Whenever a road trip takes us into Northern Ontario, we always plan a stop at Nickel City Cheese in Chelmsford near Sudbury.
The beginning of our road trip out West was no different, except we had a special anniversary to celebrate: 44 years in love.
Who would have thunk that chance encounter on August 25, 1978, during registration at the Russian Academy of Classical Ballet in Toronto would lead to this: An anniversary celebration in Room 112 at Valley inn Motel in Azilda on the outskirts of Sudbury, Ontario, a short drive from Nickel City Cheese in Chelmsford where from the on-site food shack we ordered delicious deep-fried curds, an excellent poutine with curds that really squeak, and a house-made pogo stick that we shared as a meaty app.
The libation was a lovely Grand Cru champagne, Brimoncourt Extra Brut, gifted to us by good friends Maris and Sarmite on the occasion of my recent 80th birthday. Smooth and creamy, it elevated our simple meal to unexpected heights.
Nickel City Cheese is the outcome of a dream Nicole Paquin cherished for many years while toiling as a civil servant in the Ontario Attorney General’s ministry in Sudbury. She was originally from Québec and grew up with fresh curds readily available.
“I remembered the fromage des villages from where I grew up in Québec, and wanted to bring that here,” she said. “We had fresh cheese on a regular basis.”
She took early retirement, studied cheesemaking at University of Guelph, and in August, 2018, opened the doors of Nickel City Cheese.
She makes cheddar exclusively and offers nearly 20 flavours of fresh cheese curds. Thus, it was a natural progression to open a Poutinerie run by her son next to the creamery. And, eventually, a donut shop that features funnel cake, and now an ice cream stand, too.
The milk comes from a Dairy Farmers of Ontario co-op supported by 14 local farms.
On our return trip from the Rockies, we planned to again stop in Chelmsford for deep-dried curds and the excellent poutine. Much to our chagrin, we found the Poutinerie closed for the season—even though the website says it will be open until November 1.
To add insult to injury, the fast-food joint in Chelmsford that specializes in deep-fried chicken ran out of chicken just as we placed our order, so we ended up eating barely warm burgers for dinner back at the motel.
Dare we visit Chelmsford again?
Footnote: In a recent email, Nicole Paquin confirmed the poutinerie, donut shop and ice cream shop are closed for the season while the cheese shop hours are as follows:
- Monday to Friday—10am to 5:30pm
- Saturday to Sunday—10am to 5pm
Nickel City website: https://nickelcitycheese.ca/
Nickel City on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickelCityCheese