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Fleur du Maquis - sheep milk cheese

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ImageFleur du Maquis (floor do maKEE), also known as Brin d'Amour (bran dah MOOR) is a delightfully mild and wonderfully textured cheese from the Island of Corsica off the coast of southern France.  Made of sheep's milk, Fleur du Marquis is aged from 1 - 3 months and encrusted with rosemary, thyme, savory, juniper berries, and occasionally chili.  The marriage of the soft pate of the cheese and the crunch and pungency of the crust is perfect; the herbs don't overwhelm the flavor of the cheese, instead they enhance each other.


The name translated is "Flower of the Marquis".  Marquis is a Corsican word for a hedge or a thicket where in times past villainous robbers or thugs would hide out and pounce on unsuspecting travelers.  Perhaps the enrobed cheese is reminiscent of the thicket.

When the cheese is young, the interior is a snowy white, which is soft and creamy. As the cheese matures the interior looks slightly off-white with a runnier center.  Both are good and the pungency of the cheese does not change, only the texture.  The crust can take on a pretty grayish bloom that is quite acceptable.
    

Cheese Handling Procedures

Don't allow your Fleur du Maquis to dry out or to become damp.  This means you should keep it loosely wrapped and check it often.  If it's drying out, move it to a warmer part of the fridge (the lower section), if it's getting damp, change the wrapping.  Fleur du Maquis is a sturdy cheese and should be enjoyed within a week to 10 days (sometimes more) after purchase.  You will know the cheese has gone south when it no longer smells of herbs, but rather ammonia.

Wine and food pairing suggestions

The lovely earthy flavors of the herbs demand something similar in the wine pairing.  Match it to Spanish Riojas, earthy Rhones or bold Syrahs from California.  If you want to go white, try it with a Gruner Veltliner, an Albarino or German (slightly sweet) Reisling.  Beautiful on a cheese board, it is a star at any party.

- written by Cara Finn

About the Cheesemonger

ImageThe cheesemonger has two locations: The Grapevine Wine & Cheese Shop located in downtown Willow Glen, CA and Good Tastes Wine, Cheese & Tasting Bar located in downtown Campbell, CA.  Selecting cheese at these shops could not be easier or more fun.   They have a wide selection of high quality cheese from throughout the world with new shipments frequently arriving. All cheese can be tasted prior to purchase and is cut to order. And if you are not sure what you want, their knowledgeable staff will gladly help you pick out the perfect cheese.   Stop by and check out this month's featured cheese or join their bi-monthly Cheese club and be surprised by the outstanding cheeses provided to you!

Copyright 2007, Willow Glen Wine Merchants, Inc.  Permission is required for any reproduction. 

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