This morning it’s snowing outside-and I do love the snow. It makes me feel all toasty and warm, like sipping hot chocolate, and eating cheese. Really, it’s always a good day and a good time to day to eat cheese, for me. I was discussing this cheese journey with a friend yesterday, who told me that she could never eat cheese as it gave her a terrible rash. That just broke my heart! Another dear friend lost her sense of taste several years back due to an unfortunate run-in with an antibiotic-she too can’t ever taste cheese again. She can eat it, but not taste it, and thus, has to rely upon my description and memory. Let us pause a moment, and think of these less fortunate folk as we begin our cheese journey today.
Our fourth Mountain Cheese is Le Marechal, a cow’s milk unpasteurized (raw milk) cheese from Switzerland. This little cheese has moved into the new millenium with it’s own website, http://www.le-marechal.ch/en/index.html, it’s own slogan:”une famille, une tradition, un fromage” (one family, one tradition, one cheese), and some lofty claims: “discover the true taste of cheese,” and ,” a union of genius and passion.” This, my friends, is my first extroverted and dare I say, slightly narcissistic cheese!
According to this fascinating website (really, you must check it out): “The surface of the cheeses is rubbed with a mixture of aromatic herbs throughout the ripening process which lasts a minimum of 130 days. Each cheese wheel has its own ID number.” This cheese seems extraordinarily well-organized, seeing as it’s relatively young, developed in 1992.
My slice of Le Marechal is creamy white on the inside and dark brown on the outside with small flecks of the aromatic herbs in the rind. The rind is stained with the wine it was brushed with while ripening-but don’t eat this rind, it’s just a tease. The smell is mild and Gruyere-like. It smells sweet and cheesey, but not at all vile or uric.
First, the texture is sublime. It’s really what you want in a semi-firm cheese, that tensile, chewy yet melty perfect cheese texture. The flavour is sound, it’s quite nutty and quite salty as well. There’s that little aftertaste that I’m not crazy about- like kissing an alcoholic who has really brushed their teeth well-but it doesn’t matter because that funny little taste is still there, no matter how hard they try. Not a foul taste (I actually like a foul taste) more of an indescribable alcohol aftertaste-I have run into this same flavour note with Mont Vully Classique and Vigneron.
I suspect it’s something innate to the making of Mountain Cheese that just doesn’t work for my palate.That being said, I continue to nibble on my slice, so something’s working here.
Le Marechal, I give you a 3 out of 5 which includes a bonus mark for your fabulous website and lofty claims.