The first time I encountered the cheese, I was at a friend’s cookie decorating party and it was perfectly plated alongside crackers and prosciutto. It was so creamy, so buttery that I immediately demanded all the details of where the hostess got it. She said Trader Joe’s but couldn’t remember the name. I’m only a little ashamed to tell you that I picked the packaging out of the trash so I could take a picture and track it down.
The box for Trader Joe’s fromage pavé cheese says it’s a “square of soft ripened cheese” from France, but a more apt description would be “the smoothest, most delicious heavenly triple cream brie that may very well be delivered by angels.” And did I mention it's only $5.99?
It typically arrives in stores in mid-November and all my friends know to be on the lookout. This year, it was first spotted Nov. 20 and a picture simply appeared in the group text with the caption, “CHEESE ALERT,” flanked by the siren emoji. A crescendo of all-caps responses followed, including my favorite: “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” We take our cheese seriously.
A more apt description would be 'the smoothest, most delicious heavenly triple cream brie that may very well be delivered by angels.'
Now, if you’re still reading this and not already on your way to Trader Joe’s, let me further explain my qualifications for making the claim that this little square cheese is one of the best blocks of brie I’ve ever encountered. I have a growing cheeseboard collection, including a board that’s almost as tall as me, and follow more cheese influencers on Instagram than I can count. I could tell you the best place to get your fix in various cities because when I travel, I actively seek out locally made cheeses. For Christmas this year, I asked for a membership to a monthly cheese club hosted by my favorite little shop in Dallas, Scardello. Maybe I’m not an expert, but I’m certainly an enthusiast. And it’s not just me who loves it—this cheese is a real crowd-pleaser.
As for the best way to eat it? There's really no way to go wrong. I spread it on fig crisps with drizzled honey and on toasted baguette slices with salami. Trader Joe’s suggests trying it with freshly sliced fruit like their fuyu persimmons. Of course, a bottle of 'three buck Chuck' pairs nicely with it, too.
I stock up every year, grabbing at least four or five, and usually go back for more before it disappears at the end of December. There’s currently one in my freezer that I’m saving for a “special occasion,” or, you know, a party of one on another random Friday in quarantine. It’s the cheese we all deserve after the year we've had.