Let’s start with the similarities. Both Brie and Camembert are made from cow’s milk, but in different terroirs. Terroir, loosely translated, means “sense of place,” but I prefer to label it the “taste of place.” Meaning each place has it’s own unique characteristics including soil, climate, and vegetation—all of which translates to the milk.
While both Brie and Camembert are cow’s milk cheeses, are soft ripening, and have creamy, paste-like centers, the two aren’t interchangeable.
So what’s the difference? They come from different regions so they each have their own “taste of place.” Brie was originally made in the southeast of Paris where the cattle grazed on stony riverbeds, and Camembert in Normandy where cattle grazed on lush, green pastures.
The diameter of the Brie wheel is larger than the Camembert wheel. Brie tends to have whitish insides and Camembert has a deeper yellowish color. A ripe Camembert will have runny insides, while Brie is often stabilized—meaning that it will never be runny.
As far as taste goes, everyone has his or her own opinions, which is one of the reasons why I love cheese so much. Two people can taste the same cheese and experience completely different taste profiles. In my humble opinion, I think that Camembert tastes a bit earthier and barnyard-y. Nonetheless, they are both rich, satisfying, buttery, and above all—delicious.
Want to know an easy way to sum it up? Camembert is Brie’s funkier and slightly looser little sister who ages quicker 😉