Cheese plate for one?

Don’t mind if I do….

Cheese Plate for 1

So, I came across those La Panzanella fancy crackers which I bought way back when I visited the Rogue Creamery and realized that if I didn’t eat them soon they were probably going to get all stale. I also wanted to give another chance to our farmhouse cheddar. What better excuse to make up a little cheese plate for one?

I went by Whole Foods after work and picked up some Morbier (bottom) (intrigued by Nicole’s earlier tasting notes on Estrella Creamery’s version of the same), a Mobay (left) and some Manchego (top). I packed them away in my bike panniers and made the trek home fueled by thoughts of cheese.

I pulled out some olives, cornichons, a Bosc pear (love the season!) and a split of pear wine which we picked up on that same trip to the Creamery.

First off, our farmhouse cheddar (right). I let it come up to room temp and took a bite. Still tangy. Not a lot of flavor beyond the tang. Very little aftertaste and the texture was firm and a little dry. It kind of made me think of plain feta. Ih.

Next, the Morbier, a raw cow’s milk cheese from Les 3 Comtois which, as Nicole explained, is traditionally a mix of the evening milking and the morning milking divided by a layer of ash. Basically, at the end of the day if there was leftover milk but not enough to make a full wheel, they would set it up and then add a fresh milk layer in the morning. The Morbier is semi-soft, creamy with a simple flavor. It reminds me of a mild cheddar and was quite delicious though I did not taste much, if any, distinction between the two sides of cheese.

The Mobay from Carr Valley was fascinating. It is semi-soft with two kinds of milk. One half is goat’s milk and the other half is sheep’s. The two halves are separated by ash from grape vines. I think the lighter colored, near-white side was the goat. It tended to break at the ash line and so it was fun to sample one side then the other and think about the two different milks. They were both delightful with the sheep’s milk taking on even more “barny” flavor than the goat. The ash is the most flavorful I’ve tasted. I came across a review at Corks & Curds (a blog I will need to revisit) which mentioned that the ash seemed to have almost a blue flavor to it and I have to agree. A mouthful of both sides was amazing — huge flavor! I think I’ll keep coming back to this one.

From El Trigal, I had a 12-month Manchego, a hard sheep’s cheese. As expected, it had that wonderful piquant Manchego flavor with a smooth finish which leaves a wonderful aftertaste. It reminds me of a really amazing Pinot, something which gives you a big flavor all around and leaves you happy. Also, the cat loves Manchego.

Coming back, once more, to the little farmhouse cheddar we made… of course, it doesn’t measure up. However, I’m really inspired by these big, flavorful cheeses. I don’t know if it’s possible for us to produce something even half as good as these other cheeses but it is something to strive for.


Morbier A.O.C. from Les 3 Comtois
Cow’s milk

Mobay from Carr Valley
Sheep’s milk and Goat milk

12-month Manchego from El Trigal

Farmhouse Cheddar from FUCheese (aged 1 mo.)


  1. Kate said,

    November 15, 2008 @ 11:56 am

    Morbier is only traditionally made from two milkings – nowadays any Morbier made for export is made by larger cooperatives, which make the whole cheese from one milking but preserve the ash layer in the middle as an homage to the cheese’s tradition. Basically, a few very small family farms are the only ones who may still be making Morbier from two milkings.

  2. Amanda said,

    November 16, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

    Thanks, Kate, that makes a lot of sense (and is unfortunate). Nicole said that her Morbier from Estrella Creamery had some distinction to the two sides so they may indeed make theirs in the traditional way. Yay for small creameries!

  3. Kate said,

    November 17, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    I’ll have to check out Estrella Creamery’s version – sounds tasty!

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