Thursday, May 12, 2005

The cutting wedge

One of my great finds last night was this stunning (seriously, only word for it) Morbier. Described as "Morbier au lait cru du haut-libradois fromage fabrique en Auvergne," it is a raw-milk (ie unpasteurized) semi-hard cow milk delight, aged in the "Mountains of Auvergne" France for 60 days.

There are not many raw milk cheeses for sale in the US, because the FDA believes that they can harbor bacteria. Jeffrey Steingarten has argued otherwise, persuasively enough for me to approach the dangers rationally. I have no idea how Papa's Joe's was able to import this or sell it, but I am assuming it is a legitimate import sold by a reputable grocer.

The streak running through the cheese is vegetable ash, separating the morning and evening milk (I think. Sounds good though, right?). This is simply one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. It is creamy, fatty, deeply flavored, and complex. If basic yellow American cheese is the simplest (not bad, just simple) cheese on sale in the US right now, rating a "1" for complexity, this Morbier is at least a high "7", full of layers of taste that change from the time you start eating until you have a sip of your Sofia mini. What's a Sofia mini?

Canned California champagne, created by Francis Ford Coppola in honor of his daughter Sofia's movie "Lost in Translation," and a great accompaniment to rich fatty cheeses.

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