Happy Ides of March! A fun fact, that back in Roman times, the Ides of March, March 15th, was the day to settle debts...which may be why it was the day that Julius Ceasar was killed. What does this have to do with cheese? Nothing, but I bet Ceasar enjoyed eating cheese right up to the day his debts were all settled.
Also happy almost spring. Aannndddd big drumroll, happy belated anniversary to us, or me, at Laliberté Cheese Co.
We launched ourselves into the Comox Valley food scene in February last year, sending out our first cheese boxes to friends and family. Our initial cheese offerings were limited as was our customer list, but it was exciting from day 1.
Laliberté Cheese Co had been hanging around in my head for a couple of years. I had a number of ideas, from jumping into the deep end with a store front and a cute, striped awning; walls covered in floor to ceiling coolers; and endless rows and stacks of of cheese through to something far simpler, like our monthly cheese boxes.
February 1st of last year, I just decided to go for it. And the Laliberté Cheese Co cheese subscription box came to be. Over the last year our customer list has grown, our cheese inventory has expanded, and I managed to launch our first cheese advent calendars (and while at the time I swore, "never again", they'll be back this Christmas!). We could have gone on like this forever, but the cheese universe had something better and brighter in store for us in the form of Stephanie and Brody, the owners of the Mustard Lady. If you haven't met that dynamic duo, they are a treat! High energy, big vision, they have a love of great food, good wine and supporting local businesses. So a huge thank you goes out to them for helping me get closer to my big cheese dream of owning a cheese store. The deli fridge at the Mustard Lady is always stocked...unless our shipment is late, or I'm on holiday...ahem.
Alright! Cheese News! Well, the cheese news this month is a little meh. On the good news front, our Canadian cheese order will be arriving later this week, as expected. But unfortunately our European shipment is very delayed. The container left Europe a week late, and now, new environmental standards to reduce CO2 emissions have resulted in a slower than normal cross-Atlantic voyage.
What does that mean? Well, the "March" cheese boxes (yes those were air quotes), will not be ready to go until around April 1st. It's a little frustrating but I do support CO2 emission reduction, and we will still have cheese in the deli if you can't wait for your delivery. As of this Friday, the deli will be restocked with a great selection of Quebec and Ontario cheese, including my favourite, the ultra-soft Pavé de L'Atelier goat cheese and some new varieties we haven't brought in before.
Our cheese subscription boxes are available to order now for delivery at the end of the month. Remember, you can now sign up for auto-renewing cheese boxes. Order and forgettabout!
MONTHLY CHEESE REVIEW
Alright onto our monthly cheese review!
We had a couple of new cheeses last month.
First up is the Cantal Entre-Deux. I liked this cheese. In fact I'll probably eat some of it after I finish typing it. Aged between 3-6 months, It has a medium texture, more like a firmer Gouda, with a bit more tang than the 36mth Comte we typically bring in. It has a bit of a funky rind, which I haven't eaten, mainly because it doesn't really look appealing to me. The recipe for the Cantal is said to be a precursor of the English style cheddar. I guess? I'm not a huge cheddar fan in general, but this definitely has a bit more funk than the typical cheddar. And it's French, so I like it. We still have a bit of this left if you haven't had a chance to sample it.
Pena Gorda. This is a delicious, aged goat cheese from Spain. One sampler declared it "Awesome". Or maybe it was "Amazing". But to be fair, she's a general lover of hard goat cheese. I do love these aged goat cheeses. They don't have a lot of overwhelming goat flavour that is sometimes a turn-off. So my recommendation to any of you who are firmly in the "I don't like goat cheese", is give it a try. The softer, riper goat cheeses are where you will find that stronger, barnyard aroma and flavour. But once time has had its way with the fat and protein in the milk, the transformation can be pretty amazing. Anyway, this was a bit salty, with a bit of sweet and just a mild flavour at the end that suggested you might be eating a goat cheese.
MARCH CHEESE LIST
We've got a pretty solid list of cheese this month, with some old favourites and as always a few new ones. You can check out our selection online and place an order via the website as well or pop into the Mustard Lady for an in-person experience.
The first new cheese in our March list is Le Bois Blond. This is a French cheese in similar fashion to Vacherin Mont D'or, which has a limited season and is harder to get. It is made with pasteurized cow's milk and has a mixed rind. It has a mild and slightly fruity flavour with aromas of butter and hazelnut. A perfect way to enjoy it is to warm it in the oven, until it is hot and runny. Eat it with a spoon, on a dried piece of ham, with potatoes and pickles. Sample it with a Riesling and enjoy. **Limited #s
Mothais sur Feuille is a soft-paste cheese from France. Made with fresh, raw goat's milk,
aged and ripened on a chestnut or plane tree leaf. This leaf slowly becomes part of the cheese as it ages. Named after the town La Mothe-Saint-Héray where it has been made since the 19th century. It was awarded the AOC designation to protect the traditional standards. It has a soft to dense texture with a bloomy rind. A lemony, woody flavour. The surface rind is delicate, with a wrinkled blue and green mold. Enjoy it with Champagne or a single-malt whisky. **Limited #s
Coeur de Savoie is French cheese made with raw cow's milk from the Haute de Savoie region of France. Matured for 12 months, in a cold cellar on wooden boards from the Chabert Dairy. Cooked and pressed, it has a firm texture with a fruity and lactic aroma. Serve with a white wine from the Jura region to bring out the fruity flavors of cheese.
Our full cheese list
Munster - Typically we bring in the 200g rounds, but this month it will be available by the 100 grams, so here's your opportunity to try it out if you haven't before.
Coeur de Savoie
Buche de Brebis - a roll of soft sheep cheese. It looks like a typical goat cheese in terms of shape, but this has been aged a bit and has a soft rind.
Mothais sur Feuille - a soft to firm goat cheese round. They are aged on a leaf of chestnut, sycamore or plane tree.
Bois Blonde - a more reasonably priced and accessible version of the Mont D'Or cheese which did not arrive as expected for Christmas. So here's your chance to try out a close second.
Bleu D'Auvergne AOC - a new blue for us to try. It is a bit salty with a medium intensity and a soft texture.
Reblochon de Savoie - a milder, more accessible Reblochon than the Reblochon Fermier.
Comté 36 mths
Brillat Savarin Triple Cream (200 grams) - everyone's favourite soft, triple cream. Well maybe not favourite, but one of the favourites? Tangy and soft in a way that only ripe cream can be.
Cabécou - Those little pucks of goat cheese that we had in the deli for Christmas. Try one immediately and save the other for a few weeks as the flavour intensifies.
Vacherin - the glossy, soft cheese wrapped in a spruce bark. A bit of woodsy flavour.
Morbier - the world famous French cheese with the mid-line of ash.
Brie de Meaux - the raw cow milk cheese. A distinctive, sometimes softly funky brie.
Brebirousse d'Argental - the orange rind on this cheese makes it stand out. It maintains a fairly mild flavour even with age. The texture of the paste is glossy, and while it gets soft and slumpy, I've yet to see it get super oozy.
Butter - of course! More butter! Always more butter!
Ontario & Quebec
Jeune Coeur - one of my favourite Quebec cheeses. It develops a lovely, silky and soft consistency with age, perfect for eating with a spoons.
Capril Ella - a goat cheese from Stonetown Cheese in Ontario. Sister to the Amazing Grey cheese from a couple of months ago.
Madelaine - the soft, brie style cheese made from sheep milk. Glossy and delicious.
Magie de Madwaska - washed rind, soft cheese. Age is really defining with this cheese. I've had some that have been soooo mild, and others that took over the room.
Pavé de L'Atelier - my favourite Canadian goat cheese. This goopy, soft, runny cheese is a pleasure to look at as it slumps its way towards perfect ripeness.
Le Bercail - another favourite sheep cheese. This one again runs the gamut of aroma and flavour. A medium paste, it has the typical washed rind aroma, but without the overpowering taste. Le Pize - I always recommend that you let this one ripen. You'll know when it's ready when you give it a gentle squeeze and the center gives. From Quebec, this is a fairly popular cheese.
Keep it Cheesy!