Maroilles AOP | 🩆The Bow Tie Duck Manila
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Maroilles AOC

King of Northern French Cheeses

The Maroilles, oth­er­wise called Marolles, is a cave-aged cheese with a pun­gent smell and is sold in rec­tan­gu­lar blocks. It is the only north­ern French cheese with both an AOP in France and a DOP from the Euro­pean Union. From the lead­ing cheese cura­tor, Fro­magerie Beillevaire.

TAST­ING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR

This rather stinky brick (“vieux pant” or old stinker to the locals) is the best-known washed-rind cheese in France. It has a soft, creamy, pale yel­low pĂątĂ©, light­ly sweet and with a fla­vor that lingers. You’ll find it has a few holes and a faint­ly chalky cen­ter. While it is best in late spring and sum­mer, it can be found and enjoyed year-round.

The pro­duc­tion process for Maroilles is an inter­est­ing one. The cheese curds are shaped into rec­tan­gles and salt­ed before they are removed from their hoops. They are then rest­ed in a ven­ti­lat­ed area for a lit­tle over a week to devel­op a light blue fuzz. Once this hap­pens, they are brought to a cave cel­lar to be washed and brushed repeat­ed­ly with a par­tic­u­lar bac­te­ria for five weeks to devel­op their sig­na­ture red-orange rind.

PREPA­RA­TION OR PAIRINGS

Maroilles makes for a bril­liant dessert cheese all by itself, but it also makes a pow­er­ful starter. Pair it with smoked salmon — we love it with our Kaviari Salmon Col­lec­tion—a bit of fresh pars­ley, and some wheat crack­ers for a sim­ple but beau­ti­ful begin­ning to dinner. 

It is a beer-drinker’s choice, in truth, great with strong brown ales, French ciders, and sour beers. It also pairs well with eau-de-vie (clear brandy). It does bet­ter with white wines than reds, such as a late-har­vest GewĂŒrz­tramin­er or a Sauvi­gnon Blanc. Of course, a Cava or Pros­ec­co will not steer you wrong, either!

FROM MONKS TO KINGS

It’s said this cheese was cre­at­ed by the monks at the Abbey of Maroilles in the year 962 AD. It became a tra­di­tion of the region for farm­ers to make small squares of young Maroilles cheese from the milk of their cows every June 24, to cel­e­brate the feast day of Saint Jean Bap­tiste. On Octo­ber 1, the feast day of Saint Remi that is also known in the area as Maroilles Day, the vil­lagers would donate their cheese blocks to the Abbey, to be dis­trib­uted by the monks to the Cham­pagne grape har­vesters. The cheese quick­ly became famous, so famous in fact that it became known as the favorite cheese of sev­er­al French mon­archs: Philip II, Louis IX, Charles VI, and Fran­cis I.

Storage Instructions

Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the but­ter draw­er of a refrig­er­a­tor, not on the shelves them­selves. This is to help reg­u­late their tem­per­a­ture and humid­i­ty lev­els — and pre­vents the for­ma­tion of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing. Soft cheeses with del­i­cate rinds need to breathe, so they are best placed in glass con­tain­ers lined with paper tow­els to absorb extra mois­ture. Leave the lid open a tiny bit for air to cir­cu­late. Cheeses are air-flown from France on demand. They are meant to be con­sumed with­in 1 to 2 weeks of their arrival at your residence.