Ermite is a pasteurized cow-milk blue cheese produced by the monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac located in Québec's Eastern Townships.


Blue Ermite has a semi-soft cream-coloured paste with a blue-green mould and natural rind. The paste is crumbly yet creamy in the mouth with some granular bits. Ermite is a relatively mild blue cheese, with tangy slightly salty after tones and has a pleasant mushroom aroma.

Ermite, is fabricated in a 2 kg. (4.5 lbs.) wheel which is treated with Roquefort penicillium. The wheels are aged for five weeks, then removed from the ripening rooms and are then washed to remove the natural molds that have formed on the rinds.

Cheese fabrication at l'Abbaye Saint-Benoît was launched in 1943, at this time the Benedictine monks only made the Ermite blue cheese. Through the years they have added other quality cheeses to the range of products they produce such as the award winning Bleu Benedictin, Frère Jacques and Le Moutier.

l'Abbaye Saint-Benoit

Ermite blue cheese is a perfect addition to any cheese platter; it is great for cooking or in salads.

Ermite pairs well with Ambre de Pommes (a Michel Jodoin blend of eau-de-vie and apple juice aged 18 months in oak barrels), or a late bottled vintage porto, or a red Tempranillo Rioja wine.


Le Tire-Lune


Le Tire-Lune is a raw goat-milk cheese from Québec’s first certified organic goat farm Cassis et Mélisse located in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. This 4 kg mountain style semi-cooked firm paste tomme has been aged between 3 to 6 months on pin boards. Le Tire-Lune has a brown coloured natural rind that is spotted with pinkish flecks. It has a fruity taste with hints of butter and hazelnuts and a delicious lingering hint of goat in the mouth.

Hand-ladled chesse

The certified organic farm Cassis et Mélisse is run by Aagje Denys, a Belgium agronomist who started up the goat farm in Saint-Damien-De-Buckland, Québec over twelve years ago with her partner Gary Cooper. Cassis et Mélisse produce a variety of hand-ladled fresh goat milk cheeses as well as the lovely refined semi-firm washed rind Le Galarneau.

Cassis et Melisse Farm

Located less than an hour's drive south of Quebec city, situated between a forest and lake, the Cassis et Mélisse farm also rent out a 2 bedroom suite "L'Appentis de la fromagère" for overnight stays on the twenty hectares organic goat farm.

Photo source: http://sofadeco.com


Billy Connolly - Wife's Make-Up

Billy Connolly - Was it something I said? DVD

Billy Connolly is a comedian, musician, and actor from Glasgow, Scotland. However, Billy is best known as a stand-up comic.  Below is a funny excerpt taken from his “Was It Something I Said” DVD where Billy talks about his wife's make-up and her routine on getting ready to go out. Check it out!



Apple Pie Without Cheese?

“Apple pie without cheese, is like a kiss without a squeeze”
That is what my grand-père Aza Berry used to say, whenever he was serving us a piece of his famous apple pies. Whether the apple pie was served cold or warm there always needed to be some cheese.

Apple pie with cheese

I can’t help it now, whenever I have apple pie it must be served with cheddar and preferably sharp old cheddar.

Old Fashioned Apple Pie Recipe

For the Pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup of frozen butter
8 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling
8 Honey Crisp or 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour

For the Pastry
1. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a standard box or potato grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour and toss lightly with your fingers until it is thoroughly combined. Sprinkle in ice water and mix with your fingers until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide it into two pieces, making sure one half is slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Resting will help tenderize the pastry and make it easier to roll.
2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly, just until it is pliable. Lightly flour your hands, the rolling pin, your work surface and the dough. Roll out the larger pastry disc into a circle large enough to slightly overlap the edges of an 8-inch glass pie dish. Transfer the dough to the pie dish by folding it into quarters then unfolding it in the dish.
3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

For the Filling
1. Toss the apples with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the apples to the bottom crust then roll out the remaining smaller disc and carefully place over the top of the pie. Roll and crimp the edges of the dough together, tightly sealing them. Poke a few vent holes into the top of the pie and place on the bottom rack of oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust is golden and juices are bubbling.

Extra Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

This 2 year old cheddar is a firm non-pasteurised, pale yellow, sharp-tasting, cow's milk cheese from Île-aux-Grues, Quebec.

Extra Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is named after the village of Cheddar in Somerset, located in South West England where it was originally made. The name "Cheddar cheese" is widely used around the world and has no Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) within the European Union.

Cheddar cheese has been produced since the 12th century, however in Canada it was first made in the 19th century. The manufacture of Cheddar cheese includes the process of 'cheddaring' which makes this cheese unique.
Cheddaring refers to an additional step in the production of Cheddar-style cheese where, after heating, the curd is kneaded with salt, cut into cubes to drain the whey then stacked and turned. Strong, extra-old Cheddar, needs to be matured for up to 15 months.
The Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues located in the heart of Quebec's majestic St. Lawrence River, have been making cheese for over 35 years. The history of the dairy is closely linked to agricultural production, the main economic activity of the island. In 1976 the island's dairy farmers formed a cooperative to protect their agriculture and their terroir. Today, their farms produce quality milk exclusively for the production of cheese on the island.

As well as producing mild, medium, sharp and extra-sharp cheddars the Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues have developed an extraordinary line of fine artisanal cheeses including; Le Riopelle de l'Isle, Le Mi-Carême, La Tomme de Grosse-Île and Le Canotier de l’Isle.

This extra sharp Cheddar from L'Île-aux-Grues has matured for two years. It is off-white in colour and has a firm dry and granular paste and a pronounced lingering nutty flavour.

L'Île-aux-Grues 2 year old Cheddar can compliment any cheese platter. Try it in your favourite grilled-cheese sandwich, with Apple Pie, Apple Cheddar Soup, Zucchini Bread or this delicious Tomato Cheddar Pie.

For more information on the manufacture of Cheddar cheese check out:

Apple Cheddar Soup

There is nothing as comforting as a warm bowl of soup on these cooler fall days of October. What better time for an apple soup when fresh apples are aplenty.

Apple Cheddar Soup

This rustic Apple Cheddar Soup bursts with tangy apple, sweet leeks and sharp aged cheddar.

Apple Cheddar Soup Recipe

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
3 apples (McIntosh or Cortland), peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup (250 mL) chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 cup (250 mL) chopped celery 
1 cup (250 mL) chopped carrots 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary 
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh cracked pepper 
2 cups (500 mL) water 
2 cups (500 mL) apple juice 
2 cups (500 mL) packed grated extra old cheddar **
1 cup (250 mL) 1% milk 

-In large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter.
-Then add apples, leeks, celery, carrots, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Add water and apple juice; bring to simmer and cook, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Return soup to pot and over medium heat whisk in grated cheddar until dissolved. Gently whisk in milk and warm through (do not boil again).

Recipe makes 6 servings.

** For the extra-old cheddar I use the 2 year old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a green salad for an easy meal.

Recipe source: Ontario Apple Growers


Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Over the years, I have made several different recipes of zucchini bread, but I especially like this recipe as the sharp cheddar gives it that extra kick.

Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread  Recipe

1 medium zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese **
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly coat a 9x5 inch (2L) loaf pan with oil. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate unpeeled zucchini.
Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Pat dry the grated zucchini with a kitchen towel. Zucchini should measure about 1 cup.

- In a large bowl, using a fork, stir flour with baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. Stir in granulated and brown sugars. Stir in grated zucchini and 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

- In a small bowl, whisk eggs with oil. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until mixed. Batter will be thick. Scrape into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top as best you can, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

- Bake in centre of preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean, around 45-50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Then carefully turn loaf onto a cooling rack.

This loaf is terrific served warm or at room temperature.

** For the sharp cheddar I use the Extra-Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar



Ossau-Iraty is a classic sheep milk cheese made in the French Pyrénées.


Ossau-Iraty has a natural rind with hues ranging from pale yellow, to golden-orange to light gray. The ivory colour pâte is an uncooked, pressed paste that is supple and creamy when young and becomes more firm and crumbly as the cheese ripens. Ossau-Iraty is creamy and buttery in the mouth with wonderful complex nutty flavours with hints of fruits and herbs.

The cheese's name Ossau-Iraty, reflects its dual origin: Ossau in the valley of Bearn, with its long history of Basco-Béarnaise breed of sheep, and Iraty the wooded hills of the French Pays Basque, home to the black and red-headed Manech ewes.

Basco-Béarnaise breed of sheep

Black-headed Manech sheep

Ossau-Iraty received its Appelation d'Origine Controlee (A.O.C) nomination in 1980. AOC stipulations for making Ossau-Iraty cheese includes, the production of a specific sheep milk of the region, the manufacture and ripening of the cheese and of course the exclusivity to the specific geographical area.

During the affinage process of Ossau-Iraty, the cheese must be salted, it is washed in a brine, which enables the cheese to form a rind, then the cheese is placed in a cave d’affinage with regulated temperatures between 6 to 15°C and a high humidity level of 75%. During the ripening stage, the cheese rinds are then brushed with salt and some are brushed with a purée de 'Piments d'Espelette', a red chili pepper purée.

Another stipulation by AOC is the cheese must be aged at least 120 days before consumption for wheels weighing 4 to 7 kilos and 80 days for the smaller wheels of 2 to 3 kilos. Fromagerie Agour one of Ossau-Iraty producers age their wheels anywhere between 4 to 17 months.

Fromagerie Agour located in the Basque village of Hélette, France produced the winning Ossau-Iraty that was crowned the World Champion Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in 2006 and again in 2011, in Birmingham, England.

Pictured above is Ossau-Iraty aux Piments d'Espelette. Espelette is a variety of chili pepper that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette, in the Atlantic-Pyrénées. The Espelette pepper was classified an AOC product in 2000.

Ossau-Iraty pairs well with many wines, especially a white Jurançon or Sauvignon Blanc or a French red Madiran or Merlot.

Sheep photos source: http://www.3srbreeding.eu/