Québec cheeses have become the envy of the world. The province alone produces over 500 varieties, from soft, to semi-soft, firm, blue-veined and fresh—all universally popular and delectable. Québec bries, camemberts and blues have no complex when it comes to their counterparts produced by our French cousins. Similarly, our parmesans, mozzarellas and ricottas confidently rival their Italian versions. On the English front, our cheddars are notable. Be they of cow, goat, sheep or buffalo milk, our cheeses never cease to impress.
From our squeaky speciality to world-class delights
Each year, Québec’s Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food) organizes the Sélection Caseus contest, which shines the spotlight on the craftsmanship of Québec cheese makers. The 2016 Caseus winners in each of the four categories were:
- Caseus Gold – Taliah by Fromagerie du Presbytère. A firm sheep’s milk cheese with aromas of hazelnut and caramel and a fruity finish.
- Caseus Silver– La Madelaine by Fromagerie Nouvelle France. A soft sheep’s milk cheese. Subtly salty with a gentle scent of fresh milk and dry hay, and a light floral note.
- Caseus Bronze – Louis Cyr by Fromagerie Bergeron. A strong Gouda made from lactose‑free cow’s milk, it has a subtle taste of butterscotch and toasted hazelnuts.
- Caseus Longævi – Louis d’Or vieilli by Fromagerie du Presbytère. A firm cow’s milk cheese with delicate aromas of flowers, hazelnut and butter.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the classic Québec treat known as cheese curds! Essentially, these are fresh cheddar curds that have not yet been pressed into blocks. You’ll know a good one by the “squeak-squeak” sound it makes when you chew it. In fact, if it doesn’t “squeak” it’s no cheese curd at all. Quebecers find them irresistible, and incidentally, they are the cheese that’s traditionally used in poutine… our national dish! Fresh that day, unrefrigerated is when cheese curds at their peak!
If you’re interested in learning more about the manufacturing of cheese and the art of cheese tasting, take the Route de fromage fins du Québec through various regions of Québec and meet the cheese makers who will delight in sharing their passion with you and taking you through the various steps in the process. It’s a great way to sample delicious cheeses made by the hands of a master! While you’re at it, visit the Musée du fromage cheddar museum in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean or the cheese economuseums in Charlevoix and Îles de la Madeleine. Talk about a delicious family holiday!
Québec cheeses inspire creativity and have spurred the reinvention of traditional recipes like raclette and fondue. Discover the many sumptuous cheese recipes, then go shopping for your provisions at your local supermarket or one of the public markets or cheese shops, where you’ll be met with a vast selection of homegrown cheeses. Then get out your cheese platter, invite some friends over and sample away! Paired with wine, cider or beer, our cheeses will have you under their spell. A heavenly delight, to be sure!