Fromagerie Le Maréchal is a family cheesemaking business run by Jean-Michel Rapin and his three sons in the Vaud region of Switzerland.
The Rapin family has produced their signature “Le Maréchal“ cheese since 1992. Jean-Michel was originally inspired to make a Swiss original that stood apart from Gruyère. He decided to produce a high-quality firm cheese, and to dress the rind with a mix of aromatic, organic herbs. He named this cheese (and his business) after his great-grandfather Emile, a blacksmith (‘maréchal-ferrant" in French), who he describes as an “authentic, conscientious craftsmen.” A sketch of Emile Rapin’s moustached face thus became the mark of the Le Maréchal brand, and now adorns the packaging on each piece of cheese.
Milk from 14 producers is delivered to the facility twice a day, each day of the year. Jean-Michel and his sons transform it into cheese no later than ten hours after milking. The curd is pressed into wheels, brined and then refined with a special mix of aromatic herbs, which are rubbed by hand over the cheese’s surface throughout its 120-day ripening period.
Le Maréchal’s beige paste has a distinctive aroma of butter, dried fruits, and a touch of barnyard. Its flavor is intense and lingering, with notes of salted caramel, roasted almonds and herbs. The herbs are more evident toward the rind, which is edible; instead of removing it, scrape it gently with a knife before consuming.
Pair it with figs or olives and a Chasselas white wine. Or try it with a Reisling, a Petit Chablais, a Bordeaux, or a Grenache rosé.