Mi-Carême: A Quebec Cheese with a Great Backstory

Mi-Carême a built-in cheat day in the middle of Lent, for those that can’t make it all the way through 40 days of deprivation and austerity.

Mi-Carême is a day of eating and fun and hijinks. The date for changes every year. This year, it falls on March 8, 2018.

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Photo courtesy Montmagny et Les Iles

Mi-Carême is pretty much a forgotten holiday in Quebec today, but at one time, people would dress up in costumes and visit their neighbours who had to try to guess their identity.

Today, Mi-Carême is better known in Acadian New Brunswick, but it’s still celebrated in a few villages in Quebec, most notably L’Isle-aux-Grue, (population 143), a long, flat ribbon of islands near  Quebec City.

Mi-Carême on L’Isle-aux-Grue

Isle-aux-Grues is best known for being the summer home of Quebec painter Jean-Paul Riopelle – but the island has also become known for its artisan cheeses- including Le Mi-Carême, Le Tomme de Grosse-Île, and of course, Le Riopelle.


Meal Suggestion for Mi-Carême

There is no set meal for Mi-Carême, but a great way to celebrate this holidays with a light supper of freshly baked bread, a wheel of Mi-Carême cheese, some cold meats, a nice pâté like Terrine de Canard au Porto and a good bottle of wine.

You can try finding Mi-Carême cheese it at your local grocery store, or head down to the family-owned cheese shop at the Atwater Market, Fromagerie du Marché Atwater (134 rue Atwater, Montreal; (514) 932-4653).

 

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