Quebec is gaining international cheese influence boasting some 300 varieties province wide. Our stinky status is not going unnoticed either. From Cantonnier to Pied-de-Vent, we come bearing gifts some of which are of the blue veined variety. A force to be reckoned with, the Francophone royals are bathed in a perfume that only raw milk could lend. It is no longer achievable to take Quebec with a grain of "fleur de sel" or so to speak. We have a voice and it says "Fromage".
And then there's the cheese curd. Firm and unripened, the curd commonly contains about 27% milk fat and is made from our old familiar buddy, cheddar.
And what more can be said about one infamous little morsel that makes a golden french fry turn two shades of poutine. Lots I'm afraid, as it possess a strong little voice with a mild flavour. The cheese curd is somewhat of a scarcity anywhere else but in Quebec and Wisconsin (not unlike the "relationship" between Prince Edward Island and Idaho where potatoes are concerned). So why has it not garnered popularity outside of two unrelated land masses?
This is mainly due to the unripened curd's main attribute, freshness. Without this one key aspect, a cheese curd is stale and unmentionable. The texture of the said must be springy, moist (almost wet) with a slightly squeaky bite. To avoid a dry out, curds are better consumed the same day as distribution thus requiring the need for a neighborhood cheese factory. As an example, the Outaouais region in Western Quebec receives most of it's supermarket curd from La Trappe À Fromage an established Fromagerie.
So what is curd exactly and why do we care? Curd is a process by way of cutting through the cheese to release water and whey (the liquid obtained from milk after curdling). Rennet also plays a major role at the commencement of this production as it has been bestowed the super power of separation. The enzyme reacts with a protein to form curd. And finally, why do you care? Mind blowing details like these can only produce a simply delicious result, that must be tried at least once in a lifetime.
If ever you happen upon a bag of cheese curds, I urge you to buy one, if only for curiosity purposes. Before diving in, detect for freshness. Curds are categorized as the lesser of the stinkiest cheese on the planet and leave a mild and almost creamy aroma comparable to that of cream cheese. Now bite into one and experience the texture. It may be perceived as odd at first but as your tastebuds sense what has been unleashed it will be like a potato chip in that all bets are on, you cannot eat just one!