Today the Ottawa area was rocked with news that the beloved St. Alberts Cheese Factory was on fire. It was (well is as it is still on fire as I type this) a huge fire and it looks like production of their cheese products will be stopped for the time being. If you are not from the Ottawa area, you may not *totally* get it, but here it is – St. Alberts cheese makes the best damn cheese curd money can buy. It is made fresh daily, ‘squeaks’ when you eat it – and is mighty fine in a poutine! Most of the poutine trucks (and many many restaurants) use St. Alberts cheese for their poutines! Actually if you try and serve me a poutine with something other than cheese curds, I may tell you that it isn’t poutine! Yes, I am a poutine snob. In our house – we mainly eat their cheddar cheese and have the curds on occasion. Their cheddar is some of the best out there. Anyone who has come over for a shindig (and again is not from Ottawa) comments on how delicious the cheese is when they try it.
So – knowing that P, Max and I all enjoy St. Albert’s cheese – I went on a cheese run this afternoon. I stopped in at the local Metro and purchased four blocks of cheese and one bag of cheese curds. There was tons of block cheddar left – but only a few bags of curds. I thought about taking a few bags, but said to myself that one is enough and others may want some too. So I only took one bag. As soon as I went into line – no joke, one guy comes up to the cheese curd stand, grabs all remaining bags and takes off (he paid for them – he did not commit cheese curd shoplifting). Speaking of the cheese curds – the curds I purchased today were made today. Possibly one of the last batches 🙁
When I got to the cash, the cashier asked “stocking up, I guess?” as he knew what was going on. One customer behind me didn’t realize that the factory was on fire, was shocked when I told her the news and reminded herself to buy some cheese soon!
Not only will the Ottawa area be without delicious cheese – but hundreds of people will be out of work. St Albert’s is a major employer of the tiny villages surrounding the east end of Ottawa. Not only that, but several ‘chip trucks’ use their cheese curd product to make poutine. I sincerely hope that the fine folks at St. Albert’s Cheese Co-op can re-build as quickly as possible. We will miss you.
I may cry a little while eating tonight’s poutine…..