A Soft-Ripened Cheese Plate of Canadian Award-Winners – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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A Soft-Ripened Cheese Plate of Canadian Award-Winners

The Man and I were relaxing through the afternoon, him sleeping in his chair and me sleeping in his lap, when the UPS guy interrupted our slumber with a box addressed to The Lady. We both examined the return address and our hearts were filled with glee… not the TV singing kind… the oh boy, we got new cheese, happy kind… we knew this box meant a cheese plate for us… and we were right. Much to my dismay, The Man told me we had to wait and allow The Lady the right to open the box and remove its contents… what’s up with that??? I do the tasting and the reviewing… but alas, await we did…

When The Lady arrived I immediately Ied her to the box and watched as she pulled each wheel of cheese out. She let them sit for a a half hour, although it seemed forever to The Man and me, to warm them to room temperature. Then she delighted us with a cheese plate of soft-ripening heaven.

Each one better than the one before. It’s not going to be easy to pick the one I like the best; they were all that good.

Let me lead you through the plate.

The first cheese we tasted was Saint-Honore from Alexis de Portneuf Fine Cheeses. This soft, mild triple cream with its smooth texture melted on the palate and left The Man and me begging for more. The downy rind was perfect and added a nice texture to the experience. We tasted it naked and then The Lady served it with Ficoco spread. Chocolate and triple cream… what could be better? In 2010, this cheese won a Gold Medal in its class at the World Championship Cheese Contest… of course, it did!!!

I give Saint-Honore 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that that’s all I’ve got).

Next she served Lady Laurier d’Arthabaska, another triple cream with a sweet vanilla flavor which lingered on the palate. After the initial tastings, The Lady added a dollop of strawberry preserves to the top and The Man swooned. This delicacy is made by the Master Cheese Makers of DuVillage 1860 and in 2010 won a Bronze in its category at the World Cheese Awards.

I must also award Lady Laurier 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause… well you know the reason…).

The third cheese on the tray was also from DuVillage 1860. Moondust, another triple cream covered in vegetable ash which in addition to being simply beautiful, the taste of this cheese had a subtle nutty savoriness to compliment the sweet cream flavor. Although, hard to choose, The Lady declared this one her favorite of the seven although it was a tough call for her. In 2010 this cheese won two silver medals and a gold medal.

Moondust is awarded 4 Paws as well.

After Moondust The Lady treated us to a soft washed-rind Sir Laurier d’Arthabaska. As is true of all washed rinds, this cheese had a pungent aroma to accompany its mild, creamy taste. The rind was wrinkly and had just started to turn a soft orange color which would develop into a red with aging… something that won’t occur here at the manse as it won’t last long enough to age further. This one she served on a plain cracker and that was a perfect combination for us.

We agreed that this is a terrific cheese worthy of the awards it has garnered however, I am only awarding it 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Following the washed rind, The Lady served La Sauvagine, a cow’s milk double cream also from Alexis de Portneuf Fine Cheeses. This luscious brie won a Super Gold at the 2010 World Cheese Awards. Mushroomy, buttery with a snowy rind, this cheese melts on the palate and lingers for a moment. The Lady served it naked on a warm baguette and then followed it up with a cranberry chutney pairing. Simply sublime. A bit runny at room temperature; just the way the three of us like it.

I give La Sauvagine 4 Paws out of 4 Paws… and you know why…

The sixth offering on our plate won the Best Cheese in the World in 2009; winning out over 2440 other cheeses from 34 countries at the World Cheese Awards: Le Cendrillon. This is a vegetable ash covered goat cheese with a stark white interior. Our log was black from the ash and maturing. The Lady had previously tasted this cheese in 2010 at the American Cheese Society Conference held in the Seattle “No Pets Allowed” Sheraton.

This is a perfect goat cheese; tangy with a citrus finish; you know it’s goat but in a good way; not in the hard goat cheddar way.  I got my fair share although I had to fight The Man all the way. His mother really should have stressed that sharing thing more with him… but I digress.

I give Le Cendrillon 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (because that’s all I’ve got and that’s what this cheese deserves).

And then she served Bleubry, a triple cream with mild blue veining. It was a fight to the finish for all 3 of us; no one wanted to share this cheese. The creamy triple cream paste was oh-so buttery and the marriage with the bleu could not have been more perfect. The cloud-like rind added to the impeccable finish of a Canandian Masterpiece Cheese Plate… oh Canada!!!

I give the Bleubry 4 Paws out of 4 Paws and the entire Canadian Soft-Ripened Plate 4 Paws out of 4 Paws.

Serving Suggestions: Serve these cheeses at room temperature to enjoy the full flavor of each. Paired with chocolate and preserves or simply with warm bread or plain crackers will give you access to the full enjoyment of each.

Wine Pairing: The Lady served a fruity Asti Moscato with a hint of pear; it was the perfect pairing for this plate.

Beer: Don’t be a Neanderthal… this was a No Beer Allowed Cheese Plate.

Source: Except for Le Cendrillon which is made with pasteurized goat milk, the others were all made using fresh, pasteurized cow milk.

Awards: All seven enjoy no less than a total of 20 awards, world-wide.

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

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