Confession: I do not own a fondue pot.
And yet there are few things better than a bunch of friends sharing a pot of gooey cheese. When people ask about my favourite food, my answer – not that I could possibly choose one thing – it would depend on the day and my mood/location/appetite and the occasion and season – is inevitably something that contains some form of melted cheese. (Most of the time.) It’s the sort of thing that elicits the most enthusiastic response when presented to a room full of people. And what’s easier to serve with beer and wine? It’s so universally loved, our annual Christmas party has a cheese theme – in no small part because I love having miscellaneous ends to nibble and turn into baked dips and mac and cheese all winter long.
It’s a dream, of course, when someone requests that I take some Quebec cheeses for a spin, and ships me a box. We celebrated its arrival one Friday afternoon by inviting a few of our favourite people over. The cheeses came from Alexis de Portneuf, a Quebec fromagerie that remains in the same rural village where founders Alexis Cayer and his wife, Jane Skinner, settled in 1842 – a spot they found had fertile land for pasture along the St. Anne River, by the rolling Laurentians. This is the kind of backdrop I imagine fromageries should exist.