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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cheese Tour 2011

So when my employers asked me if I wanted to accompany them on a little Cheese Tour of Prince Edward County, Ontario and then on to Montreal, Quebec I felt I might jeopardize my job my saying no so I reluctantly said goodbye to my family and hopped in the car with Casey & Wendy to do what had to be done.

First stop - Fifth Town in Picton, Ontario. A state-of-the-art cheese making facility in the heart of Prince Edward County. Ontario's newest wine region and foodie destination. Fifth Town is LEED certified and operates with solar and wind power, collects milk fresh from local dairies and runs education programmes and tours year round.

Checking if the curds are ready

The bosses enjoying maple syrup-soaked and maple-sugar dipped Quark on a stick

Transferring the cheese to the moulds. Today's batch was Cape Vessey,
a washed rind goat's cheese and one of my favourites.

Squeezing it into the moulds by hand

Just some of the goat, sheep and cow's milk cheeses made at Fifth Town

Great name for an antique shop

Meeting Gilles at the Atwater Fromagerie in Montreal's famous Atwater Market

Just a portion of the cheese counter

In the beer cooler surrounded by local brews

After Atwater we headed out of the city to the Eastern Townships and L'Abbaye St Benoit du Lac. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any photos of the Abbey or their cheese making operation which has been run by the Benedictine Monks since the 1940's. Their Bleu Benedictin cheese is one of my favourite blues.

We returned to Montreal to visit Dependances, an importer and distributor of European cheese. Here we are in the massive refrigerated rooms where the cheeses are unpacked from containers and then repackaged to be shipped across the country.

Casey helping to unload the container

A huge pallet of the "Better Than Sex Cheese" aka Chateau de Bourgogne

The trip was a huge success if you don't count Casey getting food poisoning from some bad escargot and we met some wonderful people. After meeting Stephanie, the Master Cheese maker at Fifth Town, Lucy from Dependances, Alain "the godfather" of Quebec cheese and the monk who ran the Abbey fromagerie, I decided that cheese people are happy people because they get to spend their time making and selling something that brings people together the world over - good food made from fresh ingredients and love.
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