There are times when all the work I put into Chewing The Fat truly pays off. And certainly this holiday season got off to a great start with the arrival of a sensational group of cheeses from Marin French Cheese, the French-owned California Cheese Company that makes some of this country’s absolute best cheeses. Marin French Cheese got its start all the way back in 1865 thereby making it the longest continually operating Cheese company in the country. Every cheese they make is handcrafted and made from the highest quality milk in glorious Marin County California.
Milk is such an essential component to Marin French cheese that it is never more than 24 hours from the milking parlor to the cheese making. The milk is blended from three breeds of dairy cattle: Jersey, Guernsey and Holstein. The resulting blend is extra creamy and a perfect balance of protein, fat and flavor. And in another fact that amazed me, the milk travels less than 15 miles from farms in Marin and neighboring Sonoma County!
It’s been over 20 years since Gourmet Magazine taught America’s home cooks how to create Brie en Croute, a creamy brie treat oozing from a flaky golden crust. This year, Marin French Cheese teamed up with La Boulangerie de San Francisco, famous for its puff pastry among other baked delights. The cheesemaker enlisted its award-winning California Brie to fill the flaky crust. All you have to do is to pop it in the oven and out comes your reward; a perfect centerpiece for a holiday celebration. It also makes an ideal hostess gift in its pastry-shop box. But hurry. It will only be around for the holiday season.
In the 70s, a young California named Laura Chenel, became so intrigued by Goat Cheese, that she set out for France to learn how to make it. Due to incredibly hard work, she established Laura Chenel’s Goat Cheese as a standard of excellence. Along the way, she was helped by none other than Chez Panisse’s matriarch, Alice Waters. She not only put Laura Chenel’s name on her menu, it is said Ms Waters created the very first Goat Cheese salad in America. So impressed was French Cheesemaker Rians that in 2006 they bought Laura Chenel’s. And Rians didn’t stop there. In 2011 they bought Marin French Cheese. Laura Chenel’s continues to make this outstanding Chevre. There’s a unbelievable variety of Goat Cheese on offer from Laura Chenel’s. But what could be more appropriate than Cranberry and Cinnamon Medallion, two flavors made for each other and for goat cheese. The slightly sweet Cranberry pairs beautifully with the tang of fresh chèvre. A touch of warm cinnamon completes the holiday theme. While they earn their place on the cheeseboard, Laura Chenel’s is great for crumbling on a salad. Try a taste of it with Dark Chocolate and Prosecco.
What says going all out for the holidays than Truffles? Their scent alone is one of my personal favorites. That’s what makes Laura Chenel’s Marinated Truffle Cabecou an irresistible indulgence. Cabecou originated in the Midi-Pyranees region of southern France. A soft, yet dense goat cheese, it’s dried on racks for five days, then hand-packed into its container and infused with Truffle Oil and Black Truffles. While the cheese is pure California, both Truffle Oil and Truffles are French imports. It’s the kind of affordable luxury that will turn New Year’s Eve into a little trip to Paris.
Finally, I am going to celebrate the new year with a French ritual. In 15th century France, a festive gift-giving was held on New Year’s Day. In fact at the time, it took on more significance for gift giving than Christmas itself! Brie was an extremely popular gift. So I’m planning on using Marin French Cheese’s Triple Crème Brie in its attractive wooden container as a gift this season. That is if I can bear to give it away. To find out where Marin French Cheese and Laura Chenel’s are sold go to https://marinfrenchcheese.com/where-to-buy/ and http://www.laurachenel.com/store-locator/
Here are some outstanding Goat Cheese recipes and serving suggestions on Chewing the Fat…