Squeaky cheese curds
Updated: Jan 30
Best fresh on the day, these are a delicious treat available everywhere... in Québec!
Cheese curds, that we call in French “Fromage en grain” (or “fromage en crottes”) are simply 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 of production milk. In our days, anywhere in Québec, you can buy cheese curds. They are available fresh on the day in supermarkets, fromageries (cheese shops) and dépanneurs (corner store). It is best at room temperature and after 24h it must be refrigerated. It can still be good to eat but then gets very ordinary as the texture becomes different and the squeak effect is lost. Fresh cheese curds can be reproduced anywhere else outside Québec, but can be commercially challenging when there is poor demand. That is mostly due to the fact of the short life of the cheese. Cheese curds are an essential element to the traditional Québec Poutine, so this unique dish is the key to the continual production survival and success in the belle province*.
HOME COOKING TIPS
When I get keen enough to make my own at home like some Québecois expats do, I might be able to say more about the process of making this cheese. Cheese curds are white, mild and soft with a particular moist consistency, which makes a “squeak” sound and feel on teeth when bitten. They are yummy just as a snack and the best way to use them in a dish is of course on a classic poutine. If you visit Québec some day, don’t miss trying a classic old style poutine at any dairy farm region snack bar and in Montreal at La Banquise where the poutine has been revolutionized. For more info about the dish and how to reproduce a poutine at home, see first the tips on my Poutinology post and stay tuned for more…
* La Belle Province is a nickname for Québec but also the name of a fast-food chain that serves poutine among all the greasy favourites like club sandwiches, Montreal hot-dogs, smoked meat sandwiches and souvlaki.
Cheese curds and poutine, yes please • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
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