Brie is a soft, farmhouse cheese originally created in the French region of the same name. In its truest, purest form, Brie is made from raw, unpasteurized cow's milk and, as such, can not be imported legally into the United States in its authentic state due to food safety regulations.
Brie is often known by its nickname, the "queen of cheeses." During some periods of French history, it was even included among items given in tribute or tax to the crown. Brie makers take raw cow's milk and add an enzyme complex called rennet, then they heat the mixture to 37 degrees Celsius to create the curd. The cheese is then formed into disk-shaped molds, kept for 18 hours, salted, then aged a minimum of four weeks.
During aging, Brie develops a trademark mold on the outside that is usually off-white in color. This mold is also prized for its flavor, and is usually consumed along with the cheese. Because of U.S. law, imported Brie must be modified to contain pasteurized milk, resulting in a stabilized cheese that lasts longer on the shelf and resists bacterial adulteration. On the other hand, such stabilized brie is incapable of developing the more mature and complex flavors indicative of its traditional counterpart. To create the aforementioned mold on stabilized Brie, cheese-makers spray the exterior with artificial spores.