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Say cheese

Cheese gets short shrift on this board, despite our living in what is arguably North America's top jurisdiction for local and imported coagulated, compressed and usually ripened milk curds. So here's a thread for reporting cheese finds and sightings, be they in restos, at cheesemonger's or at local producers.

My latest were at Yannick -- www.yannickfromagerie.ca -- on Saturday.

Tried a sliver from a block of Templais Fleuron and had to buy some. A pasteurized cow's milk cheese from the Aquitaine, aged 12 months. Hard, dry and a bit crumbly; slightly granular in the mouth. Tastes a little like a cross between aged Gouda and Comté, though with a salty, dulce de leche tang on the finish. Lingers long. Said to melt well.

Made in Piedmont, La Tur is a wrinkled, bloomy rind blend of pasteurized cow's, sheep's and goat's milk sold in 150-gram rounds. Firm, chalky and tangy when young, it softens into a creamy/buttery/salty ooziness as it ages. Just lovely with fresh fruit -- I piled some bing cherries on the plate alongside it -- but it would also work well with savoury flavours like rosemary. Googling in search of background info turned up a Chowhound thread -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/454195 -- in which several regulars declared it their favourite splurge cheese. I can see why. If the idea of an Italian marriage of Loire chèvre and, oh, St-André appeals, seize the day 'cause I don't think they've got a long shelf life.

When I queried the clerk about wine pairings for the cheese plate, he suggested an aromatic white. I ended up popping the cork -- or, rather, twisting off the screwcap -- of Gobelsburg's 2007 Grüner Veltliner Kamptal, a minerally, limey, white peppery white with a spritzy tingle and just enough residual sugar to round the cutting acid without making the wine seem anything other than dry. A bargain at $15.95 and a steal at $14.35, its price during the SAQ's upcoming promotion -- 10% off purchases of $100 or more -- this Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21 (you heard it first here, folks).

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    1. I recently picked up some really good aged gouda from Yannick, all those yummy crunchy crystals, delicious! And I love their 5 year old cheddar. They really are the only place you can reliably buy runny Epoisses, the only way to eat that cheese. And I love the Buerre D'Echire! I've been eating it as a cheese replacement, you get a nice loaf or baguette, and smother it with butter, it doesn't get any better than this!

      3 Replies
      1. re: moh

        moh, I recently bought some Epoisses from Yannick, and was wondering what wine to drink with it. Your thoughts?

        BTW if you are into sheep's milk cheese, one I really like is Le P'tit Basque, from France. It has a creamy, slightly sharp taste.

        1. re: souschef

          probably the most natural matches fro Epoisses are products from Burgandy. Marc de Bourgogne is not a wine, it is an eau-de vie and Epoisses rind is washed in Marc de Bourgogne, so the match is good. Also people recommend drinking white burgundy with young cheeses, and red burgundy with more aged cheeses.

          I must admit, I don't find wine the most natural match for this cheese. But this is a personal thing. I like eating Epoisses on its own, and don't really try to match wines to it. But wait, I recall recently having Epoisses with something that was not bad, not bad at all... brain fart, can't recall. Carswell, do you recall what I am talking about?

          1. re: moh

            I would have thought that red burgundy would be completely overwhelmed by Epoisses; for example, I can't see drinking something like Gevrey-Chambertin with Epoisses. My inclination would have been an Australian Shiraz. Marc de Bourgogne, being much stronger, would perhaps go better. But, I am far from being an expert.

            The problem with Epoisses on its own is that you have to drink something at the end, and I can see water tasting terrible.

            As an aside, have you ever tried drinking water after eating foie gras? It's amazing how bad it tastes. I once tried a dry Champagne with foie gras, and it was bad too.

      2. About a year ago i started a thread about finding oscypek (smoked polish sheep cheese) in Montreal. Unfortunately it disappeared into the depths where chowhound threads go to die without any concrete answers. I'm okay with that since i've been told by my stepmother that imported oscypek is usually dried out anyways.

        However i love smoked cheeses. So does anyone have a favorite smoked cheese they would recommend? Thanks in advance.

        10 Replies
        1. re: blond_america

          I love smoked mozzarella, but it's pretty hard to find. They have it at Milano when I'm in that hood, and much closer to me - and about twice as expensive - at Maître Boucher on Monkland.

          EDIT: BTW, here's your thread. Just expand the search beyond a year and it pops right up.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/500105

          1. re: blond_america

            Funny, I have a package of serecek z gor in my fridge, it is labelled as a polich sheep milk cheese and it is smoked. Is it similar to oscypek? If not, I can ask the lovely lady who gave this to me, and see if she know of any good sources of oscypek.

            1. re: moh

              http://jansen.frisco.pl/product/59078...

              This must be what you have. This is indeed what i'm looking for. I would be grateful if you were able to ask about a source. Thanks moh.

              1. re: blond_america

                That is what I have, but a slightly different package.

                OK! I'll get on the email and get the info. Just to warn you, I am out of town a lot until July 7, so it might take me a while to get back to you. I also don't know for sure, but I seem to recall my friend is also away... But I will work on this, and respond in this thread. I recall you are pretty regular on the board, so I am sure you will see the response.

                1. re: moh

                  Thanks moh. i really appreciate it.

                  1. re: moh

                    moh, I'd love to try that cheese. I loved smoked cheeses but they are usually cow's milk, which I have trouble with. What shop did you buy it at? (I'm not in a hurry).

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Working on the info, Lagatta, email has been sent, awaiting reply...

                        1. re: mainsqueeze

                          Ok News! Sorry, I've been away and internet-less..

                          My friend bought it at the Wawel Polish pastry shop at the corner of Ontario and Frontenac (2543 Ontario est). I have no idea of other Wawel's carry it, as I haven't had a chance to look. You can also try calling them to ask, (514)524-3348.

                          1. re: moh

                            Excellent...I'll go check it out as soon as i can. Thanks again.

            2. Seen on voir.ca

              La maison du Cheddar on van-horne (#1311.), looks fun.

              http://www.maisonducheddar.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: Maximilien

                There's also a new cheese curd place on Ste-Cath in the Village. http://ruefrontenac.com/consommation/...

                1. re: Campofiorin

                  i stopped into the maison du cheddar on van horne this am thinking i could get a snack but they sold mostly cheeses various kinds from quebec and some from ontario although he did have a menu of assorted grilled cheese sandwiches from $4-6, i certainly would go back to purchase some of the chevre and other cheeses from iles de la madeleine, quebec city area but today i was not going home for awhile. I have bought cheeses from yannicks on bernard and found it interesting as he would provide samples of what you might consider buying. Then I thought i would get a snack at Mamie Clafoutis next door but such a line of customers ordering pastries and quiches that i gave up on my quest for a snack! I am not sure how well these specialty shops will do, having visited a mushroom store off of st laurent and tomato store in plateau, interesting products but i was always the only person in store.

                  1. re: wilmagrace

                    For a snack at Maison du Cheddar, you buy the cones of cheese curds. Isn't that what they're meant for? I don't think we've ever gotten too far from the store before ours are all gobbled up.

                    1. re: cherylmtl

                      thanks cherylmtl, no i didnt see the cheese curd cones when i went in but saw them today on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/TourismeM...
                      they look yummy and cant wait to try it out

              2. Nice discovery: the Ruban Bleu goat farm, http://www.rubanbleu.net/, located in Mercier. They have 85 goats and make a wide choice of products, like soft fresh cheeses, curds, cheddar (plain, with rosemary or lavender), aged ones, marinated balls with garlic, red pepper, etc. They mostly sell at their shop, not in cheese stores, but also at the week-end Duluth market on the Plateau (only one day, I think it's on Saturdays but not sure).
                Goat meat products are also available: terrines, sausages, saucissons, etc. as well as other cheeses from La Table Ronde makers and jams / oils / honey and other goodies.

                I love goat cheese and found their products to be creamy and really tasty, without the bitterness or acid sharpness some cheeses have. I think it would please those that feel goat cheese is "too strong". Caroline, the owner, made us taste everything we wanted, and mentioned that a "table champêtre" will be starting soon, in the evenings.
                From the shop, we can see the work area behind the glass wall. Worth a visit!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chocolatine

                  Thanks for the heads-up. Here's the link without the comma: http://www.rubanbleu.net/

                  «the week-end Duluth market on the Plateau (only one day, I think it's on Saturdays but not sure).»

                  Sunday's the day. See http://marcheduluth.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: carswell

                    Oops, thanks Carswell for correcting this quickly!