It was a big family dinner, and as such I was served an appero (cocktail), an entré (appetizer), a plat (main dish), fromage (cheese), and then a dessert.
Wanting to impress, I made sure to taste everything that was served (as long as it was vegetarian).
When it came time to the cheese course, La Soeur asked me, “as-tu déjà gouté du maroilles?” (Have you already tried maroilles?)
I had not. After admitting to not having heard of it before, she raced off to the kitchen to find one of the smelliest cheeses I have still ever smelt. The rest of the family refused to try it, but hoping to make a good impression, I cut off a small slice.
I felt very much as Kad Merad’s character in Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis does after his first taste of the stuff when he says, “oh c’est aussi fort une fois que c’est dans l’interior?” (Oh, it’s still this strong once in the mouth?)
It was terrible. I said I didn’t like it more with my facial expression than with my words, and everybody had a good laugh. As it turned out, there was a reason no one in the family wanted a slice of the stuff.
What they had neglected to tell me is that to really enjoy maroilles, you’re supposed to cook it first. Melted maroilles is super delicious and tastes completely different from fresh-from-the-refrigerator maroilles.
I'm pretty sure La Soeur took advantage of my lack of Nordist knowledge to get me to eat cold maroilles in order to see how I took a joke. I think I took it pretty well.
A tarte au maroilles, complete with frites and a salad.
This one's from Les Compagnons de la Grappe, and it was heavenly.
I haven't let eating cold maroilles ruin this delicious cheese for me forever. I’ve now had many tartes au maroilles (a regional specialty of melted maroilles, pastry, and various other ingredients such as milk, eggs, cream, etc) with each one being a delight for my taste buds.