What true Canadian doesn't love poutine? It's a cultural love, a comforting part of home and a winner of visiting hearts. That being said, it can be difficult to find REALLY good poutine. Especially with so many fast food shops and restaurant chains offering poutine, and crazy variations of poutine, on their menus. Too soggy, too salty, too cold, too cheesy (yes, it's possible to be too cheesy). Plus, with travel opening our eyes to the delicious possibilities around the world (Dutch patatje oorlog? Whoa, momma), there's some mean competition out there for Best Fried Potato National Treasure Award*.
But we found it. The Best Poutine on the West Coast* is right here in Revelstoke: The classic poutine at Nico's Pizzeria. Nico's hand-cut, crispy fries are loaded with a home-made, savoury gravy and tons of salty, squeaky cheese curds. We have no idea how he does it (every bite has a some crispy potato, hot gravy and cheese), but we ain't stopping him. While I'm sure his recipe is a secret, we had to find out about the cheese curds: the squeakiest morsels of slightly melted, salty curds.
We found that the cheese curds are Cheddar Squeakerz from The Village Cheese Company, a family-owned, artisan cheese company right out of Armstrong, BC! A little more about their work:
"Artisan cheese means that the cheese is 100% handcrafted – and not made by a machine. We do not add moisture to our cheeses or take any shortcuts that would compromise the authenticity and quality of our products. At the Village Cheese Co. we do not use any modified milk ingredients, milk by-products, artificial flavours or preservatives. We use local fresh whole milk only. All of our handcrafted artisan cheeses are authentically made with honesty and natural ingredients."
Wanting to check out what other great cheeses they had, we sampled a whole slew of artisan cheeses:
Amber Ale Havarti - Hearty and full-bodied booze flavour in the convenience of a block of cheese
Gewurztraminer - A white wine havarti cheese with a fresh, slightly sour note similar to a chèvre or goat cheese
Smoked Gouda - A classic gouda with a pleasant smoke aroma
Maple Canadian Cheddar - Maple syrup and cheddar cheese hit it off in this great cheese with just a hint of maple sweetness at the end
Horseradish Monterey - An awesome cheese for horseradish lovers
Onion and Chive Cheddar - A strong onion and chive flavour for this firm cheddar (It would be great on a burger)
5 year aged Cheddar - A very strong, sharp cheddar with a crumbly texture. My favourite of the bunch!
Cheddar Squeakerz (Cheese curds) - Heaven squeaks, haven't you heard?
In support of local BC businesses and cheese lovers everywhere, we're proud to be offering these artisan cheeses from The Village Cheese Company. Enjoy them and let us know your favourites!
To learn more about The Village Cheese Company, visit: http://villagecheese.com/
to learn more about Nico's Pizzeria and his killer poutine, visit: http://www.nicospizzeria.ca
*I made that up. BFPNT Award for short.
**Also a distinction that I made-up but is totally accurate according to one, opinionated food lover.