Mobay Cheese is an American cheese, not to be confused with the standard orange cheeses called “American.” It derives from an old French cheese making style. The name Mobay is a corruption of Morbier a type of semi-soft cheese made in France that has two layers, separated by a layer of edible ash. The French style is quite different from the American version. It uses two different types of cows’ milk to create two separate layers of cheese. One layer is made up of morning milk, and the second layer is made up of cows’ milk from the afternoon milking.
This process is said to have developed by small farmers with limited dairy supplies who had to wait until afternoon for enough milk to fill the waiting cheese fully. If the first layer were left uncovered, it would start to create a crust. Ash, from woods like Juniper or from herbs, provided the perfect way to eliminate crust formation so that the cheese molds could wait for the second layer of milk.
Mobay cheese is a take off and exciting version of the French style. Instead of relying on cows’ milk, artisans create a cheese that is one layer goat and one layer sheep milk cheese. The resultant semi-soft Mobay cheese is a very interesting, and quite varied in taste combination cheese. It has some of the strong flavor of goat cheese, which is mellowed by the sheep cheese layer, and many people love the taste.
Cheese makers use a variety of different edible ash formulas. Some use grape vine ash, for instance, and this imparts a subtle and smoky layer to the cheese. Others look at the separation point of ash as a way of really getting two cheeses for one. In some areas, you can ask people to “split” the Mobay cheese along the ash line, which can give you essentially wedges of goat and wedges of sheep cheese.
On the other hand, you can buy sheep or goat cheese if you prefer one to the other. If you like both, Mobay cheese solves your problem. It melts well and can be used to top of pizza, can be crumbled into salads, or makes a delicious cheese choice for a cheese course. It’s excellent paired with fruit, served on crackers and many people suggest that Mobay cheese served with port is the perfect after dinner “dessert” or a fantastic first course.