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KMPickard

All About Cheese in Montreal & Quebec

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But of course, there is a reason why a milk farm averages about 100 cows or less, or why tons of milk is dumped weekly to secure quota level (think of it as the OPEP of milk). Believe me when I say that the milk lobby is no were close on the same team as the artisan cheese producers, these two groups are far away from each other and will do what they can to protect their own turf. Talk to anyone who is a member or associated with l'Union Paysanne, see what they think of l'union des producteurs agricoles and the destructive road they took in the 80's before doing a 180 degree.

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well, it seems that we all agree on the consistency issue but so many other questions come to my mind; why do we rave about our cheeses when you can barely buy two of the same product that are to the same doneness. It's true we have come from a long way but we still time to experiment and fine tune our thing. Also, why do our producers continue making several names when they could concentrate on one good product; we all know that Reblochon tastes different throughout the year but it's a cycle thing and we now know what to expect when we buy it. Here the Victor et berthold is a fine cheese but we never know what to hope for. They have the same temperature issues in France don't they?The grass doesn't taste the same thing from march to november! Shouln't we learn from that instead of saying that we're doing as good as them. The real question is, why do we rave about things that we do when we wouldn't tolerate it from others and still i'm not talking quotas, i'm talking about the work that is done in the lab. Europe had the same quotas problem when they had to give almost half of their milk production to their church every week.That went on until the second world war.They learned how to make the reblochon from the second milking(re-bloche).Morbier was made over a two day period because of milk quantity problems and of a time consuming method.We make up silly excuses to hide lack of competence.I've been serving cheeses in all the restaurants i've worked so far and i see them everyday,i have only one thing to say, an all Quebec cheese plate in a restaurant is a very bad choice and people keep asking for it.

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an all Quebec cheese plate in a restaurant is a very bad choice and people keep asking for it.

Seriously, I'm shocked to hear you say that. The all-Quebec cheese board at L'Initiale in Quebec city is a beautiful, bold thing. I say Bravo to them for supporting a local product wholeheartedly.

I'm also surprised to hear how bad you think the local cheese is. I think it's pretty damn amazing. I'm often disappointed in the imported French cheese, which can be seriously underwhelming.

Also, compare that all-Quebec cheese board to an all-B.C. cheese board, an all-Ontario cheese board, even an all-Vermont cheese board. There's no comparison. We are miles ahead of any other region in North America.

Comparing the French cheese tradition to the Quebec cheese tradition is useless. They are, what?, a thousand years ahead of us? We have a young industry that's growing rapidly yet producing some fabulous products.

And, really, I meant what I said: if you're seriously interested in this subject, it's worth your time to go and talk to some cheese producers. The whole process is fascinating.

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A lot more goes into the consistency of cheeses than just production. Storage and maintainence is at least as important. I have been disappointed with French and Italian cheeses I have purcchased despite having had fabulous specimens on other occassions. One of the most variable cheeses I find is roqueforte. when it is on, it is one of my absolute favorites, but when it isn't I find it overly salty or ammoniaized. That is most likely not a fault of the producer.

Guru, you talked about how some people are willing to not only tolerate, but praise home-grown products that they would not tolerate elsewhere. I think the answer is a question of expectation. I am much more willing to cut myself some slack and enjoy a dish I have prepared somewhat inexpertly than the same dish prepared the same way in a fine restaurant. That is because I know I am still learning the rudiments of the craft, but I expect more from the professional with years of experience.

Quebec cheeses are far from perfect, but I find them interesting especially compared to other North American cheeses producing regions, although they too are on the upswing. Quebec cheese producers should certainly continue to hone their craft and not rely on native goodwill. My experience with them is such that I think they are doing so.

I will continue to order Quebec cheese when in Quebec because they are good and I believe getting better and I cannot get them in New York. If I could get them in NY, I think I would probably be less enthusiastic about buying them in Quebec. The other international cheeses are much easier for me to find in the US.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Doc (or anyone who can answer this) - are there any issues with bringing Quebec cheeses across the border into the US? Also - are there markets in Ontario (e.g. Kingston or Ottawa) that have a good selection? I can do Kingston as a day trip and Ottawa as an overnight but getting as far as Quebec requires me to take time off from work.

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It's not that I have something particularly brilliant to say on the subject, but it is undoubtably true that Quebec cheese are in a league of their own in North America. As mentioned on other forums, they need a forum of their own.

I love the cheese here in Quebec, and want to learn more.

Perhaps someone could lead me in the direction of a interesting blue cheese, as I'm having a craving.

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Try l'Ermite ( available at Marché des saveurs) It is quite good , and not too strong ( I like strong !) A bit crumbly , like a Roquefort... very good !

Simon and his helpers at MdS are very good and know a lot about Québec cheese and are very dedicated and love discussing cheese !


visit my fondation: www.ptitslutins.org

I started a food blog : http://antoniodelaruepapineau.blogspot.com/

(in french)

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Right you are...

As I mentioned to ap jow in the other thread my main source of information about QC Cheese (except for the uummmm practical) is the book by Richard Bizier:

"Répertoire des fromages du Québec"

Handsomely illustrated with photography by Roch Nadeau this is a very impressive resource.

This book is now in its much improved 2nd edition. Even if you have his first book, I highly recommend the latest which has pictures of every cheese, maps of where it was produced and nice chapters on the history of Quebec cheese production and nice "bios" of each producer.

Many of my meals end up being a few pieces of Fromentier baguette and a sample of 4 or 5 Quebec cheeses so when I have more time I'll try to list what my current favourite cheese are.

I purchase most of my cheese at JTM's Marche des saveuers. It's a small cheese counter but they only feature Quebec cheese. I like the unhurried pace there and the cute girls behind the counter who carefully wrap each piece of cheese with respect and care like they were precious jewels. Slow food at its best.

I hope this thread will get a lot of interest. It would be fun to hear from producers too and definetly from or about restos that feature Quebec Cheeses on their menu.


Edited by sf&m (log)

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Montreal cheese stores with a good selection of Quebec cheeses. Not an exhaustive listing, so feel free to add deserving mongers on and off the island. Many green grocers, butchers and grocery stores also carry Quebec cheeses, though few treat them as lovingly as the following establishments, all of which are generous about offering tastes and advice.

Fromagerie Hamel

220 Jean-Talon East (centre of the north row of stores at Jean Talon Market)

514 272-1161

217 Mont-Royal East (near de Lormier)

514 521-3333

www.fromageriehamel.com

Gourmet Laurier

1042 Laurier West

514 274-5601

La fromagerie du Marché Atwater

134 Atwater (first floor of the Atwater Market)

514 932-4853

Le marché des saveurs du Québec*

280 Place du Marché du Nord (east end of south row of stores at Jean Talon Market)

514 271-3811

Maître-affineur Maître Corbeau

1375 Laurier East (shares premises with Le Fromentier bakery and Queue du cochon charcuterie)

514 526-3293

11690 de Salaberry (near des Sources)

514 421-9944

Qui lait cru ?

7070 Henri-Julien (south wing of the new extension at Jean Talon Market)

514 272-0300

Yannick Fromagerie d'exception*

1218 Bernard West (near Bloomfield)

514 279-9376

*Personal favourites

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It would be great if we could invite some English-speaking Quebec cheese authorities to join in this discussion. Anyone know of a cheese monger, cheese maker or researcher/writer that might be up to the task?

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To Carswell's list, I would add:

Autour d'un pain

100, avenue du Mont-Royal Est,

Montréal, QC H2T 1N8

Tél. : 514-843-0728

They have a small but good selection of Quebec cheeses, not to mention the famed Retrodor baguette...

I took the adress off of canada411.com but I realise it is not accurate since Autour d'un pain is right on the corner of Saint-Urbain and Mont-Royal.

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Perhaps someone could lead me in the direction of a interesting blue cheese, as I'm having a craving.

In the abovementioned thread, LesleyC wrote:

One of the problems with Quebec blue cheese is that the producers are not permitted to make it in the traditional manner such as Roquefort. Luc Mailloux wanted to make an authentic bleu cheese, but he was told by MAPAQ to forget it. He also wanted to make artisanal raw milk butter for restaurants, but that was prohibited as well. Keep in mind, there are very strict laws these people must follow. Sometimes, as in the case of the blues, to the detriment of the product.

Can anyone elucidate? What are the rules that prevent producers from making Roquefort-style cheeses and raw milk butter?

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It's not that I have something particularly brilliant to say on the subject, but it is undoubtably true that Quebec cheese are in a league of their own in North America.  As mentioned on other forums, they need a forum of their own.

I love the cheese here in Quebec, and want to learn more.

Perhaps someone could lead me in the direction of a interesting blue cheese, as I'm having a craving.

at the farmer's market in quebec city i bought a bunch of cheeses recently, including a ciel de charlevoix (?) which i enjoyed. not roquefort by any stretch in terms of texture or tang, more like a fourme d'ambert. but great at room temp with pears; very good stuff.

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Bleu Bénédictin is a widely available and excellent Québec blue. (disclosure: my second cousin was a monk at St.-Benoît-du-Lac and involved in the cheese production :wink: )

edit: accents.


Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Another great reference book for a quick fix is, "La route gourmande des fromages fins du Quebec", this is a free brochure that you can get at most of the cheese shops. It basically informs you about the quebec cheeses and contact information of the farms that produce these cheeses. By no means does it go into great detail, but like I said it's a quick reference book.

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Since you are on the topic of Quebec cheese,I have to add my thoughts on the subject in the form of a question.

Since the industry has grown so big,we find alot of inconsistency with the product.Kenogami,for example can be either over-ripened or in most cases under-ripened.Why is there not a governing body that overlooks,sells and markets Quebec cheese,if it is so vaible?

Many of my clients ask me for Quebec cheese and sometimes I respond,I do not always use it,(the product),because I find it inconsistent.I do not want to dissapoint the followers of the Quebec cheese industry,as the products are fantastic,but if the demmand is as high as it has become,for these products,do you not feel that they should slow down and take some time to organize and develop as it seems to be getting huge?

The vendor who sells unripened cheese to clients is the culprit-not the producers,as it leaves the wrong impression to the user.

It would be nice to hear some others comments on the direction of the Quebec cheese industry?I do not understand how the government does step forward and see the viability of this important industry.

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But we might say that the seller should ask the buyer when he plans to eat the cheese as well.

At MdS , I am often asked this question when I purchase a cheese , and sometime they wont recommand a cheese if it is not ready.

I know that Simon is buiding a room to rippen cheese , so in the futur , he wont sell a cheese before it's time !


visit my fondation: www.ptitslutins.org

I started a food blog : http://antoniodelaruepapineau.blogspot.com/

(in french)

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Quebec cheese, such a lovely product and such a lousy situation.

I spoke with Luc Mailloux (arguably the country's top cheese maker) this fall about why he stopped making cheese. Basically, he's protesting the milk quotas. But he also told me some pretty frightening things about some of the cheesemakers. Suffice it to say, many of them (especially in the outer regions -- hint hint) do not want to rock the boat because they are getting huge subsidies from the gvmt. Many cheesemakers are working illegally (as in lying) to stay within their legal milk quota. I could go on and on but it's just Mailloux's take on things and anyone who knows him is aware how extreme his opinions can be. I didn't say wrong, mind you.

Basically the industry is in a mess because of the dairy bureau (Producteurs de Lait du Quebec) and the lack of government regulations. If they had it their way, mozzarella and industrial cheddar would be the only cheese in this Province. Mailloux is working with the government to create real A.O.C type appellations instead of all this generic cow’s milk cheese. Ever notice as time goes on how similar all these products have become? There's a long way to go, and I was hoping to hear some good news soon on this. No word yet.

Meanwhile, buy the Lait D'Antan. If we don't support this producer, he could easily go under, again a victim of the milk quotas.

More to come, when I can see the light.


Edited by Lesley C (log)

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Meanwhile, buy the Lait D'Antan. If we don't support this producer, he could easily go under, again a victim of the milk quotas.

More to come, when I can see the light.

Lesley,

Can you tell us a bit more about Lait D'Antan. I am not familiar with that producer. (may be because it may not be available in the Gatineau region?)

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Francois,

I found their website here:

Lait d'Antan website

They do list their distribution....available throughout Quebec it seems, however did not see a Gatineau distributor.... but it could be in a nearby town I suppose.

In the summer at least they have a booth at JTM in Montreal.

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I used to drink d'Antan exclusively...However, with the increased family demands and the paucity of sources in the west island, it has been difficult. So, its limited to picnics on the mountain.

I would definitely recommend a try, if not for the protest, for the taste.

PS: With all this talk about qc cheeses, I'm getting tempted to try them again. Hopefully I have better luck this year at my annual wine and cheese.


Edited by maxanon (log)

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Time to rescue this ol' thread and relieve the resto sturm und drang!!

Got some "Vacherine des Bois Francs" at Marche des Saveurs today. Ok, no Valbert but at $28 /kg instead of $42/kg a tasty bargain. It's pasturized and from collective milk hence the lower price. It's by Groupe Fromages Côté in Warwick.

What other QC cheeses are you partaking of these days... any new?

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Le Baluchon and Maitre Jules were the most recent. Most of the cheeses get chosen after the rest of the meal gets structured so that the mix can be ramped up or down. Been avoiding the white and orange varieties coming out of Ontario.

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I recently had some Valbert Vieux, produced by the Lehman family in Hebertville.

It's a firm, washed-rind cheese inspired by Swiss Jura, and is aged for six months.

I liked it, but it was not as good as the 3-year Comte that we had used as a reference with our Hamel cheesemonnger.

I've decided to try to buy more Quebec cheese as I don't feel the need to fly pieces of cheese halfway around the world if something just as good is made right here.

I've been using the "fromagesduquebec.qc.ca" website to decide what to try next, and I also ask at Hamel.


Edited by Peter Horowitz (log)

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