Milk: Unpasteurised cow's milk
Size of cheese: 26cm
Location: Villeneuve, Vaud, Switzerland
Season: All year
Many of the cheeses that we sell have been made in one form or another for hundreds of years, part of long-standing regional traditions. By comparison Maréchal is a relative newcomer, born of the ingenuity of Swiss cheesemaker Jean-Michel Rapin in the early '90s. It is an innovative recipe that was to pioneer a new style of cheese, the wonderfully named Blumenkase or Flower Cheese.
The Rapin family produces cheese in the heart of Gruyère country: the Broye-Vully district of the Canton de Vaud in Western Switzerland. Although it is a much smaller wheel, Maréchal is a recipe that shares many characteristics with Gruyère: a hard, pressed, cooked curd cows' milk cheese with a smooth buttery paste. Jean Michel's innovation was to begin rubbing the rinds of his ripening cheeses with hay cuttings, which included stubs, leaves and flowers of the grasses that fed his cattle. This acted to keep the balance of modest humidity on the rinds of the cheeses, but also lent the matured cheeses a subtly herbaceous note. The cheese was named after Jean-Michel's great grandfather who was a maréchal-ferrant - a blacksmith, whose 'generous heart and hardy appearance' seemed a fitting representative of their new cheese.
Maréchal is often sold at around 6 months in age, but we like to mature it for up to a year. Cheeses taste buttery, grassy, sweet and nutty, with just a hint of dried herbs on the finish.