cheddarWhen I was growing up in the burbs of Toronto and someone mentioned cheese, it was code for cheddar.  It’s like that … most places that produce cheese have a lexical marker for cheese.  Just as in parts of Italy, formaggio means pecorino, in my neck of the woods cheese meant cheddar.  And not very good cheddar at that.  That slowly changed through the 80s and 90s as better, aged cheddars, like Balderson’s came on board, but the gauntlet has now been thrown down as Quebec cheddars begin to spread.  One of the best comes from Société Co-Operative Agricole Île-aux-Grues, makers of the now famous Le Riopelle de l’isle, and the lesser known Mi Careme.  If you’re a fan of Somerset cheddars like Montgomery’s or Keens, try to lay your hands on a well-aged piece of Île-aux-Grues Cheddar (chances are you might find a bit at About Cheese).  It’s a wondorously complex cheese. The tangy fruitiness comes across immediately, but it’s followed by a smooth transition to caramel and a pleasantly sharp aftertaste that lingers in the back of the mouth.  Incredible stuff.  And it’s made from 100% milk.  If you haven’t been folowing the Canadian cheese regulation debate, check it out at lait equitable