When my mother and partner visited, I sent Beau on a breakfast mission to buy croissants and cheese.
When he returned he lamented that it was difficult to know which brie to buy, as they were all 125g in weight, but varying in size.
This warranted an investigation.
There are two brands of brie that dominate the supermarket shelves – Mainland and Bouton D’or.
However, the Mainland brand appears approximately 30 – 50% larger, despite both cheeses containing 125g NET brie.
A scientific investigation study confirmed this observation. Mainland Special Reserve weighs 161.5g, or approximately 30% more than what is stated on the package. Bouton D’or on the hand, weighs in at 119.5g or 4% less than what is stated on the package. (Now ideally I would have to purchase at least 1000 bries to obtain a reliable sample rate, but because I have no self control, this wasn’t an option)
And what about the taste?
Well the smaller of the two bries tastes considerably better, having a wonderfully soft and creamy texture. The Mainland Reserve is a much harder cheese.
An analysis of the ingredients explained this observation. Bouton D’or contains 23% fat (15 % saturated), Mainland Reserve contains 38.7% fat (26% saturated). Typically the higher the fat content the harder the cheese.
Other differences noted were Mainland reserve contains rennet, while Bouton D’or contains vegetable rennet, making it vegetarian friendly. Disappointingly though, the superior flavoured Bouton D’or cheese also contains colouring.
Quantity doesn’t equal quality when it comes to brie. Not only is the smaller of the two much tastier, it is also healthier and vegetarian friendly.
Still I feel compelled to write to the manufacturers, and tell them that while I prefer their cheese, please could they ensure it meets the minimum weight specifications, and could they remove the colouring.