28 November 2008

Chive Crackers with Brie and Chestnut Butter

Under normal circumstances, I am suspicious of food items that purport to be created to be "paired with" another food item. Having worked for an advertising agency (and being a fan of "Mad Men"), I know this is a marketing gimmick. It works, though.

These chive crackers (green, yet!) grabbed my attention.  "For Brie cheese," said the box.

Brie is one of those acquired tastes for me. It was not part of my diet growing up, and even when I went off to college, Camembert on a baguette slice was the cocktail party food of choice.

I could not get into Brie. Maybe there is a reason for that.

My father's maternal line, as far as I can determine, came from Melun, a city south of Paris that is know for its Brie cheese. The family name in the U.S. is LaBrie, which is one of those "dit" names that started out as something else, but got changed upon arrival in the New World, or perhaps soon after.

Family history records are not very extensive on my father's side, but it looks like the orginal name was Migneault or or some variation thereof, and became LaBrie somewhere on this side of the Atlantic. Perhaps the orginal immigrant was a cheesemaker who acquired a nickname. Or perhaps, he was not a cheesemaker. Maybe he acquired a nickname that referred to his geographic roots, not his occupation - as in cheesehead.

Whatever. It's a lovely name, and I like the fact that it is feminine, although Brie is actually masculine. Brie is a feminine cheese, if you ask me, mild, earthy and comforting.

Brie is especially goos when paired with something sweet. The chive crackers were perfect, but I thought they needed something more. So I scrounged around in the pantry and found a jar of Bonne Mamam chestnut spread. I plopped a dollop of that atop the schmear of Brie that sat atop the chive cracker.

I was a little nervous as I slipped it into my mouth. But, oh, the taste! If France can be reduced into a cracker with two toppings, this was it. I was immediately transported back to Montcuq and its chestnut trees. Or Paris.

Merde! This is good, I told my husband.

And he agreed.


13 comments:

Eileen said...

LOVE Brie! Bought a giant round of French Brie at Whole Foods for Thanksgiving and will be eating on it until Christmas. We eat it with fig spread on top and good crackers. Also, an old Silver Palate recipe of diced ham, brie, eggs and cream baked in a ramekin ;)

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Fig and Brie! Ooh la la, Eileen!

I like it.

I love Silver Palate products.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love brie warm and gooey, on hunks of crusty bread. Sometimes with chutney.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I will soon be having it warm and gooey, Lydia. Chutney - now there's an idea!

Andrea said...

I've always loved Brie - I used to bring a bit of it with a ripe pear for lunch in high school (back when you could bring a knife with you to slice your pear....) That is still one of my favorite pairings.

We have strict rules in our family regarding gooey cheese with a rind - if you are caught "Brie mining" (scooping out the soft innards and leaving an empty rind) you are subject to much ridicule and harrassing.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

You were a high schooler with discerning tastes, Andrea!

Fiona said...

That looks very tempting, particularly with the addition of the chestnut spread (something I have never tasted). I like Brie, though I haven't actually had any for a while now.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

You could try it with Vegemite...

Judy said...

I acquired a taste for Brie several years ago when I had a Brie En Croute. I so enjoyed it so I've added Brie to my list of favs. Whole Foods has a honey with walnuts and that is excellent on it too. I also like the fig spread as Eileen does. I might have to try her recipe too!!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Stay tuned, Judy - I love Brie En Croute!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Finger food nights - that's perfect, I love those nights and this is grand!
Can't remember ever not loving brie!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Tanna, I'm afraid that we far northern Cheeseheads and Yoopers grew up on a cheddar, not a brie, diet.

But I love it now..,

Teresa said...

We had quince jelly on Manchego chese at Thanksgiving. It was yummy too.