Chocolate Cheese, Yes, Please!
hillary — 3 years ago
The Renaissance, a cultural movement of literature, science, art, religion, politics and cheese? That’s right you heard me, cheese. At least that’s the term being thrown around by Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy. This is her year and so she declared a cheese renaissance.
Ruth is paving the way for a new generation of cheese producers and artisan cheese lovers in Canada. You could say she’s the BIG cheese. Her focus is on horizontal trade and sustainable agriculture. “I think the shorter the chain of distribution and buying is, the better the world is. The more you can have a relationship with producers, the better the planet will be,” says Ruth. She is a woman in pursuit of the bigger picture and what she is doing is pretty admirable.
But I must admit that isn’t why we love her. We heart this famer in the dell because she is charting new terrain and venturing into new flavor profiles. Expanding palates with pairing cheese and you guessed it, chocolate! Ruth explains just how fresh the concept is.
“It’s brand new. I don’t think people historically ever ate chocolate and cheese. You would have never even thought about it five years ago. That’s what is so interesting about it.” Ruth is the type of entrepreneur who loves to experiment. Give her a challenge and she is ready and ripe for the picking. “The world has become so sophisticated, so small and diverse that the flavors are endless that we get to play with. So, why not?”
So how does she do it, you ask? It’s not just about grabbing any old stinky cheese off the shelf and opening up your chocolate stash. There is a science to it. “I think you want creamy textures with chocolate,” says Ruth. Monforte uses a quality cream cheese flavored with fresh lemon and ChocoSol chocolate. “We find the acid in the cheese with the richness of the chocolate really, really works.” Ruth’s experiments have led her to swear by pairing a crunchy chocolate (that melts in your mouth), partnered with a cheese that’s soft. Not the other way around- a hard cheese and a soft chocolate. And if you want to take all the guesswork out of it, she also sells a chocolate cheese. It’s called, ‘Formidable’, a chevre with chocolate and cayenne. I am not going to even try to describe it. But let me just say it will blow your mind.
It may sound cheesy, but for Ruth her cheese is a labor of love. She even has three ripening rooms to accommodate the different types of cheeses coming out of her dairy. Some experimental and others producing impeccable quality cheeses. But there really is ‘more going on here than just cheese.’ Monforte is developing and nurturing a community based on the model of sustainable farming and the local food movement. Ruth says it best, “Life is about relationships, my relationship with people is through cheese.”
You can find Ruth’s cheese at Farmer’s Markets across Toronto including: Evergreen Brickworks, St Lawrence Market and Scadding Court Marketplace- just to name a few. And if you are in the Stratford area drop by the Monforte Dairy. When you bump into Ruth just say cheese, please.
Interested in learning more about raw food and fair trade chocolate? Be sure to check out our previous blog here