Wednesday Bites: St-Marcellin

St-Marcellin is a cheese that I neglected for far too long.

In fact, I think the first time I tried this little cow’s milk cheese was when my local market cheesemonger suggested it to me. I had made a habit of visiting the market twice a week (I wish I still did… New Year’s resolution once Baby Sister moves back to France?) and after a few visits, I got bold enough to ask him to suggest something for me.

He sized me up, looked at my other purchases (a Morbier and a Maroilles), and he reached for a small cheese, putting it on the scale before I’d even said yes.

“St-Marcellin?” he said, though we both knew there was no answer to the question other than, “Oui.”

I’m usually a fan of the sorts of cheeses that my dad often describes — once to the waiter manning the cheese cart at the Jules Verne — as “the ones that smell like feet.” St-Marcellin has nothing footy about it. It’s not imposing or in-your-face, but while it looks like any old goat’s cheese (in fact, up until the 13th century, it was a goat’s cheese), there’s something very buttery and mushroomy about its flavor that can only come from cow’s milk.

The young cheese can have varying textures; this one is relatively firm, and other examples might be far runnier and creamier. I quite like it just like this.

P.S. No matter what cheese you choose in France, it’s super important to learn to cut it correctly, lest you be given the hairy eyeball.