Le Marechal: A Nutty and Sweet Cheese
November 20, 2010
Le Marechal is a lovely Swiss cheese. Its flavor is nutty, yet sweet with berries and butterscotch. At the cheese counter, Le Marechal may get overlooked in favor of reliably excellent Swiss cheeses like Gruyere or Appenzeller. I faced this very dilemma at the cheese counter, yet Le Marechal came home for our tasting.
Le Marechal is a firm cheese made from raw cow’s milk. It is produced in the Vaud region of Switzerland by a cooperative of dairies. It is aged for a minimum of 130 days before market. During its finishing, the rind’s surface is hand-rubbed with aromatic herbs.
Le Marechal has a dry brown rind that is flecked with dark green, brown and white. The rind has bits of dried herbs embedded into its surface. Le Marechal’s golden yellow paste is smooth and solid. (Unfortunately, we do not have a photo of Le Marechal because our camera’s battery was drained).
Le Marechal’s paste has a strong nutty aroma. On the rind, there are faint herbal scents that could be thyme, oregano, or a combination of Mediterranean herbs.
Le Marechal has appealing flavors. Initially, Le Marechal is nutty and salty. We also tasted a blueberry fruitiness, a rich butter flavor, and a sweet butterscotch flavor like a ripe Honsui Asian pear. Le Marechal has a chewy and slightly grainy texture. The cheese leaves a nutty after-taste.
We had mixed reactions to Le Marechal. Two of our tasters generally reject firm cheeses and Le Marechal suffered a similar dismissal. Our two other tasters liked Le Marechal. This cheese has nice flavor, texture and aroma. Le Marechal would make a nice table cheese. It would also make a good day-hike or picnic cheese.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Le Marechal at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco).