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The cheesemaker is the link that enhances the terroir, the Canadienne breed and the labours of local producers. At the food processing stage, the network comes full circle, ensuring financial spin-offs for each of its members. This is a genuine partnership! Moreover, Laiterie Charlevoix reimburses a portion of the plus-value to its producers, and also pays a fee to the Association.

Well rooted and involved in the community for more than sixty years, this family-run business is also a Cheese Economuseum®. With the disappearance of local dairy farms as one after the other they have ceased operations, it became urgent to act or milk would soon need to be brought in from elsewhere. Laiterie Charlevoix decided to change directions. It chose the path towards cheeses strongly and intimately tied to their terroir. The establishment fervently wishes to take up the enormous challenge of developing the traditional-type Canadienne breed of bygone days

 « By proposing production in a niche market, we’re contributing to changing the model. Your geographic yoke – once perceived as a veritable handicap – becomes your strength. Here, our type of well delimited terroir enables us to produce milk that is truly typical to Charlevoix. » Dominique Labbé, master cheesemaker.

Master cheesemaker Dominique Labbé
accompanied by Fabienne Thibeault
at Laiterie-Charlevoix, in Baie-St-Paul.
Photo - Jean-Pierre Debarbat

 

 Le 1608 - CHEESE MADE EXCLUSIVELY FROM CANADIENNE COW’S MILK

With two herds newly established in Charlevoix in Summer 2007, a biology conservation specialist already settled in the region and a master cheesemaker, all the elements had finally come together to make this adventure a success. By Fall 2007, Laiterie Charlevoix set to work and began the lengthy process of developing a new cheese made exclusively with milk collected from two Canadienne herds.

True to its origins, Le 1608 finds its inspiration in pure mountain tradition. From the pastures to the drying room, its cheesemaking process brings to mind operations typical to France’s Savoie region, with its Beaufort and Abondance cheeses. A cooked cheese, it is then pressed and ripened for 60 to 90 days. Wheels weigh on average 8 kg. Evoking the early days of the Canadienne breed, which was closely tied in with the arrival of the French to the New World, it is not surprising to find in this cheese’s very name a wink to the past, as it underscores the exceptional origins of this little cow so clearly rooted in our past, and the particular character of the product it brings to the table - Le 1608.

Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul launched this new cheese in Quebec City on August 7th, 2008 at the official opening of the public market at Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France. For the event and as part of Quebec City’s 400th Anniversary Celebrations, a Canadienne cow set foot where four centuries before, the earliest cattle arrived in Quebec City. The moment was fraught with meaning as it recalled both the Canadienne cow’s past, and its future. Le 1608 is the result of an exceptional collaboration between dairy producers and Laiterie Charlevoix, under the stewardship of an association that aims to reintroduce the Canadienne breed in Charlevoix, and by the same token reinstate its letters patent of nobility.

 

After 400 years, a Canadienne cow
sets foot on Place Royale in Quebec
City, accompanied by Jacynthe
Gagnon (Fédération de l’UPA Rive
Nord), Dominique Labbé (Laiterie
Charlevoix), Steve Tremblay
(Ferme Hengil) and Mario
Duchesne (ADCC).

Photo – Robert Benoit