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AVOID "Qui Lait Cru" Cheese Shop

I just wanted to let people know about a terrible cheese shop, "Qui Lait Cru" at the Jean-Talon Market. I have been there several times, each time giving them another chance to redeem themselves. But this last time was the LAST time. I couldn't believe it but I was treated even more horribly on this last occasion than on any others!

As I walked into the shop, I was friendly, polite, and, well, quite ordinary (and I was also speaking very clear, correct French -- not that one should be abused if their French is bad -- but just to let you know). I approached one of the cheese-counter people and inquired about some cheese in a perfectly normal way. But what a sudden, awful shock! They have some wildly unfriendly, misanthropic, really nasty people working there (and one was apparently an owner!). I was completely floored by the way this man treated me. Right from the start, he was so hostile and nasty -- it was unbelievable. I left there totally appalled and incredulous. Needless to say, I will NOT be giving them any more chances (I'm not a masochist).

There is good news, though: I quickly found a wonderful place to buy delicious cheese just a few steps away, at the MARCHE DES SAVEURS, where they have very nice employees, and where they sell many different cheeses, most of them from the Quebec region, but some from other countries too (France, for one). The cheese-counter person at this place was a true delight -- very pleasant and helpful and knowledgeable. What a contrast!
So you've been warned: If you want to keep feeling happy and nice about people, keep away from the "Qui Lait Cru" cheese shop.

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  1. For those of us who can shrug off brusque service, how did the selection and prices at QLC compare to Marche des Saveurs?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      Marché des Saveurs only sell cheese from Québec, save for a few exeptions ( under the banner "le quebec reçois") They have a really good parmesan and another italian cheese called Piave wich is amazing. They carry one or two other french cheese as well.

      The parmesan is around 35 $ a kilo

      1. re: Gary Soup

        Unless you're looking for something that QLC carries exclusively, I wouldn't bother. I find Hamel and Marche des Saveurs to be both cheaper and friendlier.

      2. Qui Lait Cru also carries Beurrerie du Patrimoine products as well as Fromentier bread. I have read elsewhere on this site that Beurrerie du Patrimoine products are cheaper at Marche des Saveurs. I've never really looked at their cheese counter, hubby is the one who cares about choosing them.

        16 Replies
        1. re: Venusia

          Patrimoine butter IS cheaper at Marché des saveurs, and also at Hamel. I have never encountered rudeness there, though I'm infamously cheap, but the staff at Marché des saveurs are exceptionally friendly and enthusiastic about their products.

          Remember that Capitol can also be a source for cheeses, especially Italian and Italian-type, and can be cheaper. And don't forget Milano near the market.

          I also buy big hunks of good Italian goat and sheep's cheeses at Boucherie St-Viateur, an Argentine butcher's and shop (that sells a lot of South American and Italian products). They used to be on St-Laurent at the corner of Dante, but now they have moved a bit farther south from the market, corner Beaubien and Casgrain. But as carswell says, that isn't quite "one fell swoop" any more.

          1. re: lagatta

            Patrimoine butter would be worth it at twice the price. So delicious. But I still buy mine at MdS :)

            1. re: phedre

              What makes Patrimoine butter different/special? I noticed it this past w/e at the market but wasn't sure.

              1. re: kpzoo

                It's made in very small batches, made fresh from the milk taken on their farm daily. It has a slightly higher milkfat content than commercial butter, but hey, who eats butter when they're looking for low fat?

                1. re: phedre

                  The taste of all their products (at least the ones I've tried) is incredible. Having gotten hooked on their yogourt and cottage cheese, I'm now completely spoiled, and can't go back to the commercial stuff...

                  And as an added bonus (for me, at least), I found their products at Atwater last week - Fromagerie du 2e carries them now.

                  1. re: phedre

                    The same people behind reduced fat butter. I wish I was making this up, it's advertised as having 25 % less fat than regular butter or some such ridiculous number. Or maybe it just seems bizarre to me. Are there any food scientists here who can enlighten me on how this does not boggle the mind?

                    1. re: JQReid

                      Are you sure you are referring to Patrimoine? I don't know the fat content of their butter offhand, but their whole milk is 3.8% and their whipping cream is 45% fat. They are the only artisanal buttery in Quebec.

                      1. re: Venusia

                        I think JQReid was referring to Phedre's last comment ("who eats butter when they're looking for low fat?") and not Patrimoine -which is most definitely NOT low fat in any way, and so much the better for it! (And can the concept of low-fat butter boggle the mind much more than the moronic comment airing on CBC radio yesterday about people who walk creating more greenhouse gases than people who drive?)

                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          According to my research, Patrimoine clocks in at 88% milkfat, as opposed to commercial butters which tend to run around 80%. Worth every little bite, too!

                          1. re: cherylmtl

                            Who said that on CBC?

                            1. re: hala

                              This was back in 2007 - I don't remember who exactly said it, considering it was 6 years ago, but it was on a special feature, IIRC. Something to do with people who walk using more energy, therefore needing more food to sustain themselves, in the long run creating more greenhouse gases. Like I said, it was a fairly stupid comment IMHO

                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                Yes, it is ludicrous. I've heard the same about cyclists. I'm sure elite runners and cyclists must consume more food than the average person (though the distance ones are very wiry of build) but the average person walking or cycling may well be doing this precisely to keep their weight under control and improve their general health.

                                But people say stupid things everywhere. On that matter, I feel a bit iffy about this thread, which began with a premise of rudeness several years ago. I don't tend to shop at "Qui lait cru", but I've never heard anything similar over the years.

                                Someone was rude to me at a shop yesterday, because I found his prices too high, but I'll just shop elsewhere...

                                1. re: cherylmtl

                                  Sorry, did not notice the date. But what a weird thing to say,

                                  1. re: hala

                                    I had to go to Qui Lait Cru? recently to accompany some tourist friends of mine and was pleasantly surprised: it wasn't crowded, and the counter guy was really great. He could answer all our questions, and did a fun thing with letting us taste the Quebec version and the European version of the same style cheese side by side. (Quebec cheesemakers hold up pretty darn well, I have to say.)

                      2. re: kpzoo

                        I'm curious what other people think, but for me, I had tasted notes of *toffee* in some of the batches of the Patrimoine butter before, though not all the time. The flavour was lovely, and I think the variation was from the season, age or something else.

                        1. re: tarteaucitron

                          I haven't noticed it in the current container I have, but I did get a slightly nutty quality.

                          I have to admit, I had toast with Patrimoine butter for dinner on Monday and Tuesday night this week, along with some of their yogurt and berries.

                2. It's true that I've only been a couple of times, but service was adequate if not great both times. I found the staff friendly enough, and they certainly weren't shy with the samples. I'm now curious to go back and see for myself. Maybe they've changed staff / owners recently?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Moosemeat

                    I'll admit my own curiosity is piqued. I'll definitely be stopping by on Saturday to see if the trend carries over.

                  2. I've never had bad service there, though I do often find the scene somewhat chaotic, the decor sterile and some of the other customers rude. And they have some glorious cheeses -- 30-month-old raw-milk Comté, for example -- that I've never seen elsewhere.

                    While it's true that the cheese counter at Le Marché des Saveurs is far friendlier, that may well be a function of there never being more than one or two customers vying for the clerk's attention. And, as others have pointed out, while their selection of Quebec cheeses is among the best in the city, their imported cheese offering is minimal and limited to cheeses that don't have Quebec analogues.

                    For the best service and a wonderful, constantly changing selection of imported cheeses, head to Yannick Fromagerie d'exception on Bernard St. West.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: carswell

                      I always buy my Comte at Hamel & I could've sworn it is the 24-30 month (they usually have 3 aged Comtes). Hmmm ... what do you suppose Carswell?
                      On occasion I've ventured into LQC & have only experienced friendly (or at the very least - cordial) service. Especially the guy behind the cash who used to work there but has since left. And I really don't think it's a language thing because my French is spoken like a true anglophone who went through the PSBGM!

                      1. re: RhondaB

                        Hamel could very well have the old Comté. I've just never seen it anywhere but Qui Lait Cru. Even Yannick has only the 18-month stuff. Marché des Saveurs usually has six-month Fort des Rousses. I don't shop at Hamel very often since I usually hit the market during peak hours and find the wait there far too long.

                        1. re: carswell

                          Hamel sells both a 2 yr. and a 3 yr. Comte.

                      2. re: carswell

                        Thanks, Carswell! I'm going to try this wonderful-sounding Yannick Fromagerie.

                      3. The cheese counter people at Marché de Saveurs are indeed very nice. They very kindly worked at cutting me a very small bag of their $48 a kilo Chèvre Noir – a semi-hard cheddar-like cheese that is very difficult to cut thinly – to carry around with me as I noshed my way thorough the rest of JTM. BTW, the Chèvre Noir is wonderful stuff.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Fritzy

                          Yes, I was informed at Marche de Saveurs that they will cut any size slice of cheese you want -- even if you just want a small piece. (And compare this kind of service with QLC, where they simply will not cut a slice that is less than 100g! It's so nasty -- I mean, what if someone is alone and just wants to eat a small piece of cheese!?)

                          Anyway, I just tried a wedge of Kenogami from MdS and it is really tasty! I highly recommend it.

                          1. re: Saffronpants

                            Sadly, I've never had trouble downing 100 grams of a tasty cheese ;) But I definitely will check out MdS for their cheese nibblies now!

                            1. re: phedre

                              Btw, Hamel will cut small pieces of cheese, less than 100 grams, in my experience. Last time I was there was a busy Saturday and they were quite accommodating.

                              I prefer Hamel mself, but my wife wandered into QLC and she was very well treated by the French (that is not Quebecois) counter man. For what it is worth she speaks gramatically correct French, albeit with a recognizeable Anglo accent. We still have to get to Yannick on Bernard.

                        2. There's still no topping Fromagerie Atwater, though it's on the other side of town.

                          1. * Qui Lait Cru: average service, average products, not so much about people.
                            * Hamel: expensive, good service, too commercial, lots of products and cheese.
                            * Marché des saveurs: great service, more selected cheese but artisanal and extremely delicious/high quality, knowledgeable staff and people oriented business.

                            I have worked at marché Jean Talon for a few years and I have regularly bought the highest quality food.

                            1. I've only been there a few times, but apart from being asked if I needed help a few to many time while browsing, I have never had a problem with their service. On the other hand, they carry very few products that I can't find elsewhere, so I only go there when I am in the market anyway.