DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme – Canada

DuVillage Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

I picked up DuVillage Le Triple Creme cheese at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. I was enticed to buy it as the price was marked down since the cheese was very near its “best before” date. I picked it up, pressed on the corner and smelled it. It wasn’t overly soft nor did it smell unpleasant. I surmised that it was not overly ripe and I bought it.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream is a cow’s milk cheese produced by DuVillage 1860 located in Warwick, Quebec, Canada. Warwick is located about half way between Montreal and Quebec City.

Warwick, Quebec

Warwick, Quebec

This cheese is well packaged. There is a lot of information on the box as well as inside. On the side of the package it is says “Discover when the taste is right for you. Details Inside”.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese side of the box

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese – side of the box

Now that is a great teaser. But while I was standing in the market holding the box I wanted the information that was hidden inside. Since I ended up buying the cheese I can save you the frustration. This is what it says inside.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese info inside the box

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese info inside the box

This triple creme goes through three phases during it’s ripening.

  • Young – 35 days or more before the “best before” date
  • Semi-Ripened – 15 to 35 days before the “best before” date
  • Fully Ripened – 0 to 15 days before the “best before” date

You get to decide which stage you prefer and buy the cheese dated accordingly. The “best before” date appears on the bottom of the box.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese bottom of package showing best before date

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese bottom of package showing best before date

Unpacking this cheese involves a few steps.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapping

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapping

The cardboard box protects the soft package inside.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

Viola!

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapped

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapped

DuVillage Le Triple Creme is a surface ripened cheese. The rind is snowy white and covered with the penicillium mold that gives the cheese it’s character. Cutting the cheese in half reveals a buttery colored creamy white paste. The cheese that I had was fully ripened. It was shiny, soft and spreadable. If it had been younger then the paste likely would have been firmer, perhaps with a chalkier texture near the center.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese cut in half

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese cut in half

What does DuVillage Le Triple Creme cheese taste like? It is a rich with a mild, buttery and creamy taste. The rind is edible and it is mild. The quality of this cheese is very good. It won first place in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in 2006 in the soft cheese category.

Were you wondering about that little 10,000 sticker on the outside of the package? That was a promotion for a contest with five prizes worth $10,000 each for a trip to the World’s Best Restaurant in Denmark. The coupon provided a web site address to enter: www.thewinningcheeses.ca. Unfortunately the contest was already closed to entry when I tried to sign up today.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese contest

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese contest

There was also some information on other cheeses by DuVillage.

DuVillage Cheeses Promotion

DuVillage Cheeses Promotion

as well as a $0.75 off coupon for future cheese purchase.

DuVillage Cheese Coupon

DuVillage Cheese Coupon

That coupon will come in handy because I plan to buy some La Sauvagine after a sampling in a recent Cheese Appreciation class.

DuVillage has a good website at www.DuVillage1860.com. This cheese seems well distributed as I have seen it in several other local grocery stores.

I thought that DuVillage Le Triple Creme was very good! I recommend this cheese.

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Castello Alps Selection – Chiantino Cheese

Castello Alps Selection Chiantino Cheese

Castello Alps Selection Chiantino Cheese

I was recently invited to try Castello’s new Bavarian Alps Selection Cheeses. As I am easily seduced by new cheeses, I headed to my local Longo’s Market (at 3163 Winston Churchill Blvd, Mississauga, ON) to do some cheese shopping.  There I discovered Chiantino and Weissbeir, two of the four cheeses in Castello’s new Alps Selection. I decided to try the Chiantino.

Castelllo Chiantino Cheese

Castelllo Chiantino Cheese

Castello describes their Chiantino cheese as follows:

Chiantino: A mild and slightly sweet cheese with hints of dark chocolate, fruitiness and dryness of Chianti. It is perfect as a snack with olives or baked figs, and is great for melting recipes or with green asparagus.

This cheese is imported into Canada. It is a product of Germany.

Chiantino is a cow’s milk cheese with a wonderful deep red rind. At first, my children thought the red was a wax coating. They had seen wax on Gouda cheeses that we have tried. I explained that the red on Chiantino is from Chianti wine which is wiped on the cheese every few days as it ages. This cheese is aged 12 weeks.  The use of the Italian Chianti wine used in making this cheese explains the name … Chiantino.

The rind is attractive but Castello does not suggest eating it. Eating small quantities certainly won’t cause any harm, but the recommendation is to use this rind for flavouring in soups and sauces.  Then discard the rind, like a bay leaf, prior to eating.
The rind can be frozen and used later.

Castello Chiantino Cheese

Castello Chiantino Cheese

What does Castello Chiantino taste like? You might expect this cheese to have a strong wine taste.  It does not. The hint of grapes or wine is very, very subtle. It has a semi-firm paste (the inside). It is mildly sweet with a mellow alpine dairy goodness.  There is no bite or tang.  The red wine rind is the highlight of this cheese. It’s a beautiful accent that dresses the cheese up and makes it look … sophisticated. The cheese is smooth, not grainy and it will melt in your mouth.

Admittedly, I seem to like most cheeses that I try. So I decided to have my wife and two kids try it. The result? Everybody liked it. That usually does not happen. It means Chiantino is probably a cheese that most people would enjoy. I did.

Full Disclosure: I picked this cheese up at Longo’s but Castello paid the bill for me.

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

Today I opened our refrigerator to discover Mascarpone. My wife had planned to make some Mascarpone Filled Brownie Sandwiches for the holidays. In preparation, she purchased Tre Stelle Mascarpone cheese at Loblaws supermarket.

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

So what exactly is Mascarpone cheese? It is a fresh style cow’s milk cheese that originated in Italy. Well, technically it’s not cheese because it doesn’t use rennet or starter. It’s really clotted cream that has been acidulated to release its moisture. But let’s keep that detail between us. It is probably best known as the main ingredient of the popular Italian dessert Tiramisu.

According to Tre Stelle’s website, “Mascarpone is prepared in a similar fashion to Ricotta, but using cream instead of whole milk or whey. It is a soft white cheese with a smooth texture that is easily spread. It’s versatile enough to be blended with other flavours and is fast becoming a favourite in desserts and sauces, or served with fresh fruit.”

I think that’s a fine description … except for one small detail. It assumes you know how Ricotta cheese is made. So allow me to add a little more clarity here. To make Ricotta cheese – Heat whole milk to 180C, add acid (vinegar or lemon will do), wait for it to coagulate. Strain off the liquid then Viola! … you have Ricotta. Do the same process starting with cream and you get … Mascarpone.

Tre Stelle is a fifty year old Canadian cheese company that is very good at making Mascarpone. In 2011 Tre Stelle Mascarpone won “Champion” of the fresh cheese category at the Dairy Farmers of Canada Grand Prix Cheese Competition.

So what is inside that white plastic container? Removing the plastic freshness seal reveals a creamy white paste.

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

I stirred the cheese and stood a spoon in it to illustrate the density. It is thick but still easily spreadable.

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

Tre Stelle Mascarpone Cheese

What does Mascarpone taste like? It is rich, smooth, velvety and did I mention rich? It is sexed up Cream Cheese. It is a little sweeter, but not sugary. You can eat Mascarpone plain but I would recommend it as a spread on crackers, toast or a bagel. It is good with a fruit jam or fresh fruit. And, of course, it is a premium ingredient in frostings and desserts.

I should mention that this cheese is often mispronounced and misspelled Marscapone (Mars capone) instead of Mascarpone (Mas car po ne).

Even the folks at the Food Network mess it up sometimes.

Marscapone Fail - It's Mascarpone!

Marscapone Fail – It’s Mascarpone!

Tre Stelle Mascarpone is good stuff. I’m sure it was a factor in my wife’s Mascarpone Filled Brownie Sandwiches turning out so delicious!

Canada Cheese served on Canadian Trees

Experiencing and enjoying cheese involves more than taste and texture. There are the additional elements of time, place, accompanying foods, presentation and people. When all of these elements meld together perfectly the result is … cheese nirvana.

Today I am focused on the element of presentation after learning of Bill Major, a Canadian cheese board artist. Bill resides on the edge of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. He has a love for wood and woodcraft in a way similar to cheese makers. He takes a raw material (wood instead of milk) and creates something special. He has chosen to create cheese boards to satisfy his artistic passion.

Bill Major and his Rustic Live Edge Cheese Boards

Bill Major and his Rustic Live Edge Cheese Boards

Bill produces “live edge” cheese boards. These are basically slices of a tree trunk, bark and all. By cutting the tree this way it’s growth rings are exposed. Each ring represents one year of the tree’s life. You can determine the tree’s age, when it was harvested, by counting the number of rings.

Bill developed a special three month drying process to prevent the wood from cracking as it loses moisture. The boards are then sanded in preparation of the finishing process. In the same way that a cheese maker must tend to a cheese as it ages, Bill works the cheese board through a ten step finishing system. It is done by hand and it takes a week. The end result is a beautiful rustic functional cheese board that is moisture resistant and food safe.

I appreciate a good Canadian cheese and I think the appreciation is elevated when that cheese is presented on a nice wood cheese board … especially a cheese board made in Canada, from a Canadian tree, by an artist.

Live Edge Cheese Board by Bill Major

Live Edge Cheese Board by Bill Major

Bill has his cheese boards displayed at several retail locations which are listed on his website or you can email him directly at bill.major@rogers.com to purchase one.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with this product. I just think they are nice.

Ruminants Make Good Cheese

Where does cheese come from? The answer is milk.

Some people think cheese only comes from cow’s milk. The reality is that there is a heck of  a lot of cheese made from other ruminants. In fact, the best cheese comes from ruminants.

You ask – What the heck is a ruminant?

A ruminant has a four compartment stomach which is capable of efficiently digesting grass and fiber. Ruminants can subsist by grazing. Cows, sheep and goats are ruminants.

When a ruminant has finished eating, the food is brought back up and rechewed. This is called chewing the cud or rumination. Ruminants make a lot of gas in their stomachs and belch about once every minute. If the belching stops the stomach swells with gas.

A non-ruminant mammal has a single chamber stomach and are called monogastrics. Examples of non-ruminants are humans, dogs, cats and pigs. Non-ruminants do NOT make good cheese.

There are about 150 species of ruminant. The population of domestic ruminants is greater than 3.5 billion, with cattle, sheep, and goats accounting for about 95% of the total population. I guess that’s why 95% of cheese is cow, sheep or goat.

Canada has 13,945,000 cattle. No I didn’t count them. That statistic comes from wikipedia. Canada has the 9th highest cattle population in the world. Canada is also ranked in the top ten countries of consumers of cow’s milk and cow’s milk products per capita (2006).

Sheep – Google Images

Stats Canada estimated that there were 825,300 sheep and lambs on farms in Canada as of January 1, 2008. While less than 2% of the world’s milk output comes from sheep, its composition makes it more nutritious than cow’s milk, and easier to digest.

Goat – Google Images

In 2001, Statistics Canada reported the Canadian goat population at 182,151. That was a 45% increase since 1996 in goat population. Goats produce approximately 2% of the world’s total annual milk supply.

Water buffalo, Reindeer, yaks, and even camels are other ruminants that provide milk for cheese in some regions of the world.

So there you have it. It is probably more than you wanted to know about ruminants but it does help explain why pig cheese is so unpopular.

Balderson Royal Canadian Cheddar – Aged 2 Years

Balderson Royal Canadian Cheddar - Aged 2 Years

Balderson Royal Canadian Cheddar - Aged 2 Years

Balderson Cheddar is a made by the Balderson Cheese Company in Winchester, Ontario. Balderson is respected as a quality maker of Cheddar cheese in Canada. Their cheese is well distributed and can be found in nearly every grocery store that I can recall.

The Balderson story begins in 1881 when dairy farmers in Lanark County, Ontario, formed a dairy collective to pool their milk and produce cheddar cheese in a cooperative factory. The factory was built at Balderson Corners named after John Balderson, a British army  sergeant who homesteaded in the area in the 1860s. The Balderson cheese reputation has grew steadily over time and is currently a leading (or possibly the leading) brand of cheddar in Canada.

This review is for the Balderson Royal Canadian Cheddar which is aged two years.

Balderson offers their cheddar at different stages of aging. Their premium series includes cheese aged as little as 3 months (mildest) and ranging to 18 months. The cheddar becomes drier, sharper and more expensive with age. The Premium Aged series ranges from 2 to 6 years.

Balderson Aged 2 Year Cheddar with Daelie's Biscuits

Balderson Aged 2 Year Cheddar with Daelie's Biscuits

I like the Balderson Royal Canadian Aged Two Year Cheddar because, in my opinion, it is the “sweet spot” on the aging scale. At two years the cheese has developed a mild bite and some depth but it well balanced with the milky, smooth cheddar flavour.  The Balderson website suggests that their two year cheddar is the best all purpose cheddar for recipes … I would agree. It is my cheese of choice for home made mac and cheese, cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. The Balderson 2 year cheddar is a wonderful snacking cheese . It is a staple in our house … a favourite of my wife and kids.

Kathy Guidi, author of Canadian Cheese – A Pocket Guide, says “Balderson is the benchmark for Canadian Cheddar, our Cheddar PDO” . Canada does not yet have a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) but if they did I expect Balderson would be making application.

The Verdict: Balderson Royal Canadian Chedder Aged 2 Years is a recommend.

C’est Cheese Please

Cest Cheese Please Sign

This past week I visited C’est Cheese Please, a cheese store in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada). I was visiting the area and did a search for “cheese” on my iphone maps app. C’est Cheese Please popped up and I decided to check it out.

C'est Cheese Please Store Front

I enjoy visiting different cheese shops because it is a process of discovery. Having never been to this store before, I was wondering if C’est Cheese Please would be a large cheese supermarket or a small cheese boutique. It is the latter, a small specialty cheese shop.

The inside is inviting, warm and decorated in such a way that you just know the owner has a passion for all things cheese. Although small, I found myself browsing for several minutes, soaking up the variety of merchandise on display. C’est Cheese Please sells cheese boards, knives, books, chocolates, jams, bread, etc. There is a lot of cheese stuff packed into such a small store.

C'est Cheese Please - Interior

The purpose of my visit was to see if C’est Cheese Please would have any interesting cheeses that I have not yet tried. I drifted to the cheese case.

C'est Cheese Please Cheese Case

C'est Cheese Please Cheese Case

I asked for any recommendations. The salesperson started asking me a few questions in order to steer me in the right direction. Before long she was slicing off some samples of several new cheeses that I have only read about. I narrowed my decision down to a few to bring home to enjoy.

There were business cards on the counter. I picked one up and asked the woman if she was the owner, Wendi Yates. She responded yes. I decided to introduce myself and reveal my cheese adventure and blog hobby.

Wendi remained warm and welcoming. I wanted to talk a lot more about the cheeses that she was carrying since they were so uncommon. She answered all of my questions and explained about many of the cheeses in the case and stories about them … where they came from, how they are made and why they are special. I was fascinated with her depth of knowledge.

I noticed a reader’s award on the wall.

C'est Cheese Please - Cambridge Times 2011 Readers Award

After spending just a short time in the store it was easy to understand why C’est Cheese Please was a local favorite.

As with many small business’s the success of the store is reflection on the person behind it.

Wendi Yates - C'est Cheese Please

Wendi Yates - C'est Cheese Please

I left with three amazing new cheeses and I will post reviews on them soon.

If you live anywhere in the vicinity of C’est Cheese Please, it is worth a visit if you enjoy cheese. Wendi is very knowledgeable and provided a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience. This was cheese shopping at it’s best for me.

C’est Cheese Please
12 Water St. South
Cambridge Ontario
519-624-9642