Portrait Gourmand | Stock up on good artisan cheese at Fromagerie du Vieux-St-François

Cheeses from the Fromagerie du Vieux-Saint-François

Laval is a huge island that still boasts a large agri-food sector, mainly in the Saint-François district. I had the pleasure of meeting Marc-André and Christelle Marchand from Fromagerie du Vieux-St-François, inspiring and passionate master cheesemakers who introduced me to their magnificent farm, their very endearing goats and their delicious cheeses and wide variety of products, all made from goat's milk. Young entrepreneurs with big ambitions!

How did your love affair with cheese begin?

Our father first raised dairy cows near Marieville on the South Shore. In 2001, we switched from cows to goats. It was a dream we'd had for a long time. But it wasn't until 2006 that we really started producing and selling our cheese. We then met Madame Latour, founder of Fromagerie du Vieux-St-François. She wanted to sell, and we were ready and willing to buy the farm.

Here, we have a variety of dairy goats (Alpine, African Nubian, Mohaire and Sahone). In all, we have around forty goats on our farm.

We're talking about a family business, so what's everyone's role within it?

I studied dietetics in Saint-Hyacinthe and had a little experience in food processing. My sister studied and worked in daycare. We learned a lot from Madame Latour and her team of cheesemakers, who taught us how to perpetuate their recipes and develop our own! My mother makes sausages and my father looks after the goats. My sister and I focus more on product and business development. I'm mainly in charge of production, and my sister is in charge of... everything else (laughs)!

What are the advantages of goat's milk?

It's very mild, easy to digest because it's similar to breast milk and contains very little fat.

What products do you produce, and what is available in your store?

We produce over 20 cheeses, including our award-winning Boule d'amour.

Our boutique in Laval's Vieux-Saint-François district is open year-round. We sell our cheeses, of course, but also non-homogenized whole milk, our goat cheese yogurt, gelato (in summer only, we sell it in cones) and our mother's homemade sausages made with goat meat, as well as a number of other artisan products that we love. In summer, we offer an ideal spot for picnics. We've recently set up an area with tables. We are often visited by cyclists, many of whom pass through the area.

What's your star product at the cheese dairy?

People love Les Bouchées d'Amour (all handmade, by the way). They're little bites of goat's cheese in a jar, covered with a seed oil that's flavored with chives, herbes de Provence, garlic and parsley, or plain. This product is delicious in pasta dishes, salads, on a bagel, etc.

Of course, there's our cheddar (plain and pink pepper) and Le Lavallois, an aged soft cheese with a bloomy rind made from pasteurized milk. Its white, fluffy rind has woody notes and a good taste of fresh mushrooms.

Our La Tomme du Haut-St-François cheese is excellent with a good beer (lager or red) and a sweet or dry white wine. This summer, we served our goat gelato and it was a real hit. Definitely worth a try!

We also offer a variety of meats from our farm: goat sausages, goat meat sausages, grain-fed chicken and more.

Where can we find your products?

You can buy our products at our boutique, La Fromagerie du Vieux-St-François, as well as in a number of fine grocery stores, including Chez Hamel, Bleu et persillé, Moisson Ste-Thérèse, Métro and IGA, and online at Les Fermes Lufa.

**La Fromagerie du Vieux Saint-François is part of the Saveurs de Laval directory.