Discovering Our Favourite Cheese Places in Quebec & Ontario
Counting down our Five Favorite Cheese Places
We love cheese and whenever we travel, we try to discover a new destination to buy cheeses and derivatives. Giving preference to production is important to us. As well, we know the producers put not only hard work but much attention and affection in craft, all whilst offering a personal service.
Today we share with you the top 5 favourite places we usually go in Quebec and Ontario whenever we feel like going for a short daytrip. Our usual goal is to come back with fresh cheeses and products, but we also include other attractions in the mix! This list is not exhaustive, but these are the ones we usually go back for seconds!
1. Abbaye de Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Cheese
The Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey is located 1h30minutes from Montreal downtown and it’s one of our favourites places to visit because we can buy cheese and escape to a beautiful countryside region!
We found a little oasis when we discovered this place. First, there’s a free or guided tour of the colourful Abbey which is something worth checking out. If you go with the guided tour, you’ll receive detailed explanations of the Abbey, get to interact with the guide and gain access to behind the scene sights leading to picturesque landscapes.
As per the history of the Abbaye de Saint-Benoit, the dairy farm was inaugurated in 1943. At first, the monks exclusively produced a blue cheese, called l’Ermite. In a gradual process, other cheese products were added. Today, we count twelve kinds of cheeses from Swiss, to hard blue-veined, smoked blue cheese and more. It doesn’t stop here, since you’ll also find other delicious products such as apple ciders, chocolates and delicious fruit jellies.
Different every season
We recommend a visit to the Abbey during each season! During the summertime you’ll discover the beautiful landscapes, in the fall there’s nature’s beautiful orchestra of colors with the addition of apple picking! During winter, the Abbey and surrounding forest resemble a winter wonderland and lastly you’ll want to visit during springtime to get out of the house after a long winter!!
We encourage you to take this opportunity to visit with family, friends or even by yourself for a beautiful escape in the nature!
2. Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc
You might have heard of Fritz Kaiser from the “Circuit du Paysan”, which translates to Farmer’s circuit or tour. This place is tucked away in a little town called Noyan, located 4 miles north of the US border and one hour away from downtown Montreal. We’re guaranteed that you will love the Farmer’s circuit, and encourage you to visit their website or grab yourself a map and touristic guide for wine, honey, natural products and of course “CHEESE” !
Grab your ticket
With this description, you might imagine Fritz Kaiser as a small and quiet cheese factory in a small rural town. This image would immediately change the minute you visit on a Saturday afternoon! A word of advice, don’t forget to grab a number on your way in because this might set you back. Kaiser Fritz uses the ticket system from the bakeries and butcher shops era. While waiting for your turn, you can check out various products in their store and we strongly recommend that you indulge in the free cheese samples from the countertops!
Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser owner began making cheeses in 1981 according the traditions of his home country, Switzerland. They are the pioneering leader in the Canadian “Raclette”, for this reason you’ll find a great cheese selection for “raclette”. Raclette is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese that is usually fashioned into a wheel and most commonly used for melting on a specifically made grill.
Loads of selection
Their shop has not only a great cheese selection, but they also sell fresh baguette bread, lots of jellies, chocolates and dairy products. We also love to visit this place for the scenic view in front of the shop. Across the street from Kaiser’s you will find a giant Map of the circuit which is where we discovered its existence. During summertime, pack a lunch or grab everything you need from Fritz Kaiser’s and enjoy eating outdoors on the picnic tables.
Tips: Their shop is usually really busy. When you just go inside, you should take a number and wait to be called to order. So, if you go earlier morning is not that busy as lunch time for example. Just be patient, because it’s worth to wait!
3. Fromagerie Des Basques – Trois-Pistoles
Located in the beautiful region of Trois-Pistoles – Quebec. This is a perfect place to combine a great travel destination with a perfect stop for a sandwich, snacks or just load up on cheese and bread!
The sad news it’s almost 5 hours away from downtown Montreal. Luckily, we discovered this place on our way back from Gaspé. When in Quebec City, it’s a mere 2.5-hour drive and 2 hours from Tadoussac with the help of the ferry. It may not be possible to visit this place frequently, but we highly recommend tacking this as a pitstop along your road trip !
Worth the trip
We felt this was the best store from our list because they have lots of variety, fresh ready-made products, dairy products, bread, cakes, candies etc. Everything reasonably priced!
This region is a little cooler than Montreal, but on a nice day, you can also enjoy the outside patio for lunch and a gelato ice cream!
4. St-Albert Cheese Factory Co-Op
Located in St-Albert – Ontario and 1h50minutes from Montreal downtown, a perfect place to visit with Family & Friends. Ottawa natives know this place for their cheese curds aka squeaky cheese in the poutine! Feel free to contact St-Albert to arrange a visit. It's possible to accommodate small or large group for a guided tour of the factory. You can also purchase fresh daily made cheese from their store or indulge at the snack bar restaurant with a cheesy treat.
Head over for breakfast (Thursday-Sunday until 11am) or enjoy one of 15 reasonably-priced special poutines. There are lots of tables for indoor and outdoor seating. Leave a little room for dessert, as you visit the store. You’ll want to bring more of that cheese home!
St-Albert is a really traditional factory and considered one of the oldest cooperatives in Canada. They have a nice history (check their Website), most notably there was a big fire in 2013 that destroyed the building. While the main factory was closed for renovations, St-Albert managed to dispatch cheese production to other locations until they grand reopening in 2015.
They have a good variety of cheese in a really good price and they also sell other local products. We felt the range in cheese selection was limited in comparison with some of the other locations we discovered.
5. Magasin de l’Abbaye d’Oka
Lastly, the closest cheese store from Montreal, located only 45 minutes from the downtown core. In the Oka region you will find a National Park, Oka beach and the Oka cheese store. It’s a great option to buy a wide selection of cheeses and other local products.
It’s a nice place to stop when you are visiting the region. Consider buying some cheese, sandwich or try their cheese poutine.