The Magie is a beautiful washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, with a wrinkly pink and amber skin splitting along the lines of the cheese shelves on which it sat. Collapsing on the cheese board with only a little bit of warming, the golden, lightly pocked paste is oozing and fluid throughout with only a firmer paste near the heart of the wheel.
Inspired by French washed rinds like Munster d’Alsace or even Taleggio, this is a pungent cheese with barnyard and mold wafting from the rind. In flavor it is buttery, meaty and mushroomy, with hints of hay and nut — even, as was noted by Murrays on Twitter, reminiscent of that Southern specialty, boiled peanuts!
This is not a challenging washed-rind (eg you can bring it home on the subway without clearing the seats around you), but it is delicious and complex, amazing smeared on a crusty hunk of baguette.
As for the name, Magie is a combination of Mario and Ginette, first names of the husband and wife team responsible for the cheese; Madawaska is the name of the first Seigneurie of the region of Quebec in which the fromagerie is situated.
Sentinelle, a washed rind goat’s milk cheese from Fromagerie Le Detour in Quebec. When it comes to washed-rinds, the best cheeses, at peak, are often…well, structurally unstable and may not survive the subway ride home in one’s backpack. Hence the collapsed little puddle of rind and oozing paste that you see above. Despite appearances, however, this was a wonderfully pungent cheese, creamy and oozing, with a complex, nutty, mushroomy flavor swirling with the essence of hay and barnyard, but without being overwhelming to the palette; a particular feat for a washed goat, as goat can develop quite a kick as it crests the peak.
Grey Owl is another cheese from Fromagerie Le Detour to keep an eye out for.
Recommended by Elizabeth at Murray’s.