Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix

Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix is a semi-firm, blue veined, pasteurised sheep milk cheese produced by La Maison Maurice Dufour in Baie-Saint-Paul located in Quebec's picturesque region of Charlevoix.

Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix

In 1994 Maurice Dufour a certified agronomist, established the cheese aging house 'La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour". Through the years this cottage-type cheese factory has earned their fame and glory with the highly regarded Migneron de Charlevoix cheese.

La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour in Charlevoix

Salle d'affinage at La Maison Maurice Dufour

Several years passed at Maison Maurice Dufour, paving the way for their Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix, an innovative cheese made only from sheep's milk. Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix introduced in 1999 is made with the milk of Lacaune and East Friesian breed of ewes. Roquefort AOC cheese is produced exclusively with the milk of Lacaune ewes. Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix received a First Prize Ribbon at the 2011 American Cheese Society Competition.

Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix is a round 2.5 kg (5 1/2 lbs.) wheel measuring approx. 22 cm (8 1/2") in diameter and 12 cm (5") in height and is aged for 5 months. It has a greyish rind and a pale yellow semi-firm paste with a few bluish-green veins. It has quite a strong flavour, quite pungent and slightly salty.

Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix is the perfect addition to any cheese plater or as a companion to many dishes or salads. This blue cheese is pleasant with dried fruit, chocolate and sweet wines.

La Famille Migneron de Charlevoix cheeses includes; Le Migneron a semi-soft, surface-ripened, washed rind, cows milk cheese that was crowned the Grand Champion at the 2002 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix competition; Le Ciel De Charlevoix another award winning semi-soft, cow's milk blue cheese; Secret de Maurice a soft surface ripened sheep-milk cheese whose secret recipe comes from Spain; La Tomme d'Elles an award winning firm, surface-ripened, washed rind made with a mixture of sheep and cow milk; La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix a firm, surface-ripened, washed rind, sheep milk cheese.

Today La Maison Maurice Dufour is known across the country for their Famille Migneron cheeses they produce and for having pioneered the resurgence of fine Quebec cheeses.


Slow Thyme

Slow Thyme is an organic, Verata goat-milk cheese produced in limited quantities by the Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm one of Spain's pioneers in natural and organic farming. 

Slow Thyme organic goat-milk cheese

Slow Thyme is a pressed, semi-firm, raw goat's milk cheese that is covered with olive oil and crushed thyme then cured for 6 months. Slow Thyme is a small 1 kg (2.2 lb.) tomme measuring approx. 12 cm (4 1/2 inches) in diameter and 14 cm (5 1/2 inches) in height. It has a pleasant rustic scent of thyme.

Slow Thyme organic goat-milk cheese from Hacienda Zorita

Slow Thyme has an intense flavour of goat milk with earthy piquant notes with a pleasant lingering taste of olive oil and herbal thyme. The cream-coloured paste is fine-textured, smooth & buttery and melds nicely with the thyme. Slow Thyme pairs nicely with Spanish red wines from Duero Valley and Rioja.

Verata goats

Hacienda Zorita is an Organic Farm located on a three hundred hectare estate located in Zamora near the city of Salamanca in the Castilla y Leon’s Duero Valley region. The milk for Slow Thyme cheese comes from the Verata goat, a breed of goat native to Spain that is near extinction. Hacienda Zorita is firmly committed to the preservation of indigenous, rare and endangered species in the Duero Valley. 

Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm also produces organic raw milk ewe’s cheese (including Torta de Dehesa and Queso Curado de Dehesa Reserve), Iberico hams and charcuterie, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wholesome breads. The company is proud to have one of Europe’s most modern cheese factories. Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm is a leader in Spain’s Slow Food movement.

Verata goats photo source: http://www.travelingboy.com/


Le Crottin de Fanny

Le Crottin de Fanny is a lovely artisanal goat-milk cheese from La Chèvrerie de Charlevoix located in St. Agnes, Quebec in the beautiful hills of the Charlevoix region.

Le Crottin de Fanny

Le Crottin de Fanny is a bloomy rind, goat-milk cheese based on the recipe of the classic Crottin de Chavignol but adapted to please the taste of Quebecers. This small cylindrical cheese has a soft, compact ivory-white colour paste and weighs around 125 grams when it is young (with an affinage of 14 days).

Le Crottin de Fanny has a subtle slightly nutty taste. As the cheese matures (21 days+) it develops a firmer paste, the rind begins to show some mold developing and the cheese begins to come into its own with a much more complex flavour.  Le Crottin de Fanny pairs nicely with a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.

Le Crottin de Fanny is produced with the milk of alpine and saanen goats that are raised in freedom, outdoors on the artisanal farm owned and operated by Didier Luberriaga and Stephanie Corret. Although they have been running this artisanal goat farm for four years, their cheese factory La Chèvrerie de Charlevoix was built last year and the production of cheese was launched this spring.

Goat at Chèvrerie de Charlevoix

La Chèvrerie de Charlevoix also produces a wonderful semi-firm artisanal goat cheese La Tomme St-Agnes and a goat-milk ricotta on request. They are currently working on also producing their own goat-milk dulce de leche.


Summer 2015 Update

I’ve realized that the months of May, June, July and now August have gone by and I haven’t updated my blog.  Let me tell you that it isn't because of a lack of good cheeses to review. I have been enjoying some lovely cheeses including new Quebec cheeses and wonderful chèvres. I also had a problem with my computer which took me awhile to learn how to repair. The reason I haven't updated this blog is I have been spending most of my spare time in the garden this summer.

Earlier in the year, my partner Chris and I have decided to convert the side of the apartment building where we live, into a garden. It was a semi-shaded grassed area that actually consisted of mostly weeds. We spent the first few weeks digging and turning-up the clay soil and incorporating soil and compost to the various bedding areas.  We dug up, divided and moved a variety of different Hostas that we had previously planted in the front yard, into this more suitable shady garden.  We divided and moved quite a few daylilies (Hemerocallis) that we had previously planted along the side of the building into another area of the yard that we dug up.

Garden area before
Garden in progress
Garden now
Last year, I had planted some herbs in the sunnier area of this garden and later in the season I planted a variety of perennials (irises, astilbe, sedum, yarrow and daylilies) I had received from one of my co-worker's mother. Since the sage and oregano that we planted last year was doing well in this area, we added lemon balm, dill, lemon verbena and rosemary which were part of a lovely selection of herbs; I had received as a birthday gift from some of the girls at work.  I also enjoy having another variety of herbs (basil, parsley & mint) close at hand planted in containers on my balcony.

working in the garden
Here I am working hard at it

Now, after a few months the garden is still a work in progress. The pathway we designed to run through the garden is still being worked on, as we find suitable bricks or paving blocks that we keep adding to it.

Daylilies Hemerocallis

Dianthus in bud Dianthus flower

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) oregano, evening primrose and phlox

lemon verbena and nasturtium winter savory

 Sedum (Autumn Joy)

Needless to say, I've been having a lot of fun this summer working in the garden. Sure it is a lot of physical work but as the garden was progressing we became a bit whimsical in our approach and it was quite enjoyable.


Lord of the Hundreds

Lord of the Hundreds is an award-winning, firm, raw sheep's milk cheese, produced by The Traditional Cheese Dairy in East Sussex in South East England.

Lord of the Hundreds

Located in the village of Stonegate in East Sussex, TheTraditional Cheese Dairy operated by Cliff and Julie Dyball produce artisanal cheeses, using traditional handmade methods, made with cow, sheep and goat’s milk that is provided by single herd local family farms. All of their cheeses are approved by the Vegetarian Society as they only use animal-free rennet.

Lord of the Hundreds was originally created by James and Pat Aldridge of the Eastside Cheese Company at Oxted in Surrey, England. James Aldridge was a key figure in the resurrection of farmhouse cheese-making in England in the 1980s and 90s.

The name "Lord of The Hundreds” originates from Saxon times. This Lord, who controlled an area of land divided into 100 shires, was responsible to collect the taxes from the locals for the King.  A marker denoting the spot where people would come to pay their dues to the Lord was located behind James Aldridge's house.

Friesland ewes

The Tradional Cheese Dairy worked with the original recipe for the Lord of the Hundreds for several years, making many alterations to improve taste, texture and consistency until they finally found perfection.

Lord of the Hundreds is made from the raw milk of Friesland ewes provided by Boydells Dairy Farm in north Essex. When making this cheese, after the curds have formed, they are ladled into square baskets. The cheese is not pressed; when making the cheese, the excess whey is drained under its own weight, forcing out the sides of the baskets giving the cheese its unique textured rind and shape. Each tomme (or wheel) is brined and turned every day to distribute the moulds evenly and encourage the rind to develop. Lord of the Hundreds has an affinage period of 6 to 8 months minimum. The tomme measures approx. 18 cm (7") square and weights from 4 to 4.5 kg (8 - 10lbs).

Lord of the Hundreds

Lord of the Hundreds has a light grayish-yellow coloured, rough textured rind, with a golden yellow coloured paste that deepens to an amber colour on the edges near the rind. The dense firm paste has a dry, grainy, slightly crumbly texture. Lord of the Hundreds is a complex cheese with a great balance of both savoury and sweet; light notes of grass, roasted hazelnuts and salty caramel. A tomme that has aged longer has a harder paste and a more robust flavour.

Lord of the Hundreds paste

Lord of the Hundreds pairs well with a wide variety of foods and drinks. Try it with fresh figs; serve it with membrillo (quince paste), dates and/or pears. Pair it with a crisp, grassy white wine or a medium-bodied Pinot-Noir or Spanish Tempranillo.

Lord of the Hundreds is the winner of numerous cheese awards. It received both Gold and Silver medals at The British Cheese Awards from 2008 to 2012. It recently received the Bronze medal at the 2014 World Cheese Awards.
2014 World Cheese Awards

The Traditional Cheese Dairy has developed and refined its range of artisan cheeses over the past ten years; from the traditional farmhouse Broad Oak Cheddar, to Olde Sussex a traditional hard British farmhouse cheese, to the delicate taste of another award-winning, semi-soft washed-rind Burwash Rose. All their cheeses are made using traditional methods and only always from raw milk.


Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton

Stilton is without a doubt, one of the best known British cheeses. It is produced in two varieties: the Blue Stilton, a semi-firm, pressed, blue vein cheese with rich complex flavours and a piquant finish; and the lesser-known White Stilton cheese which is a milder, semi-soft cheese.

Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton paste

Blue Stilton has been granted the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the European Commission. To receive the PDO status, a product must be made traditionally and entirely manufactured (prepared, processed and produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties. To be called "Blue Stilton", it can only be made in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Milk used in the making must be local cow milk, which is pasteurised before use. The Blue Stilton must never be pressed and must be made in the traditional cylindrical shape with its own natural rind or coat. The delicate blue veins radiating from the centre is Stilton’s typical characteristic. A true "Blue Stilton" which is aged for a minimum of 9 weeks, must have a "taste profile typical of Stilton" with its distinct tangy flavour from the use of the fungi Penicillium roqueforti and its creamy crumbly texture.

Thomas Hoe Stevenson

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton considered by many as the "Authentic" Stilton, is produced by Long Clawson Dairy . This Aged Blue Stilton is named after Thomas Hoe Stevenson, who was one of the original cheesemakers at the dairy. Long Clawson Dairy was founded in 1911 when 12 farmers from the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire, formed a co-operative to produce Stilton Cheese in the village of Long Clawson.

Stiltons en affinage

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton is still traditionally produced, perfectly aged and hand-selected in order to ensure the finest quality. These wheels are aged for a minimum of 15 weeks. The longer affinage allows the Stevenson Stilton to develop a more balanced, less aggressive, mellow flavor with a smooth creamy texture and tastes a lot less salty than other blue cheeses.

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton is a pasteurised cow-milk, semi-firm cheese with a natural greyish tan coloured rind and a creamy-buttery-yellow coloured paste with greenish blue veins radiating from its centre. It has a smooth creamy buttery texture, with a well-rounded flavour that is clean and earthy. Stevenson Stilton is a versatile cheese; it is a perfect addition to any cheese plate, an excellent ingredient in a variety of dishes (from salads, soups and main courses) or as a dessert served with figs or dates, walnuts, biscuits and breads. The full flavour of Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton pairs nicely with more full flavoured wines it is a perfect match for ports or desert wines or try it with a Shiraz.

Long Clawson Dairy has progressed in the past 100 years. Today, milk is supplied by 43 local farms, all from within the Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas. These farms range in size, producing between 350,000 to over 4 million litres of milk per year. Long Clawson Dairy is one of the six dairies in England that is licenced to produce Blue Stilton. Although best known for their Blue Stilton, they also produce a number of other delicious English cheeses and cheese products, such as Blue Shropshire, Aged Red Leicestershire and a range of sweet & savoury cheese blends.


Beemster X-O-

Beemster X-O- is a very-firm, pasteurised cow-milk cheese with a wonderful caramel sweetness. Beemster X-O- cheese which is made in Holland is actually an eXtra-Old Gouda that has been aged for around 3 years.

Beemster X-O- pastuerised cow-milk cheese from Holland

Beemster cheese is produced by a farmers co-op located in the canal lined pastures of the Beemster Polder in the North of Holland.

The Beemster Polder, which is located north of Amsterdam, is a remarkable example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. In 1612, Dutch engineers using a system of dykes and windmills, drained the marshes and bogs of the Beemster Polder and converted the wet lands into pastures. The Beemster Polder is the oldest and most renowned of the polders in The Netherlands and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cows grazing among tulips in Beemster Polder in Holland

The unique blue coloured clay soil found in the Beemster Polder is rich in nutrients and minerals. This terroir yields grasses that are thicker and longer than others areas and grass that is more fertile, giving the milk produced on this land an especially sweet and creamy quality. The farmers of the Beemster Polder are aware of the value of their fertile land and to this day they use no pesticides on any of the pastures within the Beemster polder.

Beemster Polder bicycle tours

It is important that the quality of the milk is of the highest standard to make Beemster cheese. This standard is provided by continuously testing the milk as it arrives at the dairy from the individual farms. Cheese-making then begins with the so called ‘curdling’ of the milk. This is done by adding rennet to the milk and to allow the proteins and fat components found in the milk to coagulate. After the milk is curdled, some of the whey is drained and water is added to wash the curd. This creates a sweeter cheese and a reduction of lactose. Beemster’s cheese curds are stirred and raked by hand during cheese making. Beemster is the only coop left in Holland which still uses this artisan technique in cheese making. The whey is then completely drained and the curds are placed into molds and then pressed to form into its wheel shape. Then the wheels are placed into a brine bath that starts the aging process from within the cheese. The cheese wheels are then removed from the brine and dried for a few days before they are coated with a yellow wax coating to prevent the cheese from drying out. The wheels are then transported to warehouses where they age on wooden boards where the temperature and humidity is controlled to make ripening conditions ideal. All Beemster cheese wheels are hand turned, inspected, and polished every day for up to 26 months to ensure perfect maturation.

Wheel of Beemster X-O- cheese from Holland

As Beemster cheese wheels age, the textures firmness will change from semi-firm when it is young, to firm when old and very-firm to hard when it is X-O (extra old). A wheel of Beemster X-O- cheese weighs approx. 11.5 kilos (25 lbs) and measures approx. 38 cm (15") in diameter and 10 cm (4") in height.

Deep orange colour paste of Beemster X-O- cheese

Beemster X-O-'s very-firm paste has a rich deep pumpkin orange colour with small white dots, which are formed by the crystallisation of the proteins and minerals during maturation. Beemster X-O has a smooth and creamy taste which develops into a full-bodied, wonderful butterscotch caramel sweetness, with a bit of crunchiness and a strong nutty finish.  

Beemster X-O- pairs nicely with port wines, sherry, as well as sweet whites, such as Riesling. It is a great addition to any cheese platter served with dates, figs and walnuts.

Check out this video on the making of Beemster cheese directly from the Beemster Polder in Netherlands.


Bonne Bouche

Bonne Bouche is an outstanding goat milk cheese that is perfectly named as it translates to 'tasty mouthful' in French.

Bonne Bouche, winner of many awards since its introduction in 2001, is a soft, fresh-ripened, ash covered, pasteurized goat-milk cheese from Vermont Creamery located in Websterville, Vermont.

Vermont Creamery goat

Bonne Bouche is made with fresh pasteurized goat-milk that is coagulated with vegetarian microbial rennet. After 24 hours, then the curd is carefully hand ladled into molds, then drained and lightly sprinkled with ash. The cheese is then aged for about 10 days, long enough for the rind to start to develop its wrinkly, brain-like creases which is 'Geotrichum', a mold used to neutralize or de-acidify the cheese surface. Each Bonne Bouche is then carefully packaged into its own individual little wooden crate where it can continue to age for 1 to 2 months.

Geotrichum rind of Bonne Bouche

Bonne Bouche is a small disc shaped wheel approximately 7 cm (2.5 in.) in diameter and 2 cm (3/4 in.) in height, weighing around 120 grams (4 oz.). What is striking about Bonne Bouche at first glance is its distinctive soft charcoal-grey wrinkled rind. It has a mild pungent aroma with hints of hay and wet caves. The rich and creamy white coloured paste has a sweet lemony mild flavour with hints of mushrooms and pepper. Bonne Bouche is characteristic of a true chèvre; it becomes softer and more piquant as it ages.

Bonne Bouche goat-milk cheese from Vermont Creamery

Bonne Bouche pairs nicely with dark chocolate and a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio or a California Riesling.

Vermont Creamery (formerly known as Vermont Butter and Cheese Company) was created in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. Today with a staff of more than 40, the creamery produces a variety of fresh and aged dairy products. For the Creamery's goat-milk products, goats' milk is sourced from a network of approximately 20 family goat farms who provide milk that have met the highest standards of purity.  Vermont Creamery produces fresh goat cheese, goat milk feta, fresh Crottin as well as other lovely chèvres like Bonne Bouche; Coupole, Bijou and the mixed-milk Cremont.

Vermont Creamery products

For Vermont Creamery’s cows-milk products; crème fraîche, cultured butter, mascarpone, and quark the cows-milk is sourced from Vermont’s St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.



Curé-Hébert is an award-winning, raw cow-milk, semi-soft, washed rind, farmstead cheese from Québec's Lac-St-Jean area.

Stéphane Tremblay of Fromagerie L'Autre Versant with Ayrshire cows

Curé-Hébert cheese is produced by Fromagerie L'Autre Versant owned and operated by husband and wife team Stéphane Tremblay and Chantale Lalancette. This young couple are the 6th generation of Tremblay's who have been farming on this heritage farm located in Hébertville, Québec.

Curé-Hébert cheese is named after the priest Nicolas Hébert-Tolentin, who founded Hébertville in 1849 where their own ancestors had come to establish themselves.

Curé-Hébert cheese label

Curé-Hébert cheese is made from the milk of the farm's own herd of Ayrshire cows. Curé-Hébert has an orange-brownish coloured washed-rind that is partially covered with a fine white duvet dusting. The soft velvety paste has a light yellow hue the colour of creamed butter and is slightly dotted with small holes and a texture that is unctuous, creamy and melts in the mouth.  Curé-Hébert has a sweet aroma of butter, cream and mushroom with sweet notes of honey or caramel. Curé-Hébert which is matured for a minimum of 60 days offers flavours that will vary from mild to more pronounced depending on its degree of maturity. Curé-Hébert tastes of butter, cream, mushrooms with lingering notes of roasted nuts and seeds.

Curé-Hébert cheese

Curé-Hébert cheese pairs nicely with a fruity medium bodied red wine such as Gamay from France or an Australian Grenache. Curé-Hébert is lovely with a Québec ice cider or a tawny port from Portugal.

The Fromagerie L'Autre Versant also offers fresh non-homogenized whole cows-milk, plus they produce fresh cheese curds, cheddar and two other farmstead cheeses made with raw cow-milk; Le Cru du Canton a firm pressed-paste cheese and Le Tremblay a lovely small soft-paste mixed-rind cheese.

Fromagerie L'Autre Versant is one of a dozen or so cheese producers still making raw-milk cheeses in Quebec today.




Detectorists, is a quirky British comedy-drama TV series about two friends who share this passion for metal detecting.

Written, directed and co-starring Mackenzie Crook (who played the detestable Gareth Keenan in The Office) now playing the character of Andy. Along with his wise-cracking friend Lance, excellently played by Toby Jones (Marvellous, Infamous) the two spend their days plodding through fields, hoping to find their fortune with a couple of metal detectors.

Through the six episodes series you are introduced to an amusing cast of characters who are also drawn to this curious hobby. Detectorists, is well written with clever humour and enjoyably charming.

Here is a short preview of Episode One that ran on BBC Four.