Monks earning top ranking for their cheese
To make a truly fine cheese, you might want to consider entering a monastery and taking a vow of stability.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada say the Benedictine blue cheese from the Abbey of St-Benoit du Lac is the best in the country.
Out of a field of 141 Canadian cheeses, the Benedictin Bleu was top ranked.
So how do the monks do it?
Stability, just staying put, is part of the recipe.
When Saint Benedict founded his order 14-hundred years ago, he decreed his monks should be self-supporting.
"But most of these monasteries were outside of the cities," says Father Jacques Bolduc.
Bolduc says given their rural surroundings, it was only natural the monks would turn to making cheese as a source of income.
"And so, naturally, they transformed their own milk, and they transformed the milk of their neighbours, and it started like that," he says.
At St-Benoit du Lac, it started during the World War II.
The army requisitioned all the Oka cheese from the Trappist Monks and that left an opening for their cousins, the Benedictines. They now make a dozen cheeses. The Ermite was declared best blue cheese in Milan, Italy.
The Benedictin Bleu is now the all-Canadian champion.
The cheese-plant's manager, Father Jacques Duguay says it helps when the company and management are there all the time.
"Because we're supposed to be here for a long time, we can make the transmission of our knowledge," Duguay says.
"So that helps, because we don't sell the monastery to other people."
That's the vow of stability.
They don't take a vow of silence but if you ask how they make Benedictin Bleu, you won't hear much more than that and a lot of prayer.