The Friday Gathering, a massive migraine and the quest to stay hydrated were all part of my Friday while I was in Quebec. I woke up at 4:30 AM to start my day, the room was pitch black and it was still too bright for my eyes. I had a massive migraine and had to go back to bed. I was not too happy because I wanted to make cheese and help out with the Friday Gathering at the Fromagerie, and Chef Shufelt was cooking smash burgers on a woodfired grill. How could I miss it, how could I miss a day of cheesemaking?
Once my migraine abated, I headed back to the Fromagerie to help out with the Friday Gathering. This little town grows from about 300 to well over 1000 people. Every Friday in the summer, “The Gathering” has live music, food and of course cheese. Chef Shufelt ran the grill, cooling 400 burgers 16 at a time for the crowd waiting for a chance to try more of Jeff’s Waygu – x – Holstein beef. There was even a “curd burger” made with fresh cheese curds in and on top of it. I am not a poutine fan, but I could get behind this use of cheese curds.
I left the Fromagerie early and picked up some brightly coloured sports drink and headed back to my hotel for the night. I knew I had a big day of cheesemaking tomorrow. I would be helping to make Louis D’Or, the Fromagerie’s best cheese in my opinion.
Saturday I woke up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and headed to the Fromagerie. I met with Jean, the owner, and his cheesemaker. We then went to get ready and wait for the milk to arrive. Once it arrived it was time to get down to business. We had two 1500 litre batches of Louis D’or to make and they wanted to be done by Noon/1:00 PM at the latest. I understand why they start at 6:00 am now.
Saturday’s cheese-making was more “hands-on” than Thursday’s. It was only myself and the Louis D’or cheesemaker in the main part of the plant. There were people in the retail area and one other worker who was cleaning and looking after Friday’s Brie make. He was nice enough to show me around the cheese ageing rooms. He was also one of the people who cared for the cheeses in the rooms.
I was used to only making cheese once a day, this was quite the eye-opener when it came to running a larger facility. Everyone knows there jobs, and they do them well. We finished around 1 PM and then it was time for a bite to eat.
One of the great things about Fromagerie du Presbytère is that they have their own retail shop. Not only can you purchase cheese to take home, but they also have cheese boards with a selection of all the cheeses produced in their facility, including those from Fromagerie Nouvelle-France, a sheep cheese producer that shares the facility.
I will cherish my trip to Quebec and to Fromagerie du Presbytère always. My mother’s side of the family were Quebec Dairy Farmers until the late ’60s and I was surprised to find out my Grandfather’s old farm was about an hour away, near Compton, but that trip will have to wait for another time. It is almost the end of September and I am itching to make cheese again.