Exploring QC cheeses - looking for recos
this week i had a lovely Grey Owl that was older/drier than normal, it was lovely and a worthy competitor to Valency. Also had a Riopelle, which was a fantastic triple creme!
What are some other stand out QC cheeses I should try?
I'd love to try more triple cremes - esp others with that strong mushroom essence. Also some interesting (not so salty, highly musty) blues. Is there a QC cheese that rivals the Humboldt Fog?
p.s. NOT a fan of raw sheep's milk cheese but if there's one that doesn't taste at all like sheep's milk, then maybe
My favourite Quebec cheese is probably Chèvre Noir, a goat's milk cheddar, especially the aged variety, which is sold wrapped in black wax.
The recco for Pied-de-Vent, a semi-soft, mixed rind and slightly salty (salt-marsh grazing) cheese from the Magdalen Islands, is a good one. It's variable but when good, really good. Migneron de Charlevoix and La Sauvagine are similar semi-soft cheeses, both good.
Two others I like are the firmer Victor et Berthold (especially the Réserve) and the Tomme d'Iberville.
Not aware of any Humboldt Blue-like Quebec cheese, though the St-Benoit-du-Lac abbey makes a blue goat's milk cheese that I've not yet tried. Their cow's milk blue, Bleu Bénédictin, is OK in a Fourme d'Ambert kind of way. So far, blue cheeses don't appear to be Quebec's forte.
Consider going to a decent cheese shop and sampling the wares. A good starting point would be the Marché des Saveurs du Québec at the Jean Talon Market. With one or two exceptions, all their many cheeses are made in Quebec. They're knowledgeable, friendly, generous with samples and less busy than the market's other cheesemongers, meaning you can take your time without having other customers breathing down your neck. While at the market, you might also want to drop by the Hamel store to pick up some of their Maroilles à la Maudite; they bring in young raw-milk Maroilles from France and ripen it in their cellar, washing it repeatedly with Maudite ale. Sounds like it might be right up your alley.
My current favourite is Alfred le Fermier, a firm cheese - not triple creme, but certainly one worth trying. In addition to Marche des Saveurs, I would recommend dropping by Hamel at JTM - they have an excellent selection of Quebec cheeses as well, can give you advice on what you might like based on what you tell them, and are willing to let you try pretty much anything.
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Chèvre Noir is also one of my favorites, especially the 3 year old if you can find it, but the 2 year old is also good. Delicious and quite unique, unlike any other goat cheddar I've had, with a rich and buttery taste.
I also like the Allegretto and Gré des champs, other firm cheese options.
In terms of blue cheese, try the Bleu d'Elizabeth or Rassembleu (less salty), both are excellent.
A well aged Cap Rond is also a good pick (goat cheese), when it's creamy and runny in the center.
For a trip back in history , you could try the Paillasson, a cheese from l'Isle d'Orléans which is said to be the first North American cheese, and that gets it's taste/name from the specific yeast present on the hay (=paille) the cheese is placed on. This was long gone until the recent years, when Laval University food scientists discovered the source of this taste and were able to recreate the making process. You need to quickly cook it , and just like halloumi it stays firm and doesn't melt. One disc makes a nice app for 2 people, with bread, apple slices or a small salad for example. It's found directly at l'ile d'Orléans but now also frozen in a few cheese shops now; I buy it at La fromagerie du marché Atwater.
here's a good site to browse different QC cheeses: