Marcel et Henri & Marin French Cheese
How does that song go? Everything old is new again . . . or something like that. Anyway, thats how I felt yesterday on tasting some of the products from Marcel et Henri (www.marcelethenri.com) and Marin French Cheese Company (Rouge et Noir brand, www.marinfrenchcheese.com) at the Rhone Rangers event. Both have been on the Bay Area food scene for ages and I thought I knew their products inside and out. Well, some that were new, to me at least, are worth a mention.
In addition to the line up of familiar pates that are a fixture on cocktail party buffets, Marcel et Henri was also offering samples of Rilettes des Tours. A finely spiced blend of finely shredded pork and duck, the sweet fattiness was very soothing after hours of tasting young, tannic wines. I would have preferred a bit coarser texture, yet I still enjoyed the flavor and balance very much. On inquiry, I found out that this was introduced a couple years ago, and while not offered at the retail level, it can be ordered from the factory in South San Francisco directly.
Marin French recently introduced a new line-up of cheeses that step outside the rather mild style it has been known for. The Marin chevre blue, a goat milk camembert, and a triple cream blue were all in fine form with delicious, individual character. I especially liked the chevre blue and will be seeking it out. The staff manning the booth couldnt provide much information on where to find these at retail except to mention the Berkeley Bowl as stocking more of the line.
To my taste, the two good cheeses from Marin French are the schloss (strong Liederkranz type) and a large aged cheese that I've never seen except at that Rhone Rangers event.
Their "Camembert" aka "Brie" (same cheese in two different boxes) are bland and boring, though they can be pleasant if you ripen them.