Morbier (full name Morbier du Livradois) is a mild-tasting cheese with a white pine ash layer in the middle of it.
The cheese has a golden-brown rind. Inside, it is pale yellow, and semi-firm yet creamy and supple.
It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The milk is heated, then curdled.
Traditionally, Morbier Cheese was made from leftover curd that wasn’t wanted for other cheeses or uses. The curd was put into a mould, then ash put over it to stop it from drying out and forming a rind until the next day, when there would be more leftover curd, enough to finish filling up the mould.
Today, small producers will make the bottom layer from the evening’s milk, then the top layer from the next morning’s milk. It is then salted and pressed.
By law, it has to be aged a minimum of 45 days. Many, though, age it for two months. After this initial aging, it is then washed with brine, then aged another two months.
The crust becomes golden brown as it ages, and the flavour gets more complex.
Morbier Cheese is made in 11 to 18 pound (5 to 8 kg) wheels in the Savoie region of France.
Morbier Cheese melts well.
Morbier was originally made in Morez, in the Jura mountains near the Swiss border from curd leftover from making Comté cheese, or when they didn’t have enough milk to make cheese the size of a Comté wheel and dates back to at least the late 1700s.
It is uncertain how makers hit upon the idea of using ash.
Morbier Cheese received its French AOC in 2001, and its European PDO status in 2002.
“Morbier” means “small market town” in French.