As I round out my 100 day journey into cheese, it’s important to remember that not everyone has access to cheese shops in a big city. Although in theory there are hundreds of cheeses available in Canada-in practice, cheese selection can be quite limited, especially if you live in a small town. That’s why I was so thrilled to discover the joy of Woolrich Dairy goat brie, and Oka cheese. Both of these are produced in factories and are widely available, but both totally rock my world. Cheese can be extremely expensive, especially if it has to be shipped across an ocean to get here, so I really am open to local cheese. With this is mind I am sampling my last commercially produced Canadian cheese. This one is called Rondoux Double Creme, and it is produced by the cheese giant Agropur in-where else? Quebec.
The name Agropur may be familiar to readers of this blog, as I discussed it previously in my review of Oka cheese. Agropur is a large Quebec cooperative that has been making cheese and dairy products since 1937. The Société coopérative agricole du Canton de Granby, eventually became the Agropur cooperative in 2000. It is composed of 86 producers from Granby and the surrounding area. Agropur is bucking the trend of locally operated cooperatives. It’s influence has spread across Quebec and Canada. Agropur includes brands such as Yoplait, Olympia, and Island Farms. Agropur is ubiquitous.
I have noticed today’s cheese for at least a year at the supermarket. Rondoux Double Creme and it’s Rondoux siblings are all sold in adorable little round wooden boxes, and I am a sucker for good marketing. By my reckoning, Rondoux is a brie cheese in all but name. Interestingly, Agropur doesn’t use the “B” word in any of its promotional material for this cheese. In fact, there is virtually no promotional material for Rondoux Double Creme at all, despite the fact that I see its little wooden box just about everywhere. This is a little strange, don’t you think?
As I have mentioned, I am a sucker for marketing. The instructions on the back of the wooden box state that you can do your own home affinage, (ok, they don’t use that phrase, this is just me). According to the instructions, this cheese is “young” 40 days before the best before date, and is thus “soft and slightly tart,” it is “semi-ripened” 25 days before the best before date and “mild and velvety,” and it is “fully ripened” right before the best before date and “rich and creamy.” That’s kind of cool. My sample today is almost smack on the best before date. I never before knew this was something to aim for in a cheese.
I don’t know much about the production of Rondoux Double Creme as no one is talking, and I hate that. As it’s a brie, it’s a young cheese, helped along by some friendly moulds. It’s made from cow’s milk that is pasteurized. This cheese is made in the Corneville cheesemaking factory. As this one is a Double Creme, creme is added to the cheese to make it richer, there’s also a triple creme variety out there, but I am trying to finish this blog without getting overly fat, so no thanks. Interestingly, despite the fact that no one seems to be talking about Rondoux Double Creme, this little darling is a rock star! Rondoux Double Creme WON the 2011 American Cheese society in the SOFT RIPENED CHEESES. That’s pretty freaking fantastic, I don’t know why Agropur isn’t screaming this from the tops of the mountains, I certainly would if this were my cheese.
My little wedge of Rondoux is simpering quietly beside me. It’s an unassuming little cheese. When I cut into it my knife stuck into the interior and a little bit oozed out. This is a good sign! There is a white bloomy rind of mould, edible-of course, and a creamy-looking interior with a few small eyes. The very middle has turned to goo. It smells mildly of mushrooms and toes.
Ahhh. Freaking fabulous! Really, this cheese totally rocks! It’s absolutely divine in flavour, the mushroomy paste matches the creamy, salty and slightly sweet interior. There is a hint of ammonia, but it’s kept in check by a harmonious balance of salt, sweet and unctuous joy. The texture is great. The gooey middle is exactly as I hoped: sticky, cloying, melting, sensual-it’s making sweet love to my tongue and teeth. Wow, I can’t believe this cheese is this good. I heartily recommend this one if you are looking for a fabulous and affordable little brie from Canada, you can’t go wrong. This one is definitely, my slice of cheese.