This week in cheese
Last time that I went to Asia, I invited friends to a Greek restaurant on Prince-Arthur, as something suitable for large groups, but also as something likely not to be found in Asia.
This week has serendipitously one of cheese. Last weekend, I asked my parents to buy me a cheddar from Costco for macaroni and cheese. It was not the greatest cheese, but it did the work for a rich and delicious macaroni and cheese.
I had some grated Parmigiano Reggiano from PA, which I got for my various pasta dishes of the week, and which can presumably be kept for a month or two without (seemingly) going bad.
The next cheese was a new discovery, something called the Bleubry (see photo above), a Quebec cheese produced by La Maison Alexis Portneuf, that makes various kinds of cheese sold under an interesting branding scheme. It's a bloomy rind blue-veined cheese, extremely rich, and I ate 1/4 of it (w/o bread) in five minutes. On the same run, I had many pieces of a truly excellent cheese called the Champfleury, a washed rind made by Agropur, no less.
Then, on Friday, we went to the Fromagerie Hamel, an excellent cheese shop (and producer) in Marché Jean-Talon (Mentioning this to a colleague, I was told there is a better, although more expensive, place on Bernard called Fromagerie Yannick - they have "closets" to hold their cheeses, I heard). At Hamel, I had a Brie de Meaux, that is usually in the refrigerated counter seen in the last photo. I usually dislike Brie, because I always associate it with the infect Agropur kind sold in mainstream supermarkets, which surface constantly has a smell of plastic wrap. But each bite of this Brie de Meaux, in particular, sold to you wrapped in specially designed-for-cheese wrapping paper, tasted of creamy milk. It was a big hit with my friends too.
I then took a chance on the nearest inexpensive-looking cheese, a Saint-Guillaume. From what I found on the Internets, St-Guillaume may be the fromagerie, rather than the cheese itself, and the cheese is perhaps a cheddar. In any case, the piece that I bought turned out to be a fresh cheese, the kind you put in poutine, but instead of being in curds, came as a block.
Finally, not cheese this time, but rather saucisson! Saucisson sec is my péché mignon. Every time my relatives come to visit from France (my aunt who just arrived yesterday is no exception), they smuggle a saucisson or two for me, because you may not find the same quality in Quebec. Oh, how wrong I was! In fact, I limited my search to mainstream supermarkets, when I should've looked at Montreal's public markets. This land produces the best French stuff in the world outside of France (and sometimes better than, if you consider places like bakery Première Moisson), and we arguably make cheese on par with France's. Why wouldn't a decent saucisson?
By definition, it is to be hard and firm when you feel it, with a thick salpeter-laden white powder covering it, and a strong meat aroma. They were to be found at Cochons tout ronds, an artisan charcuterie all the way from Île-de-la-Madeleine. It took samples of saucisson freshly cut above the counter filled with saucissons of all size, to convince me that you don't need to go all the way to France (or Hong Kong - scroll down) to get good saucisson that tastes exactly like the real thing. I got mine "ménage", which is the cute way of saying "ordinaire" (as in pain ménage).
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