Cheese 123-Louis d’Or Vieille

 

It’s getting harder these days to really excite me about a new cheese. I’m perhaps a little jaded, 123 cheeses into this strange little foray of mine…but yesterday-my heart stopped.  While at my local cheese shop looking for something “sexy, Canadian, and hard” (yes, those were my criteria, don’t laugh) my eyes fell upon something I had somehow missed before.  It was a large handsome cheese: hard, firm, Canadian…organic, unpasteurized, and a gold medal winner…breathing harder, yes…this is the cheese I have been looking for, and it was right under my nose.

You see, it turns out that I really am mad for Canadian cheese-all things being equal-which they aren’t, of course.  To find a great cheese made in my homeland just seems right.  There’s supporting your fellow Canadians, then’s there’s the carbon footprint, et cetera, but really, why not eat Canadian cheese?  Especially when Canadians are so damn good at making damn good cheese, especially the French-why?  Why is it always Quebec?  This is a great mystery to me.

I digress.  Today’s handsome (and hard and Canadian, I did mention that, right) cheese is a Comte look alike (and I love me some Comte) made by the Quebecois Fromagerie du Presbytere.  It’s a cow’s milk cheese made with organic milk right on the farm.   It’s rare to find such a large Mountain Style cheese made here in Canada as it takes quite a commitment to make and then store a cheese of this size. I reviewed another cheese by this groovy fromagerie back in my early cheese days-Laliberte which was an unctuous and yummy triple cream brie, but today’s cheese is their eponymous headliner-and I tend to think that when something is eponymous, it’s really special!

I’m kind of stealing this next bit from my old review, but it just bears repeating, and it’s not theft if it’s from yourself. “The farm of Louis d’or, is a family run company operated by four generations of the Morin family.  Even better, it’s  artisanal, family owned, and organic.  This family turned to organic farming in the 1980′s, which makes them early adopters.   The farm has a herd of Holstein and Jersey cows which graze in the organic pastures of clover, timothy grass, bluegrass and other organic grains. These cows are never given antibiotics or hormones. In 2005 this Morin family decided to remodel an old church rectory called Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick. It was located just in front of their farm.  All their cheese is now made in this refurbished building and the family only makes artisanal organic certified cheese. Wow, this is sounding like an ad for this fromagerie.  But come on, a refurbished cheese rectory.”

This beautiful cheese is remarkable for its size- it’s made in 40 KG wheels, and has a washed rind and a firm pressed cooked paste.  It is made from raw milk, so pregnant ladies we warned! Typically this cheese is served at the 9 month age-and this is the one that won all the prizes, but my little sample is the Vieille or aged and is 18 months old.  Yes, be jealous of me, that’s perfectly understandable. Louis D’Or (at the 9 month age) is a big winner taking the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Grand Champion as well as best in class in firm cheese, farmhouse cheese, organic cheese too, and the American Cheese Society best of show third place, along with numerous other awards.   Are you impressed yet?  How can we ask for more?  It’s an award winning  family made cheese based on happy organic cows and a refurbished rectory.  I’m sold.

 


My long slice of Louis d’or Vieille which from the sounds of it I was lucky to find-due to the popularity of this cheese, is an attractive creamy yellow with a dark brown natural rind.  I see other reviews referencing eyes in this cheese, but my sample does not contain them…mine is also the 18 month version, so I am unclear if this is the cause.  It appears as though there is some crystallization or tyrosine throughout the paste-which makes me crazy with desire…I love me some tyrosine!  It smells wonderful, nutty and deep and really for all the world like a Comte.  It’s a mellow and mature cheese, it’s begging me to enter into a conversation with it…and I shall.

Here goes…

There’s so much going on here, I don’t even know where to start. First, it’s floral, and sweet, I’m so shocked!  It’s very mellow and round, but ultimately very, very sweet and benign more like a great Gruyere than anything else.  There are no sharp or uric notes whatsoever, it’s just totally mellowed out, it’s like a Zen master of cheese. Sweet, round, mellow, pleased with itself and the balance it has achieved in this world.  The texture is fabulous, it’s firm to the teeth, but enjoys a little chew before dissolving into a sweet milky paste-there’s a faint fleck or tyrosine, but that’s not the show stopper here-the show stopper is the taste, it’s really unlike anything I have ever tasted before, it’s clover, sunshine, friendship and happiness. It’s a revelation in cheese.  Unlike many cheeses this one should be eaten by itself, with nothing else-it’s cheese in the purest form: complex, developed, wise, sumptuous.  If you can get your hands on this cheese, do it, you can thank me later.

Holy Hannah Louis D’Or, you are most definitely my slice of cheese, bravo!

 

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Cheese 118-Blue Capri

 

Many people have strong feelings about goat’s milk and goat’s milk cheese.  This is for good reason.  Everything touched by a goat tastes like it was-well, touched by a goat! I have a strong sense-memory of being a hippie child (if you haven’t already, go out and buy my book “Adult Child of Hippies” please, be a darling), and eating goat’s milk products-which were horrible. Goats and hippies go together like Brie and baguette, and you could depend upon that barny hoof-taste being in just about anything.  How I wish I was lying! I have a specific memory of eating goat’s-milk pancakes with carob chips that will stain my sense memories indelibly.  I share this with you not to disrespect goats, but to show you how far I have come.  I am a goat-convert, you see, but it’s taken almost 40 years-so don’t just dismiss goat products.  Yes, they taste weird, but that’s actually the charm.

As I not only adore (these days) goat’s cheese, but also adore (these days) blue cheese, imagine my great joy to discover the two existing in the same cheese!  A cheese Yahtzee! I was at the Trout Lake farmer’s Market last Saturday-this is in East Vancouver for you non-locals-when a lovely lady in a booth beckoned me to taste her cheese!  How could I resist?  Although not the head cheese-maker, she told me that she had helped out with this batch, and that’s just about as good as it gets to me.  There’s something about looking into the eyes of the cheesemaker that sends shivers down my spine.  Yes, I’m that kind of weird!

I have, in fact-reviewed this “Goat’s Pride Dairy” before on cheese 96 “Chevrotina.”  Alas, I was not overly impressed-but concluded that that specific cheese was a little young and that it was my fault…and that I would be back, so here I am. I keep my promises to cheese.  To save you the trouble of searching, and me the trouble of re-writing, here’s a little snippet of the history from that post to give us some context.

“The certified organic “Goat’s Pride” Dairy is found  in Abbotsford, BC. It’s the first Certified Organic goat dairy in western Canada.  This local company has been making cheese for the past six years. In addition to cheese, Goat’s Pride farm offers tours for groups of 12 or more with activities including  goat education, cheese tasting, and goat milking demonstration.  This farm tour offering seems to be on trend with local fromageries.  One suspects it must be challenging to deal with goats, cheese making, and tourists simultaneously.

Goat’s Pride is a family owned farm. Peter and Jo-Ann Dykstra and their children do it all.  They keep their goat-herd and their fromagerie on the same property, so it’s all very cozy. The goats have access to roam outside when it is sunny, and they can wander freely on the farm’s 20 acres of bush, snacking to their little goat hearts content. Their pens are large, and roomy, and this whole set up seems very goat positive. The goats here are fed organic grain, hay and alfalfa. They  use no hormones, and will use antibiotics only under duress-preferring to use herbal or homeopathic remedies, and that’s a first, homeopathics for goats!  Wow. Most of the milk comes from their farm although they do occasionally source milk from another organic goat farm in Chilliwack.”

…So, today’s cheese is their “Blue Capri” which the label states is their “award-winning Blue cheese,” “a perfect well-aged Roquefort.” Of course, as we all know, Roquefort is made from sheep’s milk, not goat’s.  The most famous blue goat’s cheese is Gorgonzola-so that has me a little confused, but let’s not get stuck on semantics. I’m also not sure how it’s “award-winning” the website doesn’t clarify, but there is a picture of the cheese with a blue ribbon on it, again, let’s not get stuck on semantics.  The bottom line is this is an organic goat’s cheese from a local cheese maker-and I got to look the maker’s helper in the eye, so really, I’m happy, and really, that’s what this blog is all about.


My little wedge of Blue Capri certified organic goat’s milk “Roquefort” is mostly white with a small amount of veining.  It crumbled when I took it out of the package, it’s a fragile cheese and a little moist.  There’s no discernible rind, I think it’s been cut off-pity.  It’s fragrant, a bouquet of goat-hoof and piquant erzats-vomit that I love so much in a good blue cheese.  And for the record, I say this is the most positive way-all Roquefort cheese contains the same enzyme as vomit-as does  parmigiano-reggiano  it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, get over it!  My mouth waters in anticipation…goat, plus mould! Wowzers!

Here goes…

Mmmmmmm.  Oh, super fantastic yummy!  But make no mistake, this is a gorgonzola to my taste buds, not sure why they call it a Roquefort!  It’s spicy, salty, raunchy, creamy and intense.  It has that bite of the blue then that peppery kick of the goat’s hoof.  There’s nothing subtle about Blue Capri, it’s a fantastic punch in the face.  It’s bright, intense and shakes your taste buds out of their slumber.  That being said-it’s a well-balanced cheese, all of the different elements are in equal strength, so that taste profile is just perfectly balanced.   Warning, this is no starter cheese.  This one would just about kill my husband who can’t handle a blue or a goat’s cheese, so you know what that means-this one is mine, all mine! You hit this one out of the ballpark, Goat’s Pride, I’m proud of you, you, yes you, are my slice of cheese!

Cheese 106-Tarentaise AND a field trip to Murray’s cheese


I have just returned from an epic trip to the East Coast of the USA, specifically New York and Washington DC. I’m sure you know what was on my mind…cheese! What goes better with a Big Apple than a Big Cheese?  Top of my list along with the MOMA and the Statue of Liberty was one of the greatest cheese shops in the world,  the legendary Murray’s Cheese shop in Greenwich Village, New York.  Murray’s has been on my radar since the inception of this blog as a true pioneer and leader in the world of affinage and cheese.  They actually have 4 of their own limestone caves underneath their shop (alas, not open to the public) and they work with many local and European producers to bring some amazing cheese to the palate of lucky New Yorker’s.  I couldn’t resist buying their shirt, “make cheese, not war,” as a child of hippies and lover of cheese, I couldn’t say it better myself!

I have to admit that my heart almost stopped beating as I approached Murray’s-yes, I’m that much of a geek.  Inside this mecca of fromage I found-to my chagrine-only a regular amount of cheese.  I was actually a little disappointed in the number and variety of cheeses present, easily under 50, and certainly nothing like the cheese shops I have been frequenting in Vancouver.  It just goes to show that just because something is well-known doesn’t mean it’s the ultimate.  As well, although the cheese was nicely displayed, I didn’t find the cheese love here that I was expecting.  It was like going to the Vatican and finding a bunch of atheists.  Weird. I tried to engage the cheese monger in some cheesey talk and they seemed a little busy.  Oh well, I did talk a stranger into trying Stilton, so my work was well done. One of the things I suspect is limiting the cheeses available in the USA is different rules about raw milk cheese, I did not see a single Canadian cheese in the shop, and did see only a small handful of raw milk, and all very aged.

Of course, I did have to eat a cheese from Murray’s.  It was hard to choose as I had either already reviewed most of the cheese there, or it was local American variety I had not heard of.  I eventually chose Tarentaise as my chosen fromage as it had a flag on it saying “staff favourite“, and I am a sucker for a little flag. Tarentaise is an organic raw milk cow’s cheese made by  Jeremy Stephenson at Spring Brook farm in Vermont, and a local take on the great French cheese, Abondance, reviewed earlier in this blog.  Tarentaise is a farmstead cheese, meaning it is made by the very folks who tend the cattle, a real pasture to cheese operation. The name Tarentaise refers to a type of cattle in France used to make another type of cheese, but this operation uses Jersey cows to make its Tarentaise.  Strange. Maybe they just liked the name.

According to their website, Tarentaise is made in the “traditional method” meaning that it is made in a copper vat, which is essential to creating this style of alpine cheese. They use the same cultures and techniques developed  in the Alps to make Abondance. The curds are cut by hand with a harp, (can this be true?) stirred, cooked and transferred in a large cheese cloth to be pressed. After the cheese enters the aging room, the rinds are rubbed by hand with a culture.

Each Jersey cow on this certified organic farm has its own name, and they milk these cows by hand with buckets, which, I don’t think ANYONE else does these days, that’s very old timey. This cheese continues its good karma as the farm is actually used as a location to allow city kids to learn about being around animals and working on farms, so it’s all pretty far out here.  Organic cows, hand milking, copper pots and urban kids getting a feel for the country, but what about the cheese?

Tarentaise  is a handsome Alpine type cheese, strong and firm and well aged.  Oh, and did I mention that this one is CAVE AGED?  Oh yes, I do love me some cave aged cheese.  It is a pale yellow cheese with a natural dark brown rind, the paste gets darker and it approaches to rind as is common in Alpine cheeses.  It’s very mild in odour.  It waits for me in the hotel room in New York, it’s impatient, and so am I.

Here goes…

Hmmm.  Well, it is an alpine type cheese, no doubt about theat, it actually reminds me of the Alpindon cheese made here in BC I reviewed a little while back. It’s little spicy and also fruity. It’s a mild sweet cheddary cheese with a creamy toothsome paste  There is a delightful tyrosine crunch in this cheese which I adore, it’s like little pop rocks in the cheese paste and denotes a great affinage in a cheese. As with all Alpine cheeses, I just wish there was a little more salt, but that’s just me.  Tarentiase, I appreciate your dedication to the art of cheese, and you really do win for hand milking, but as for taste, I can get me a good raw milk alpine cheese here in Canada, and none of your ilk are salty enough for my palate anyway, but it was nice to meet you.

Day 96-Chevrotina


The biggest transformation for me personally through this almost 100 day journey into cheese has been my new-found love for goat cheese.  Now that I have crossed over to the goat side I just can’t get enough.  Luckily, BC seems to be full of goat’s-milk cheese, and some of it within driving distance of yours truly.I just picked up this little button of goat cheese the other day in Vancouver.  It looked intriguing to me, it’s the first “button” of cheese I have seen for sale.  When I saw that it was goat, local and organic I was sold.  Really, they had me at goat.

Today’s cheese, Chevrotina is made by the certified organic “Goat’s Pride” Dairy in Abbotsford, BC. It’s the first Certified Organic goat dairy in western Canada.  This local company has been making cheese for the past six years. In addition to cheese, Goat’s Pride farm offers tours for groups of 12 or more with activities including  goat education, cheese tasting, and goat milking demonstration.  This farm tour offering seems to be on trend with local fromageries.  One suspects it must be challenging to deal with goats, cheese making, and tourists simultaneously.

Goat’s Pride is a family owned farm. Peter and Jo-Ann Dykstra and their children do it all.  They keep their goat-herd and their fromagerie on the same property, so it’s all very cozy. The goats have access to roam outside when it is sunny, and they can wander freely on the farm’s 20 acres of bush, snacking to their little goat hearts content. Their pens are large, and roomy, and this whole set up seems very goat positive. The goats here are fed organic grain, hay and alfalfa. They  use no hormones, and will use antibiotics only under duress-preferring to use herbal or homeopathic remedies, and that’s a first, homeopathics for goats!  Wow. Most of the milk comes from their farm although they do occasionally source milk from another organic goat farm in Chilliwack.

I am fairly certain there must be a savvy teenager in this family, as this is one of the more dialled in set ups I have seen.  Besides the website and facebook page, this dairy also tweets on Twitter, and that’s another first.  Goat’s Pride Dairy received two awards at the recent American Cheese Society Cheese Competition in Montreal, alas, not for today’s cheese, but not bad for a newbie.

Today’s cheese, Chevrotina, is a camembert style goat’s cheese.  That means it’s very young and surface ripened-and made of goat milk.  Interestingly, they appear to have made up the name Chevrotina.  Chevrotin des Aravis and Chevrotin des Bauges are both AOC cheeses from France, thus perhaps the name is a nod to these cheeses.  Maybe they just liked the name as it includes the all-important “Chevre,”   Who knows?  Goat’s Pride Chevrotina is made from pasteurized milk.

My little button of Goat’s Pride Chevrotina is well, cute as a button.  I’m not really sure why it is sold in this format, but as it was less expensive than the log format it also came in, I went with this one.  Thrift, you see.  It’s pure white and covered with penicillium camemberti mould, which is correct for this type of cheese.  It is a surface ripened cheese, and likely quite young. The interior is also quite white, goat’s milk tends to be albino-like.  There is a spackle of tiny eyes in the interior paste.  This cheese smells kind of funky, like mushrooms, and also slightly carnal, if I may be so bold.  There’s just something a little naughty about it, which is surprising for such a sweet looking little button! But where’s the goat? I can’t smell that at all.

Here goes…

Oh, there’s the goat, it was just hiding!  Little rascal.  The cheese has a mushroomy taste, that’s that camembert rind, and the paste is quite toothsome.  The uric acid and salt is quite understated for a camembert type cheese.  In all, it’s pretty mellow.  Unfortunately,  I’m not crazy about this cheese, and the sad thing is, I really wanted to love it! I think it’s the texture that’s not really working for me.  It’s all the rind that’s the problem.  Because this is a button sized piece there is much more rind than normal, and this rind is a little tough and mealy.  There’s almost no creamy paste to mix in with all that rind, so it’s not giving me a great mouth feel, really, it’s not the cheeses fault, I’m just not a rind girl.  I’m not sure if this would be the case in another form, like the log. Bummer, this one is not my slice of cheese, but there are 10 cheeses in their line up, so I will be back, Goat’s Pride, that’s a promise.

Day 90-Lamb Chopper

I have many regrets with this blog.  One of them has been the fact that I have reviewed only a small handful of sheep cheeses, and virtually only pecorino at that.  Sheep’s milk cheese is actually very popular across the world, but we don’t seem to have much of an appetite for it here in Canada.  Part of the issue with making a sheep’s milk cheese is that there’s just not enough good sheep’s milk in Canada to resource a cheese.  Sheep are little, their little udders are little, we just aren’t focussed on getting that milk out and into cheese.  It’s a shame.

 
Thus, imagine my joy when I learned about today’s cheese, a sheep’s milk cheese from the USA.  I mean, that’s practically Canada, right?  Oh wait, wrong again.  Today’s cheese, Lamb Chopper is actually a Dutch cheese, made for and sold by Americans.  Will I ever get this straight? Lamb Chopper is made in Europe exclusively for the American Cypress Grove Chevre. Cypress Grove chevre is traditionally a goat’s milk cheese maker who decided they wanted to get into sheep’s milk, and who can blame them?

 
The California-based Cypress Grove Creamery is a well established cutting edge American artisanal cheese maker with a line up of several successful goat cheeses. I specifically went out of my way to buy this cheese, assuming that it would be made on site.   However, cheesemaker Mary Keehn  has this made in Holland by a gouda maker who works with sheep milk.  Lamb Chopper is thus a Dutch Gouda made to American specifications.  Lamb Chopper is made from 100% organic and pasteurized sheep’s milk. There was no way this much organic sheep’s milk could be resourced in the USA, so this was a workable compromise.   The adorable label has a drawing of a tough looking lamb biker on a Harley, get it…lamb chopper, hardy, har.  This is also my first cheese with its own slogan,  “Born to be mild.” punny!

 
Thus, our little traveller, Lamb Chopper is made in Holland from Dutch sheep’s milk and aged in The Netherlands for three months. It’s then coated in wax for the voyage back to the USA for finishing school. Apparently the cheese maker was also concerned that the bloomy-rind molds from her other cheeses could infect Lamb Chopper if she tried to make it in the same facility, so it’s actually worked out well this way.  Interestingly, no other cheese makers seem to share this concern, and I do see blue cheeses in affinage side by side with non-blues all the time-so that’s a little curious. Lamb Chopper is sold at 4 to 6 months old, and can last up to 8 additional months if uncut. Cypress Grove isn’t just cute and the only cheese with  dual citizenship, it’s also kind of famous.  This cheese received a Silver Award in the 2010 World Cheese Awards.

 
My little wedge of Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper is mildly sitting beside me.  It’s too early and we were both up late at my mother’s retirement party, but still, the cheese calls. It’s a firm white cheese, it really does look like a pecorino more than a gouda to me.  I’m not clear on why this cheese is called “gouda.”  There is a wax rind around the outside which has kept it safe on its journey from Holland to California, and now to me. This cheese smells great, it smells, well, like pecorino, sheepy and mild and savoury, it’s not offensive in the least, but it’s clearly sheep-based, and that appeals to a person like me.

 
here goes…

 
Mmmm, but it is a gouda-and do you know how I know?  It’s sweet!  Part of the gouda making process brings out the natural sweetness in the milk.  Thank God for Gouda!  Lamb Chopper has that same caramelly sweetness. Lamb Chopper is actually a little lier, it’s not born to be mild, it’s actually extremely flavourful.  There are lamb hoof tastes as well as butterscotch, salt, yumminess and a tyrosine crunch in this cheese, which is a surprise.  It’s not overly aged, it’s quite creamy and yielding, so that tyrosine shocked me.  My mouth just doesn’t know where to go with this cheese.  There’s almost too much going on.

 

OK, here’s the thing.  I like sheep’s cheese, and I really like Gouda, and I love that this  is an organic cheese, but I’m not sure if I am totally on fire about this combination.  There’s something a little distracting to me about all these tastes happening simultaneously.  I appreciate the effort, but I  tink I will take my gouda in cow, thank you very much.

Day 79-Alpindon


It’s a great idea to try local versions of your favourite cheese.  Cheese tastes best when eaten closer to home.  It’s a dairy product, after all.  It’s fragile and doesn’t really like to travel.  Shipping also adds a hefty price to imported cheeses; some spend weeks in the hold of ocean liners, while others fly third class in jet planes-either way, the cheese and the consumer pays.  While many cheeses are protected by a designated name and recipe, it certainly doesn’t stop a new-fangled version of that cheese from being invented.  Who knows?  Maybe some of these new cheeses might be an improvement.  Stranger things have happened.

Today I will be sampling Alpindon cheese, a Canadian cheese meaning “gift of the Alpine.” Alpindon is an homage to the great French mountain cheese- Beaufort d’alpage which I reviewed and loved many weeks ago.  Beaufort is a raw cow’s milk cheese, firm, and made of summer milk in the mountains of France.  Alpindon uses the same recipe and general approach to this cheese-raw, summer mountain cow milk- this time made by the Kootenay Alpine Cheese company.  It was a recent second place finisher in the American Cheese Society awards.

 

The Kootenay Alpine Cheese Company is located just outside of Creston BC.  It’s run by Denise and Wayne Harris who bought the dairy farm 15 years ago.  Farming is in Wayne’s blood; his grandparents were dairy farmers in Creston when he was a child. Before becoming committed cheese-makers the family looked carefully at the cheese scene in BC-it was clear from their research that there was a market vacuum  for mountain or Alpine cheeses.  Being located in the Kootenays, it seemed a natural fit. It took them several years to get up and running, but they did it.  For the record, I’m a jealous girl.  Who wouldn’t want their own fromagerie?  Really!

This family-run farm and fromagerie is certified organic, and that’s both a rare and a special thing in the world of cheese.  They have about 80 cows and all of their milk is made from this single herd on-site.  Like its mentor, Beaufort, Alpindon is only made with the best summer milk, so it’s a very limited run of cheese.  The milk is gravity fed into the fromagerie daily through pipes that come straight from the milk house. Everything is green here-(except the milk, that is.) The farm uses gravity, solar power and geo-thermal cooling to address most of their electrical needs. Super cool.  After the cheese is formed it is washed and smeared with a bacterial culture and flipped regularly.  Alpindon is then aged for about 90 days in custom-made affinage caves before being readied for sale. Exciting!

I have spent the last 78 days slamming cheeses that aren’t the “real thing” and telling you to beware of fakes, yet here I am anxious to try a local version of Beaufort.  Here’s my rational-Alpindon isn’t pretending to be Beaufort. It’s not called “Bro-fort” or “Bellefort” or something stupid like that, it’s not trying to trick us.  It’s the tricking that I find offensive.”Cheese product” or “Parmesen” offends me because these names are created specifically to lull the consumer into thinking they are buying the real thing.  This is more of an homage to a great cheese.  Imitation is the best form of flattery, and as long as we aren’t pretending to be something else, I say, bring it on.

My sadly small slice of Alpindon (not pretending to be Beaufort) actually really does look like Beaufort except that it lacks that tell-tale concave side.  Real Beaufort is held in by a special band while it sets.  It’s a creamy yellow semi-firm mountain cheese with a thin natural orange rind. The smell is mild, yet somewhat reminiscent of feet.

Here goes…

Yummy!  This is a delicious cheese, but it doesn’t taste at all like Beaufort to me-that’s funny.  I mean, who cares, but what a lot of buildup for nothing. It’s a classic alpine cheese though.  It has a firm and chewy interior paste and a nice astringent nutty flavour mixed in with just a hint of gym-socks. There’s a good balance of sweet, salt and raunch, all in savoury harmony.  It does have that faint alcohol tasting note I have found in other mountain cheeses that I’m not crazy about, but that seems to be a mountain cheese thing, so I’m just dealing with it. It does not have any discernible tyrosine crunch like Beaufort, but it’s a relatively young cheese, so I’m not surprised.

I’m impressed, Alpindon!  No, you certainly aren’t Beaufort, but who cares.  You are organic and from BC and I like a local kid in the race.

Day 43-Laliberte


My sticky and fattening journey through triple cream brie cheese and its plump close relatives is coming to a close.  After today’s cheese-a triple cream brie-don’t be shocked-we shall change tactics sharply, and instead, wander rather aimlessly through cheese-taking into account every cheese you have ever heard of, in a couple of variations, and maybe some you haven’t.  But no more 10 of any type of cheese.  That’s just ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, I was in my local market yesterday when I ran into “Culture” magazine, a magazine devoted to cheese.  Who knew?  This magazine is sheer cheese porn, including close-ups, photo lay outs, lovingly written cheese biographies, and a centerfold!  It even has a cheese crossword…that’s right, and you thought I was nuts!  Of course I did buy it, and now lovingly thumb through it.  I guess it’s true what they say, “every pot’s got its lid” and for every fetish, there is a corresponding magazine.  Just watch out, Culture magazine, you are in my cheesey sites now!

Today’s cheese is  laliberte.  A pasteurized cow organic triple brie cheese from Quebec, specifically  the Fromagerie du Presbytere. This fromagerie and its related farm, Louis d’or, looks very cool.  There is a website- http://www.fromageriedupresbytere.com/, but be warned, it is in French.  I tried google translation on this page and it was-unintentionally- hysterically funny!  Including the line, “They fed in the fields all day in the care of their loving farm servants.” I suspect (hope)this is referring to the farm’s herd of cattle.  The farm of Louis d’or, is a family run company operated by four generations of the Morin family.  So it’s really what I have been looking for in my cheese quest. Local, artisanal, family owned, and organic.  This family turned to organic farming in the 1980’s, which makes them pretty early adopters.   The farm has a herd of Holstein and Jersey cows tended by loving farm servants that are fed dry hay daily as well as allowed to graze in the organic pastures of clover, timothy grass, bluegrass and other organic grains. These cows are never given antibiotics or hormones by their loving farm servants, and this is actually very cool, as we get enough of this damn stuff in jut about everything else we eat and drink.

In 2005 this Morin family decided to remodel an old church rectory called Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick. It was located just in front of their farm.  All their cheese is now made in this refurbished building and the family only makes artisanal organic certified cheese. Wow, this is sounding like an ad for this fromagerie.  But come on, a refurbished cheese rectory, happy farm servants, organic cheese, it’s just hitting all the right notes for me and I haven’t even tasted it.

 My little slice of organic cheese it sitting quietly beside me.  It hasn’t mentioned that it takes its name from the sculptor, Alfred Laliberté, who was also born in Ste-Elizabeth de Warwick.  It’s also not mentioning that it is a triple cream brie, and I actually would not have expected that, as it’s not running and sticking all over the place like a toddler on cotton candy.  It’s a little cheese, with a proper bloomy white rind and a pale paste.  It’s really surprisingly upright for a cheese with so much butter fat.  Strange. It smells funky and ammoniac, but not overly so, what does one expect with a controlled mold crust?
Here goes…
Hmmmm.  The reason it was standing up so much is that it is pure butter that just hadn’t warmed up properly.  Introduced to my tongue and its’ heat it is all melty goodness.  Why, hello, little friend!  This cheese just wants to move right in.  The taste is quite mild, it’s rather salty, with a hint of blue and a flavour of mushrooms.  There is no sweet at all, but it’s extremely toothsome, and really, that texture is just crazy good if you are into the whole “melt all over your mouth thing” of the triple cream bries.
Here’s the thing.  This is a really great triple cream brie.  I have sampled a couple of other really great triple cream bries, and some not so great.  In the final analysis, I’m just not all about this kind of cheese.  That being said, it is actually more than taste that matters to me.  All else being equal, the history of the cheese and the story of the cheese also factor into cheese choice to me.  That this cheese is made by a family, that it is Canadian, that they use organic milk-all these factors also come into account in me declaring Laliberte the KING of the triple cream brie.
Laliberte, I give you a well deserved 5 out of 5, bravo.