed paper, and store in the warmest part of the refrigerator|
What is Brin d’Amour?
Brin d’Amour, a name that translates to ‘sprig of love’, is a cheese that seduces not just with its unique flavors but also with its romantic allure. This semi-soft artisanal cheese hails from the picturesque island of Corsica in France, and it’s a testament to the region’s rich culinary heritage.
Made from the milk of local Lacaune ewes, Brin d’Amour boasts a creamy texture and flavors that range from mild to distinctly nutty. But what truly sets this cheese apart is its rind. Coated in the aromatic herbs of Corsica’s ‘maquis’, or scrubland, the rind of Brin d’Amour is a sensory delight. The ‘maquis’ of Corsica consists of dense evergreen shrubs and herbs, including rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries, and thyme, which are applied during production to enhance the natural flavors.
Also known as Fleur du Maquis, or ‘flower of the Maquis’, this sheep’s milk cheese is an ode to the fragrant Corsican scrubland from which it borrows its flavors. The cheese is uncooked and unpressed, requiring a maturing period of at least a month. Despite its strong aroma of rosemary and thyme, the flavor of Brin d’Amour is beautifully balanced by the slight sourness from the sheep’s milk.
Weighing about 700 grams per wheel, Brin d’Amour is more than just a cheese. It’s a culinary journey, a bite-sized trip to the heart of Corsica. With its distinctive flavors and unique herb-coated rind, Brin d’Amour is indeed a true Corsican treasure.
Brin d’Amour Tasting Notes
- Appearance: Brin d’Amour is a small wheel of cheese with a distinctive rind that’s coated in Corsican herbs, giving it a rustic and appealing look. The pale yellow paste of the cheese contrasts beautifully with the green and brown hues of the herbs.
- Aroma: The scent of Brin d’Amour is strongly influenced by the aromatic herbs on its rind. Expect a bouquet of rosemary, thyme, and other maquis herbs, with an underlying milky aroma from the sheep’s milk.
- Taste: Brin d’Amour has a creamy, semi-soft texture that melts delightfully in the mouth. Its flavor profile is complex, with a distinct yet balanced taste that’s tangy, nutty, and subtly herbal. The initial taste is mild, but it grows in intensity, revealing the rich flavors of the sheep’s milk and the fragrant herbs.
- Aftertaste: The finish of Brin d’Amour is long and satisfying. The blend of flavors lingers on the palate, leaving behind a pleasant taste that’s reminiscent of the Corsican scrubland.
- Texture: This cheese has a smooth and creamy texture that complements its robust flavors. The contrast between the soft paste and the herb-coated rind adds an interesting dimension to the overall tasting experience.
How to Eat Brin d’Amour?
- Cheese Board: Brin d’Amour is a visually stunning addition to any cheese board with its unique herb-coated rind. Pair it with a variety of other cheeses for an impressive spread.
- Bread Pairing: The creamy texture and robust flavors of Brin d’Amour pair beautifully with crusty bread. Slice the cheese thinly and enjoy it on a fresh baguette or artisanal bread.
- Wine Pairing: A light to medium-bodied red wine complements the nutty and tangy flavors of Brin d’Amour. Corsican wines, in particular, can complement the cheese’s herbal undertones.
- Cooking: Brin d’Amour melts well, making it a great choice for cooking. Use it in gratins, quiches, or melted over potatoes for a rich, flavorful dish.
- Salads: Add slices or crumbles of Brin d’Amour to salads for a burst of flavor. The tangy, herbal taste of the cheese pairs well with fresh greens and vinaigrette dressings.
- Sweet Pairings: For a delightful contrast, pair Brin d’Amour with sweet accompaniments like honey, fig jam, or fresh fruits. The sweetness balances the cheese’s savory notes.
- Serving Temperature: To fully appreciate the flavors of Brin d’Amour, remove it from the refrigerator about an hour before serving. This allows the cheese to come to room temperature and enhances its taste and aroma.
- Eating the Rind: The rind of Brin d’Amour, coated in Corsican herbs, is completely edible and contributes significantly to the cheese’s overall flavor profile. However, if the flavor is too intense, feel free to remove the rind before eating.
10 Best Brin d’Amour Substitutes
|Cheese||Characteristics||Reason for Substitution|
|Feta||Tangy and crumbly, made from sheep’s milk||Similar tangy flavor and sheep’s milk base|
|Manchego||Semi-soft, nutty, and mild||Similar texture and nuttiness|
|Pecorino Romano||Hard, salty, made from sheep’s milk||Strong flavor profile and sheep’s milk base|
|Roquefort||Creamy, tangy, made from sheep’s milk||Similar creamy texture and tangy flavor|
|Tomme de Savoie||Semi-soft, earthy, and mild||Similar texture and mild flavor|
|Gruyère||Nutty, slightly sweet, melts well||Similar nuttiness and melting properties|
|Ricotta Salata||Firm, salty, made from sheep’s milk||Similar saltiness and sheep’s milk base|
|Halloumi||Firm, briny, retains shape when heated||Similar firm texture and brininess|
|Boursin Garlic & Herb||Soft, creamy, herb-flavored||Similar creaminess and herbal flavors|
|Chevre||Soft, tangy, made from goat’s milk||Similar soft texture and tangy flavor|
What Pairs Well With Brin d’Amour?
Food that goes well with Brin d’Amour:
|Bread||Crusty baguette, sourdough bread, whole grain crackers|
|Fruits||Fresh figs, apples, pears, grapes|
|Jams and Spreads||Fig jam, apricot preserves, honey|
|Nuts||Almonds, walnuts, pistachios|
|Meats||Prosciutto, salami, smoked salmon|
|Vegetables||Roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives|
|Condiments||Olive oil, balsamic glaze, mustard|
|Sweets||Dark chocolate, dried fruits (like dates and apricots), candied nuts|
|Herbs and Spices||Rosemary, thyme, black pepper|
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with Brin d’Amour:
|Red Wine||Light to medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, or Corsican red|
|White Wine||Crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, or a Corsican white|
|Rosé Wine||Dry rosé wines, particularly those from Corsica or Provence|
|Beer||Belgian style ales, wheat beers, or fruity craft beers|
|Cider||Dry apple or pear cider|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling water, grape juice, herbal tea|
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