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What Are Some Good Canadian Cheeses?

grey owl cheese by fromagerie le detour
Which Canadian cheeses and cheesemakers do you steer your customers toward?
The province of Quebec produces the greatest variety of cheeses in Canada, and because of their French heritage, many of these are based on French styles, especially washed rinds. The most famous of these is Oka, from the region of the same name. This washed rind was created by the Trappist monks who settled in the region in the early 1600s.

Some of our current favorites are Grey Owl, an ash-covered, soft goat cheese, and Magie de Madawaska, a soft, creamy delight in the style of Pont-l’Évêque. Both are from the Fromagerie Le Détour. We also like the triple crème Brie-style Riopelle de l’Isle and the excellent aged Cheddar de l’Île-aux-Grues, both from the Fromagerie de l’Île-aux-Grues.

From Prince Edward Island, home of Anne of Green Gables, comes Avonlea, a magnificent two-year-old unpasteurized clothbound cheddar with bright, fruity tones of pineapple and citrus.

Our most popular cheese is a soft, creamy chèvre, which comes from the Okanagan Valley in BC’s interior. Also, our house-made cider-marinated camembert is sought after. We have been making this according to an old Normandy recipe for close to 20 years now. We use a triple crème from Quebec and marinate in scrumpy cider made right here on Vancouver Island at the Merridale Ciderworks. As far as I know, we are the only ones in Canada making anything like this.

Feature Photo Credit: Peasant Cheese Shop

Eric McLean

Eric McLean is the co-owner of McLean’s Specialty Foods in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which opened on scenic Vancouver Island in 1992. He and his wife Sandy count both Canadians and Americans among their longtime customers.