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Le Maréchal: A savoury cheese for when you deserve more from your melt

Tad Seaborn/The Globe and Mail

With this year's no-holds-barred winter ambush, my thoughts have been turning to the Swiss and their skill at providing full-flavoured, luxurious melting cheeses that bring robust flavour to a comforting fondue or raclette. Sure, an oozing cheddar grilled cheese sandwich can hit the spot after a run-of-the-mill driveway clearing, but after a serious wrist workout attempting to crack the mini-glacier that is your front step (and a depressing lack of success), you may feel you deserve more from your melt.

Which is where Le Maréchal comes in; its potent, long-lasting flavours persist even when heated (which mellows most cheeses). Le Maréchal is a newish cheese; the Rapin family first created the firm raw-milk cheese in 1992 in the Vaud region of Switzerland. The milk is delivered twice a day to the cheese makers from 14 local producers and turned into cheese no later than 10 hours after being received; it's often still warm from milking. Made with traditional techniques, it's ripened for 120 days (about half the minimum time for Gruyère, because it is made in smaller 13-pound wheels).

If you're a fan of Gruyère or Appenzeller, you'll want to add Le Maréchal to your cheese Rolodex. The intensity of flavour that hits on first bite pleasantly catches you off guard with a creamy mix of floral, nut and fragrant herbal notes .

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If cheese was off the "indulge" list after the holidays, take heart – literally. Due to the flax seed that's added to the feed for the milk-producing cattle, some of the heart-healthy fatty acids are transferred to the cheese.

I love Le Maréchal for its versatility – it's a sophisticated wedge on any cheeseboard, has great melting qualities and makes a foolproof snack for lunch box or outdoor adventure.

So as you prepare to baby step your way out the front door in a harrowing game of "spot the black ice," tuck an emergency piece into your parka – one can get peckish waiting for an X-ray in the ER.

Sue Riedl blogs about cheese and other edibles at cheeseandtoast.com.

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About the Author

Sue Riedl worked for 12 years in the Toronto film industry where her culinary passion was ignited while consuming countless unhealthy snacks off the craft service table. More

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