Marinivore: Cream of the crop

Marin French Cheese makes award-winning Brie

By Tanya Henry

For many of us, the discovery of Brie cheese is usually memorable—you either love it or you don’t. It’s a pungent experience, and depending on the quality of the cheese, textures can range from creamy and delicate to rubbery with excessively chewy rinds.

Fortunately, for those of us who fall in the camp of Brie lovers, Marin French Cheese makes some of the best French-style cheeses around. In fact, the 150-year old company has been getting some well-deserved attention lately for its Dark Moon ash-rinded, triple-cream Brie that took home a state fair gold medal, and was a Sofi Finalist in the prestigious Specialty Food Association’s coveted awards.

Affectionately known as “The Cheese Factory,” the longtime cheesemaker is easily recognizable by its iconic sign that has been a landmark on the Pt. Reyes Petaluma Road for decades. The company was originally founded in 1865 as the Thompson Brothers Creamery. Generations of Thompsons ran the operation—under the name Rouge et Noir—through Prohibition, the Great Depression and World War II. In 2011 the Rians Group, a French Company that also owns neighboring Laura Chenel, acquired it.

“We are thrilled to learn that our Dark Moon received so many honors just in the last month,” noted Philippe Chevrollier, general manager at Marin French Cheese.

I recently packed this luscious Dark Moon treat for a picnic in the Marin Headlands. The subtle but tangy flavors, exquisite creaminess and clean, mellow rind of the triple-cream Brie made for a perfect meal. A handful of nuts, plain crackers or baguette and a summer stone fruit—and voila—lunch is served!

Look for Marin French Cheese in Marin markets that include United Markets, Andronico’s, Mollie Stone’s and more. You can also visit them at 7510 Pt. Reyes Petaluma Road in Petaluma, or online at

Pacific Sun
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