Named after the Abbaye de Maroilles (also spelled Marolles), this cow’s milk cheese was first documented in 960, when the Archbishop of Cambrai asked it to be aged longer.
It was made from the milk that the local farmers paid in tithes, and was a big favourite of French kings Philippe II, Louis IX, Charles VI and François I and the most famous Archbishop of Cambrai, the 17th-century writer François Fénelon. AOC since 1955, AOP since 1996.
Today Maroilles is made in Cambrai, Vervins and Avesnes-sur-Helpe from raw or pasteurized milk. It has a smooth paste and washed orange rind and is aged from five weeks to four months. The blue mould that forms is constantly brushed off, allowing the naturally red bacteria to turn the rind orange. Its nickname is vieux paunt, ‘Old Stinky’.
It comes in four sizes: Quart (180gr, aged two weeks), Mignon (360gr, aged three weeks), Sorbais (540g, raged four weeks), and Maroilles Gros (720 gr, aged five weeks).
Images by Bycro, Coyau