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Lucie Arseneau, her husband Jeremy, and Paul Jomphe make and sell three delicious cheeses at Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent (address: 149 Chemin de la Pointe-Basse, Havre-aux-Maisons). The cheese factory and store are open year-round.

Lucie Arseneau holds Pied-de-Vent cheese wheel.
Lucie Arseneau holds Pied-de-Vent cheese wheel.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Pied-de-Vent is a soft brie-like raw milk cheese. The surface-ripened cheese has an addictive nutty flavor.

The milk comes from a herd of Canadian cows, a heritage breed, raised by Lucie and Jeremy's son, Dominic. La Ferme Arseneau (address: 326 Chemin de la Pointe-Basse) raises calves from these milk cows.

The Arseneau family feeds them barley and spent grains from the A l'abri de la Tempete microbrewery, and sells Le Veau des Nathael to Magdalen Islands stores and restaurants.

Tomme des Desmoiselles cheese

Pied-de-Vent cheese factory also makes Tomme des Desmoiselles, a firm raw milk cheese with a washed rind. Both cheeses are available only in Les Iles de la Madeleine and select locations in Quebec.

Le Meuleron, a pasteurized cheddar cheese, is only available in the Magdalen Islands. A refrigerated display case also contains bottles of thick fresh cream (creme fraiche des Iles) and Caesar salad dressing, made with Pied-de-Vent cheese and honey.

Shopping for cheese at the factory
Shopping for cheese at the factory
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Visitors can watch cheese-making in the factory, behind windows. After tasting free samples, our culinary tour group bought several wheels and wedges of Pied-de-Vent cheeses.

Staff on the CTMA Vacancier stored the cheeses in the ship's fridge, so passengers could bring them home fresh at the end of the cruise. Cheese wrappers display the Pied-de-Vent logo, which depicts rays of sun coming from the sky and black Canadian cows grazing on pesticide-free grass below.

Cooking with Pied-de-Vent cheeses

During our CTMA Vacancier cruise to the Magdalen Islands, we enjoyed Pied-de-Vent cheeses prepared many ways. Chef Denis Leblanc made a delicious Tomme des Desmoiselles sauce for chicken.

Carpaccio of island veal with organic sprouts and Tomme des Demoiselles cheese made by Johanne Vigneault
Carpaccio of island veal with organic sprouts and Tomme des Demoiselles cheese made by Johanne Vigneault
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Guest chef, Evangeline Gaudet, from the Domaine du Vieux Couvent restaurant, served us tasty melted Pied-de-Vent toasts with a Miel en Mer island honey garnish. La Table des Roy restaurant chef, Johanne Vigneault, made a scrumptious local veal carpaccio, topped with Tomme des Demoiselles and organic sprouts.

The shop at the Pied-de-Vent cheese factory also sells other Iles de la Madeleine gourmet foods, including Miel en Mer honey, rosehip butter and syrup, Pied-de-Vent gateaux (cakes) and maple caramel.


CTMA Vacancier: www.cruisesctma.ca

Iles de la Madeleine Tourist Office: www.tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com

Le Quebec Maritime Tourist Office: www.quebecmaritime.ca

Tourism Quebec: www.quebecoriginal.com

More things to see & do in the Magdalen Islands/Iles de la Madeleine:

Fresh Lobsters in Grande Entree

Cap-aux-Meules Driving Tour