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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cheese: Morbier

Given the abundance of cheese France produces, I’ve decided to tackle the subject once a month in a series of posts that bring some of the lesser known cheeses, (at least outside the France borders) into focus.  Some cheeses have a complicated history which I try to boil down to what makes them unique and notable, and others simply developed from “farm cheeses” made to be consumed where they were produced.  Either way, “Cheese” gives me a chance to explore one of the gastronomic delights of France and justify my excursions to a cheese monger as “research”.  And the research can be oh, so grueling…

Don’t let the blue line fool you; this cheese has nothing to do with Roquefort or other blues.  In fact, Morbier very mild, delicate, and slightly nutty.  The line that runs through the center is its foremost characteristic.  As the cheese was produced, a layer of protective ash was placed over the curds and then finished off with additional milk gathered in the evening.  Nowadays, the layer is decorative, vegetal in origins, and tastes no differently from the rest of the cheese.

Morbier is made from cow’s milk, most often non-pasteurized, and is considered a semi-soft cheese.  The milk is exclusively produced from two types of cows, the Montbéliarde and Simmental Française whose diet is uniquely pastoral grass and hay.  The cheese is named for the village of the same name in the Jura Mountains of the Franche-Comté region, not far from the Swiss border.  Morbier received AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) standing in December 2000 and since then its production has tripled to over 9,000 tons annually.


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