The French Brand Behind Costco's Kirkland Brie

Costco, like many other grocery chains, offers customers private-label items to keep prices manageable while still maintaining quality. As a result, customers often wonder which big names are behind the products they know and love at the retail warehouse chain. When it comes to Costco's Kirkland Signature brie, the question is very easily answered, as the brand behind the brie is stamped right on the package: Isigny Ste. Mère.

As listed on product packaging, Costco's Kirkland Signature brie hails from Normandy, France. The imported double cream brie comes in 21.16-ounce packs, and ingredients include milk, lactic starters, and rennet, which are enzymes that assist in splitting solid milk curds from liquid content during the cheesemaking process. The result is a cheese beloved for its silky-smooth texture, rich, buttery flavor, and mildly earthy, mushroomy scent. As for the cheesemaker behind Costco's brie, Isigny Ste. Mère has a long and storied history in France, which explains its impressive cheesemaking prowess.

What customers should know about Isigny Ste. Mère

Isigny Ste. Mère began as a cooperative formed in 1909 to improve milk production among local farmers who were hoping to sell their products in Paris. Over the years, the cooperative expanded its production ability to butter and cheese and now offers a range of cheeses created with the same care and consideration as Costco's brie.

Along with Brie, Isigny Ste. Mère also produces a variety of Camembert, which is known for its salty flavor profile, with a taste that becomes far more intense as the cheese goes through the aging process. Cheese lovers can also try Mimolette, a cheese renowned for its bright orange rind (which comes from the use of annatto seeds as a coloring agent). Other selections include the smoky flavored Pont-l'Évêque, as well as specialties like Normandy Tomme, Pavé d'Isigny, and the classic Brie that Costco customers adore. And because of all the hard work that goes into creating artisan cheese, cheese lovers must be mindful of the proper practices when eating it.

How to best enjoy Kirkland Signature brie

Costco helpfully features instructions on its brie packages to ensure shoppers get the most bang for their buck. For instance, the flavor of brie varies over time, which can affect when the cheese is eaten, depending on your preferences. If you want your brie to be unbelievably creamy and bursting with flavor, enjoy it close to the sell-by date stamped on the package. If you prefer milder flavors and a semi-soft texture, open the brie about 30 days or more before the sell-by date. To strike a perfect balance between these two options, use the brie around two weeks prior to the sell-by date.

After opening the brie for the first time, give it an hour before you actually eat it. Allowing the cheese to reach room temperature ensures its inherent flavors and pleasing texture are on full display. After eating, cover the brie in its original paper and store it in the refrigerator. Cheese paper is specially designed to preserve cheese by ensuring proper air exposure (too much can accelerate spoilage, while too little air stops the cheese from "breathing," which can alter its most pleasing qualities). When it comes to fancy imported cheese, Costco shows that you can indulge your senses without ever leaving the country.