Sunday, 16 March 2008

Cheesy? Not at All. Some Favourite Cheeses Take Center Stage

A friend visiting from Vancouver laughed last week that she’d never seen people take cheese as seriously as the ones she’d shared a meal with last weekend in Montreal. “Two plates of different cheeses and an hour of conversation about where they came from and what they tasted like,” she said. “Come on. Isn’t that a bit much?”

Well, not really if you like cheese. One of the interesting things about Quebec agricultural policy was a decision about 20 years ago to increase the value added to milk production by starting a fine cheese industry. Farmers were sent to France to study, loans were available to buy equipment. Promotion campaigns were begun. The result is a very fine bunch of cheeses, ranging from old classics like Cheddar and Oka, to excellent raw goat milk cheese.

All the talk about cheese inspired Lee and me to indulge our taste for fine cheeses by having a meal on Friday (a day I’m home late) of homemade tomato soup with a spread of cheese. Delicious! And there was enough for dinner Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.

Current favourites:
Four year old Gouda from Holland
Époisses from France
Bouc émissaire from Quebec

Two favourite cheese shops: Hamel at the Jean Talon Market and Yannick, fromagerie d’exception, in our neighborhood.

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