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CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Morbier Cheese From France

This week’s cheese recommendation is from guest blogger Dana Romero, proprietor of La Fromagerie D’Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Morbier (more-bee-YAY) is one of France’s best-known cheeses. It is a semi-soft, aromatic and surprisingly mild French cow’s milk cheese, defined by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through its middle.

Today, the ash is purely decorative, a nod to the method by which Morbier was once produced in the small village of Morbier in eastern central France, bordering Switzerland. It has a rind that is yellowish, moist and leathery. The cheese is aged for at least 60 days and up to four months. It has an assertive scent, but a mild, sweet, buttery taste and a nutty aftertaste.


Morbier cheese is easily recognizable by the layer of ash in the middle. Photo courtesy


Morbier is a byproduct of Gruyère. Way back when the cheesemakers in France’s Franche-Comté region of France were concentrating on producing Gruyère de Comté, they often had leftover curds at the end of the day. However, they didn’t have enough to make a full Gruyère de Comté, so the cheesemakers would make a smaller cheese. After packing the leftover curds into a mold, they would blacken their hands by rubbing them on the exterior of the copper pot used for cooking cheese curd. The resulting ash was smeared on top of the evening curd to keep it from drying out overnight.

The next day, there would be more excess curd from the morning cheesemaking session, and that would be laid on top of the ash. The Morbiers of Jura and Doubs (départments—think counties—within the province) both benefit from an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation, although other non-AOC Morbiers exist.

Do not confuse Morbier with the American Mobay cheese, a Wisconsin semisoft cheese made of one layer of goat’s milk and one of sheep’s milk. In appearance, it is similar to Morbier, with ash separating the two layers. The taste, however, has nothing in common since the milk is not the same.

Morbier is excellent served with Gewurztraminer or Pinor Noir.

Find more of our favorite cheeses.


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