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.




BellaVitano is an award winning, firm, pasteurised cow-milk cheese produced by Sartori Cheese located in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

BellaVitano cheese

BellaVitano is an Italian style cheese that combines the rich and creamy flavour of cheddar cheese with the tasty, fruity, nutty flavour and the gritty texture of parmesan.

Sartori Cheese is a fourth-generation family owned and operated company that's been in operation since 1939. Sartori Cheese produces various Italian style cheese; from a classic Parmesan, Fontina, Asiago, Romano and their award-winning line of Sartori Reserve Bellavitano cheeses.

Sartori Cheese

The Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisan cheeses include a spellbinding lineup of BellaVitano cheeses that have been skillfully combined with various flavours. Sartori's Master Cheesemakers have perfectly combined a diversified selection of rich, fruity, Old World flavors with the original texture, creamy with the crystalline crunch of the BellaVitano.

The award-winning line of Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisan cheeses includes; Balsamic BellaVitano, Black Pepper BellaVitano, Chai BellaVitano, Espresso BellaVitano, BellaVitano Gold, Merlot BellaVitano, Raspberry BellaVitano and their latest limited edition addition, the Cognac BellaVitano. 

Regardless of whether you prefer the spiciness of Chai, the berry and plum notes of Merlot, the tart Raspberry ale, fresh roasted Espresso, BellaVitano is a cheese that pleases everybody.

BellaVitano pairs well with Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Noir wines.


Le Chèvre Noir

Le Chèvre Noir

Le Chèvre Noir is an excellent pasteurized goat-milk cheddar that was created by cheesemaker Louise Lefebvre in 1988 for Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville, Quebec. It was introduced to the market as an aged cheddar in 1989. Fromagerie Tournevant, a goat dairy was started in 1976 by Lucie Chartier and René Marceau. The Fromagerie Tournevent has been operated under Damafro for the past several years; they in turn have recently been acquired by the Agropur cooperative.

Le Chèvre Noir goat-milk cheddar

What distinguishes this cheddar Le Chèvre Noir at first glance is the beautiful snow-white colour of its paste that is emphasized by the contrast of its outer black wax coating. It has a firm and crumbly texture just like real aged cheddar with its crunchy protein crystals. Chevre Noir has a sharp taste with a bit of tang, but it is balanced out by the creamy texture of the cheese. Chevre Noir reveals many flavours; butter, nuts and a wonderful lingering finish of caramel with a pinch of salt.

Le Chèvre Noir is produced in different size formats and also available in different stages of aging from 1, 2 or 3 years. My favourite version of Chèvre Noir has been aged for 3 years; I find it has just that extra little bit of zing.

Like all aged cheddars, Chevre Noir should be served rather cool. Long exposure to dry air causes its fat to evacuate to the edges. Le Chèvre Noir is ideal served with fruits and nuts accompanied with a full-bodied white, a rich red wine, a Port or premium beer.


Le 1608

Le 1608 is a cooked, pressed paste, surface ripened, semi-firm cheese made with thermized cow milk produced by La Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec. Le 1608 was launched in 2008 in honour of Quebec City's 400th anniversary; hence the name 1608, the year Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City. 

 Le 1608

Le 1608 is made exclusively with the milk of the "Canadienne" cow. This breed of cow is unique to Canada; it owes its origin to bovine imported from France between 1608 and 1660. The natural and ongoing inbreeding led to a new breed of cow called the "Canadienne", the only dairy breed developed in North America. Unfortunately, during the 20th century this breed of cow was gradually replaced by the Holstein. Of the estimated 500,000 head herd in 1900, less than 500 of the "Canadienne" cow remain today.

Canadienne breed of cows

Le 1608 is fabricated in a large 8 kg (17.5 lbs.) wheel, measuring about 35 cm (14 in) in diameter and (3.5 in.) in height and aged for 2 to 6 months. 1608 has a strong barnyard aroma; it has a slightly sticky pinkish-orange coloured rind with a yellowish coloured paste. The milk from the Canadienne cow has higher butterfat content, resulting to the yellow colour in the paste. 1608 has a smooth and creamy melt-in-the-mouth texture with a pleasant fruity, buttery flavour with lingering hints of apples and nuts. 1608 is a great choice for grilled-cheese, raclette and fondue since it melts very well. 1608 pairs well with a fruity medium bodied white wine or rosé or try it with a Québec sparkling cider.

Laiterie Charlevoix

The Laiterie Charlevoix was founded in 1948 by Stanislas Labbé and Elmina Fortin in Baie-St-Paul. For many years the Laiterie Charlevoix was almost exclusively devoted to the production of cheddar cheese. But the new generation of the Labbé family; brothers Jean, Paul, Bruno and Dominique have added some fine award winning cheese to the Laiterie Charlevoix's repertoire; Le Fleurmier (a soft bloomy rind), L'Origine de Charlevoix (a soft washed-rind 'Reblochon' type cheese), L'Hercule de Charlevoix (a firm cooked paste aged cheese) and Le 1608.

Le 1608 and L'Origine de Charlevoix cheese produced at the Laiterie de Charlevoix as well as the Tomme des Demoiselles and Pied de Vent produced by the Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent in the Magdalen Islands, are the only four cheeses in Quebec currently being made with 100% from the milk of the "Canadienne" breed of cow. These four cheeses will soon be the first to receive an AS (Appellation de Spécificité) which is a Designation of Specificity issued by Quebec's CARTV (Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants).


Beaufort d'Alpage

Haute-Savoie production area of Beaufort cheese
Beaufort d'Alpage is an alpine cheese from the Rhone-Alps region of France. The production area of the Beaufort covers the high mountains of Savoie in the three valleys Beaufortain / Val d'Arly, Tarentaise and Maurienne.
Tarine and Abondance cows
Beaufort is a very large cooked pressed firm cheese made exclusively with the raw milk of Tarine also called Tarentaise and Abondance breed of cows. These cows are agile and strong and perfectly suited for the rough terrain of the high pastures.

There are three different types of Beaufort; Beaufort, Beaufort d’été (which is a summer Beaufort) and Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage. Beaufort d'Alpage is only a small part of the summer production (about 10,000 wheels). Beaufort d'Alpage must be manufactured using traditional methods, in a mountain chalet that is 1,500 meters minimum above sea level and with the milk of a single herd of cattle. The AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) specifications impose an annual production limit of 5000 liters of milk per cow or a daily production of 16 liters. Keep in mind it takes about 500 litres (130 gallons) of milk to make a Beaufort of 45 kg (99 lb).

Wheels of Beaufort cheese
To make Beaufort, the milk is heated and then the curd is pressed into a beech-wood hoop mold which gives the cheese its distinctive concave shape on the side (heel) of the wheel. A large wheel of Beaufort can measure up to 76 cm (30 in) in diameter and 16 cm (6.3 in) in height. The wheels are aged for a minimum of 5 months to upwards of 12 months in a mountain cellar that maintains a high humidity and cool temperature.

Beaufort cheese
Beaufort d'Alpage is without a doubt one of the finest firm cheeses in the world. It has a wonderful aroma of milk, butter, flowers and honey. A young Beaufort will have a mild, fruity taste while an aged Beaufort has a stronger aroma and more complex flavours that linger on the palate.  The paste of a winter Beaufort has a pale whitish colour while the summer versions have a more yellow paste due to the cows munching on the alpine flowers. The chlorophyll from the grass and carotene from the alpine flowers give the summer cheeses its beautiful colour and grassy and flowery aromas. Beaufort is richer and creamier than other mountain cheeses.

An excellent way to serve Beaufort is with smoked salmon. It pairs nicely with a Chablis or a white Burgundy wine. Beaufort melts well and is a great choice for a cheese fondue. You must try the exquisite Fondue Savoyarde; made with equal parts of 3 cheeses from the Savoie region; Beaufort, Abondance and Tomme de Savoie.



Taliah is a beautiful English-style, cloth-bound cheddar, aged for one year, made from unpasteurized sheep-milk, produced in the Centre-du-Québec region.

The name Taliah comes from the Hebrew origin meaning female lamb.

Taliah - Sheep-milk cheddar

Taliah has a lovely golden butterscotch coloured firm paste with a rustic crystalline texture and a light musty cave smell. Taliah has a natural rind that is covered with cheesecloth. Unlike most cheddars, Taliah has a nutty flavour with a caramel sweetness, not too salty and a lingering robust flavour that is perfectly balanced.

Taliah's complex flavours go perfectly with those ripe crunchy fall apples. It pairs wonderfully with a sparkling cider, brown ale, an oaked Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taliah cheddar freshly made 
Taliah cloth-bound cheddar aging

The full bodied complex flavours you receive with cloth-bound cheddar is one of the reasons cheesemakers are returning to this old-school method.  The cloth that is applied on the exterior of the wheel allows the cheese to breathe and promotes microbe germination that provides those wonderful flavours to disperse into the cheese. Block cheddars that are either waxed or plastic sealed give a sharper saltier bite unlike the rich complex flavours of cloth-bound cheddars.

Taliah was conceived by Valérie Brousseau and Alastair Mackenzie of Saint-Christophe-d'Arthabaska, which is located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. They run a farm with pure-bred East-Friesian sheep which provides the milk for the cheese. All their animals; sheep, beef, pork, rabbit, duck and chicken are fed only prime quality food, free of antibiotics, hormones and chemicals. 

East Friesian sheep

They have established a partnership with cheese-maker Olivier Ducharme at Fromagerie Du Charme to produce their cheese. They are currently working together on a Stilton-style blue cheese which should be available soon.

Check out these two cloth-bound cheddars also made here in Canada; The Lindsay Bandaged GoatCheddar and the Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.


The First Grader

The First Grader
Based on a true story, The First Grader is about a Kenyan man in his 80's who is determined to learn to read after hearing that the Kenyan government is promising free education for all. The story is about Maruge (beautifully played by Oliver Litondo) an old Mau Mau freedom fighter who fought for the liberation of his country and now feels that he too is entitled of the chance of an education that was denied to him.

The movie takes place in a primary school in a small mountaintop village in Kenya. The school's head teacher Jane (played by Naomie Harris) is quite moved by Maruge's passionate plea and decides to help him to get admitted to the school.

The First Grader is quite a heart-warming, uplifting movie that explores the relationships Maruge develops with the young children at the school. Through this adventure we are taken back 50 years to the dreadful period of British rule in Kenya, when Maruge fought for his country and ended up in extreme and harsh conditions in the British detention camps.

The film is directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and written by Emmy-winner Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia).

The First Grader is an inspiring story of one man's fight for what he believes is his right.


Brebirousse d’Argental

Brebirousse d’Argental is a soft-ripened, bloomy rind, pasteurised sheep's milk cheese made in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.

Brebirousse d’Argental

Brebirousse d’Argental is an eye-catching cheese, it has a bright orange bloomy rind, which has been tinged with annatto (roucou). The creamy buttery ivory-coloured paste is rich and sweet. Brebirousse is aged one month, but as the cheese matures, nutty, earthy flavours develop into a stronger more complex flavoured cheese.

Brebirousse is available in two different square shaped sizes; a small 125 g and the larger 1 kg format that you will find at your favourite cheese shop.

Brebirousse d’Argental pairs nicely with a Sauvignon Blanc or a more delicate light bodied Pinot Noir.

Brebirousse d’Argental is made exclusively for Fromi Group by Fromagerie Guilloteau which is located south of Lyon along the Loire River in the small town of Pélussin, La Fromagerie Guilloteau also produce Chèvre d’Argental another eye-catching hexagonal shaped goat-milk cheese and the popular Le Fromager d’Affiinois an excellent double-cream cheese.


Evening Primrose

(Oenothera biennis)

Oenothera biennis is a species of Oenothera, an herbaceous flowering plant native to America which can be found from Newfoundland to Alberta. Common names for the Oenothera biennis include; evening primrose, evening star, suncups and sundrops.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Oenothera biennis is a biennial (as the name suggests) or short-lived perennial herb producing strong fleshy roots and a basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves in the first year. In the second year, the stems grow and develop beautiful yellow, tubular flowers.

The "evening" in the name relates to the fact that it is a night blooming plant that will produce a succession of short lived blooms from late spring until mid-summer if the dead flowers are removed promptly. The flowers are hermaphrodite, produced on a tall spike and only last until the following day. The flowers open-up visibly fast, every evening producing a lovely spectacle. Their flowers open in the evenings for night flying moths to pollinate them. The Evening Primrose isn't a "primrose," a name best applied to the genus Primula.

The Evening Primrose has eye-catching bright, lemon-yellow, cup-shaped, flowers that measure 2 to 3 inches across and have a mild lemon-scented fragrance. The glossy rich green lance-shaped leaves surround spreading red stems. The seed pods are 4-winged and 2 to 3 inch long and are often used in flower arrangements. It has a spreading growth of 6 to 12 inches in height and 2 to 3 feet wide. The evening primrose is a great plant for borders and rock gardens. It is hardy in zones 5 to 8.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
The Evening Primrose prefers to be grown in full sun but will tolerate some light shade in the afternoon.
It is an easy plant to take care of; it spreads enthusiastically and might need control. The evening primrose attracts butterflies and birds.

Evening primrose extracts were used medicinally by both Indians and early settlers. The oil from the seed of the evening primrose plant is a gamma-linolenic acid, which is an omega-6 essential fatty acid. The oil is used to treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Evening Primrose oil is also used for treatment of many ailments among them; rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome. In foods, evening primrose oil is used as a dietary source of essential fatty acids.


Club des Belugas featuring Brenda Boykin - Straight To Memphis

Club des Belugas

Club des Belugas is one of Germany's leading Nujazz projects.

They combine contemporary European Lounge & Nujazz styles with Brazilian Beats, Swing and
American Black Soul of the fifties, sixties and seventies using their unique creativity and intensity.

The core of Club des Belugas consists of Maxim Illion and Kitty the Bill; they are supported by various jazz singers and instrumentalists; including the German trumpet players Reiner Winterschladen (Nighthawks) and Thomas Siffling. Guest vocalists include Swedish singer Anna.luca, London based Jazz singer Iain Mackenzie, Anne Schnell from Germany (Jojo Effect), Ester Rada from Israel and San Francisco Bay Area’s Jazz Lady herself, Brenda Boykin a masterful interpreter of jazz and blues.

Club des Belugas - Straight To Memphis featuring Brenda Boykin

It's fresh, it’s fun, it’s infectious!

Straight To Memphis appears on Club des Belugas album Forward released in 2012 on ChinChin Records.



Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette but with added ingredients such as cheese, meat and vegetables. The word "frittata" is derived from fritta and roughly translates to "egg-cake". It is also very similar to the Spanish 'tortilla de patatas', which is a thick egg omelette made with potatoes and onions.

Frittata (with asparagus, potatoes and goat milk cheese)

The difference between a frittata and a traditional omelette is the frittata is served open-faced like an egg-pizza. It is not folded over like an omelette to enclose its contents, but rather it is either turned over or even baked in the oven. A frittata always contains additional ingredients that are cooked in the skillet and combined with the raw egg mixture, rather than being laid over the nearly-cooked egg mixture before it is folded as in an omelette. Also, a frittata is cooked over a very low heat, slower than an omelette and is usually also baked for several minutes or grilled briefly to set the top layer. Unlike an omelette which is served whole, a frittata is served divided into sliced wedges and can be served hot, warm, at room temperature or even cold.

The range of possible ingredients for a frittata is limitless; from broccoli, potatoes, zucchinis, onions, asparagus, mushrooms, leeks, peppers, spinach, etc. A frittata is quite the versatile dish as it can be served for breakfast, lunch or for dinner accompanied with a salad.

A frittata is also an excellent quick meal, as long as you have a few vegetables and any cheese on hand. It's also a great way to use up leftovers, from cooked pasta to any cooked or raw veggies to throw together in a skillet and you have a frittata on the table in 20-30 minutes.

One frittata makes roughly six servings.  Don't worry the leftover frittata is nearly as good as when it's straight from the oven. Many people actually believe that the flavour of a frittata improves as it sits. 

Below is a recipe for a potato, onion, asparagus frittata using one of Quebec's finest little artisan goat-milk cheese, the Chèvre À Ma Manière. I love it. Hope you like it.

Chèvre À Ma Manière, Potato & Asparagus Frittata Recipe

-  2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound of potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/4-to-1/2-inch cubes)
- 1 small onion, or more to taste, chopped
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
-  4 to 6 eggs (depending on how many servings you need, or if you prefer more veggies than egg)
- 1 Chèvre À Ma Manière cut into small cubed pieces (if substituting with another cheese you can use 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated cheese)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For additional flavour to your frittata you can add fresh herbs or spices. Either chopped fresh basil, parsley, rosemary, turmeric or tarragon can be added to your vegetables when cooking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably non-stick or cast-iron, generously with oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. It is recommended to use a cast-iron pan or an oven-safe non-stick skillet. If you are using a stainless steel pan, you'll need extra oil to make sure the eggs don't stick to the pan, but remember it must be oven safe.

Peel potatoes and cut them into 1/4-to-1/2-inch cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the cubed potatoes in the hot oil until the potatoes begin to brown lightly, about 10 - 12 minutes. Add your onions and cook another 4 more minutes. Season the frittata with salt, pepper and herbs. Add the asparagus and continue cooking until the asparagus is tender, another 5 to 7 minutes;

If you're in a rush you may want to shred your potatoes instead of cutting them in cubes, to save time on cooking the potatoes in the skillet. Or you can also save time by boiling your potatoes.(Put the diced potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, about an inch above the top of the potatoes. Cook over medium-low heat, until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 5 to 7 minutes; drain and pat dry. If using boiled potatoes you will add the cooked potatoes to your frittata only after any uncooked veggies that you include have been cooked. Add potatoes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to brown slightly, cook about 4 minutes more in the skillet.) You will be saving time but your potatoes will be missing that little crispy crunch.

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, herbs or spices (optional) in a large bowl. Eggs for frittata should be beaten vigorously to incorporate more air than traditional omelettes, to allow a deeper filling and a fluffier result.

Evenly pour the egg mixture over the vegetable mixture in the skillet. Cook, over medium heat, tilting the pan and lifting the edges with a spatula to let the uncooked egg flow underneath. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat and cook, covered, until it appears mostly set with a moist center and top. Add cheese to top of frittata and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes more. 

Remove lid and place the skillet in the pre-heated oven for approx. 5 to 8 minutes. Until the eggs puff and are set in centre and the cheese is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cut in 6 to 8 wedges. Serve straight from the skillet.


Le Moutier

Le Moutier is a ripened, firm, pasteurised goat-milk cheese produced by the monks at Fromagerie de l'Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac located on the picturesque lake Memphrémagog in Québec's Eastern Townships.

Le Moutier

Le Moutier is a Swiss-type cheese dotted with small openings in the cooked paste. What distinguishes this cheese is its pristine white colour, due to being made with 100% goat-milk. Le Moutier has a firm yet flexible and elastic paste. It has a light springy texture and a delightful sweet goat-milk taste and aroma. Le Moutier cooks well; it melts and browns at high temperature. Le Moutier is an ideal choice to introduce to a child or adult who is new to goat-milk cheese.

Le Moutier is produced in a small round wheel, this firm goat-milk cheese looks identical to St-Benoit cheese, a cow-milk version that the Abbaye St-Benoît also produces.

Le Moutier is appropriately named after the town and abbey located in the Jura Bernois district in the Swiss canton of Bern. 

Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac

The Fromagerie de l’Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac which is directed by Brother Patrick Flageole, is the only cheese dairy in North America that is run by Benedictine monks. The first cheese created at the Abbey in 1943 was the famed blue Ermite cheese, which is still a celebrated cheese. The Bleu Bénédictin has also picked up several awards, including the Grand Champion in 2000 and the Champion in the blue cheese category in 2002 and 2006. In 2010, Le Moutier won a gold medal in its goat milk category at the World Cheese Awards.

Fromagerie de l'Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac

The monks of the Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac make their living from their cheese-factory, an apple orchard, a cider-factory, a farm and a store where their products are sold.

Le Moutier pairs nicely with a sparkling apple cider from Cidrerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît.

Try Le Moutier cheese in this delicious Onion Soup with Apples  recipe courtesy of Wikibouffe.iga.net.

Photo source: http://www.lapresse.ca/


Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers

Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers

Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers is a firm, raw goat-milk farmer’s cheese produced by the Chèvrerie Fruit d'une Passion located in Québec's Estrie region.

Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers

Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers (which translates into The Happy Cheesemakers Cheese) has a firm, washed rind that is ochre in colour with white brushed highlights. The 2 kg  (4.5 lbs) round wheels of Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers are aged from 60 to 90 days. The wheels are washed in brine, which promotes the establishment of brevibacterium on the rind, giving the orange hue to its crust.

The beautiful ivory-white coloured paste is firm, yet elastic, with small perforations. The cheese has a creamy texture with a well-balanced, long-lasting distinctive flavour with hints of floral and honey and goat milk.

Alain and Isabelle of Chèvrerie Fruit d'une Passion

Chèvrerie Fruit d'une Passion is operated by Isabelle Couturier and her partner Alain La Rochelle. Their cheese-making premises and goat farm are located in St. Ludger near the Appalachian foothills between Lac-Mégantic and Saint-Georges de Beauce. At Chèvrerie Fruit d'une Passion all the processes of transforming the milk into cheese are done by hand; mixing the milk, cutting and stirring the curd, molding and brushing and salting the wheels are all done in the traditional manner by hand.

Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers pairs well with a Québec cidre de glace (apple ice-cider). The Chèvrerie Fruit d'une Passion suggests trying slices of the Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers melted over sliced pears that have been braised in maple syrup. Delicious.


Cheech & Chong - Dave's Not Here

Cheech & Chong are a comedy duo consisting of Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong who had a phenomenal success in the 1970's and 80's with their no-holds-barred stand-up comedy routines.

Cheech and Chong

Cheech & Chong gained popularity with the release of many successful comedy record albums and starred in a series of low-budget films which were all based on the hippie and free love era and their love for cannabis.

Perhaps their most famous line is "Dave's not here", from their 1971 self-titled debut album.

No matter how many times I've heard this routine through the years, whenever I hear it, it still cracks me up.


Crottin de Chavignol

Crottin de Chavignol (also known as simply Chavignol) is a very popular soft-ripened, raw goat-milk cheese produced in France's Loire Valley. Crottin de Chavignol received its name from the French commune Chavignol, where the cheese was first produced in the 16th century. Crottin de Chavignol received its AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlée) designation in 1976.

Crottin de Chavignol

Crottin de Chavignol is a very small goat-milk cheese that can be enjoyed at various stages of maturity. When it is young, 2-4 weeks old, it measures about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in height and 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and weights 115 grams (4 oz). At this young stage of life, it has an ivory-coloured rind with a distinctive crinkly surface due to natural yeast and geotrichum bacteria. The white cream coloured, uncooked, unpressed paste is compact yet soft, with a lovely creamy, nutty taste. 

Crottin de Chavignol is an ideal cheese as it can be enjoyed during its various stages of maturity; from a couple of weeks to 4 or more months producing a range of very different flavors. As the cheese ripens, the paste becomes crumbly, then turns dryer and more brittle and as the rind becomes dryer and rougher it also changes in colour from golden to a bluish gray colour, it also shrinks down in size to 40 grams (1.5 oz). As Chavignol matures, it turns into a much richer cheese, with a more pronounced flavour that is more robust, but never sours.

Alpine Goat
Crottin de Chavignol cheese is produced with the raw milk of the Alpine goat.

Crottin de Chavignol is a nice addition to any cheese platter but it is perfect when warmed or grilled and served over a salad. Crottin de Chavignol pairs beautifully with a white wine from the Vallée de la Loire such as a Sancerre or a sparkling Chenin Blanc or a Pouilly Fumé.

Alpine Goat Photo Source: www.wikipedia.org


John Cabot Rose

(Hybrid Kordesii Rose - Rosa 'John Cabot'; Hybridized by Dr. Felicitas Svejda in 1978)

The John Cabot Rose is surely one of my favourite plants in the garden. It is a beautiful easy to grow winter-hardy climbing rose.
John Cabot Rose
Today we can appreciate the John Cabot Rose thanks to Agriculture Canada, who began a rose breeding program in the 1960's. Their plan was to cross roses with new developed roses from Europe and create a series of roses that would be easy to grow, hardy, disease resistant, repeat blooming and easy to propagate from cuttings. The result of this program has forever changed our Canadian rose gardens. The roses that were developed from this program are known as the Explorer series.

The John Cabot Rose has large, semi-double blossoms that are soft-red in bud, opening to the deepest orchid pink. The flowers, borne in clusters of 3 to 10 blossoms have a slight fragrance. The rose bush is covered with blooms from June with repeat flowers through to fall.

The John Cabot climbing rose can attain a height of 10 feet (3 meter) tall and easily spread to 8 feet (2.5 meter) wide within a couple of years. It is ideal rose to grow on a trellis, fence and arbor or as a hedge. The John Cabot Rose needs full sun (minimum of 6hrs.) and well-drained soil. This rose has healthy glossy foliage that has good resistance to black-spot and powdery mildew and is very winter hardy. It can be grown in Zones 2B to 9.

The John Cabot Rose is an easy care rose that's great for all gardens.

Also check out the William Baffin Rose another hardy climbing rose from the Explorer series.


Frankie Knuckles - The Whistle Song

I was sad to hear that the Godfather of House Music, DJ Frankie Knuckles died this week. 

Born in the Bronx in 1955, Frankie Knuckles got his DJ start in NY City along with fellow DJ legend Lerry Levan. In the late 70's Frankie moved to Chicago and made his mark in the club scene when he began experimenting with music and mixing a new sound that became known as 'House Music'.

Throughout the 80's and 90's as well as being one of the most influential DJ, he was a prolific music producer and remixer. After more than 35 years in the scene, he still continued to remix, produce and frequently traveled the globe to DJ the club circuit.
Frankie Knuckles was a true dance music pioneer; his passing is a huge loss to the electronic music community.

Here is Frankie Knuckles' 1991 hit The Whistle Song. A true classic!

I remember the very first time I heard this track. It was an instant hit. The kind of track you have to play over and over again, because you just can’t get it out of your head.

CLICK HERE for a great article on Frankie Knuckles written by Michaelangelo Matos for Rolling Stone Magazine

Photo Source: www.mojo4music.com


Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule located in Notre-Dame-De-Lourdes in Quebec's Lanaudière region. Magali, one of my co-workers, who happens to be the niece of Martin Guilbault owner of the Fromagerie, had organised for a few of us from work to visit their premises. Although it was a very early morning departure from Montreal, it was necessary for us to arrive early at the fromagerie, to view all the various processes involved in their cheese-making.

Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule

On the day of our visit we had the good fortune of witnessing the fabrication of three of Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule's cheeses; Laracam, a soft washed rind cheese, les Métayères, a semi-soft washed-rind cheese and Le Joliette a raclette type cheese.

Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule has recently undergone some major equipment upgrading to facilitate various cheese-making tasks and to allow them to increase the production of their cheeses as they are now selling their products across Canada.

Fresh raw cow milk from neighbouring farms is delivered first thing in the morning. Then, 3000 litres of milk is pumped into a huge vat where the milk undergoes thermisation. This process is similar to pasteurisation but uses lower temperatures allowing the milk to keep more of its original taste. For thermisation; the milk is heated at temperatures of around 57–65 °C (145–149 °F) for 15 seconds. For pasteurisation; the milk is heated at 72 °C (160 °F) for 15 seconds.

The vat is getting filled with the cut milk curds and whey.

Starter culture and milk-clotting enzymes are then added to the milk in order to be able to coagulate the milk to form a more custard-like mass. The cutting process is done in the large vat as it is equipped with blades; this cuts the milk mass into small pieces to begin the process of separating the liquid (whey) from the solid (curds). This cheese-making process solidifies the milk proteins and fat into a solid curd.

Checking temperature and firmness of the curd

The curd is now the right firmness to make cheese.

Once the desired temperature and firmness of the curd is achieved, the whey is then drained off; leaving a tightly formed curd that is then cut and transferred into their appropriate forms. These forms or cheese molds are designed with holes to allow the whey to drain from the curd.

Laracam cheese is getting molded.

The firm curd is pressed and cut.

Les Metayères cheese molds are being filled with the pressed curd.

For the pressed cheeses (Les Métayères & Le Joliette), the cheese molds are aligned on a belt and this allows them to press several molds at once.  A light pressing is done at first to allow the remaining whey to escape and then the forms are pressed more severely to solidify the cheese.

Les Metayeres and Joliette molds are being pressed.

Le Joliette gets wrapped before it continues to drain overnight.

The cheese is then left to continue draining overnight and then removed from their forms to be brined by immersing them in a saturated salt solution which will help the rind of the cheese to be formed. The rind’s function is to protect the interior of the cheese and allow it to ripen simultaneously.

Laracam cheese in affinage.

The cheese wheels are then left to dry and mature in a controlled environment where the temperature and humidity play an important part in the affinage stage.  The length of time the cheeses are aged varies from the different types and will also determine the quality and flavour of the cheese being produced.

Salle d'affinage containing Les Metayères and Victor & Berthold wheels.

If you are ever in the Lanaudière area, I suggest you stop by to visit the Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule and stock-up on some great cheese.

Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule
3601 rue Principale, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Qc J0K1K0
Tel. (450) 753-9217

Read more on Les Métayères  
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