What happens when two of Quebec's finest cheesemakers collaborate to fabricate a new cheese? You get, what I believe to be one of Canada's greatest cheese; Pionnier.


Pionnier is a firm, washed rind, cooked paste cheese, made from a blend of raw cow and sheep milks. The large 40 KG wheels which are aged for 10 to 12 months are branded with a muslin label integrated in the crust.
The history of the Pionnier is explained on the muslin label; "C’EST ELLE, C’EST LUI, C’EST EUX", which translates to "It's Her, It's Him, It's THEM". She is Marie-Chantal Houde from Fromagerie Nouvelle-France (maker of Zacharie Cloutier winner of the 2011 Sélection Caseus Gold & 2013 Bronze), he is Jean Morin from Fromagerie du Presbytère (maker of Louis-D'Or winner of the 2012 Sélection Caseus Émérite and Bleu d'Elizabeth winner of the 2013 Sélection Caseus Gold and 2013 Émérite award). They have put their hands and heads together to create the Pionnier another award winning cheese (2013 Sélection Caseus Bronze & a special award for Best Raw Milk Cheese).

Pionnier cheese wheel

The Pionnier has a lovely honey coloured paste that is rich and creamy. Pionnier has a strong fruity, buttery and hazelnut flavor, with a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness, followed by a complex lasting aftertaste. This artisanal mountain style cheese reminds me of the French Savoie cheeses; Abondance and Beaufort d'Alpage.
Remember, Pionnier is an artisanal cheese and is produced in limited editions. If you get your hands on a piece, savour it.  The Pionnier pairs nicely with a white Chardonnay de Chablis or a Merlot de Savoie.

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