Tête à Papineau

papineau-louis-joseph-809“Ça prend pas la tête à Papineau”.  I hope I never encounter anyone who uses this expression with me. Apparently, you don’t understand what is happening.  I’m pretty sure this cheese knows and may even make you smarter…

Fromagerie Montebello ripens this cheese from 35 days to 2 months before it is released. My friend who came by for dinner happen to catch it after a couple of hours out on the counter and was amazed at how mild and creamy it was. She actually threatened to replace her Brie with it!  It has the same buttery flavours, without the harsh aromas of a ripened rind.

The two gentlemen who started Montebello, Alain Boyer and Guy Boucher, began as co-workers and eventually forged a new relationship as partners. Alain, as a Plaisance trained cheese maker, and Guy as a trained accountant who takes care of the financial aspects.

It has been said that “people used to drink Papineau’s words”. He was motivational and inspiring. I would like to drink a pint of dark ale to commemorate this tête.

Photo by canadiancheese

Photo by canadiancheese


Le Bleu de La Moutonniére

Photo by canadiancheese

It has been a while since my last post. Life got very busy and the summer went by too quickly. Fall is upon us and my cheese drawer in the fridge has started to fill up again. While trying whiskey pairings with cheese that I will use for my tutoured tastings, I discovered Le Bleu. The high alcohol in whiskey needs a rich, full bodied cheese to round out the sharp bite but also enough flavour to stand up to the fermented fruit flavours. Le Bleu is creamy, coats the mouth and has enough barnyard aromas to tone down even the strongest of alcohols. It also makes a wonderful addition to a cheese plate for your friends with discerning taste.

Fromagerie La Moutonniére has a wonderful approach to making cheese. Their 100% Happy Sheep stamp is a testament to how well they care for their livestock. The pastures are seeded with a mixture of more than a dozen wild plants and herbs that occur naturally in the region of les Bois-Francs. They drink from natural spring water and are free to roam. Each cheese is made by hand using only farmstead milk and aged in an underground cave where they are cared for on an individual basis.

I purchased this cheese from Bean Curd and Grain on Dundas West in Toronto but any quality boutique cheese shop should carry it.


Photo by canadiancheese

Bouq Emissaire, now known as Prestige, was a last minute decision to purchase a goat cheese that has the following requirements; soft, creamy, barnyard aromas and made in Canada. I wanted to make sure this cheese could stand up and compliment my Kolapore smoked Trout and other accoutrements. In the past, I have always gone for the light creamy Chevre that contrasts the richness of the fish, but tonight I wanted to play. The earthy, mineral tang was enough but then came the meaty flavours of cured prosciutto. I thought I was imagining it until I crumbled the cheese over a pasta dish…and instantly gave it a meaty flavour! This cheese was made with raw goat milk by Fromages Chaput in Quebec. Fromages Chaput is a third generation, family of cheesemakers that have toured internationally and won awards for their cheeses.


Alfred Le Fermier

Photo by canadiancheese

Meet my new best friend, Alfred. He’s sure to be the star of the show at your next party. At first, he may come off as tad stinky, reminiscent of a wood barn, but his sweet, chewy paste will win you over instantly. The flavour of fresh roasted hazelnut persists to the last bite and even has the tannin tickle you would get from the skin.

I picked up Alfred at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival last weekend from the strapping lads at Fromagerie La Station. They strive to produce alpine cheese inspired from the great Comté and Tommes of France. It is named after Alfred Boduc, the founder of Boduc farm and the first ancestor to settle in the Compton region of Quebec. A single herd of Holstein cows which are raised on their certified Organic pastures, create the milk for this farmstead cheese. It is then matured on wooden boards for eight months.

I enjoyed it with Barley Days Brewery County IPA which I purchased on my way to Bloomfield. Alfred’s not shy and helped bring out the sweet, fun side of this hoppy beer.


Tomme du Haut-Richelieu

Photo by canadiancheese

Remember what this cheese looks like now…the wedge may not last very long.

With a natural craggy rind and a contrasting ivory paste, Tomme du Haut-Richelieu is a knockout on a cheese plate. It boasts a barnyard aroma and the primary taste is a sure bet that it’s a goat cheese, however, people who do not like goat won’t be able to resist this one…The paste is rich and milky, melting easily in the mouth. The finish is short, fresh and grassy.

This is the second cheese I have profiled from Fritz Kaiser. His ability to make his cheese consistent and uniform each time makes it easy to buy.

Pair with a wheat beer or pilsner on the patio.


14 Arpents

Photo by canadiancheese

As you may know by now, I am a huge fan of soft washed rind cheese. The history of trappist cheese is always rich with tales of tradition, taking your time and reaping what you sow.

14 Arpents and other cheese by Fromagerie Médard started production in 2006 but the history of the dairy dates back to 1881. As per their website the following is an account of the farms history. “The ancestor of the family, the widow Emilie Claveau Charlevoix, settled with his family on lot # 21 at St. Gedeon in Lac-Saint-Jean. This land was given to him by the state under the law of Honoré Mercier, legislation that was established at the time to populate regions. It included giving $ 100 (an astronomical sum at the time) or 50 acres of land to families with 12 living children and more. That’s when the son of Emilia, (MÉDARD side) cleared the land, constructed buildings and began to cultivate the land.
Since, from generation to generation, the farm was transferred from father to son. In 1986, Normand Côté (fifth generation) acquired the title. In 25 years together, Madeleine Normand formed several companies including two farms and a nursery.”

Thankfully, there are still two children in succession who are interested in keeping the cheese making tradition alive because I would really miss this cheese. It has an aroma of baked, fresh white bread, yeast and malt with a super creamy soft paste that ranges from mild nuttiness to light fruity such as pear skin. The picture above does not do justice to the lovely, soft peach coloured rind.

The Médard dairy is located north of Quebec City and welcomes visitors. It’s on my list of places to drop by.


Cheddar île-aux-Grues

I love Le Riopelle de l’Isle and Le Tomme de Grosse-île  but I didn’t realize Fromagerie Ile-aux-Grues made cheddar too!

Ile-aux-Grues is a very special co-op based on the principal of sustainability, not only for the islands community of workers, but also for the land, environment and the animals. The small herds of Swiss Brown cows graze on the marshy grasses that grow around the island giving all of their cheese a unique flavour. Allowing the cheese to stay in it’s raw form also aids in the ability to taste the terroir.

One cold afternoon, I stopped in to visit Grain, Curd & Bean in the Dundas West and Dufferin neighbourhood, and was pleased to find a piece of their 2yr old cheddar in mint condition. Upon first bite I felt like I was eating a wad of cold butter. Lactic, sweet flavours filled every corner of my mouth, coating my tongue. After rolling it around for a bit, you could taste some of the light nutty undertones common with grass fed, raw milk cheese. They didn’t have the milder version but I’m assuming it has less of a bite. Without even chewing, the piece melted away, leaving a tangy feeling and teasing my taste buds for more. This cheddar may be too good to melt, so use it create flavourful sandwiches or just eat it alone, on a cracker or with some fruity chutney.

Photo by Canadian Cheese


Louis d’Or 12 months

May I present Louis d’Or. “Best in Show” at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, 3rd place for “Best in Show” at the 2011 American Cheese Society Awards. This cheese is a show stopper. It also happens to be a cheese that you can feel good about eating.

The Morin brothers collect fresh, raw milk from Ferme Louis d’Or, a neighbouring organic farm that houses 85 cows, ranging from Holstein, Jersey and Canadienne. The milk is then brought back to their creamery that once served as a Roman Catholic rectory. Here each 40 kg wheel is carefully crafted by cheesemaker, Dany Grimard, using traditional methods derived from the French Comté recipe.

After searching the city, I was able to pick up both the 12 month and the 24 month at The Village Cheesemonger in Liberty Village. The 12 month is lighter, fudge-like and tastes of roasted hazelnuts. The 24 month old is a darker golden yellow, harder, and tastes of caramelized onions and garlic with a lingering nutty persistence.

Fromagerie de Presbytére is located in the farming region of Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick two hours east of Montréal. It is still a farmstead cheese and according to Jean and Dominic, it will stay that way.

Photo by canadiancheese



Quebec Fondue

It’s taken me this long to post my “All Canadian Cheese Fondue” because this winter really has not inspired the craving I usually get every month during the long, cold Toronto winters. We finally got a cold, below zero, snowy evening today so I decided to jump on the opportunity to try out some cheese combinations.

Since the Swiss have a fondue for every canton or region, I thought this fondue should rightfully be named “Quebec Fondue”. To the pot I added: lemon, garlic, white wine, kirsch, and a combination of Miranda from Fritz Kaiser, Louis d’Or from Fromagerie de Presbytére and Mont St.Benoit from The Abbey at St. Benoit- du -Lac.

The primary taste was salty (more so than the Swiss fondue) but then when it mellowed out I was left with a sweet, highly buttery impression. Small pickles and Quebec duck prosciutto from The Village Cheesemonger in Libery Village was perfect alongside. The richness was cut with some fruity white wine from Italy although I wish I had a Pinot Gris from Organized Crime Winery in Niagara.

If you’ve ever seen an older publication of food books from Switzerland, they usually look something like this.

Photo by canadiancheese


Quebec Fondue Recipe

Serves 4 people (each person will need about 150 grams of cheese)

300 grams of Mont St-Benoit
150 grams of Louis d’Or 12 month
150 grams of Miranda

Lemon, garlic, dry white wine, Kirsch, cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper

Shred cheese in a food processor and add a tablespoon of cornstarch, mix.
Place fondue pot on stove and turn heat to medium.
Rub pot with cloves of garlic and a squirt of lemon juice.
Pour almost half of the bottle of white wine in the pot. Add a 1/2
ounce of Kirsch.
Let heat until warm and start adding shredded cheese, stirring in an 8.
Once all the cheese is melted, add some nutmeg and pepper to taste.
Start the burner and serve with chunks of stale bread !
Accompaniments could be gherkins, pickled onions, beets, cabbage, cured meats, etc.



Photo by canadiancheese


In my search for Canadian cheese substitutes in my Swiss fondue, I finally came across the perfect addition instead of my usual choice of Vacherin Fribourgeois. Miranda embodies the same rich, nutty, toasty qualities of the Vacherin and the creamy texture is amazingly similar! I still need to find two more Swiss cheeses; one to sub in for Gruyére and one for the Emmenthaler. Stay tuned for the final show..a fully Canadian fondue!