Wednesday, August 8, 2012


In dining today, the cheese course has turned into quite a prominent course, one which lends to culinary creativity for choosing the perfect cheeses, pairing them nicely with condiments and crisping up some house-made bread for toasts. Most menus these day offer cheeses, which are, I'm happy to say also usually Canadian! Canada produces some really quality cheese.

When I worked at BUCA, I was on the SALUMI (meat) and FROMAGGI (cheese) station. Each day we had to pick five of each, so I became quite familiar with an array of cheeses, and of course tasting them often! I got to know those dropping off the cheese and I learned about ordering different types and what would work best with condiments, with the meats, with salads etc. One of my favourite suppliers, which is based out of Stratford Ontario is Monforte Dairy. They are so unique and delicious, it is no wonder they are featured in the article I am about to share with you.

For those of you looking to learn more about cheese, and cheese making, these 5 spots would be worth the trip!

The Globe and Mail last week published an article about Canada's top five cheese destinations and I thought I would share for all you cheese enthusiasts out there. The five exerts below are from the article.

1. Monforte Dairy, Stratford ON.

Monforte's innovative owner, Ruth Klahsen, raised about $400,000 to build her new cheese plant by starting a community-shared agriculture plan. Suscribers support the dear by prepaying for the cheese. Stop by to try some of the savoury complex Toscano or the butter Bliss, enriched with organic cream.

"There are windows around the whole facility so you can peek in and see cheese being made at different stages right up until its wrapped. It's also the only place you can see awesome cheese graffiti, which is painted on the side of the cheese plant and silo."

2. Fromagerie du Presbytere, Ste-Elizabeth-de-Warwick, QC

Its award-winning Louis D'Or and Bleu D'Elizabeth are made from the organic milk that comes from the family farm and produced in a covered old rectory that serves as the cheese factory and store.

“Nothing makes me happier than seeing communities come together over food. Every Friday in Ste-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, people gather in the front yard of Fromagerie du Presbytère for a picnic dinner and to enjoy fresh cheese served at three stages of the cheese-making process. You just show up with hundreds of other people, who bring folding tables, chairs and wine and buy fresh cheese made at different points in the evening. They even have a baker on site just for the event.”

3. Laiterie Charlevoix, Baie-St-Paul, QC

One of its most popular cheese, Le 1608, was launched in 2008 to coincide with Quebec City's 400th anniversary. Laiterie Charlevoix is located in the Laurentian Mountains, on the Charlevoix "flavour trail," a popular food route.

“1608 is only one of only two cheeses that I know that is made solely from the milk of the Vache Canadienne, a rare breed of cow (Pied-de-Vent is the other). The Labbé family also produces a line of ice cream and preserves, has a dairy museum and runs a campground near the dairy.”

4. Les Fromages de L'isle, d'Orleans, QC

Experience North America's oldest cheese on this island just northeast of Quebec City. Le Paillasson is made from a recipe that dates back to 1635 and is served by locals in period costume.

“Paillasson is a thin cheese similar to halloumi in that it can be pan-fried and when crisped tastes like buttered toast. Try it hot with fried apples and a drizzle of maple syrup.”

 5. The Dutchman's Farm, Upper Economy, NS

At the fair where the infamous Dragon's Breath blue cheese and authentic Goudas are made from traditional recipes, you can explore a myriad of trails and an on-site antique shop.

“That Dutchman’s Farm has a different feel than at other cheese makers. Mr. [Willem] van den Hoek has all these beautiful gardens on his property and one of the most beautiful views that overlooks the Bay of Fundy. When he acquired the property, he said the first thing he did was dig out space for six ponds. You just show up and for a few dollars can spend hours walking around. His Goudas are some of the best that I’ve tried.”

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