Our man in the field, Terry Nak, cast his net wide into the culinary ocean. What he pulled on board was a duo of rare salmon & tuna sashmi with chipolte ailoi & yuzu soy reduction, respectively.
Seared foie gras, Japanese eggplant, enoki mushrooms & miso glaze.
Last of the “first” courses, but certainly not least, was a recipe our president Elaine had her eye on for a while. Seared slice of foie gras with roasted Japanese eggplant, taro crisps, & enoki mushrooms; bathed in a miso glaze.
With the ball being hit out of the park with each successive course prepared, our two scheduled main courses had a lot to live up to…
The second seminar in our ongoing Taste Talks series focused on Quebec artisan cheeses, and we were very lucky to have expert Lise Morissette from Plaisirs Gourmet lead our two sessions.
Lise greeting attendees from Oudekirk & Taylor of Guelph and from The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
We were lucky enough to have nine of the best Quebec cheeses available here in Ontario. Differing somewhat in style from our European seminar, all were treated to wonderful anecdotes and personal stories of the creation of many of these cheeses. Plaisirs Gourmets have been on the forefront of the Quebec artisan cheese movement for many years, and were actually instrumental in helping to create some of the cheeses we enjoy today.
Big, beautiful Petits-Vieux… note the visibly delicious curd structure!
A new arrival to our warehouse was the Petits-Vieux from Fromagerie Medard. A firm, brushed rind cheese that has a nose heavy with mineral notes and engaging mustiness, a hallmark of actually being aged in a stone cellar. With a texture reminiscent of the large traditional cheese of the Auvergne region in France, Cantal, its flavour is like a fine, mildy piquant cheddar blended with cultured butter.
While both of the below blue cheeses; Rassembleu & Fleuron, hail from the Laurentides north of Montreal, the pale ivory Tomme des Demoiselles in the back has a slightly longer journey to your table. Made from the milk of a single herd of vache Canadienne in the Madeleine Islands by Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent, this cheese would require a five hour ferry, and then a twenty-ish hour drive to Quebec City…. Fortunately, it arrives by boat and gets to skip the whole Nova Scotia-New Brunswick-Gaspe Peninsula road trip we would have to endure.
Three more ready to be presented… Fleuron, Rassembleu, & Tommes des Demoiselles.
I would be quite remiss not to discuss Fleuron, the simply wonderful blue pictured above. I have a special place in my heart, as it is my favourite Quebec blue cheese. Using their own certified organic milk, it is one of only four cheeses made by the Alary family at Les Fromageries de la Table Ronde. Soft, creamy, and with subtle blue veining, Fleuron has a complexity not often rivaled. It has a grassy bitterness similar to that of the highest quality Spanish olive oils, and a salinity that reminds one of the ocean… so one could easily be forgiven for wanting to melt a wedge into a bowl of new crop baby potatoes…and then having a long nap.
The plates of our labours.
The full list of cheeses from the tasting plate above are as follows: Rang des Iles, 14 Arpents, Belle-Mere, Petits-Vieux, Tomme des Demoiselles, Menestrel, Zacharie Cloutier, Rassembleu, & Fleuron. As a nice treat to end the tasting, we were all given a healthy chunk of Riopelle d’Isle, the venerable stalwart of Quebec artisan cheese.
Lise getting into high gear, describing the cheese making process of 14 Arpents & Rang des Iles.
The milk for the cheeses of Fromagerie Medard that Lise is passionately describing in the above photo come from the family farm that has been in the possession of the Medard family for five generations, since 1881. As the story goes, they acquired the 100 acres for farming from a grant from the Quebec government, giving land to families with 12 living children… TWELVE!
From left: Petit-Vieux, Belle-Mere, Rang des Iles, & 14 Arpents
Another Taste Talk in the books… I have it on good authority that the next few will feature some of our some of favourite meats… so check back for details soon!
We have successfully made the move into our new warehouse located in the heart of Toronto, and we are happily up and running. We now have over 2500 extra feet of warehouse space and a newly renovated office space with a beautiful test kitchen that is perfect for trying out all of our products with you!
We are looking forward to inviting you to visit our new space once all of our renovating is complete!
*Please note that we are currently experiencing difficulty with our toll free 1 800 number. Please use our new local number, 647-352-8077, to get in touch with us.
Our business is largely dependent on effective and efficient transportation. Some of our products arrive via air transport or sea transport, but the majority arrives via trucks. At La Ferme we like to control the transportation process as much as is possible to ensure that all of our products remain at the correct temperature from the farmer or supplier right through to our customers’ doorsteps. We have a fleet of five temperature controlled vehicles to deal with our transportation needs.
We prefer to pick up inventory on a weekly basis from all of directly from our suppliers, wherever possible, on our own refrigerated vehicles. We have trucks in the Toronto and Montreal regions every Tuesday dedicated to this mission. Each Tuesday evening our Quebec inventory is driven back to our Pefferlaw warehouse, arriving at our loading docks by 6:00am Wednesday morning (we hope!), where it is immediately received and then shipped out to our customers on La Ferme refrigerated vehicles over the next few days.
Of course, there are some suppliers and customers that we cannot access directly so we need to partner with our transportation companies to get the job done. Our primary partner throughout Ontario and Quebec is ERB Transport. ERB specializes in temperature controlled transportation and has a fleet of several hundred vehicles on the road at all times. And this is something we know from personal experience. Our daily drives between Toronto and Pefferlaw consume many hours each day. In order to pass the time away, we have come to enjoy the old childhood game of ”I spy with my little eye…”. Instead of spotting new things each time however, we have taken to always looking for ERB trucks. Our drives are made infinitely more exciting with the spotting of an ERB truck. It would seem that we are successful in our quest about 80% of the time. Our record so far is 6 ERB trucks on one drive – now that was a great day!
Check out our delivery schedule to see when we are delivering to your neighbourhood.