Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who's The Big Cheese?????

Can you identify this cheese????

I love cheese, all types of cheese. Unfortunately, living in a small town, we don't always have access to a large selection of different cheeses. Although, I must say, the supermarkets are making a good attempt to try to bring in a nice variety of cheeses, and we have a Wegman's 40 minutes away with a very nice cheese department, nothing takes the place of a good Fromagerie. Luckily, with the advent of the internet, we are able to order cheeses from all over the world, so there is no excuse not to branch out and try something different.

For must of us, I suspect that we have our favorite cheeses, the ones that we use in our cooking, the ones that we prefer to eat, and we probably don't stray much off the beaten track. I imagine some of it is ethnic in nature, as a person of Italian descent, I know I use ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, locatelli-romano, asiago, and provolone on a daily basis in one form or another.

If you are of English descent, perhaps it is a good Stilton, or if you are of Greek descent, perhaps Kasseri, if you are of French descent, maybe a good Brie, but whatever you are, there is nothing better than a delicious tasting cheese.

Today, there are so many varieties of cheeses that were unheard of a few years ago, as cheese makers diversify. Even the the lowly shredded cheese departments of the grocery store, it's no longer just Monterey Jack, but a Five Cheese Taco Mix, or plain Mozzarella but a Six Cheese Italian Mix. This is wonderful for the cheese lover in all of us.

Even in our local Price Chopper last week, they had a display of cards with different cheeses on them. I for one, enjoying trying and learning about new cheeses, and cheeses I haven't tried. I have found that since having gastric by-pass surgery makes eating meat a little more difficult, that cheese is a great way of getting protein incorporated into my diet.

I was recently very lucky to come across Dana Romero's Cheese of the Week blog through a connection on LinkedIn. I have been following his blog and thought that many of you might be interested as well. I would have to say that this week Dana Romero get the vote for being the Big Cheese.

His wonderful posts and pictures will open up a whole new world of cheese for all of you. Please take the time to visit his blog, learn some more about the different cheeses out there, wine and cheese pairings, and try something you have never eaten before!

The cheese pictured above is a Morbier.

Here is the description from Dana's Blog:

Morbier (more-bee-AY) is a semi-soft, aromatic and surprisingly mild French cow's milk AOC cheese defined by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through it's 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 Franche-Comté in eastern France. It has a rind that is yellowish, moist, and leathery.

Way back when the Franche-Comte cheesemakers were concentrating on producing Gruyere de Comte, they often had leftover curds at the end of their day. However, they didn't have enough to make a full Gruyere de Comte, so the cheesemakers would make a smaller cheese. After smooshing 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 over night. 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 Jura and Doubs versions both benefit from an appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), though other non-AOC Morbier exist on the market. So do not confuse this cheese with the American Mobay cheese, a Wisconsin developed cheese not made of cow’s milk. Instead Mobay is a semi-soft cheese made of a 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, is markedly different, since goat and sheep’s milk are significantly different in flavor and tend to produce sharper cheeses.

Morbier, which is aged for at least 60 days up to four months, pleasantly confounds expectations. Contrary to its smell, Morbier has a mild sweet buttery taste and leaves a wonderful, nutty aftertaste. Morbier is excellent served with Gewurztraminer or Pinor Noir.

If you want to learn more about cheese, visit Dana's Blog or if you are in Louisiana, check out his store La Fromagerie de Lafayette - 5000 Freetown Road, New Iberia, Lousiana 70560

Dana is an Aquarius just like me, we Aquarians love people and are really friendly, so check out Dana's Blog and his store, you won't be disappointed!

Now as for me, I am going to take some lowly Monterey Jack and work on a new Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip appetizer in an eggroll wrapper !!!


  1. I love cheese, but I just can't make myself try one of those with the bluish mold on them :) I don't care that they're supposedly delicious, they have mold...

  2. You don't know what you're missing... try it you'll like it!

  3. Yum! There isn't a cheese made that I won't eat! I love cheese; there's an endless variety out there. Even different producer's versions of the same cheese taste quite different. I'm fortunate to have a great grocery store about half an hour away that stocks hundreds of cheeses - their cooler space for them is probably 30 feet long. My biggest problem is trying to decide on which new one to try and which favorites to get again. I could pick dozens at a time. LOL