Canadian cheese calendars for Advent

After years of only British cheese calendars available for the holidays, Canadians finally have an Advent calendar featuring Québec cheese.

Congratulations to Fromages CDA, the award-winning marketing agency led by Daniel Allard, for developing a tasting calendar for sale in Sobeys, IGA and Safeway stores—while supplies last.

Here’s how the 24-day cheese calendar works:
—Ideally, you’ll start tasting on December 1 and conclude on Christmas Eve.
—When you lift the perforated flap for each day, revealing a cheese sample, the name of the fromagerie and the cheese will be visible. In the photo, we have opened December 1 and 2, revealing Fromagerie le Fromage au Village/Coeur du village, and Fromagerie P’tit Plaisir/Lys de St-Gérard.
—With a small knife, pierce the plastic to uncover the cheese.
—Enjoy the treat and repeat the process again the next day.
In all, there are eight different cheeses in the package that retails for $39.95, a reasonable price for 650 grams of excellent artisan cheese. Each of the 24 pieces is 27 grams, a perfect amount for sampling.
The eight cheeses are:
Coeur du village, a cheddar made by Fromagerie le Fromage au Village in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Québec;
Lys de St-Gérard, semi-firm cheese, Fromagerie P’tit Plaisir, Eastern Townships;
Fontina, firm cheese, Fromagerie Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, Eastern Townships;
Meule des champs, firm cheese, Fromagerie Rang 9, Centre-du-Québec;
Noyan, semi-firm cheese, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Montérégie;
L’Ancêtre, organic cheddar, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Centre-du-Québec;
Fredondaine, firm cheese, Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte, Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
Le Désirable, cheddar flavoured with maple syrup, La Fromagerie du Terroir de Bellechasse, Chaudiere-Appalaches.
All of the above cheeses are made with cow’s milk. They are marketed under the Amour et Tradition banner by Fromages CDA and distributed across Canada.
If the Québec artisan cheese calendar has sold out where you shop, take the above list to your neighbourhood cheese shop and purchase the cheeses individually or have them ordered in for you.
Failing that, Progressive Dairy Canada has created Advent cheese calendars that you can download and print and then use as a guide for shopping and sampling:
Either way, enjoy plenty of excellent Canadian cheese as the holidays approach.
—Georgs Kolesnikovs
Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever. Follow him on YouTube at Strictly Cheese.

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