It's a well-known fact — especially in Quebec — that wine and cheese are awfully fond of each other.
They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Finding the right pairing is sure to delight palates at your next dinner party, plus it will make you feel fancy AF.
In traditional French cuisine, the cheese plate is served after the meal as a kind of pre-dessert dessert and enjoyed with whatever wine is left in the bottle.
The French have been perfecting the art of haute cuisine since the first mustachioed French lord sat down to dinner at the manor house.
Thanks to them, Quebec is cheese country. And we've got hundreds of artisanal cheesemakers who are obsessively crafting the creamiest and most fragrant smelling cheeses in the world, even as we speak.
Some of these cheeses are made regionally, some are unique to specific farms, but each is influenced by the unique terroir of the region where they're produced.
That means a cheese adventure through the province is in order. Make sure to download the Route Des Fromages app before you grab your foodie friends and hit the road.
We've listed some of our favourite Quebec cheeses, where to find them, and suggested wine pairings to help you on your way.
Where: Alexis de Portneuf, Saint-Raymond, QC
Distance from Montreal: 2 hours and 45 minutes
This is a triple cream, a family of cheeses similar to brie but not quite — the cheese rabbit hole is so deep you can practically spend your entire life down there.
La Sauvagine is runny, buttery and has a hint of mushroom. It has won many international awards.
Where: L'Ancêtre, Bécancour, QC
Distance from Montreal: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Head on down to L'Ancêtre for its Baluchon: semi-soft with an orange sticky rind.
It's got buttery, herby and earthy vibes with a slight aftertaste of clover.
Alfred le Fermier
Where: Fromagerie La Station de Compton, Compton, QC
Distance from Montreal: 2 hours
Head on down to Fromagerie La Station de Compton for this firm, yet supple, cheese that has complex flavours of mushrooms, honey, wood, and fruit.
It's made with raw milk and ripened on wooden boards for up to 24 months.
It is produced on the Bolduc family farm and is named after its founder, Alfred (the farmer) Bolduc.
Where: Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte, La Sarre, QC
Distance from Montreal: 8 hours
The next time you find yourself up in La Sarre, make sure to visit Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte.
The cooler climate in the Abitibi area results in higher sugar content in the fields, which means the sheep up there make sweeter milk.
The cheese made from this milk is fresh, tangy and nutty. It's firm enough to grate over pasta and also makes for a swell grilled cheese sandwich.
Where: Fromagerie Blackburn, Jonquière, QC
Distance from Montreal: 5 hours
This firm cheese is produced at the family-owned Fromagerie Blackburn.
It's named after the family patriarch Napoléon Blackburn, not to be confused with the guy who tried to conquer Europe — but it's just as bold and daring.
Under the rind, this cheese has an orange colour and it has a fruity taste. It makes for a good quiche, soup or croque-monsieur.
Where: Le Fromage au Village, Lorrainville, QC
Distance from Montreal: 7 hours
This is a firm cheese with a mild garlicky flavour. The garlic is added during the cheese-making process.
It makes for a nice snack, an interesting addition to your cheese plate or to enhance certain dishes.
You can find it up at the Le Fromage au Village, which is a delightful place that produces handcrafted fresh cheese curds, raw milk cheddar and other fine dairy products.
Remember to say the magic words “I love cheese" and they'll take extra special care of you, states one online source.
Le Maria Chapdelaine
Where: Fromagerie La Normandinoise, Normandin, QC
Distance from Montreal: 5 hours and 40 minutes
This soft, white, fluffy rind cheese is made from pasteurized milk and tastes a bit like almonds. It goes nicely on bread with jam or jelly.
They make it over at Fromagerie La Normandinoise along with a number of other delicious artisanal products.
Le Ciel de Charlevoix
Where: Famille Migneron de Charlevoix, Baie-Saint-Paul, QC
Distance from Montreal: 4 hours
If you're looking for a nice introduction to the world of blue cheese that won't leave you overwhelmed by pungent flavours, this is the one to start with.
Where: Magasin de l'Abbaye d'Oka, Oka, QC
Distance from Montreal: 1 hour
This is perhaps the most well-known cheese in the province.
It was first produced by Trappist monks at Oka Abbey but the brothers have since closed it and moved to a smaller location called l'Abbaye Val Notre-Dame, where they're still producing delicious artisanal food.
Oka melts down very nicely so it's good for a croque-monsieur or croque-madame.
The SAQ recommends pairing it with a sparkling rosé.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
In Quebec, a vaccine passport is required to access many businesses and activities deemed non-essential, including restaurants and bars.