Tucked away in the grassy farmland of rural Marin, about an hour's drive northwest from San Francisco, the Marin French Cheese Company, founded in 1865, is the oldest operating cheese company in America. It's a peaceful, old-fashioned place, a look back to West Marin's rural past when farms and pastureland abounded.
The cheese company, formerly known as Rouge et Noir, uses fresh milk from six neighboring dairy farms to produce an array of mouth-watering, soft-ripened artisan cheeses, from traditional Camembert to award-winning Triple Cream Brie and truffle-infused Brie. It’s delicious, creamy stuff, aged in small rounds and tucked into delicate wooden boxes—perfect for fall picnics in scenic West Marin.
The modest retail store and factory offers complimentary cheese samples with crackers and factory tours. Display cases are packed with rounds of fresh fromage. Add a loaf of fresh sourdough bread, marinated olives, and salami (also sold at the shop) for an idyllic alfresco picnic at tables scattered around the property and along a nearby, tree-lined pond.
The Marin French Cheese Company is open daily from 8:30AM to 5PM. Factory tours are offered twice daily on weekdays. Nearby two other artisan cheese factories also offer tours and tastings: the Nicasio Valley Cheese Company in the tiny burg of Nicasio, and the Cowgirl Creamery in charming Point Reyes Station. Serious cheese lovers should follow The Marin-Sonoma Cheese Trail to places where cheese dreams are made of.
For complete Marin County visitor information, including overnight lodging information, visit the website of the Marin Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.visitmarin.org.