Presbytère, which refers to the rectory in which the creamery is headquartered, makes mostly Swiss-style cheeses, including one that mixes sheep and cow’s milk (the only one we had on the trip) and an amazingly pungent, almost spicy blue.
In the summer, Perrault said, “you need to call ahead to reserve your cheese curds, and the lawns out front are covered with picnics.”
. . .
Driving to each cheese maker is an incredibly inefficient way to taste cheeses. En route, we pulled up to an enormous factory and into the headquarters of a local producer that was also, inexplicably, a poutine-pedaling fast food establishment. If it were just cheese we had wanted, we could have stayed in the city. At the cheese shops in Montreal and Quebec City we met many helpful, friendly, and generous cheesemongers happy to share their wares and their knowledge.
But visiting the cheese makers added a dimension beyond nose or texture. Dubois had said that cheese was an expression of identity in Quebec, but the reverse was also true. Driving the lanes, watching the land change from hills to pastures, turning around in lakeside driveways, pointing out houses of unbelievably perfect proportions, all of this mattered. Even metal-clad barns standing almost like sculpture in the fields can be thought of as elements of terroir, and these made the drive all the more worthwhile.
Martin A. Connelly can be reached at email@example.com.