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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Squeaky cheese curds

Updated: Apr 3

Best fresh on the day, these are a delicious treat available everywhere... in Québec!

Fresh cheese curds stall at Jean-Talon market, Montréal, Québec • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019

Cheese curds, which we call in French “Fromage en grain” (or in slang “fromage en crottes”), are unfinished cheddar curds made from fresh pasteurized milk. The moist, curdled milk pieces make a funny “squeak squeak” in the mouth, and that’s why it’s often called “squeaky cheese”. At the end of the 50s, dairy farmers created this product as a solution for selling their excess production milk. Since then, anywhere in Québec, you can buy cheese curds. They are fresh daily in supermarkets, fromageries (cheese shops) and dépanneurs (corner stores). It is best at room temperature, and after 24h, it must be refrigerated. It can still be good to eat, but then it gets very ordinary as the texture becomes different and the squeak effect is lost. Fresh cheese curds can be reproduced anywhere outside Québec but can be commercially challenging when there is poor demand. That is primarily due to the short life of the cheese. Cheese curds are essential to the traditional Québec Poutine, so this unique dish is the key to their continual production survival and success in the Belle province*.


Cheese curds on poutine at Fromagerie Victoria, Thetford Mines, Qc • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019

HOME COOKING TIPS

Cheese curds are white, mild and soft with a particular moist consistency, which makes a “squeak” sound and feels on teeth when bitten. They are yummy just as a snack and the best way to use them in a dish is on a classic poutine. If you visit Québec someday, don’t miss trying a traditional old-style poutine at any dairy farm region snack bar. In Montreal, go to La Banquise, where the poutine has been revolutionized. For more info about the dish and how to reproduce a poutine at home, read my Poutinology post and stay tuned for more…! I have been experimenting with making cheese curds at home and succeeded on my second trial. By gathering all the best methods together, I will have many tips and sources to tell you how to make cheese curds at home with easy-to-find ingredients.


* La Belle Province is a nickname for Québec but also the name of a fast-food chain that serves poutine among other greasy favourites like club sandwiches, hot dogs, smoked meat sandwiches, and souvlaki pitas.


Cheese curds and poutine, yes please! • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2018-19


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