•Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
Canada’s cheeses are competing against Old World classics at the city’s finest cheesemongers. Here, six stinky stunners
1. Monforte Dairy Halloumi
This sheep’s milk cheese is exceptional brushed with olive oil, grilled or pan-fried, then eaten hot; the crusty exterior gives way to a squeaky-chewy interior. Available March through November at various farmers’ markets, including St. Lawrence Market North (93 Front St. E., 416-392-7120) on Saturdays. $2.50/100g.
2. Glengarry Cheesemaking’s Lankaaster Gouda
About Cheese carries this pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Ontario. It’s mellow enough to appeal to the stink-phobic, but complex enough to charm hardcore fromageophiles. The slightly sweet paste with a semi-firm texture makes for an awesome nibble or an upscale addition to a sandwich. $6.85/100g. 483 Church St. (at Wellesley St. E.), 416-925-8659.
3. Le Bleu d’Élizabeth
This organic, raw-milk cheese from Quebec’s Fromagerie du Presbytère is available at Thin Blue Line. It combines the mild mould of roquefort with the lush creaminess of a young gorgonzola. $7.60/100g. 93 Roncesvalles Ave. (at Pearson Ave.), 416-840-6966.
4. Handmade Salt Spring Island Blue Juliette Goat Cheese
A terrific goat’s milk cheese, this tangy number has timid blue notes and a creamy, slightly oozy paste that’s perfection when slathered on a crusty baguette. Luckily, Thin Blue Line carries those, too. $13.95/200g. 93 Roncesvalles Ave. (at Pearson Ave.), 416-840-6966.
5. Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar
La Fromagerie brings in this gauze-aged cheddar from P.E.I. The nutty flavour and grainy texture evoke a Dutch beemster, but it’s still an exceptional example of the cheesemaker’s art. $5.25/100g. 868 College St. (at Concord Ave.), 416-516-4278.
6. Fifth Town’s Cape Vessey
Not for the faint of heart, the 90-day-aged goat’s milk at The Cheese Boutique is for anyone who likes a little bit of flirtatious dominatrix in their cheese. There are pungent garlic notes, the paste is firm, and the grey, slightly creamy rind contributes to the noble rot. $7/100g. 45 Ripley Ave. (at South Kingsway), 416-762-6292.