Thursday, February 19, 2015

Le Maréchal

Hello everyone!

Happy Lunar New Year!!! I wish you all a very healthy and prosperous year.

Today I'm going to tell you all about a really delicious Swiss cheese called Le Maréchal.

Cheese: Le Maréchal
Producer: Jean-Michele Rapin and family
Location: Granges-Marnand, Switzerland
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

Le Maréchal was created by Jean-Michele Rapin as a nod to his great, great grandfather - a respected blacksmith (maréchal-ferrant in French) whose likeness is on the cheese's label above. The cheese itself is made in traditional Swiss fashion, but is then rolled in a mix of aromatic herbs (including oregano and thyme) and aged for a minimum of four months. The raw milk is delivered twice a day to the creamery from 14 local family farms. A fun fact about this cheese is that flax is added to the cattle feed, so this cheese is a great source of Omega 3s! Who said cheese wasn't good for you?!

To me, the rind makes Le Maréchal even more appealing. The herbs are extremely visible and really help make the cheese pop. When you cut into the cheese, you can see the areas close to the rind have really been permeated with flavor (notice the dark outline close to the rind in the picture below).

When we first unwrapped the Le Maréchal wheel, the smell was quite pungent. It smelled funky like a washed rind should, but had a grassy, herbaceous quality from the herbs. Cutting into the cheese you reveal a beautiful, slightly yellow, firm paste that has a delicious, nutty smell. Eating the cheese was even more of an experience... I was blown away by the complexity and how much of the flavor of the herbs came through in the paste! It was fudgy in consistency, with creamy, brown butter notes and a finish of herbs (thyme was the main aftertaste for me). I would absolutely cook with this cheese and well as feature it as a stand-alone cheese on one of my cheese boards. I'd probably pair a nice Sauvignon Blanc with this cheese to go with the herbs on the rind. The slight acidity of the wine would also cut the fudgy, heaviness of the paste. Mmmm... my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

We just cut a fresh wheel yesterday, so be sure to swing on by the Los Altos Whole Foods Market cheese counter (or any WFM cheese counter in Norcal/Reno) and grab a piece! Hope to see you soon. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!