Located just west of Petaluma in northern California, the Marin French Cheese Company was founded in 1865 by Jefferson A. Thompson, largely as a response to the burgeoning demand for cheese arising from returning Gold Rush miners. Today it’s the oldest continuously operating creamery in the United States. Milk for cheese production originally came from the company's own herds of cattle that grazed the 700 acres of land surrounding the creamery. However, during the Depression of the 1930's, Marin French decided to focus its efforts entirely on production and try to support its neighbors by buying in milk from local farms. This arrangement continues today.
Petite Crème is a small version of Marin French Cheese’s popular Triple Crème Brie. To make the mini versions, cheesemakers have reworked the process of production, using different proportions of culture and rennet, different curd sizes and draining times. In this way, the small cheeses are able to develop the essential qualities of the larger versions by the time they’ve aged for 21 days in the on-site cellars.
Petite Crème has a surprisingly thick rind with intense earthy, mushroomy notes. Flavor is potent and salty, while paste is lusciously melty and creamy.
Pair it with a California sparkling wine, a Petite Syrah or an IPA.