Cheese 131 14 Arpents-Fromagerie Medard

 

 

You know how some people like to shop for cars, or jewellery, or clothes?  I like to shop for cheese.

Every time I’m in a new store, I’m drawn to the cheese section, and my children mock me for this. Last week they accused me of being “addicted to cheese.” And that’s just unfair. I mean, addicted? Addicted means that I think about it all the time, I obsess about it, I can’t live without it. Shit. Maybe I AM addicted.

Last week when the whole “mom’s addicted” issue came up, I was elbow deep in our local Whole Foods cheese section. I do like to look for cheese here as they tend to have a decent selection, and they also have a basket of smaller “amuse bouche” tastes of cheese, which is a great way to get into cheese without making a huge commitment.

It was here that I noticed today’s cheese for the first time, a Canadian cheese, from Quebec and as it is Canada Day (Happy Canada D’eh!) I thought it an excellent choice. It’s an interesting looking square cheese from the Quebec Fromagerie Medard called 14 Arpents (FYI, that link is in French, so best of luck to you.)


IMG_2092

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If my high school French serves me correctly, 14 arpents means 14 acres, as in “14 acres of land” and the lady at the cheese counter told me it refers to the road bordering the fromagerie, called Le Chemin 14 Arpents. It’s a whole milk, washed rind  cheese made from the milk of the farm’s own brown Swiss cattle-and this one’s pasteurized (alas.) This is a true farmstead cheese as it is made from the cattle that live on the farm.

IMG_2100

 

The milk for this cheese is sourced from the attached  Ferme Domaine De La Rivière,  established in  1881 when the Quebec government gave  families with at least 12  children (yikes) extra funds to settle and develop the area. The eponymous Médard (of Fromagerie Medard) was the son of one of these establishing families. The  Fromagerie Medard,  opened in 2006 took his name, so there’s a true thread of farming, history of the land in the cheese and in the cheese name, and I like that.

IMG_2101
This is a handsome cheese, it has a lovely orange washed rind and a creamy yellow interior, spotted with eyes. It seems rather alive- it oozed slightly when I cut it, and as it warms up, it really does reek quite pleasantly. There’s that delightfully foul odour of unwashed feet that captivates me. Alas, so many are scared off by that initial “hello” from a washed rind, that’s just the bark! Don’t be afraid of the bite!  Move in, I implore thee.
Mmmmmm. This is the love child of Taleggio and Oka! It’s a round tasty flavoured cheese, with just a hint of bitter from that salty washed rind. It’s toothsome and chewy, it sticks to my teeth, it plays with my tongue. Although the smell is a little fierce, the taste is mellow, yet complex. I think this one would work on just about any cheese board. It’s salty and creamy and nutty and pleasurable in the mouth. It’s just slightly “gym-socky” but in an ever so friendly way. My only regret? I only bought a small chunk.
Go out and grab some, and Happy Canada Day

Cheese 125 Pont L’Eveque

About once every two months, I like to go cross-border shopping into Bellingham, Washington. It’s only 1.5 hours from Vancouver, and-unlike Vancouver-it has a Trader Joe’s store- full of Canadians. The parking lot is awash with BC plates, it’s almost laughable.

Trader Joe’s features a new “Spotlight” cheese every month. This cheese is sold as a killer special deal,  and their cheese, in general, is about half the price of the same cheese in Canada. You can imagine what I like to stock up on (along with the lacy chocolate cookies and coconut ribbons-I digress.)

Yesterday I picked up April’s special, Pont L’Eveque. Now, it is May, not April, so I’m really hoping that this cheese is still good. It’s a little risky buying a famous and fragile cheese like this. It’s really a cheese that should be cherished and purchased lovingly from a cheese monger who slices off a morsel, wraps it in cheese paper and passes it to you-but here it is bought in bulk.  Image

Pont L’Eveque is a French cheese made of (in this case) pasteurized cow’s milk. It carries the DOP label (appelation d’origine protegee) so that means it’s the real thing. I confess to being a little confused over whether or not this cheese is normally pasteurized-web sources seem to contradict themselves. However, this Trader Joe’s version is pasteurized, that may have been done to allow sale into the USA-not sure.

It’s a washed rind cheese and one of the very oldest of the French cheeses-and that’s saying something. A famous French poem from the 13th century makes reference to this cheese, so people have been eating and loving this one for a long time.

ImageSome believe it is named after the Norman Abbey monks who first introduced it in the 12th century. Pont l’Eveque was originally called Angelot cheese. It’s also called Moyaux cheese. Why it needs three names is unclear, but you can just interchange them at a dinner party and people will think you are amazing!

Pont L’Eveque looks like a square brie or camembert, except it is a washed rind cheese, so it’s a little yellow and sticky on the outside-not that velvety white. There are small lines running through the rind. The inside is soft and gooey-I have been letting it warm up, unwrapped on my counter for about an hour (please do let your cheese warm up, it’s so much happier if you do!) It’s slightly bulgy and creamy looking on the inside, there are several small eyes throughout the paste.

Now, the smell. I have read a number of accounts describing how stinky this cheese is. People refer to all sorts of bodily odours in comparison to this cheese, and that’s just silly. Anyone who thinks this cheese smells obviously hasn’t eaten a lot of cheese. Yes, it is a washed rind cheese, which means that there are a lot of happy bacteria on the rind (not just inside) so it is a little funky, but don’t be scared off by reports of it’s reek. They are misleading. It’s a nice, pungent little smelling cheese.

ImageHere goes:

Mmmm. Oh, I like it! It tastes like asparagus to me. Isn’t that weird? It’s pretty mild, with that expected hit of ammonia from any washed rind, but it mixes nicely with the creamy, smooth interior. There’s a great balance of salt, and as it’s a rather small cheese there’s a lot of rind to body ratio-so that stronger rind mixes with the creamy interior and gives a great flavour profile. OK, I’m going to say it-it does taste a tiny bit like pee or maybe belly button (these are both guesses, for the record, I actually don’t know what either of those taste like) but there is something a little carnal about this cheese. It has a nice, “I’m alive and you are eating me” sort of taste, but I like that! I don’t want to eat some dead, wimpy sort of cheese.  I might like it even more with a little slice of pear or apple, it is described as a dessert cheese, and I get that.

Funky, gnarly, yummy, cheap.

Go and get some!

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!

 

Cheese 115 Saint Morgon

Hello cheese lovers!

Before I get to today’s cheese, can we all just pause for a moment of silence for all the poor, murdered Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses in Italy, killed by the earthquake earlier this week.  MOMENT OF CHEESE SILENCE.  Some 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and 100,000 of Grana Padano, each weighing about 40 kg, were horribly damaged when they fell off shelves in warehouses where they were undergoing their two year-long affinage. This amounts to about 10 per cent of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano and two per cent of Grana Padano.  Once one of these wheels cracks, it’s game over.  Interestingly, the parmigiano consortium has asked for permission to move the remaining cheese to warehouses outside of the region…but will this affect the AOC designation that clearly states the cheese and affinage must occur in the same place?  Interesting argument against AOC/DOP regulations! As well, the production of milk used for cheese making in the area was also affected because many cows died were left traumatized by the quake and its aftershocks-bascially cow PTSD, affecting the output and quality of milk.  Poor cows!  Poor Parmigianno, poor turophiles!  YES, a moment of silence, please.

It’s great that we were able to digress before getting to today’s cheese, Saint Morgon, because this little cheese is not really talking.  Like, not at all.  I picked Saint Morgon to review as it’s always at my local Costco and thus, relatively cheap, which I like.  Also,  it states on the label that it’s from France, which I also like, so that intrigued me. Cheap Costco cheese from France, sounds good, right?  However, when I got it home and stared to research this cheese, I just found dead end after dead end.  That usually denotes a cheese with no soul or no story, only factory produced for mass export.  Interestingly, despite the charming “old-timey” label (and you should know by now to be wary of old-timey labels) this is a pretty new cheese.  One paltry source states it arrived on the cheese scene in the 1980’s but honestly, that’s the only information I could find. Who knows, it’s a cheese mystery, certainly not old-timey though, that’s for sure.

see the old timey label

the cheese revealed-a stinker!

It seems like the Saint Morgon-as it is called in Canada,  is also sold as “Presidents Saint Morgon” elsewhere, (Europe) and is somewhat bizarrely actually owned by a Croatian company called Dukat.  This may explain the lack of backstory here.  I suspect (no proof) that President was a French manufacturer bought by Dukat at some point and now exporting to Canada in mass quantities for Costco shelves as plain old Saint Morgon (with old-timey label).  That explains why only Costco seems to carry it, and no one really seems to be talking about this cheese.  It’s a little lost orphan, poor darling.

There are some clues on the label.  It states that the cheese is from French Laval Cedex 9 Cooperative, that it is made of cow’s milk, pasteurized (of course) that this is fromage a pate molle affine en surface meaning that it is a soft surface ripened cheese. It is a washed rind cheese washed in lukewarm salt water and flipped every day during affinage to remove the mold layer and creating a orangish rind similar to an epoisses, but that’s it people. Seriously that’s it!  Good thing we have the Vlog and the earthquake to spice up the blog today because this one is really stumping me.

My little round of Saint Morgon cheese is both stinky and mysterious.  The smell clearly states that this is a washed rind cheese, as does the characteristic orange and white rind with a sandpapery feel.  The uric acid whiff is both charming and repulsive to me.  The cheese looks a little dry, like an epoisses that’s been left out on the counter. I have waited until the best before date to eat this cheese, as you know that should translate into “don’t eat this cheese before” in your mind.  When I cut it it’s not as gooey as I hoped, it sill looks a little dry, the interior is creamy with small eyes.  It smells, it beckons me to forgive its lack of info on the net and to judge it by taste alone.

Here goes…

Salty, yummy, sticky….actually much stickier and gooier than I thought.  Hmm, it’s actually not bad, it is obviously a stinky little washed rind cheese, it’s not excessively extravagant or showy, but it’s a nice cheap little cheese to go with your cheap little costco baguette.  It’s not my slice of cheese particularly, I’m offended by the lack of back story, but it just might be yours.

 

Cheese 111-Rathtrevor

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you may have noticed that I sometimes struggle with an existential cheese angst.  It’s true, there are almost infinite varieties of cheese to write about, but to what end?  Now that I can confidently wander through any cheese counter in any country perhaps that’s enough. But perhaps not.  You see, maybe there’s “that cheese”out there still waiting for me, that mythic, amazing cheese that will transport me to another world.  Thus, I continue to look and snack.  My teenaged French exchange student is bemused by my obsession with cheese.  It seems as though I live in the wrong country. She can’t believe that I do not have a dedicated cheese fridge, similar to a beer fridge.  Apparently this is how it is done in France. Maybe this is proof that I still have more to learn.

At this point, I am waiting for cheese to speak too me, and this one-Rathtrevor- has been calling my name for a while.  I previously reviewed this company, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks from Vancouver Island, and discussed their charming farm-Morningstar at  https://myblogofcheese.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/day-99-island-brie/ as well as their Brie cheese, but Rathtrevor, keeps trying to get my attention.  A friend of mine questioned my choice of  Island Brie to review, which was just another brie to herwhereas their Rathrevor: “freaking heaven.” Then last week, I was at the Winter Farmer’s Market at Nat Bailey stadium in Vancouver with my French student and daughter-when a lovely man stopped the three of us and took a photo of us with his iPad.  When I looked down from smiling I saw a stack of cheese…Little Qualicum cheese…Rathtrevor cheese.  If this wasn’t a sign that this was meant to be, I don’t know what is, so cheese Gods, I am listening.

I shan’t reiterate my review of their farm and fromagerie, follow the link above if you want to know more, but in a nutshell… this is a groovy family who lived in Switzerland, learned how to make cheese, moved to Vancouver Island and made awesome cheese there which is certified by the SPCA.  This means it has good cheese Karma on top of everything else. Unlike their Island Brie, Rathrevor is made from raw milk, which I do appreciate, being a raw milk girl. It’s named after a local beach in Parksville, Rathtrevor, where I have frolicked with my children-so just more proof this cheese needed me to eat it.

Rathtrevor is a Gruyere-type cheese, I appreciate that they don’t call it Gruyère, but instead give it their own local name and twist which is, I feel a respectful homage to a great cheese.  Rathtrevor is aged for about a year and is made using milk from their own herd of Holstein, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Canadienne dairy cows. Rathtrevor is a raw milk firm, aged, washed-rind cheese.  I really do love me some Gruyère, months ago a cave aged Gruyère nearly sent me over the edge of cheese joy, so Rathtrevor has some big cheese shoes to fill!

My block of Rathrevor, which is also available in many stores, but much more fun to purchase from the family-is a firm, buttery looking cheese.  Although it claims to be “washed rind” I see no evidence of rind, washed or otherwise, and this saddens me a little.  I understand that we are not accustomed to rind here in Canada-land, but that’s only because people keep treating us like babies.  It’s like cutting crust off toast, don’t do it!  That’s the yummy part, sigh.  I digress.  It’s a handsome Mountain cheese with the tiniest little eyes running through the interior in spots.  Although it’s an aged Gruyere-type cheese I do not see evidence of tyrosine crystals which often look like little white dots in the cheese, alas. This cheese smells very mild and nutty, quite safe-a cheese wimp would not be frightened of by this benign looking and smelling cheese in the least, I might even be able to give it to a child!

Here goes…

Much less benign tasting! Mmmm, I actually really dig this cheese!  It’s quite an intense mushroomy, nutty cheese.  Yes, it’s similar to Gruyère,, but this
 isn’t Gruyere, it’s much softer with a more tensile chew to it, not crumbly at all.  It’s just mmmm, I don’t really know what it is, but I seriously dig this cheese, it has that balance that I always look for but I rarely find: sweet, salt and underarm. There’s also that unmistakable Mountain cheese faint alcohol note in this cheese, but I don’t mind it here, no not at all.  You could use this cheese in just about anything, but as for me, it’s going into my personal snacking stash…you know why?  It’s because Rathtrevor is definitely my slice of cheese.

Cheese 108-Mountaineer-and a trip to Cowgirl Creamery DC



I recently returned from an epic journey to New York and DC, and while there had many adventures in cheese.  In fact, I think cheese tourism is the next big thing!  Why not?  People travel to drink wine all the time and that’s just grapes and vats of juice and stuff.  Cheese is much more exciting! While you are travelling, do try the cheese. I highly recommend it.

While I was in DC I planned to visit Cowgirl Creamery.  Any turophile trolling the internet for cheese info will run across this cheese shop time and again as leaders in the world of cheese.  They have a couple of locations across the USA and were definitely on my hit list.  After my somewhat discouraging visit to Murray’s cheese shop in NYC my expectations were lower, but I am happy to report that Cowgirl Creamery far exceeded my cheese love expectations.  Although they actually had a paltry number of cheeses on site-likely under 50- these folks were true turophiles and were more than happy to geek out over cheese with me.  And really, that’s all I am asking for-is it so much? Please people, if you own a cheese shop: hire cheese lovers.  The fellow who served me at Cowgirl Creamery not only sported a funky hat,  but gave me numerous free samples and extolled the virtues of all the cheese. I felt he was a kindred cheese spirit.  We had a long discussion about the joys of raw milk, the virtues of fresh cheese, and cheese in Canada versus the USA.  Alas, the day was hot and my hotel had to fridge, so I had to limit myself to a cheese that could stand a little mistreatment, which led me to a Mountain cheese called Mountaineer.

Mountaineer, from the Meadowcreek Dairy in Virginia, is a cow’s milk cheese made from raw milk.  The Meadowcreek Dairy, a family farm, has a herd of Jerseys from which all their milk derives.  Owners Rick and Helen Feete have been farming here since 1980.  Over the years they have perfected the genetics of their herd of cows, and it’s a real cow to cheese plate production. Like all real farms, Meadow Creek’s  production is seasonal, so grab the cheese when it’s for sale, something else is just around the corner.  The cows here seem to live a great life, they are never confined and are born and raised on pasture, happy cows! According to their website their farm “sits perched in the misty, cool emerald reaches of the Appalachian Mountains at an elevation of 2,800 feet, where the water is pure, the air is bright and clean, and the soils are rich and untainted.” Nice terroir, Meadowcreek, it kind of sounds like Canada! Meadowcreek has been making Mountaineer for a while, but they feel it “truly came into its own” after they made a trip to Europe in 2004. They got into the Mountain cheeses of Valle d’Aosta and the Savoie, and brought their inspiration home to make this dense aged cheese.  Mountaineer has a natural brushed rind and is aged in their cellars a minimum of six months. Nice!

This cheese is, well a typical looking Mountain cheese, strong and broad and handsome.  The soft interior is a relatively dark yellow, those cows must have been getting into some strong grass.  It has a thick natural rind which I shall decline to eat having some cheese PTSD associated with gnarly rinds. This cheese really stinks, I mean, it really does, especially for a Mountain cheese, but it’s also a washed rind cheese, interesting combination.  It’s actually stunk up our entire hotel room!  I accused my poor daughter of having stinky feet and insisted she bathe, but even then smell persisted.  I had forgotten the cheese!  It perfumes the entire room with a strong odor of teenager toe, but I mean this in the best possible way.

Yikes, here goes…

Hmm, well it tastes like toes too!  Actually, I don’t really know what toes taste like, but I imagine it can’t be far off this flavor.  It’s a strong, unctuous taste, slightly sexy, slightly carnal.  There’s something woodsy and naughty about this cheese, likes it’s just taken a tumble with a certain someone in the underbrush.  I wish they had used a little more salt with Mountaineer, but this is a common complaint with me and Mountain cheese, I just don’t get the lack of salt.  Was there no salt available traditionally in the mountains?  What gives?  The lack of salt fails to bring this cheese to a finish on my palate, but that’s ok, because the party was good up front. The texture is delightful, chewy, dense, yet yielding, it’s pleasing to the tongue and to the teeth.

Mountaineer, I doubt we will ever meet again: you being a raw milk cheese from Virginia, and me being a cheese lover from Vancouver.  It was fun while it lasted, and you-you little stinky thing, are certainly my slice of cheese!

Day 95-Le Saint Damase

 

Well, it’s back to Canada for the final six cheeses in the blog.  It feels good to be back on my own cheesey turf.  It’s a big world of cheese out there, and it’s easy to get lost.  There really is no place like home.  Damafro is a large Canadian cheese company based in-where else-Quebec.  I have already reviewed their Chevre Noir, but today I am turning my mind-and tongue to their flagship cheese, Le Saint-Damase.

Damafro is a family owned and run business.  According to their website, they are one of the three “top makers of fine cheeses in North America.”  I’m not sure what that actually means, but let’s go with it.  Now that they also own the Fromagerie Tournevent, as of 2005, Damafro has the market cornered on goat’s cheese as well.  Bravo, Damafro.

Damafro has been making cheese since 1984.  It’s still pretty much a family affair, which is really something for such a large company.  I for one am jealous!  Currently three generations of the Bonnet family work together and make cheeses including Bries, Camemberts, and Gouda, all with their own Canadian interpretation. Let’s be clear, these are not fakes -but Canadian iterations of some of the great European cheeses.

The Bonnet family comes from the Brie region of France. Yes, the Brie region. The company was founded by brothers Michel Bonnet-a master cheesemaker, and Philippe Bonnet, along with their father, Claude.  Claude Bonnet was President of the Interprofessional Association in France, and worked to develop the guidelines defining the Official French designation (AOC) certifying the two types of Brie: Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun. So Claude is basically the world’s leading expert on Brie, not just some pretender.  When Claude turned 50 he left France and moved to Québec, convinced that North Americans would like to eat Brie and Camembert made on their own turf.  He  and his sons bought a small cheese factory  in the Montérégie region of Quebec.

After the success of their first couple of cheeses, Damafro decided to invent their very own cheese, and who can blame them?  I know it’s certainly on my mind! In 1989  they introduced Le Saint Damase,  Québec’s very first washed rind cheese.  Le Saint-Damase  is made according to an old recipe developed in a Calvados monastery. I have done a little investigating trying to figure out which cheese this one is connected to. I suspect it is either Livarot  or Langres, but regardless, Le Saint Damase is its own cheese.

Unfortunately those Bonnet’s are extremely close-mouthed about how this cheese, or any of their cheese is made, for that matter.  Beyond the fact that they use “100% Canadian milk” I have been unable to discern much more. I am assuming this is a cow’s milk cheese. I can’t even tell if the milk is raw or pasteurized, but as it is factory made, I am leaning towards pasteurized.  Washed rind cheese is relatively young, during the ripening period, the cheese is washed and brushed with a salty brine and bacterial solution, hence the name “washed-rind”.  Sometimes washed rind cheeses are brushed with alcohol, particularly ones made by Trappist monks.  Again, it’s unclear to me what solution was used for this little stinker, so it remains a mystery.  Alas.

My little wet wedge of Le Saint Damase isn’t spilling any of its secrets either.  The longer it waits for me to write, the wetter and gooey it gets, and I do l so like that in a cheese!  It looks like a cross between Maroilles and Epoisses, it’s a squishy looking orange rind cheese with a gooey looking cream coloured interior paste.  The rind is flecked with white looking molds, yummy! It’s a little stinker!  This one smells like old underwear and gym socks that have been left in an outhouse to mellow, it just makes my mouth water!

Here goes…

Oh Yummy!!!  Great job, Claude Bonnet, not that I expected anything less from a cheese master such as yourself. This is the cheese I have been looking for.  Holy Hannah, this is good.  It’s salty and raunchy-but not heinously so, the taste is much mellower than the smell.  The texture is simply perfect, it is like a gooey pillow of cheese essence on your tongue.  The rind is much more-um-pungent-than the paste, so any bite that includes rind may actually make your eyes water, yes, it’s that intense.  Have I mentioned how great this is?  It’s definitely not a starter cheese.  This one doesn’t just look like Epoisses, it tastes like it. I think you need to build up to a cheese like this, but it’s worth it.  Le Saint Damase, you are definitely my slice of cheese!