What is Maredsous Cheese? Belgium’s Loaf-Shaped Legacy

What is Maredsous Cheese? Belgium's Loaf-Shaped Legacy - Cheese Origin

Delve into the heart of Belgium’s dairy delights, and you’ll find a loaf-shaped legend that has tantalized tastebuds for generations – Maredsous Cheese. This exceptional cheese, with its distinctive shape and delectable taste, is more than just a dairy product; it’s a symbol of Belgium’s rich culinary heritage.

Quick Facts About Maredsous Cheese

Made fromCow’s milk
TypeSemi-soft, artisanal
ColorPale yellow
TextureCreamy and smooth
TasteMild, slightly tangy, and nutty
Aging time3 months
PairingsFruits, nuts, Belgian beers, and light-bodied wines
ProductionMade by the monks at Maredsous Abbey
Serving suggestionIdeal for sandwiches, salads, and cheese boards
Nutritional ValueHigh in protein and calcium, contains beneficial bacteria
StorageShould be stored in a cool, humid environment, ideally in the lower part of the refrigerator

What is Maredsous Cheese?

What is Maredsous Cheese?

Maredsous Cheese is a delectable delight, hailing from the verdant valleys of Belgium. This semi-soft, artisanal cheese is crafted from cow’s milk and stands as an emblem of the country’s rich dairy tradition. Its origins are deeply rooted in the monastic life at Maredsous Abbey where it is still produced today, a testament to the longevity of age-old cheese-making techniques.

The cheese is known for its distinctive round shape and pale yellow color, encased by a washed rind. When you slice into a wheel of Maredsous, you’re met with a creamy and smooth texture that easily melts in your mouth. The taste is a perfect balance of mild, slightly tangy, and nutty flavors. It’s these subtle complexities that make this cheese a standout in culinary circles.

But Maredsous Cheese isn’t just for nibbling on its own. It’s a versatile addition to many dishes and pairs wonderfully with fruits, nuts, Belgian beers, and light-bodied wines. Whether it’s adding a creamy touch to sandwiches, enhancing salads, or starring in a sophisticated cheese board, Maredsous is a crowd-pleaser.

Beyond its culinary uses, Maredsous Cheese is also a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in protein and calcium, and contains beneficial bacteria, making it a healthy addition to your diet. To enjoy Maredsous at its best, it should be stored in a cool, humid environment, ideally in the lower part of the refrigerator.

What Does Maredsous Cheese Taste Like?

Maredsous cheese flavor profile is largely attributed to the specific flora and manual maturation process in the caves where it’s aged. This careful process results in its distinctive orange rind and a creamy, rich flavor that is uniquely Maredsous.

This Belgian soft cheese made from cow’s milk is crafted by the monks of Maredsous Abbey, ensuring a traditional touch in every slice. The cheese is lightly pressed and then washed in brine, which gives it a firm, orange crust, and a pungent aroma, hinting at the flavorful journey you’re about to embark on with each bite.

The taste of Maredsous cheese is often described as creamy, due to its double cream variety. It’s also found in delicious spreadable cheeses, which maintain the same creamy taste. Some versions of Maredsous even offer hints of ham and emmental flavors, expanding its taste spectrum and making it a versatile choice for various dishes.

Maredsous Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Aroma: The cheese has a distinct yet pleasant aroma which can be attributed to the washed rind. It’s slightly pungent but not overpowering.
  • Flavor: Maredsous Cheese is known for its creamy and rich flavor. It offers a balanced taste that is mild, slightly tangy, and nutty.
  • Texture: The texture of Maredsous Cheese is smooth and creamy. It melts easily in your mouth, adding to the overall taste experience.
  • Aftertaste: The cheese leaves a lingering aftertaste that is subtly tangy and nutty, making you want to reach for another slice.

10 Best Maredsous Cheese Substitutes

GoudaA Dutch semi-hard cheese known for its rich, unique flavor and smooth texture.
HavartiA Danish cow’s milk cheese that is buttery, slightly acidic, and has a supple texture.
FontinaAn Italian cheese from the Aosta Valley, with a delicate, nutty flavor and a smooth, velvety texture.
Monterey JackAn American white, semi-hard cheese that is mild, creamy, and melts well.
MaasdamA Swiss-style Dutch cheese, with a sweet, nutty flavor and large holes.
MuensterA semi-soft American cheese that is smooth, slightly tangy, and melts easily.
EmmentalA yellow, medium-hard Swiss cheese that is savory, slightly sweet, and features characteristic holes.
EdamA Dutch semi-hard cheese that is mild, slightly salty, and nutty.
JarlsbergA Norwegian cheese that tastes like a mild Swiss cheese but with a sweeter, nuttier flavor.
ProvoloneAn Italian semi-hard cheese that is smooth, creamy, and has a mild, slightly tangy flavor.

What Pairs Well With Maredsous Cheese?

Food that goes well with Maredsous Cheese:

FruitsApples, Pears, Grapes, Figs, Apricots
BreadsBaguette, Sourdough, Rye Bread, Crackers
MeatsSalami, Prosciutto, Smoked Turkey, Ham
NutsAlmonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews
VegetablesOlives, Pickles, Roasted Red Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes
Jams & SpreadsFig Jam, Apricot Preserve, Honey, Quince Paste
CondimentsWhole Grain Mustard, Balsamic Glaze, Olive Tapenade
Other CheesesBrie, Camembert, Blue Cheese, Aged Cheddar

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?

Beverage that goes well with Maredsous Cheese:

BeerBelgian Ales, Pilsners, Light Lagers
WineChardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
CiderDry Apple Cider, Pear Cider
WhiskySingle Malt Scotch, Irish Whiskey
Non-AlcoholicSparkling Water, Grape Juice, Apple Juice

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

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