Inauguration of New Cheesemaking Facilities for Le Troupeau Bénit (Quebec Monastery)

NOTE: The 22+ sisters who live at Saint Monastere Vierge Marie La Consolatrice (Panagia Parigoritissa) run a cheese factory called “Le Troupeau Bénit (the blessed flock), referring to their sheep and goats. Since 2001, they have been selling and producing cheeses that has become known province-wide. Every week, they use 1,500 liters of certified category A milk from their flock to make their cheeses. They make the Athonite, a mild Dutch cheese with a nut-like flavor; the Graviera, which has a sweet and fruity taste; Greek feta, a soft traditional cheese; a Havarti-type cheese called Le Bon Berger, mild and tangy; and a goat cheese called “Les Petites Soeurs,” one of the healthiest cheeses on the market. All are made fresh and are preserved with rape seed oil.

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BROWNSBURG-CHATHAM, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Nov. 1, 2014) – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

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Quebec nuns selling their food wares at an open market.
Quebec nuns selling their food wares at an open market (2008).

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announces that the Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory’s cheese factory, Le Troupeau Bénit, received government support through the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto to increase its productivity.

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This assistance was awarded in the form of a $246,752 repayable financial contribution under CED’s Quebec Economic Development Program. (http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca/eng/disclosure/grant-contribution-awards/detail.html?p_ide_infrm_apprb=9948)

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Quick facts

  • The investment enabled the monastery to complete the relocation of its cheese factory and acquire equipment for the manufacture of new products.
  • The work involved, among other things, installing exterior siding and carrying out various interior and exterior fittings to the new building.
  • As well as raising the enterprise’s manufacturing capacity and sales, this project is expected to result in the creation of three full-time and two seasonal jobs from outside the monastery.

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Quote

“Our government sees it as essential to support growing enterprises like Le Troupeau Bénit, whose project is going to lead to the creation of new jobs in the Laurentides region.”

Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

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Related link

Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory Website:

http://www.monasterevmc.org/

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The sisters’ picturesque, white-painted monastery is nestled in a forest in Brownsburg-Chatham, north of Lachute. They make their Troupeau Bénit (which means “blessed flock”) butter and cheeses from the milk of a flock of 150 goats and sheep they sold to the neighbour last year. The sheep’s-milk butter is ivory white; the goat’s-milk version whiter still.

“We eat it on bread with honey or jam,” says Sister Makrina. “It is too delicious even to cook with.” She says there are a number of reasons their butter is so delicious. Sometimes, it’s because the animals have just given birth, so their milk is especially rich. Partly, it’s the wild grasses on which the animals graze and the care with which the sisters churn the butter.

“Everything here is done by hand. We add goat’s milk sour cream and then beat it by hand on ice until it clots, then we drain the water and hand-press it to dry,” Sister Makrina explained.

“But the main reason it’s so good is that we pray over everything we do in the monastery. God is always present here. He blesses our work.”  (http://www.canada.com/cityguides/montreal/story.html?id=c96758be-6234-461c-9e8d-91441b989a3e)

Le Troupeau Bénit (Canadian Government stats on 7 types of Monastery Cheese) http://cheese-fromage.agr.gc.ca/cr-rf_fra.cfm?companylist=1905&menupos=1.1
Quebec’s Artisan Cheese Guild represents 21 cheese dairies in Quebec (including the Monastery).
Quebec’s Artisan Cheese Guild represents 21 cheese dairies in Quebec (including the Monastery).
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