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La Maison Alexis de Portneuf “Le Cendrillon”

In the eyes of the artisan purist, today’s cheese might be considered a bit controversial… but it’s delicious either way. I’ll explain

Cheese: Le Cendrillon “Cinderella”

WhoLa Maison Alexis de Portneuf

Where: Saint-Raymond de Portneuf, Quebec

Milk Type: goat, pasteurized

Texture: soft

Rind: none, ash-covered

Shape: 4.4oz log

Flavor: more warm butter and cream than goat, light citrus tang

Given I’m located just hours from the border, I’m ceaselessly surprised how little Canadian cheese makes it here. Importation laws for foodstuffs between Canada and the US being what they are, guess I shouldn’t be.

At any rate, Le Cendrillon is a cheese I often see but have never picked up; my bad. For this is a wonderfully rich, thick and creamy goat cheese. It IS certainly a goat cheese, but it is far more buttery, creamy, warm and savory than it is goaty, tangy and strong. The dark vegetable ash coating and my experience with similar cheeses had me expecting a much more challenging flavor. Instead, I found my self quickly cleaning the plate of this one. It presents beautifully and would work nicely at the midpoint of a five-plus cheese board as you move into stronger cheeses.

As to the controversy, back in 2009 Le Cendrillon won the “World Cheese Championships”. In a sea of entries there’s certainly plenty of subjective judgement. The controversy is not that it won, but who makes it.

There is no Alexis de Portneuf. He’s a brand. Moreover, a brand created by Saputo. Therein lies the issue with purists… and I’d argue that I am one more than not when it comes to preferring truly handmade, artisan and local. Saputo is a VERY large manufacturer, home to dozens of brands with business in 50 countries. In many of there cheeses, the ingredients read more like a commodity product. But with Le Cendrillon, the ingredients are, yet, milk, culture, salt and ash.

That’s it.

No “modified milk solids” or additives.

I can’t claim to know or understand the manufacturing process that creates Le Cendrillon, but they are doing something right. Like the story of Cinderella, I’ll hold on to the notion that it’s more La petite Pantoufle de Verre than factory.

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