Review: The Festival of Quebec Cheeses

March 2, 2010 · 3 comments

in General Food

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Garlic Flower Cheese
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Every year in Complexe Desjardins, the Festival of Quebec Cheeses, as part of the Montreal Highlights Festival, takes place as a free event for all to experience. This year, the SAQ had a wine tasting expo featuring Portugal’s finest wines. Since I was at the show for a little while and my consumption of wine was that of a kid in a candy store, I will tell only what I can recall: my favorite from each category.

Cheese: Le Fromage au Village Fleurs D’ail (made with garlic flowers)

Out of all the cheeses I sampled, this was the one that I couldn’t get enough of. Who doesn’t like garlic? I love it. Yes, LOVE it. A firm, unripened cow’s milk cheese spiked with bits of garlic flowers just enough to make you appreciate everything from the way it melts in your mouth, to the smooth and hypnotizing aroma of garlic. But it’s not what you think. There are no garlic pieces in the cheese, just the flower of the garlic plant. The difference between the two, as explained to me by the cheese maker, is that the garlic clove causes some digestive issues in some people while the flower does not contain that chemical that causes the reaction. Also, that little green stem that is often seen sprouting out of a garlic clove is the base of the flower. We don’t see it in grocery stores because they don’t last very long, and they are not in as high demand as the bulb. Instead of creating a strong pungent flavor, an almost calming and, dare I say it, soothing taste shines through. This cheese is a 10/10. I would buy this for any wine and cheese party.

Beer: Super Bock (6.4%)

I truly enjoy my beer, which is why I look forward to the International Beerfest every year. Any chance I get to try something new, I take full advantage. There’s nothing like that true microbrewery taste that makes your lips smack and go wow! That is how I felt about Super Bock except the fact that it is NOT a microbrewery. It’s actually a very popular beer from Portugal that I truly enjoyed. A dark amber color with a smooth and pleasant foam swirled around my mouth. Usually when people say that a drink has “rich caramel notes” or “hints of plum and dark cherry” it makes me furious for 2 reasons: it sounds snobby and I can never tell. With this beer, as it says so on the card I was given, I can actually taste these hints and notes (whatever that means). Bottom line is, I liked it enough to go back twice. I can see this beer sitting in a metal bucket filled with ice by the pool under the sun while I enjoy every sip.

Wine: I liked them all!

I tried Jose Maria da Fonseca (a white and red), and Quinta do Mouro (port). All the wines were very good. Since I am not a wine connoisseur, I feel it isn’t right if I describe them…because I can’t. All I can say is that they were very good and I would bring them to a BYOW any day.

Going back and forth between the wines and cheeses brought out the foodie in me. I reminded me of how diverse cheeses can be and that the Quebec cheese market is alive and well. They truly make some of the most delicious and diverse cheeses I’ve ever tasted. I look forward to next year’s Festival of Quebec Cheeses…and I’ll try to brush up on my wine skills.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jackie b March 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

DUSTIN.
IS THIS MAGICAL FESTIVAL OVER?!

please notify me of future food-related festivals, hungry girls love testing!!!!

p.s. that garlic flowered cheese sounds tremendous. where is it available in town?

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fudgiebakes March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Can’t believe I didn’t know about this festival, I’m all about the wine tasting anything in MTL. You should definitely check out the Salon des Vins at the end of March at Palais des Congres.

On a side note….any good BYOW you can recommend?

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Food Guy Montreal March 10, 2010 at 12:19 am

I always liked Steak Frites on St. Paul and the Blue Lotus on Duluth, a couple blocks west of St. Denis.
Thanks for reading!

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