What is Brin d’Amour? The Corsican Cheese Delight

What is Brin d'Amour? The Corsican Cheese Delight - Cheese Origin

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

OriginCorsica, France
Made FromSheep’s milk
Cheese TypeSemi-soft, artisanal
TasteNutty, tangy with herbal undertones
TextureSmooth and creamy
ColorPale yellow
RindCovered in herbs, usually rosemary and thyme
Aging TimeAt least 3 months
Also Known AsFleur du Maquis“, meaning flower of the scrubland
PairingsLight to medium-bodied red wines, crusty bread, and fig jam
Production SeasonPrimarily in spring and summer
Shelf LifeUp to 8 weeks when properly stored
NutritionHigh in protein and calcium, but also high in fat
Culinary UsesGreat in salads, on cheese boards, or melted over potatoes
Unique FeatureThe rind is rubbed with olive oil and covered in local Corsican herbs
StorageKeep it wrapped in waxed paper, and store in the warmest part of the refrigerator

What is Brin d’Amour?

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

CheeseCharacteristicsReason for Substitution
FetaTangy and crumbly, made from sheep’s milkSimilar tangy flavor and sheep’s milk base
ManchegoSemi-soft, nutty, and mildSimilar texture and nuttiness
Pecorino RomanoHard, salty, made from sheep’s milkStrong flavor profile and sheep’s milk base
RoquefortCreamy, tangy, made from sheep’s milkSimilar creamy texture and tangy flavor
Tomme de SavoieSemi-soft, earthy, and mildSimilar texture and mild flavor
GruyèreNutty, slightly sweet, melts wellSimilar nuttiness and melting properties
Ricotta SalataFirm, salty, made from sheep’s milkSimilar saltiness and sheep’s milk base
HalloumiFirm, briny, retains shape when heatedSimilar firm texture and brininess
Boursin Garlic & HerbSoft, creamy, herb-flavoredSimilar creaminess and herbal flavors
ChevreSoft, tangy, made from goat’s milkSimilar soft texture and tangy flavor

What Pairs Well With Brin d’Amour?

What Pairs Well With Brin d'Amour?

Food that goes well with Brin d’Amour:

BreadCrusty baguette, sourdough bread, whole grain crackers
FruitsFresh figs, apples, pears, grapes
Jams and SpreadsFig jam, apricot preserves, honey
NutsAlmonds, walnuts, pistachios
MeatsProsciutto, salami, smoked salmon
VegetablesRoasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives
CondimentsOlive oil, balsamic glaze, mustard
SweetsDark chocolate, dried fruits (like dates and apricots), candied nuts
Herbs and SpicesRosemary, thyme, black pepper

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?

Beverage that goes well with Brin d’Amour:

Red WineLight to medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, or Corsican red
White WineCrisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, or a Corsican white
Rosé WineDry rosé wines, particularly those from Corsica or Provence
BeerBelgian style ales, wheat beers, or fruity craft beers
CiderDry apple or pear cider
Non-AlcoholicSparkling water, grape juice, herbal tea

Also read: Top 10 Champagne & Cheese Pairings to Try at Least Once

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