Fromagerie l'Ancêtre Frequently Asked Questions: all about our products | Fromagerie L'Ancêtre


As oppose to conventional practices, in an organic dairy operation, all cows must be able to go out to pasture from May until mid-October. During the rest of the year, they must take regular exercise out in the fresh air. This means that their natural rhythms are respected.

Their food must contain daily at least 60% organic grass, and they can also eat organic cereals such as barley, oats, soybeans, wheat or corn. However, the proportion of cereals must not exceed the maximum allowed, which is 40% of their overall diet per day. During the summer, the proportion of grass increases to over 90% daily, as the cows go out to pasture every day.

Gentle background music is played in the barns to relax the animals and great care is taken to provide them with a comfortable floor to sleep on, including straw, sand—and sometimes even a mattress! Most organic certified farms use the loose barn system, where the cows are not tied up.

This is our way of working in harmony with our cows so that we can offer you tasty products that respect nature!

Yes, but freezing affects a cheese’s texture. Cheese that has been frozen has a more grainy, brittle texture, but the taste remains more or less the same. The best way is to grate the cheese before freezing—this will also help it to keep longer, giving you plenty of time to create your next gourmet recipe for a healthy meal!

Yes. Pursuant to the Food and Drugs Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) allows the manufacture and sale of cheese made from raw (unpasteurized) milk as long as it complies with the following conditions:

  • Article B.08.44 (1) “No person shall sell a cheese, including cheese curds from a cheese factory, that has not been made with pasteurized raw materials, unless it has been stored […]”
  • Article B.08.030: “stored” means kept at a temperature of at least 2°C for a period of 60 days or more, starting from the date the manufacturing process began.”

Ripening destroys pathogenic bacteria, letting the “good” bacteria take over, proliferating and giving the cheese its incomparable flavour.

Before being offered for sale, all our batches of cheese are analysed to determine their bacteria count—every time, our cheeses exceed the standards set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Lactose is natural milk sugar and has no taste or smell. Part of the natural cheese aging process involves good lactic  acid bacteria feeding on the lactose in the cheese, eliminating it naturally. The longer our unpasteurized cheeses are  aged, the less lactose there is. Most of our cheddars, as well as our parmesan, swiss, goudas, Baluchon, raclette and fondues are lactose free for that very reason. One of the steps in making our 7% M.F. Frugal and mozzarella, involves rinsing the curds in water. The lactose is attracted to the water and dissolves into it, leaving the solids. So when the water is removed, the lactose goes with it.

All our products have been tested for lactose content. —you can see the results in our big book of cheese!

Rennet is an enzyme (chymosin) found in the stomach of young, unweaned calves. This animal by-product is used to coagulate milk, but we use a plant-based microbial rennet instead to achieve the same result. This means we don’t have to slaughter any animals to get the rennet, so they can live long lives. L’Ancêtre cheeses are therefore just the thing for vegetarians!

*All our cheeses are animal rennet free except these:

  • Parmesan 
  • Artisan Goat cheese

We use salt from a Canadian salt mine (there is no such thing as Canadian sea salt) because we want to be able to offer top-quality, healthy products, made with locally-purchased ingredients. This mined salt (or rock salt) is even better for you than sea salt, because it has never been in contact with pollution and contains neither iodine nor anti-caking agent.

After opening, remove all the plastic packaging and then wrap the cheese in aluminium foil, smoothing it down well to remove any air bubbles, as it is contact with the air that makes cheese get dry or develop mould. Store it in the meat tray (i.e. the coldest place in the fridge). Ideally, to avoid any risk of contamination, you should try not to touch the cheese directly with your hands. It is preferable to always use a clean knife to cut it (rather than breaking it with your hands). This will help your organic cheese keep longer. Wrap it in a fresh piece of aluminium foil each time you use your cheese. This very easy technique will make sure you can enjoy L’Ancêtre cheeses as long as possible!

Animal rennet: secretion (an enzyme called chymosin) found in the stomachs of young, unweaned calves, and used to coagulate milk. It is an animal by-product. L’Ancêtre Cheese Factory uses a plant-based microbial enzyme so that calves do not have to be killed in order to make their cheese.

Microbial enzymes: enzymes produced through controlled fermentation of moulds (aspergillus niger), that can be used to coagulate milk. Suitable for vegetarians.

Casein: protein substance forming the main part of milk.

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