Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheesewatch - Morbier

Herein the exciting return of the much-fêted occasional series: Cheesewatch! Actually, Mary Kay did request more Cheesewatches, amazingly enough! So when I realised, halfway through a packet of one of my favourite cheeses, Morbier, that I had never Cheesewatched it, I leapt to my camera to document this monumental occasion.

Morbier is a semi-soft cow's milk cheese, similar in texture to a Port Salut or Saint-Paulin. Visually, it differs by having a lighter yellow rind and of course by the line you can see running through the centre. I first encountered it last year, cut into small tasting cubes in the cheese section at Auchan, and mistook it for a blue cheese. In fact, that line through the middle is not mould, but a fine layer of ash. Traditionally, it was made with left-over milk from Comté production, so the farmers would put a layer of ash on top to preserve it, before coming back the next day and topping it off with more left-over milk.

I've always wondered whether or not the ash layer is edible. I usually cut it out because eating ash can't be good for you, right? However, the French Wikipedia article describes the ash layer as having a soft, fruity taste, so presumably you are supposed to eat it. Nowadays the ash is usually only decorative, as it is no longer made with in two stages with left-over milk. Another potential health hazard is that it's made with raw, unpasteurised milk - so depending on where you live, you might not be able to get your hands on this baby. I never actually noticed this until I took the picture of the packet above, but I doubt I'm going to keel over from eating the occasional bit of Morbier...

As for the taste, I was going to describe it as I ate, but I finished the last bit just before getting a phone call and before starting blogging, so I'm going to have to call upon my powers of recollection all the way back to an hour ago. Well I fell in love with my first bite at Auchan. It has a firm but creamy texture which responds well to my Patented Cheek Storage System (to those not in the know with this little piece of insanity, I like to squirrel a bit of cheese into my cheek for a couple of minutes until it goes a bit melty in my mouth, and then eat it. I don't know if that's good cheese-eating etiquette...) It starts off rich and creamy-tasting, but has quite a sharp bite to it in the after-taste, almost peppery - I definitely wouldn't say 'soft and fruity', but maybe I'm missing out on that by not eating the ash. Slightly nutty, but not as much as you'd get from a proper (non-plastic) Emmental or similar. I likes!

From Cheesewatch to NailPolishwatch - Mary Kay astonished me when I visited her in Paris by producing a bottle of Essie nail polish for me ("Ole Caliente" colour). She had got it in a gift box and I asked her to let us know what it was like after trying it, since I'd seen it in Monoprix and wanted to know if it was any good. Since she doesn't wear nail polish, she told me she'd give it to me if I was ever in Paris. I thought nothing more of it, but she remembered, so thoughtful!

Staying up late last night watching the Canadian Grand Prix presented me with the perfect opportunity to paint my nails (good race, well-deserved victory for Hamilton, but a slow first few laps before the first pit-stop phase left plenty of time to concentrate on my nails).

The brush was a bit larger than I'm used to, but it provided good, even coverage - I was able to mostly do my left hand with one go, as usual my right hand ended up a bit more butchered but still not too bad. Nice, smooth finish, I didn't go over the edges too much, at least on the left hand, and a pretty, bright colour. I thought it was very orange going on, and it looks it in the photo, but it's actually a bit more towards the red than it looks here (by the way, the pink bottle in the background of that photo is a different colour, currently rocking that on the toes). We'll see how well it lasts, but so far it's done a Grand Prix, bed, and half a day with no chips, which is practically a personal best performance from me! Thanks MK!


  1. Many thanks for stopping yourself in the middle of a cheese degustation to take photos and tasting notes, Gwan! I'm a bit surprised that someone who lives as dangerously as you (walking along highways and such) is worried about eating a bit of ash. That seems rather tame by comparison!

    The Essie nail polish looks lovely on you! The only time I use polish is when I have a run in my nylons and that color would be more than a bit noticeable on my legs!

    Thanks again for doing another Cheesewatch!

  2. tI did not know that that was ash down the middle - I just assumed it was blue too. I've always eaten it though, and never noticed any nasty consequences!

  3. Nice nail colour!! I like Essie polish too :-)

  4. The nails look lovely. I admired someone I work with's nails the other day and she told me she did them herself. I remarked how they looked professionally done, and she said the secret is to do only one hand at a time. M x

  5. I'm loving these MK posts! It seems like you two have really clicked! I love when that happens.

    I loved this Cheesewatch! I will look out for your selections when I'm back in town. It can be intimidating so I stick to my three usuals. Thanks to you I will be more adventurous!

    ...and nice nails! : )

  6. I'm just going to ask Bossy how she does two hands at once!

  7. Thanks guys! Yeah, as they say, live fast, die young and eat a lot of ash...

  8. Thats what they said in Pompeii!

  9. Well it worked well for them!

  10. I too am impressed with your self discipline to STOP EATING CHEESE! in order to take a photo/ blog about it. I am addicted to cheese. Once I start to eat it I cannot stop. not even for a photo/ blog! (sorry) Not had much for a while as I have been loosing weight, but I look forward to rewarding myself when I visit Paris in a couple of weeks.

    As to nail varnish...I love the colour. I am not allowed to wear it at work so make a point of having a professional job for holidays as I can never quite get it right on my right hand, even doing it one hand at a time.

  11. Ha, well I only blogged about it when all the cheese was gone! I love cheese, but like Ella, I tended to just stick to ones I knew if I bought any, so Cheesewatch was a way of encouraging myself to take advantage of living here by trying new things.


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