Chow Town

Ashbrook cheese is milky and tangy with a funky finish

Ashbrook from Vermont has a distinctive line of ash through the middle
Ashbrook from Vermont has a distinctive line of ash through the middle

October is American Cheese Month. The American Cheese Society says, “American Cheese Month is a celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers and chefs who bring them to your table.”

So I thought I would bring a different cheese to Chow Town readers every day in October. Stay tuned to see what delicious cheeses North America has to offer! There are sure to be some classic favorites and new must-haves that will suit everyone’s tastes.


Producer: Spring Brook Farm

Place: Reading, Vt.

Milk: Raw cow’s milk

Type: Semi-hard, mountain style

For years now the FDA has been scrutinizing French Morbier to the point we cannot get the real thing in the states now. The FDA has blamed the levels of certain bacteria and the ash that is in the cheese.

To many cheese lovers these reasons don’t pass the smell test. Luckily American cheesemakers have been filling the void.

Ashbrook is a copy of Morbier. Its distinguishing feature is its line of ash through the middle of the cheese. The outside of the cheese is washed and it is aged for ten months. The washing encourages bacteria to grow and creates a stinky pink rind with a smattering of white mold.

The flavors are milky and tangy with a finish that’s funky like its Old World counterpart. Ashbrook is one of several domestic cheeses that will feed your need for Morbier.

Spring Brook Farm has a cool program called Farm’s For City Kids Foundation. It allows kids from surrounding cities to learn and work on the farm. They help with the herd of Jersey cows, cheesemaking, vegetables, fruit orchards and Maple syrup production.

Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society certified cheese professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.