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Best Merchandising Ideas - Brie Cheeses.

Brie is one of the most wonderful, versatile and easy-to-like cheeses in the case today. Brie is no doubt the most well-known cheese from France, and it was one of the first cheeses to awaken the American palate to fine, specialty cheeses. Brie is a delicious soft-ripened or bloomy-rind cheese. It is perhaps the quintessential party cheese, especially since it pairs so well with other foods such as fresh fruit, deli meats, chutneys, pat's and so on. In France, however, it is also thought of as an everyday cheese. It is routinely consumed as a snack, in school and office lunches, for picnics, and at home in various combinations for every meal. American consumers have come to appreciate Brie, but too often, because of there being so many lackluster examples out there, they take Brie for granted. With strong merchandising, generous sampling and, above all, choosing the best Brie you can find for your cheese case, you can make Brie stand out as the great, versatile cheese that it is. Consumers are tired of the same old cardboard-tasting Brie, so surprise them with an outstanding selection and some great ideas to go along with it.

Display Ideas

Arguably the best imported Brie comes from the rich milk of cows that pasture in the verdant, rolling wooded hills of Normandy in the northwest of France. Here, along the dramatic coastline of the English Channel is one of the most picturesque areas of France, one that has become the poster child for French tourism. Consider a series of French regional promotions that highlights the myriad special products the country has to offer. Along with Brie, Normandy is famous for many things, including butter, apple cider, Calvados (apple brandy) and the highly coveted fl eur de sel (hand-harvested sea salt), as well as the region's distinctive apple-based desserts like tarte tatin or charlotte aux pommes. Use signage to explain each product and particularly how the rich, nutritious grass helps create the highquality milk that goes into the production of both butter and Brie. Choose a great Brie with a prominent label that is already well-known to help promote the product and give credence to your entire cheese selection.

Promotional Ideas

Brie is one of the most important cheeses in your case and consumers have come to rely on it as much as any other cheese. They are comfortable with it; the cheese is almost universally liked; and when your customers begin to think of it as an everyday cheese choice, it can be used and enjoyed in a broad variety of ways. It's important to make the conscious decision to carry the best Brie you can find. After all, first impressions are very important -- with people and with cheese. For firsttime Brie buyers, it's important that they get the real thing or they will never try it again. You want them to experience the cheese at its best and most authentic. For true Brie lovers, it isn't enough to have one that simply looks the part; it must be flavorful as well. Brie is a mild cheese and yet, when it is properly made and served at the peak of ripeness, it has the glorious taste of milk and mushrooms, and a savory character that is unmistakable and almost indescribable. Once you have found the best Brie you can get, promote that fact as well as the everyday versatility of the cheese with signage reading, "If you haven't tried our Brie, you haven't tried Brie at all." If your customers sample a truly inspired example of this unique cheese, they will never want to go back to generic, relatively tasteless brands again. Be sure to supply handouts detailing serving suggestions, pairing ideas, and quick and easy calculations for figuring quantities for a party.

Demonstration Ideas

Use demonstrations and sampling to illustrate the versatility of Brie and how it can figure into meals throughout the day. Create signage for the demo that reads, "Brie for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner." For example, at breakfast, pair it with fresh fruit, whole grain toast and a poached egg for a healthy start to the day. At lunchtime, make Brie sandwiches with whole grain bread, slices of apple or pears, and fruit chutney. In the evening, pair Brie with soup and salad for a light and tasty supper. You can even dice the Brie and sprinkle directly over a fresh garden salad. Again, offer handouts with recipes, serving suggestions, beverage pairing ideas and nutritional information showing Brie to be high in calcium and relatively low in fat (per pound, Brie has less fat than harder cheeses that are denser and contain less moisture). It is for those precise nutritional reasons that Brie also makes an excellent afterschool snack for kids. Besides being nutritionally sound, it is tasty and filling, and it is a great alternative to snacks that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or all three.
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Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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