How are cows that produce organic milk treated and fed?

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!

Can I freeze L’Ancêtre organic cheeses?

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!

Why are most L’Ancêtre cheeses lactose free?

Lactose is a natural sugar present in milk. It has no taste or smell. During the cheese’s natural ripening process, the “good” bacteria feed on the lactose, which means it is eliminated quite naturally. The older the cheese, the less lactose it contains.

Mild cheddar contains traces of lactose (less than 0.5%), while ripened cheeses, such as medium, old, extra-sharp and 1 to 5-year-old cheddars, Le Boucané Bio, reduced-fat cheddars, Swiss Emmenthal and Parmesan, are all free from lactose.

Our Frugal, Le Port-Royal and other cheeses made with pasteurized milk are also lactose free, as are our mozzarellas. This is because the lactose is eliminated during the cheese-making process when the cheese grains are washed with water. Lactose is attracted by water, so it comes right out of the solid parts in order to be in the water. So it’s perfectly simple: when the water is removed, so is the lactose, and the result is a tasty, lactose free cheese!

The lactose content of all our products has been measured—you can see the results in our big book of cheese!

Why don’t our cheeses contain animal rennet?

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!

Why don’t we use more sea salt?

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.

What’s the best way to wrap our organic cheeses after opening?

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!

What is the meaning of the words often used in the dairy industry?

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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