Savvy Cool Curds cheese of the month club
Featuring Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères
– April 2016 –
Hey Ewe! The Savvy Team are thrilled to bring ewe April’s Savvy Cool Curds, hailing from the tiny little town of Sainte-Sixte, Québec. Named after the famous Parisian music hall depicting fun and frivolity, La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères cheeses are a far cry from foolish and continue to be a smash hit on the local cheese scene.
Lots of love, passion and farmstead milk from the East Friesian sheep they raise create a wide variety of yummy cheeses. Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard are proudly “in the business of selling pleasure, not cheese”. Their light-hearted approach to cheesemaking – and life overall – is evident right down to the cancan-dancing sheep with colourful tutus, adorning their logo.
“The Savvy Team is great & having this opportunity to be featured in Savvy Cool Curds is exciting! Anyone who has met Vanessa Simmons quickly learns that she is passionate about Canadian cheese. She has developed strong ties to the cheesemakers & has made countless contributions to promoting local, regional, provincial & national cheesemakers. Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are in for a treat …the best part is that all of the cheese discoveries will be proudly Canadian.”
– Maggie Paradis, owner & cheesemaker, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec)”
… Approximately a kilogram of hard-to-find artisan sheep milk cheese including:
La Petite Folie 150g
La Petite Démone (Fine Herb) 140g
La Sorcière Bien Aimée 200g
Raclette de Brebis 200g
La Coulée Douce 200g
“Fou” (crazy) about Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères Cheese?
Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!). Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email@example.com
Vanessa & the Savvy Team
Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier
From finishing feta in the make room, to farmer’s market visits to milking sheep in the parlour there is always an adventure to be had in the company of Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard (in photo below), the local “crazy shepherds” (translation) of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères. Life is busy for this talented, dedicated, passionate and hardworking couple.
There are lambs to tend, sheep to shear, rams to satisfy, ewes to feed, barns to clean, milks to receive and process, cheeses to make and ripen, markets to attend and a business to run all with the goal of producing the very best possible artisan and farmstead cheeses to be enjoyed by all – and they do it with a huge dose of “joie de vivre”.
Only the best will do
Both have exacting standards. Not one to compromise quality or consistency, Maggie’s cheese must always be good or she won’t make it – pure and simple. Specific cultures and a cheese maker’s patience and care give these excellent results — not rushing any step of the process is crucial.
The high quality of their milk (both from their flock and sourced locally for the goat and cow milk) and the high touch, manual labour involved in her cheesemaking are key contributors to the consistency and excellence of their cheese over time.
Maggie confesses “I am easily bored.” She is always thinking up new cheeses and innovative ways to be efficient in her cheesemaking. Recently, haloumi was born because she had the moulds to make it in, the same used from her cow and goat’s milk cheddars.
And while each cheese has its own challenge in the aging or making or packaging, she believes in simplification and letting nature do its part.
A ladies man…
As shepherd, Christian has a way with the ladies – the couple’s East Fresian ewes that is. Milking twice a day is routine, between the demands of farm and cheesemaking. When I visited their farm this past weekend, I was in awe observing how the sheep shuffled into the parlour and automatically took their places (rewarded with fresh feed – that is his magic!) oblivious to being milked. With a gentle touch and crooning voice, Christian coaxes every last drop of milk out of every ewe’s teat, knowing each of the ladies personally from either front or back end.
Maggie loves a double entendre, thus her naming theme which depicts their personal characters as much as their cheeses, demonstrating they truly aren’t like everyone else. Chèvre Fatale (a spin on Femme Fatale), L’Apprenti Sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) all are distinct and memorable as well as very visual.
International renowned local artist & friend of the couple Koen de Winter is the talent behind each hand-drawn illustration. One cheese, Raclette, remains yet unnamed! Think about it as you dive into your Savvy Cool Curds – all name ideas are invited!
When asked, Maggie describes herself as a strong, potent cheese that bites back and Christian as a “pâte molle”, calm on the outside & all gooey on the inside. Both perfect in their own “whey.”
As you can see…and soon will taste… there is personality in each of the cheeses made by Maggie and Christian. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
• Cheese Tasting Notes •
Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too! All cheese photos were taken by Vanessa too.
Award-winning La Petite Folie (meaning a little fun) is the simplest of Maggie’s cheeses to make yet the most labour intensive to package, given the care it takes to preserve the integrity of the cheese. I consider it one of life’s little luxuries, a treat for yourself reflecting the best nature has to offer as a reflection of fresh, rich ewe’s milk.
Tasting Notes: Petite Folie is a soft, unripened pasteurized ewe’s milk cheese with mild lactic aromas, a rich, dense, silky texture and clean, milky-creamy flavours finishing with a hint of citrus.
Suggested Pairing: Pair with a robust grainy or seed bread or Enerjive Quinoa Crackers that we have popped into this month’s box. Mix in with crab, or top with smoked trout or salmon.
As far as labels go, the gorgeous illustration for La Petite Démone is my second favourite of all of Maggie’s product labels (first place goes to Chèvre Fatale with her puckering red lips).
Tasting Notes: Chèvre-style soft, fresh, unripened, pasteurized, goat milk cheese that comes in three flavors: plain, fine herbs and roasted red pepper. The texture is like velvet across your tongue and flavors are clean and herbaceous without being overpowering. Finishes with a characteristic tang that lingers. Notice no chalky texture or soapy aftertaste that can be common with many large-scale production goat milk chèvres (key indication of high quality milk).
Suggested Pairing: The sky’s the limit for pairing this cheese – stuff into the center of a homemade burger, perk up a Sunday morning omelet with a dab, or melt into mashed potatoes as your “secret ingredient”.
Inspired by her goat farming protégée and playing off popular TV series “Bewitched”, Maggie Paradis’ La Sorcière Bien Aimée, was born to add a brie type to the wonderful variety of other goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses she produces. I love Maggie’s cheeky attitude as she describes the aging of La Sorcière… “The cheese pouts at first, then it will cry, becoming a weepy mess…” My sentiments exactly, only they’re tears of joy in this case.
Tasting Notes: Handmade from whole natural milk, La Sorcière Bien Aimée has a good, clean goaty flavour with a hint of sweet grass and no bitterness, ammonia or aftertaste, even if a little overripe.
Suggested Pairing: A favourite pairing with this cheese is Michaelsdolce’s Spiced Cranberry or Spiced Cherry Jam.
Maggie is on the hunt for an official sexy name for this cheese. Once you’ve tried it pop her a note on Facebook with your ideas!
Tasting Notes: Maggie’s Raclette de Brebis is a pale straw colour, firm yet soft, curd-y & cooked pasteurized sheep milk cheese washed in raspberry wine from local Domain Mont Vézeau. Has a pleasant slightly sweet aroma and herbal, grassy and mild nutty flavours.
Suggested Pairing: Use in a traditional Raclette recipe either as half wheel or small slices. Enjoy melted on toast topped with bacon (suggest Seed to Sausage Black Pepper Molasses Bacon). Pair with unoaked Chardonnay.
Now this is a cheese for chilling out! A reflection of the cheesemaker herself, Maggie is laid-back, chilled, goes with the flow (thus the cheese’s name/label image) and doesn’t take life or herself too seriously (while remaining quite serious about making top notch artisan cheeses).
Tasting Notes: 100% pure pasteurized, firm, small wheel sheep’s milk cheese with an ivory slightly open (shows small holes) paste and thin, rustic, golden-hued washed rind. Creamy aromas compliment rich, milky, slightly toasty and fermented fruit flavours with a grassy finish making it the perfect match for Quebec iced or apple cider as used to wash the rind from neighbouring Verger Croque-Pomme.
Suggested Pairing: Serve shaved on homemade peach or apple pie. Or, as Maggie likes it, a bit aged, crumbly & dry with a good Port.
With La Petite Folie…
Recipe & photo credit: BonAppetit.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes
2 tablespoons cream cheese (La Petite Folie)
2 tablespoons raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
1-tablespoon honey or agave
Use a frozen whole grain waffle, or freeze leftover homemade waffles between sheets of waxed paper.
Toast a waffle and smear with cream cheese (La Petite Folie).
Using a fork, smash raspberries, blueberries or blackberries on top of the cream cheese (La Petite Folie).
Drizzle with honey or agave. Enjoy!
With La Petite Démone (Fine Herb)…
Recipe & Photo credit: FoodNetwork.ca
Maggie herself recommends the use of La Petite Démone on steak melted as a quick and easy sauce or garnish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
1 ½ cups Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
6 (5-6 oz.) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper to tast
2 oz. soft, fresh goat cheese (La Petite Démone Fine Herb)
Boil the balsamic vinegar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 of a cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Melt the butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet. Cover the cheese over the steaks and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with pepper.
Transfer the steaks to plates. Drizzle the balsamic sauce over and around the steaks and serve.
With La Sorcière Bien Aimée…
Recipe & Photo credit: Foodnetwork.ca
Maple season is here! Substitute luxurious La Sorcière Bien Aimée in this recipe and you’ll have a sure-fire crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package brie cheese (La Sorcière Bien Aimee)
1-cup maple syrup
2 apples, finely sliced
½ cup of brown sugar
1 bag Tostitos bite sized round tortilla chips
(or Vanessa’s addition fresh baguette thinly sliced)
Remove rind from top of brie (for easier dipping).
Make slices into the brie and insert apples.
Top with brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and apple as desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
With Raclette de Brebis…
Recipe & Photo credit: Dairygoodness.ca
This recipe substitutes sheep milk cheese for the cow’s milk cheese originally used, as it’s a perfect compliment to fresh, seasonal, spring asparagus.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 bunch of green and/or white asparagus (3/4 lb. or 350g), trimmed
60 ml homemade Gouda asparagus pesto
8 slices whole wheat bread
4 oz. (120g) of Le Moine Cheese (cut into 8 slices) – substitute Raclette de Brebis
Butter at room temperature
Gouda Asparagus pesto
1/4-cup (60 mL) raw almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of asparagus (about ¾ lb – 350 g), cut into 1˝ (2.5 cm) pieces
1 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) Aged Gouda, finely grated (substitute La Coulee Douce or last month’s Back Forty Bonnechere if you have any left!)
In a large saucepan, cook asparagus in salted boiling water for 2 min. Drain.
Spread Gouda asparagus pesto over 4 slices of bread and top each one with 2 cheese slices. (For Pesto – In a food processor, chop almonds and garlic, add asparagus and process until finely chopped, continue to process while gradually pouring in oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and add cheese, transfer to a jar and seal with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
Add asparagus, alternating green and white, placing the tips in one direction and then the other. (If the asparagus stems are too thick, cut in half lengthwise).
Cover with remaining slices of bread. Butter outside of sandwiches, and cook in a skillet on medium heat for 4–5 min on each side.
Cut each sandwich into quarters and serve with a green salad, if desired.
With La Coulée Douce…
Recipe & photo credit: Christian Begin – IGA
We eat with our eyes first! This gorgeous colors; yet simplicity of this recipe makes you want to devour it! Cut into smaller slices, it’s a perfect pre-BBQ appetizer.
olive oil, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 fairly thick slices of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix Cheese (substitute La Coulée Douce)
Honey, to taste
20 very ripe strawberries, quartered
60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
8 basil leaves finely minced
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
Cut baguette into 4 equal-length pieces and then slice each one lengthwise to obtain 8 pieces & brush the inside of the baguette pieces with olive oil. Sprinkle them with freshly ground pepper.
Place a slice of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix cheese onto each one. Drizzle with honey.
Broil until cheese has melted, watching carefully to ensure the bread doesn’t burn, about 2 minutes.
Remove crostini from the oven and top with fresh strawberries.
Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with minced basil. Serve immediately.