For anyone not from around these parts, celebrating how squeaky your cheese is might sound a little odd, a little nuts even.
Squeakiness though, is the tell-tale sign of a fresh, high quality cheese curd. Renowned for its “squeak” (the sound it makes when you chew it) against your teeth, curd has risen to fame mostly due to the very important role it plays in the quintessential Canadian dish: Poutine. This indulgent dish calls for cheese curds to be generously laid over French fries and then smothered with a rich gravy.
Traditionally, cheese curds are made from fresh pasteurized cow’s milk. When making cheese, after bacterial culture and rennet are added to clot the milk, and pasteurization happens, you get two distinct components: whey and curd. The mixture is then cooked and pressed, creating the final product of cheese curd.
Curd has about the same firmness and density as cheese, but with a pleasantly rubbery texture. It’s this distinct texture that creates the ‘squeak’, a defining characteristic due to air trapped inside the pressed cheese. The key is to get them the day they’re cut, to maintain the squeakiness!
We dug a little deeper to find out where to get the squeakiest of curds on what days. You’re welcome!
At Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese you can get the fresh cheese curds after 12pm every Friday. Can you think of a better way to start your weekend? Add a little Beau’s beer brined cheese, a wedge of 5 Brothers, plus a slab or two of ‘Dark Side of the Moo’ and you’ve got yourself a (havarti) party!
Oak Groves Cheese curd day is Tuesday. Each week they offer a different type of cheese curd, depending on what they’ve been cutting that day. They alternate between offering coloured curds and white curds depending on the week. While you’re there be sure to also try their Havarti with Dill!
At Jensen Cheese in Norfolk County, there is no set curd day yet but they are working on one! Currently, your best bet is to visit on Tuesday or Wednesday. While you’re there, go beyond the curd and pick up their marble cheese, it is a favourite among their customers!
EVERY DAY, ‘CEPT SUNDAY
At Empire Cheese in Campbellford, ON, they cut and bag curd every day except Sunday (and stat holidays). That makes this a great option for your last minute poutine needs! While you’re in the shop, be sure to try their Horseradish mozzarella — it’s a favorite of ours for pizzas and sandwiches.
At Thornloe Cheese, they’re cutting curds every day. The freshest curds will be at their Northern Ontario shop, but you can get them all across the province. This farmer-owned cheese plant has been producing outstanding curds and cheddar cheese for nearly 70 years in Temiskaming, Ontario. We really love their dill flavoured curds!
Wilton Cheese Factory in Odessa, a family-run business that’s part of Jensen Cheese, makes fresh curd on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And their Fresh Hot Pepper curd is available on Sunday and Friday.
At The Udder Way Artisan Cheese Co, they’re cutting curds on Saturday – which also happens to be fresh, hand-stretched, mozzarella day! Udder Way focuses on Guernsey Milk. Guernsey milk has a higher butterfat content of 5% and is super luxurious. They also make fresh Guernsey gelato and a variety different types of European and Italian style cheeses from Guernsey milk.
Can’t get enough curds?
Each year, Fromagerie St. Albert hosts a Curd Festival for the truly curd obsessed. Try curds, indulge in over-the-top poutine, and of course, meet the cheese makers.