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December 03, 2005



On the topic of cheddar, have you tried Forfar or Empire? Both better than Balderson and Forfar is better than Empire. Mind you, Forfar used to be really good about fifteen years ago when they sold "Extra Old" white cheddar older than I. Now the aged cheese is only five or seven years, not quite as impressive but still quite good. But the cheese they don't sell anymore! (Too expensive to store; not enough space; etc.) Fell apart into little bits and it burnt your mouth.

I also recommend the fresh curd, made three times a week. Available at your local Lanark County gas station, grocery store, and from the factory itself (in, obviously, Forfar) -- just off of highway 15, five minutes from Portland and twenty-five from Smiths Falls. Some people think fresh curd goes on top of fries, but the real place it goes is on top of a burger from La Soyarie (now available at Loblaws and most quality food stores, such as Foodsmith's in Perth).


Actually, I've never been a big cheddar fan in general, and in Ottawa we rarely bought interesting cheeses. My mother did most of the grocery shopping (being a dutiful culinary apprentice, I tagged along regularly, but the decisions were hers), and she either always bought generic cheese or cheese like dill-infused Havarti or chili-infused "farmer's" cheese and things like that. Sometimes, Brie. She likes Brie. And blue cheese.

Around here, we have nothing equivalent to Loblaws. Most grocery stores do not even have the olive carts. The deli sections are pitifully small, so it's not like there's much choice in interesting cheddars. The Ottawa cheese is like the only particularly sharp non-generic cheddar, and it's only 9 months old. You have to go to trendy Trader Joe's or Whole Foods type places to get any selection. Whenever my parents visit me, they are invariably disappointed by the grocery shopping experience here, in a cosmopolitan American metropolis. I mean, you'd think they'd match stodgy Canadian *Loblaws*. Of course, if I readjust my tastes a little bit to Hispanic-type stuff, the selection improves but not by much.


Swiss and cheddar are about the only cheeses I eat. And curd. Rather pedestrian tastes!

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