Le Riopelle – Artist or Cheese?

A wedge of Riopelle cheese

The cheese, actually. But…

“Le Riopelle de l’Isle” is a triple cream cheese from Quebec. More specifically, from l’Isle-aux-Grues, which is part of an archipelago of islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence river east of Quebec somewhere between the Île d’Orléans and l’Île-aux-Coudre.
It is an artisinal cheese made by the dairy cooperative “La fromagerie de l’Île-aux-Grues”.

The Riopelle de l’Isle is a “blooming rind” cheese with a thin downy white mould rind. The “melt-in-your-mouth” center is creamy and smooth, reminiscent of rustic triple cream cheeses, with a salty and slightly acidic taste. It delivers delicious flavour and seductive texture, tasting of fresh milk and cream, a hint of soft butter and faint notes of mushroom. This cheese is positively “Zen Gourmand Approved”.

This cheese does borrow its name from the famous Canadian abstract impressionist painter Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923 – 2002) who was also the island’s most famous resident.
Just months before his death, the artist agreed to lend his name to the cheese and to allow the use of one of his masterpieces on its label stipulating that one dollar from every wheel sold is donated to an education fund for the islands youth.

I love cheese…

Anyone who knows me also knows I love cheese. Soft ones, hard ones, mouldy ones, stinky ones, blue veined ones… I love them all.
We don’t have any really great cheese shops where I live so it usually means a treck to Downtown Toronto where we have several excellent shops.
The one I frequent most, simply as a matter of convenience, not as an endorsement, is located in the St. Lawrence Market.
Extensive selection, reasonable prices and good service.
Now, I’m not a guru on cheese and will admit I often have to look up a cheese I’m not familiar with. This means I have to reach for the “World Encyclopedia of Cheese”, prominently featured on of my bookshelfs.
This is a fantastic book and has a ton of information on pretty much any cheese ever made anywhere in the world. It’s beatifully illustrated and even has some decent recipes along with some essential chapters on general cheese making, cheese types and how they are made, wine and cheese pairing considerations and how to assemble the perfect cheeseboard.
This is definitely a “Zen Gourmand Approved” book any cheeselover should have on the bookshelf.

The World Encyclopedia of Cheese The World Encyclopedia of Cheese An indispensible, fully ilustrated reference to cheeses of the world, combined with a fabulous collection of over 100 recipes.






Cheese Discoveries – Montboissie

Montboissie, Cows milk, semi-hard cheese (24%)

It is to Bernard’s credit (Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON) and his passionate persuit of fine cheeses for his restaurant that I discovered this marvel of gastronomic delight.

Produced by the Société Fromagère du Livradois in the heart of the Auvergne region, Montboissie is a pasteurized version of Morbier. Originally named after a little farm town in France.

Montboissié Cheeses
Montboissie Cheese

Montboissie is a semi-hard cheese with a layer of vegetable ash midway between top and bottom. Today, the ash is purely decorative, a nod to the method by which this cheese was once produced in Franche-Comte. Originally, the evening’s fresh curds were sprinkled with ash to prevent the formation of a rind overnight. The next morning, new curds were laid upon the thin layer of ash to finish off the wheel.
The wheel is then washed and rubbed by hand, forming a rind to protect the rich, creamy interior and create a delectably pungent aroma. Contrary to its smell it has a mild taste with a wonderful nutty aftertaste.
Perfect with tangy whites and light fruity reds.

I loved this cheese and look forward to getting my hands on some more.
If you’d like some, send me an email with your request and I’ll get you some!

Definitely “Zen Gourmand Approved”