Moroccan Arabic: فرماج حمر
French: fromage rouge
Fromage hmar (Moroccan Arabic) and fromage rouge (French) literally translate to "red cheese." In Morocco, the term refers to Edam cheese, which is wrapped in bright red paraffin wax before it is exported from Holland.
Although cheese remains a luxury purchase for poorer Moroccan families, "red cheese" is widely known and appreciated as an all-purpose cheese. Moroccans serve Edam cheese plain and as a sandwich filler; they grate and melt it onto pasta and pizza; and they add it to sauces, quiches, bastillas and other savory dishes. Neighborhood stores and larger supermarkets sell the cheese as a whole ball (weighing about 1.7 kg) or cut into smaller portions. Smaller sized balls may also be available.
Named for the area in Holland where it originated, Edam cheese is somewhat similar to its Dutch cousin, Gouda, with Edam being a bit dryer and slighter lower in fat content. Edam has a low melting point, making it suitable for sauces, and it will brown when baked or placed under the broiler. Its flavor, which is described as mellow and salty, is intensified by aging. The cheese is regarded as semi-hard, although a younger cheese will be a bit softer in texture.
Recipes on the Moroccan Food site which call for Edam cheese as an ingredient include: