Le Clandestin is an exquisite soft, washed rind cheese made with the pasteurised whole milks of both cow and sheep.

Le Clandestin has a lovely soft orange hued washed rind lightly specked with white. The sumptuous rich white coloured paste becomes very creamy after an affinage of five weeks.

Le Clandestin has a rustic farmer’s aroma. The cheese has a somewhat marked lactic flavour slightly acidic yet without being too aggressive.

Le Clandestin is produced by Fromagerie LeDétour located in Notre-Dame-du-Lac in Québec's Lower St-Laurence region in the Lake Témiscouata area near the New-Brunswick and the USA's Maine borders.

Fromagerie Le Detour is run by husband and wife team Ginette Bégin and Mario Quirion. They have been making artisanal cheeses since 1999. They produce a variety of milk products; butter, cream and hard, soft & semi-soft cheeses among them Magie de Madawaska and the lovely chèvre Grey Owl.

Le Clandestin pairs well with a classic Italian Chianti from Toscany. La Fromagerie Détour suggests pairing it with an Irish Malt Whiskey from Islay. Splendid!


Professor Longhair - Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Professor Longhair was a New Orleans blues singer and pianist active in the early rhythm and blues and in the returned interest in traditional jazz. Longhair was a key figure in bridging the worlds of boogie-woogie and the new style of rhythm and blues. His style was known as "rumba-boogie".

Piano excerpt from "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" by Professor Longhair

"Mardi Gras in New Orleans" became Longhair's signature song. It was originally recorded in 1949, but has been re-recorded and featured on some of his later albums.

I've chosen Professor Longhair's "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" to honour the occasion of the official beginning of the 2013 Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans.  

New Orleans Parade

I know you will go on whistling this tune for the next days to come. It is quite infectious.

Piano excerpt above is from "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2-3 clave is written above for rhythmic reference. Source: Wikipedia

Parade photo source: www.bestneworleansattractions.com



Raclette is very appealing during these winter months. The coziness of sitting around the table, together with family and friends, drinking, grilling and cooking our food in a relaxed dining environment; what better way to spend several hours on a cold winter evening.
Raclette is a type of cheese and also the name of the Swiss dish that is based on heating up cheese and then scraping off the melted cheese. The origin of the name raclette comes from the word 'racler' which translates to the act of scraping the melted cheese.
Traditionally, when making raclette, half a wheel of cheese is heated and the melted cheese is scraped onto potatoes, layer by layer. The 3 kg (6 lbs) half wheel of raclette cheese is still used today when the dish is served for a larger group (15+ persons).
Raclette cheese is usually accompanied by small potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and dried meat, such as Prosciutto and viande des Grisons.

The raclette machines used today usually have a grill above the heating element and little trays below. This lets you grill meat, fish and vegetables on the top grill while the raclette cheese melts in the trays below. There is a variety of raclette machines available today, that can be purchased and/or rented from your local cheese shop.
Raclette cheese was first made in the Swiss Alps in the southwestern area of Valais. When this cheese is heated it has a very creamy consistency and melts without separating due to the cheese's balanced fat content.
Today, there is a wide selection of raclette cheeses available for every taste from mild to strong. This is the advantage of grilling individual portions as opposed to using half a wheel of only one particular cheese. A variety of raclette cheeses can be pre-sliced to sample such as; a classic raw milk Swiss Bagnes raclette, a French white wine raclette, goat-milk raclette, sheep-milk raclette, wood-smoked raclette, raclette with pepper corns, raclette with mustard seeds, etc.
Vegetables and fresh salads are great accompaniments to raclette dishes. Small new potatoes boiled in their skins are the ideal side dish for your creations in raclette dishes. Potatoes are the perfect complement to cheese and can be combined with just about anything (meat, fish, mixed veggies) and can easily be kept warm on a platter on the table during the meal.
Raclette dish



- Cheese
For a raclette diner plan on 200 g (7-8 oz) per person.

- Potatoes
Small new potatoes boiled in their skins are the traditional accompaniment to raclette. Plan on 250 g (1/2 lb.) of potatoes per person, if the potatoes are the only filling side dish.

- Vegetables
Tender raw vegetables cut in small portions to be cooked on the grill. Firmer vegetables should be pre-blanched.

- Meat and/or Fish
Meat prepared on a raclette machine should be cut up very finely so it will be cooked throughout in a short period of time. Dried meats are ideal for raclette such as sliced Prosciutto, viande des Grisons (dried beef also known as Bündnerfleisch) and sliced salamis such as Rosette de Lyon.
Fish is ideal for raclette because it cooks quickly. When grilling, it's better to use fattier types of fish such as mackerel, salmon or filets with the skin on. Scallops and shrimp are also delicious on the grill.

- Side Dishes
Vegetables and fresh salads are great side dishes. Sauces and dips are suggested if you're using the grill to accompany the roasted vegetables, fish or meats.

- Fruit
Fruit that are slightly tart go especially well with cheese. Cut fruit such as; apples, pears, plums, apricots, figs, mango, etc.

Many thanks to Rosanne and Stephen for the raclette grill. We will definitely be making use of it through the coming months.


Alabama Shakes - Hold On

This song has been growing and growing on me over the past few months.

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes an American rock group from Athens, Alabama have recently been nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for best new artist and best rock performance for this excellent single "Hold On".

I just can't get enough of this rockin’ number with the powerful raunchy vocals from singer, guitarist Brittany Howard.

You've got to hold on
Yeah you've got to hold on




Le Saint-Clément is a welcomed new addition to the Québec artisanal chèvre family. 

Le Saint-Clément

Le Saint-Clément is a small 8 cm (3”) round pasteurised goat-milk cheese weighing approximately 120 g (4.5 oz). It has a lovely wheat coloured thin natural rind with a tender, smooth uncooked, unpressed, white pâte that melts in the mouth.  It has a mild “caprin” aroma with a balanced sweet and sour flavour.
Fromagerie Pampille & Barbichette, Sainte-Perpétue, Quebec

Le Saint-Clément is produced by La Fromagerie Pampille et Barbichette located in Sainte-Perpétue in Québec’s Centre region near Drummondville.  The farm and goat-milk cheese production is operated by François and Maryse Clément and family where they transform the farms goat milk into yogurts and lovely farmhouse cheeses such as; Edelweiss, Le Savoureux de Biquette and Délice de Fiora.
Le Saint-Clément pairs well with a nice South African Chenin blanc.