Farce tête-de-maure (Edam cheese spread)

DSC_0109The key ingredient to today’s recipe is Edam Cheese or as we, Haitians know it to be, Fromage tête-de-maure.
Growing up only paying attention to the phonetics of that word, I really believed that it was spelled “Fromage tête de mort“, which literally means “dead person’s head”.
Edam/Holland Cheese from the Netherlands owes its French name to its dark brown color. The expression itself has a much more historical meaning which I decide not to go too far into. However, this is one example of how food is linked to history and culture.

“Inside every act of cooking lies a revolution–and a story about who we are”

Cooked, Netflix Original

By the way, I highly recommend that show.↑
Edam Cheese landed in Haiti through the Spaniards’ colonization era due to its long lasting properties (it hardens easily and does not spoil at all) which were beneficial to long travels. There even were rumors of it being used as canon balls.
Fromage tête-de-maure is commonly known as the final ingredient for our macaroni grâtiné (Haitian baked mac and cheese).
Not everyone is aware of this appetizer that features in the title. It’s mostly served at important parties such as first communions, christenings etc. It was certainly one of my favorites. I haven’t had it ever since I left Haiti and this is my first time ever attempting to prepare it.

Caveat lector: I could not find any recipes for it so I decided to build it off from memory.

This appetizer is one of the easiest to prepare. It’s really all about throwing it all in one bowl, mixing it all up and putting it on the table.

It’s usually served as a dipping or as a spread in mini square sandwiches.

Quantity can be determined by eye-measure (The Haitian way)

  • Fromage tête-de-maure (Edam Cheese/Holland Cheese)
  • Butter (Allows for everything to stick together. Be moderate)
  • Seasoning of your choice (Mine: garlic, parsley, Maggi, black pepper)
  • Onions cut in dice
  • Ground hot dog or ground meat of choice
  • Chives or/and onions


  1. Grate the edam cheese.
  2. Add in your butter and mix very well
  3. Add your ground meat,  your seasoning and your onions/chives cut into little pieces.
  4. Mix it all up and voilà

Told you it was easy!

Learn more about the history of Edam Cheese here

Published by Nathalie JB

Bonjou! My name is Nathalie Jean-Baptiste. Yes! I know, my last name doesn’t get any more Haitian than that! Who am I really? I consider myself a renaissance woman. I looooooove learning new skills in any field possible: Culinary, baking, painting, crafting, designing, writing, knitting, sewing. You name it! I often joke while saying “ I’m a tout bagay”. Which literally translates to “I’m everything”. Most say I'd make a great surgeon due to the agility in my hands. Sure, I can manage any tasks requiring detail and precision. It drives my audacity to venture in the kitchen with absolutely no experience. What better motivation than to share my culinary journey with you? To help you get better at things you probably thought you couldn't do. At least, that was my drive! I guess by now, you’ve already figured out that I'm the cook and photographer behind “Pilon lakay”. This blog started 8 years ago as I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about Haitian cuisine. Back home, I was never taught how to cook nor was I ever interested in being in the kitchen unless it involved baking. Instead, I loved preparing cakes and cookies. (Shhhh! I still do). After a couple of years in the US, like most of us immigrants, I missed food from home. The good stuff, you know! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make of this a personal exploration of Haitian food. Boy what a journey it has been! While cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I wanted to encourage others like me to actually learn and explore Haiti’s gastronomy. I made sure my instructions were personal and beginner friendly. My recipe directions contain a lot more details than any other regular recipes. With a personal touch, it's a depiction of my thought process when I do these many tasks. I'm sure you can cook anything on here! If I can do it, you can too! Come experience Haiti through your taste buds! Meet you in the kitchen! Love, N.

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