Wednesday, May 24, 2017

the cheese stands alone

If you know me at all, you know how I love cheese. As a child when my mom played tennis, I walked across the street to the cheese store to ask for tastes. 
I knew the day was off to a good start when Delphine, my hostess from Lyon, served French toast for breakfast. French toast with grilled cheese, caramelized apples, local bacon, and maple syrup.
And Quebec fromage is not just any cheese. Look at this golden gate at Fromagerie DuFour! Delphine assured me their cheese was very good, and when a Frenchwoman recommends cheese, you listen.

I had hoped to take a tour at nearby Laiterie Charlevoix, but they were not yet open for the season, except the store. Still I managed to buy a hunk of Hercules, and more local pate.
Yesterday, on the way back from Saguenay Fjord, I stopped in at St-Fidele and got a big bag of cheese curds. Although they're made from cheddar, they aren't sharp like cheddar. As promised, they squeak when you eat them. (No, really. Which means you laugh when you eat them.) 
I was amused to see cheese curds sold everywhere in small bags, by the cash register, like a pack of gum or a bag of chips would be at home. Most string cheese tastes like rubber by comparison.
Then it was time to hit the road and work my way West. I'm spending the night in Trois-Rivieres (three rivers), which has splendid architecture and a beautifully restored Centre-ville (Downtown). 

 The brick buildings remind me a little of Manhattan or of Vassar, although the tin roofs are a giveaway.
Perhaps because it was sunny, this building feels welcoming rather than foreboding. Everyone was in a very friendly mood.
Here's the view from the gazebo at my hotel, looking out on Lac St-Pierre, which is what the becalmed St Lawrence River is called in this area. 
I treated myself to an elegant dinner. In Quebec, they are into courses. This is torchon de foie gras, which is illegal in California. I only felt a little guilty. Served with microgreens, berry compote, and a glass of Quebec wine.
Of course when I turned on the TV, there was a show on about cheese making. If this keeps up, I'm going to need another suitcase.