Sheep in the Brambles

zacharie-cloutierZacharie Cloutier is the ancestor of probably more Quebecois Canadians than any other man.  He and his wife Xainte immigrated from the Perche province, France in 1634.  They founded one of the foremost families in Quebec. By 1800, the Cloutier descendants numbered close to 11,000.Today it might be impossible to count them but they include Marie-ChantalIMG_2836 Houde (pictured on right) one of the principals of Fromagerie Nouvelle France. Their sheep’s milk firm pressed cheese is named for this forefather. Fromagerie Nouvelle France is part of a growing number of farm cheese producers.

This washed rind cheese is semi-cooked. Ripened from 4-6 months the paste has a buttery caramel flavour with the rich tones associated with a sheep’s milk cheese. It is best paired with a moderately full bodied red wine with strong dark berry undertones but balanced with mild acidity. Try Cattail Creek Cabernet Merlot. The black raspberry, cassis and Damson plum aromas of this wine will evoke summery days picking IMG_4166blackberries in wind blown brambles. Its refined tannins and spicy vanilla finish will balance well with Zacharie Cloutier’s richness. Serve with some toasted pecans and crusty white bread. As you nibble note the distinct zigzag design on the outside rind of the cheese.IMG_4165

Mont Jacob weds Niagara

IMG_2659Every Saturday we offer several cheeses for our customers to taste.  This week you can sample Mont Jacob from Fromagerie Blackburn in Quebec.  The Blackburn family began farming in Jonquière in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec about 80 years and four generations ago. More recently they began making cheese including the award winning Mont Jacob.

IMG_4135 Being a washed rind cheese, the aroma is strong and the rind of any such cheese is an acquired taste. Cut into the cheese and you will discover the paste’s rich buttery flavour. The finish is soft with no bitter edge.

The recommended pairing for Mont Jacob is a dry white wine.  Here in Niagara we suggest Creekside Sauvignon Blanc. A glass of this wine’s white grapefruit, granny smith apple flavours and light tropical notes of pineapple and star fruit will be an excellent foil to the richness of the cheese. Try it and tell us what you think!

It Was a Blue Kind of Day

IMG_2710Nothing sad about it.  I enjoyed packaging Extra Creamy Danish Blue Cheese today. Castello has been making cheese since 1893 and you can taste the tradition in their Creamy Danish Blue. Even the crumbs left over from packaging spread on Wasa thin rosemary and sea salt crisp bread make for a luxurious snack…but then Wasa has been doing their thing since 1919. Not as long as Castello but they definitely have ironed out any wrinkles, too. Oh did I say I was working today? Sounds more like I have been on a tasting holiday!

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It’s our job to help you enjoy your cheese.  So we try to give you help pairing our great cheeses with foods and beverages.  Last Sunday I enjoyed little dollops of Delice de Bourgoyne spread on fresh cherries. So simple and yet so lux. To find some great pairings for Danish Blue Click here.

You don’t have to plan a party to relish these simple pleasures. Pick lunch size pieces of cheese from our lunch basket. You can also pick up small servings of  meats and olives.