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ISO a good, strong hard Canadian Cheese

currycue Sep 15, 2008 11:38 AM

Hello, just wondering if any of you have had any luck finding something similar to a Gruyere, Manchego, Piave, Parmesan or even a Mimolette that's made in Canada. I would really rather support local or Quebec cheesemakers than have cheese imported all the way from Europe, but time and again, I find the local cheeses just don't measure up.

I've had a great blue in Ciel de Charlevoix and a pretty good Chevre Noir from Quebec, but that's about it. I'm not really a cheddar fan, but if one is exceptionally good, I may give it a try.

Let me know what you've discovered!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. mrbozo RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 11:46 AM

    Shameful but true: a strong hard Canadian is difficult to find. Oh sure there's a lot of competitive, ego stroking bravado, but ...

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrbozo
      acd123 RE: mrbozo Sep 15, 2008 12:11 PM

      How about old or extra old Thunder Oak gouda? It's really good cheese. (http://www.cheesefarm.ca/


      If you want to try an exceptionally good cheddar, try the old or extra old cheddar from L'Ancetre. (http://www.fromagerieancetre.com/). It's a raw milk cheddar from Quebec. It's organic, raw milk, and very, very good.

      1. re: acd123
        mrbozo RE: acd123 Sep 15, 2008 02:23 PM

        Well, I am Québecois and glad for the justified l'Ancetre plug.

        I am more grateful for the Thunder Oak heads-up. Thanks.

    2. grandgourmand RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 12:06 PM

      I was just about to suggest Chevre Noir, until I saw you mention it. Alas, that's all I can think of. I had it recently and just loved it. You can get 1 or 2 year old versions. Apparently 3 year old too, but not sure where it can be obtained.

      5 Replies
      1. re: grandgourmand
        acd123 RE: grandgourmand Sep 15, 2008 12:20 PM

        Chevre Noir can be purchase at Loblaws or any market with a decent cheese selection.

        1. re: acd123
          grandgourmand RE: acd123 Sep 15, 2008 12:30 PM

          I meant the 3-year.

          That Thunder Oak gouda sounds good. Where's it available?

          1. re: grandgourmand
            acd123 RE: grandgourmand Sep 15, 2008 12:56 PM

            I've seen it at Scheffler's and Alex Farm. I would get the phone no. from the website and ask them directly. They are located in Thunder Bay.

            1. re: acd123
              torontofoodiegirl RE: acd123 Jan 5, 2009 01:16 PM

              It's also at Whole Foods and Healthy Butcher.

            2. re: grandgourmand
              BamiaWruz RE: grandgourmand Sep 17, 2008 12:06 PM

              Cheese boutique? I remember it mentioned in an article of a short video.

        2. l
          LJS RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 12:30 PM

          Well, I know you said you are not a fan of cheddar, so forgive me, but perhaps you have not tried the older Balderson's?

          1 Reply
          1. re: LJS
            jacu RE: LJS Sep 15, 2008 01:52 PM

            Balderson makes a 5 year-old white cheddar that is very crumbly and well-aged. One of my favourites.

          2. s
            Snarf RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 12:33 PM

            You might try Monforte Dairy. They make an aged sheep's milk that has a good hard texture, and a great flavour. Not quite Manchego, but maybe a little saltier than a Pecorino.

            I've also had some good Quebec hard cheeses that approach Gruyere, but can't remember the names.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Snarf
              The Boss RE: Snarf Sep 15, 2008 02:06 PM

              Snarf is correct, the best bet is Toscano from Monforte Dairy. Hard like a parmesan, kinda tastes like a pecorino. I use it to substitute instead of parm or buffalo mozzarella on Tomato Salads Caprese Style. The acidity of the tomatoes and the subtle sheepsmilk cheese is a very nice partner. Local Too!

              1. re: The Boss
                Snarf RE: The Boss Sep 15, 2008 02:09 PM

                Thank you. Couldn't remember the specific name.

                1. re: The Boss
                  torontofoodiegirl RE: The Boss Jan 5, 2009 01:17 PM

                  I agree; the Toscano is terrific.

              2. c
                currycue RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 02:23 PM

                Thanks all so far. The Gouda sounds great, must give it a try. Actually, I got the Chevre Noir from Scheffler's on saturday. Didn't notice the Gouda. They also suggested the cheddar, but I thought I'd give the Chevre a try first.

                As for the Toscano, I tried that one at Leslieville Cheese shop and was very unimpressed. It looked and smelled the part, but it was very mild and kind of waxy. Maybe it was improperly stored or something. I've seen that happen to Manchego if left out of the fridge too long.

                1. nyctransplant RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 02:26 PM

                  I concur with the Thunder Oak -- i pick mine up at the cheese boutique on ripley -- if you do a search for star articles there was a great feature on it sometime earlier this year.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nyctransplant
                    tbonetak RE: nyctransplant Sep 15, 2008 03:43 PM

                    I concur on the Thunder Oak and the Cheese Boutique. They age it themselves for another 3 years.


                  2. c
                    cheesymama RE: currycue Sep 15, 2008 03:47 PM

                    Go to Chris' Cheesemongers in SLM and put the question to them. There are lots of great Tomme style Quebec cheeses out there, and a few from elsewhere in Canada. They'll point you in the right direction and give you tastes of ones that you are interested in. I suggest them because I know they have a good Canadian selection.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cheesymama
                      tjr RE: cheesymama Sep 15, 2008 10:50 PM

                      Zéphyr (the regular and the red wine-washed "Zéphyr au vin") are excellent, though I'm not sure if they're as hard as you'd like. Also not sure if they're available in Ontario :-(

                    2. c
                      currycue RE: currycue Jan 5, 2009 01:03 PM

                      Got a chance to try some cheeses over the holidays and I must say, Wishing Tree (which they raved about in the paper as tasting like Manchego) didn't even come close (unless the guy at Leslieville gave me the wrong stuff, it had no label)

                      However, yesterday in Montreal at the Atwater market, I tried Alfred (le) Fermier and it was OUTSTANDING. A cow's milk cheese with the texture of a gruyere, but with a stronger flavour, leaning toward a cheddar. Very impressed. I hope to find it in town somewhere soon.

                      Still haven't tried the Thunder Oak Gouda, as no one seems to carry it in the places I frequent, or they only have the mild, young version. I guess I may end up having to order it from the source.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: currycue
                        foodyDudey RE: currycue Jan 5, 2009 01:12 PM

                        I don't think you will be able to get the aged Thunder Oak gouda unless you buy it from the Cheese Boutiqe as they must be aging it themselves. I called up the factory and they don't sell the older cheese I ate at Globe Bistro.

                        1. re: currycue
                          Splendid Wine Snob RE: currycue Jan 5, 2009 01:13 PM


                          Nancy's Cheese on Dupont carries the Thunder Oak Gouda. Actually, she mostly specializes in Canadian cheese (Quebec, Ontario, PEI) and updates her website frequently with respect to availability.



                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                            currycue RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 5, 2009 01:14 PM

                            Thank you. I live in the east end, but I will make a special trip!

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