What is the difference between Brie and Camembert?
That's a good question. The story of Brie and Camembert is the stuff of legends. Both are soft, spongy, round-shaped cow's milk rind cheeses of about 45% fat content that have been around for hundreds of years, are made using similar methods, and are generally eaten in small quantities at the end of a French meal.
Brie is produced in the Ile de France region, about 50 kilometers east of Paris. There are four varieties of Brie: the most common AOP-protected Brie de Meaux, as well as AOP-protected Brie de Melun, Brie de Montereau and Brie de Coulommiers, that vary slightly in taste. The cheese apparently dates back to the time of Charlemagne in the 8th century.
Camembert is thought to have been invented during the French Revolution in Normandy using methods similar to Brie and named by Napoléon III upon tasting it for the first time, though records show that it existed as far back as 1681. Because it was never registered, it is one of the most copied cheeses in the world. In 1983, Camembert was granted AOP protection, and now only cheese made according to certain methods in five departments of Normandy (not including village of Camembert, funnily enough) can be called Camembert de Normandie. The best Camembert is made with raw milk in France (and contraband in the U.S.), though pasteurized industrialized versions are more common.