With nearly 4.5 million admissions in a week, comedy Welcome to the Ch'tis beats all records. The film, which highlights the Nord Pas-de-Calais, allows spectators from all over France to discover local culinary specialties, such as Maroilles. This cheese, one of the 44 AOC French cheese, is more often associated with its strong smell than its taste. However, its popularity in cheese factories should rise thanks to the success of Dany Boon's film.
Maroilles is a cheese soft and washed rind, born in Thiérache, between North and Aisne. Its smell, very strong, is part of its identity, "but it does not stink" insists a cheese maker from Normandy before adding that "its flavors in the mouth are on the contrary very pleasant".
In Welcome to the Ch'tis, Dany Boon eats a Maroilles slice of bread for breakfast, soaked in his coffee. A traditional practice of the Northern region, but not given to everyone. For a first experience with this cheese of character, professionals recommend flamiche, a kind of leek with leeks and maroilles. Indeed, this cheese loses much of its vigor when cooking. Another tip confided by the cheese makers: choose a Maroilles not too refined and first enjoy the center of cheese. On the other hand, the amateurs will appreciate it alone, with a piece of bread and an amber beer.
Maroilles is found in most cheese makers in France, especially in the North and Ile-de-France. The cheese departments of some supermarkets also offer them. Four sizes are generally available: 720 g, 540 g, 360 g and 180 g. As for the price, it can vary from 8 to 16 euros for the large model, depending in particular on its ripening time.
According to the Milk House, which brings together the main players in the dairy sector, more than 2,000 tons of Maroilles were produced in 2005, by only 10 farmers and 3 industrial producers.