A monk’s life is spare, quiet and devotional. But at the Abbaye De Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, it’s also filled with pungent whiffs of cheese. The elegant abbey, topped by white-granite turrets and looming over a placid lake in Cantons de l’Est, is occupied by some sixty Benedictine monks. In addition to their Gregorian chants, they’re renowned for producing the famous L’Ermite blue cheese, and other varieties, at their on-site cheese factory. Stop by the store for a wedge or five, and then stay on for the daily Gregorian chant. (Daily at 11am and 5pm, Thurs at 7pm – though note that the schedule may be different in summer.)
Fromagerie la Station in Cantons de l’Est
If you’ve ever doubted that organic cheese tastes better, Fromagerie la Station will clear that up. This fromagerie’s signature Alfred Le Fermier, a hefty round of pale-orange, washed-rind cheese, comes from a single herd of Holsteins, which you can see roaming peacefully in the surrounding fields. This is organic cheese at its finest, as its many awards will attest. Four generations of the Bolduc family have worked the farm, which includes pastureland, stables, a ripening room and a store. The farm, southwest of the small town of Compton, offers guided tours through all the stages of production, topped off by sampling.