Abbey de Saint-Benoit-du-lac was founded in 1912 by a group of monks exiled from France in 1901. After settling for a time in Belgium, a small group travelled to Quebec just before the outbreak of World War I. Upon arrival, they purchased land located about 100 miles southeast of Montreal on Lake Memphremagog. With a motto of “pray and work,” the monks established apple orchards for the production of apple sauce and cider, and in 1943, constructed a cheese-making facility. Today, the Abbey now produces several styles of cheese including blues, gruyère style cheeses, and Ricotta. Created in 2000, Blue Benedictine is an award winning cow’s milk blue with a grey and white mottled natural rind.
Aged for three months, Blue Benedictine’s texture is smooth and buttery. Its aroma is of mushrooms and the paste is off-white in color with blue-green veins running throughout. The monks use Penicillium Roqueforti (the same blue used in Roquefort) in this cheese, which makes for a nice contrast in flavor to the rich paste that has a touch of earthiness and salt.
Pair this blue with a nice fruit forward red such as a Pinot Noir or Grenache.