Morbier French Cheese is a semi-soft cows’ milk cheese from France. It is named after the small village of Morbier in Franche-Comté. It is ivory coloured, soft and slightly elastic. Morbier is immediately recognizable by the black layer of tasteless ash separating it horizontally in the middle. It has a rind that is yellowish, moist, and leathery. The aroma of Morbier French Cheese is mild, having a semblance to Raclette cheese in its consistency and aroma. It has a rich and creamy flavour.
Production of Morbier Cheese
Traditionally, the cheese consists of a layer of morning milk and a layer of evening milk. When making Comté, cheesemakers would end the day with leftover curd that was not enough for an entire cheese. Thus, they would press the remaining evening curd into a mould, and spread ash over it to protect it overnight. The following morning, the cheese would be topped up with morning milk. Nowadays, the cheese is usually made from a single milking with the traditional ash line replaced by the vegetable dye.
Morbier cheese can be served as an appetizer on crackers or with chutney added to enhance the flavour. It is a good cheese to serve on crackers or with bread served fresh or melted over the bread. And, it also serves well on grilled foods.
History of Morbier Cheese
Morbier cheese has existed since the end of the 18th century. At the end of 2000, it was recognized as AOC (Protected Designation of Origin) after 14 years with a regional label.
It was originally created by farmers from the Franche-Comté region who did not have enough milk to make a big cheese. They conceived the idea to dust the curdle with a light layer of coal soot while waiting for the next milking, so as to prevent the cheese from spoiling in mid-production. Thus, they protected and preserved the cheese. The second layer of curdling was then applied to the previous layer, leaving the black line in the middle.
The Jura and Doub’s versions both benefit from an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), though other non-AOC Morbier exist on the market.