Schloss Marin French Cheese

September 4, 2012
What it is: A soft-ripened, washed-rind, cow's milk cheese
How it comes: 6-ounce box
Where it is: Available at marinfrenchcheese.com
Who it's for: Cheese lovers
Suggested retail price: $7.99
Nutrition notes: One ounce provides 85 calories, 4.5 grams saturated fat (of 7 grams total) and 390 milligrams sodium
Category: The Fridge

bonnie_webBonnie: I’m always on the hunt for Bites to share with you. Some we select are tasty morsels from big companies, and others — like this Schloss Marin French Cheese  — are artisan handcrafted delights with cult followings.

The Marin French Cheese Company from Petaluma, CA, makes and ages this soft-ripened, washed-rind cheese with a non-animal rennet using a process it created in 1901.

“It’s our cult cheese,” said Maxx Sherman, the national sales director. Those who’ve moved east still order it. “It’s the best-selling cheese on our site. If you’ve enjoyed Liederkranz (American re-creation of Limburger cheese), you’ll love Schloss!”

There is lots I like about the Schloss European-style cow’s milk cheese. Its hearty aroma, — or that what some call “stinky” cheese — for one. I also like the creamy texture and sweet, nutty flavor with hints of caramel and toasted almonds. This pungent cheese marries well with full-bodied red wines, fruit-forward white wines and dark beer.

Schloss, which means “castle” in German, is not widely available in stores. You’ll need to order this one online, as do many others who used to buy it when living in California.

BiteoftheBest bloggerBryan: Though the washed-rind heritage of Schloss cheese originated in Austria, its creation is totally one of Northern California, a product of the Marin French Cheese Co. You may not have heard of it before, but Marin has been specializing in soft-ripened cheeses since 1865 when it first produced “breakfast cheese,” a unique bar treat for San Francisco gold miners. The company’s current selection has expanded a bit to include more classic favorites like brie, Camembert and Schloss; a sharp and certainly pungent cheese balanced by a subtle sweet, toasted nuttiness. The cheese was even awarded “Best American Original” by the American Cheese Society.

Marin is no one-trick pony, with cheeses coming in all shapes and sizes. At its best, it is masterfully emulating the flavors of a number of familiar, soft-ripened European cheeses. Its artisan cheeses tastefully tantalize the imagination, evoking French flavors at domestic prices. A triple cream cow, a triple cream blue veined cow, a goats’ milk brie, a goats’ milk Camembert… is your mouth watering yet? If not, I can go on, as Marin produces so many different soft-ripened cheeses! If so, just know that you can buy its cheese online (woohoo Internet!), or at some specialty grocery stores near you.

This is quality cheese. Marin French Cheese Co. is nearly 150 years old as I write this, making it the oldest cheese producer in the United States specializing in soft-ripened cheeses. Just making it that long means it’s worth giving their products a try. How many other food companies do you know that have been around that long? Don’t be confused, by the way, when you go to eat your Marin cheese and it says “Rouge et Noir” all over it; that is simply the name given to the line of cheeses produced by Marin.  The company likes to say that it “is both the history and future of American Artisanal Cheese production.” I would have to agree with it. Keep it up! Or, I guess, more aptly stated, keep it soft!

eric...Eric: I have an easy analogy for you: Sugar is to sweet as Schloss cheese is to barnyard.

It might not be the most palate-pleasing analogy, but it certainly helps to identify the flavor profile of Schloss; an Austrian-style washed-rind cheese. Schloss is just one of the “world champion cheeses” from the Marin French Cheese Co. portfolio. Marin French Cheese has been producing exceptionally delicious cheese stateside, since 1865. Its portfolio of cheese would rival any fromagerie, producing such classics as brie and Camembert, and focusing on artisanal chèvre-based cheese that has been recognized in years past as “Best in Class.”

Its Schloss cheese is no exception; yield to your temptation to take a big bite out of this pungent little beauty. Schloss has a sweet, nutty flavor, but only after you get through the barnyard golden-hay outer layer. This is a big cheese — rivaled only by those European powerhouses that can make the room smell while inside the fridge. Pair Schloss with your favorite dark beer or big California Cabernet and don’t expect any big smooches from your loved ones.
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5 Comments on “Schloss Marin French Cheese”

  1. rene Says:

    I had this cheese so many years ago and then went so far as to order a case. One of the most wonderful cheeses I have ever had.

  2. Lynne Devereux Says:

    Hi Bonnie,
    It’s been a couple years since our Marin French Cheese Schloss starred in your food column! Our skillful cheesemakers recently took Schloss back to school and reformulated it as a triple-creme. They changed the cultures slightly, letting the texture get creamier and aromas deepen. If you’d like to try it, please let me know where and when to send a sample. And have some good IPA or hard cider on hand when you get it!

    My best,
    Lynne Devereux
    Marin French Cheese

  3. Scott B. Says:

    Having grown up a few miles away from MFC (they were THE choice field trip of choice at my elementary school back in the 1960′s/70′s) and a long time resident of Marin, I was actually first exposed to soft-ripened cheeses through MFC and credit my early exposure there with developing my love for them today. Schloss was always my favorite there (though my class mates at the time rarely agreed; often too pungent for most children). Now, I just devoured a round of the “reformulated” version mentioned above by Lyne Devereax, They definitely took this cheese to a new level of delectable. Loved it in the past, but its now elevated itself to one of my all-time favorites!

  4. Bonnie from BiteoftheBest.com Says:

    Scott, Thanks so much for sharing. We love it too.

  5. Garrett Gitchell Says:

    Even in Northern California, with Whole Foods, Draeger’s and a host of snooty grocers you cannot buy this retail. Only online (or much more fun at the Marin Cheese Factory).

    My parents used to take us to the cheese factory then the oyster farm and then behind the dunes away from the wind at Pt Reyes for a place to rest and get it all into our stomachs.

    My 12 year old daughter won’t eat anything but pasta and goldfish, but wolfs this cheese down like it is candy (must be genetic taste).

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