Meaux, le Fromage

Brie de Meaux

Brie de Meaux

Wanderlust returned to Meaux on the 29th of September 2015. Meaux is close to Paris; the City of Light is a half hour by train away. More importantly for us, Meaux was just above the last of the scheduled lock closures on our Marne route. With long days and determined cruising we had made it to Meaux with a few days to spare. We now had the luxury of staying four nights and resting in a commune that we knew well from our stop a year earlier.

Among other things Meaux is famous as the home of Brie de Meaux. Here in France it is the real Brie de Meaux. It is not the cheese product with the same name sold in grocery stores in the States. In the US, Anco has registered as a trademark a label with the words ”Brie de Meaux.” What Anco chooses to call Brie de Meaux agrees only superficially with what the French Government requires. The American version is not even a close cousin of the Brie that was declared the “king of cheeses” in 1815.

Exiting the lock in Meaux on the way to the canal de Chalifert

Exiting the lock in Meaux on the way to the canal de Chalifert

Inside the Tunnel de Chalifert

Inside the Tunnel de Chalifert

So why can’t you get real Brie de Meaux in the States? As rule young cheeses made from unpasteurized milk cannot be imported into the USA. Brie is by definition always made from unpasteurized milk. As a result the best Brie cheeses in France, Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun, do not legally make it into the US. So if you want to taste the creamy, slightly nutty goodness of truly fine Brie you will need to go to Europe.

The cheese is worth the trip. But don’t expect to bring of this delicious goodness back with you to the States. It used to be easy enough for an airline traveler to smuggle blocks of their favorite cheeses through the airports. Now the inquisitive beagles that patrol the baggage carousels at international airports are sure to find the illicit fromage hidden deep in your baggage. Finding your stash of stinky cheese is a big score for dogs. They usually just find the bananas forgotten in travelers’ backpacks.

They do sell other cheese in Meaux

They do sell other cheese in Meaux

(The Marne covers 129 km from Damery to Meaux. There are 10 locks. Wanderlust’s engine ran for 13.7 hours. In between Damery and Meaux we spent the night on the left bank of the river near the village of Charly. By arrangement with the tourist office, Wanderlust was allowed to spend four nights at Meaux’s well-situated port de plaisance.)

Big barge, small channel

Big barge, small channel

Locking through on the Marne

Locking through on the Marne

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3 thoughts on “Meaux, le Fromage

  1. Pingback: Meaux: Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux | Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: Melun: Vaux-de-Vicomte | Wanderlust

  3. Always interested to hear about cheese! I’m surprised the USPTO would have allowed such an obviously confusing trademark. Perhaps ANCO got in before the French notified the WTO or whatever of the geographic appellation. Australia has become a bit more relaxed these days. I can bring Roquefort in, provided it is packaged and from France. Unpasteurised cheeses from NL, FR, BE and more ‘advanced’ W European countries are all acceptable – provided they are packaged.

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