Maroilles aka Marolles cheese
Maroilles, also known as Marolles) is a cows-milk cheese made in the regions of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France. It derives its name from the village of Maroilles in the region in which it is still manufactured.
The cheese is sold in individual rectangular blocks with a moist orange-red washed rind and a strong smell. In its mass-produced form it is around 13cm square and 6cm in height, weighing around 700g. In addition, according to its AOC regulations, cheeses eligible for AOC status can be one of three other sizes:
- Sorbais - (3/4) 12-12.5cm square, 4cm high, 550g in weight. Affinage at least 4 weeks.
- Mignon - (1/2) 11-11.5cm square, 3cm high, 350g in weight. Affinage at least 3 weeks.
- Quart - (1/4) 8-8.5cm square, 3cm high, 180g in weight. Affinage at least 2 weeks.
Maroilles is often reported to have been first made in 962 by a monk in the Abbaye de Maroilles. The cheese rapidly became famous around the region and was a favourite of several French kings including Philip II, Louis IX, Charles VI and François I.
The curd is shaped and salted before being removed from its mould and placed in a ventilated drying area for around ten days during which time a gentle light coating of bacteria develops. The cheese is then brushed and washed and cellared for at least five weeks, though periods of up to four months are not uncommon. During this time it is turned and brushed at regular intervals to remove the natural white mould to allow its red bacteria to change the rind from yellow to red.
In 2005 2126 tons were made of which around 6% were made by the 10 fermier producers, with the remainder made by three industriel producers.
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