Machecoul, a small town in the watery, verdant Marais Poitevin region of the Loire-Atlantique, is home to the dairy farm of Pascal Beillevaire, Maître Fromager Affineur.
Machecoulais Cremeux is an original creation of Pascal Beillevaire's, named for his home town.
M. Beillevaire works with around 200 small farmers/producers who entrust the affinage of more than 400 varieties of young fermier cheeses in his three ripening caves; one for blue cheese in the Auvergne, one in the Savoie for mountain cheeses and one at his large dairy just a few kilometers from his family’s farm for the soft-ripened varieties.
The cheeses and other dairy products such as fresh milk, butter, cream, yogurt and crème fraîche are then sold at his chain of shops around France and at locations around Europe and in the U.S.
I purchased this little brick at one of his shops in Paris last week and we tasted it with some sweet muscat grapes from our village and rustic seed bread from la boulangerie Eric Kayser.
The unpasteurized cow's milk used to make Machecoulais is gently perfumed by the sweet grasses in the Loire. The floral, grassy flavor comes through along with earth and mushrooms. It was slightly sour and lactic, not too salty, and the texture was rich and creamy.
I thought it was absolutely perfect for smearing on a chunk of rustic bread.
Some white wine from the Loire, perhaps some Vouvray or Sancerre, would be a nice wine pairing with this cheese.
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