Historically, women have always played a crucial role in cheese-making. Today, the world of cheese remains filled with incredibly talented and dedicated women.
For International Women's Day, we spent a few minutes chatting with a woman who is driving cheese making today. Magaly Guitel is director of cheese making at the fromagerie at La Suisse Normande in Quebec.
You can taste Magaly’s delicious handiwork at TOMME.
TOMME: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Magaly. How did you get into cheese making?
Magaly: I was kind of born into cheese. My parents established the fromagerie when I was just 4 years old.
Then in 2010, my mother Fabienne started to teach me the intricacies of cheese making, one small step at a time. Back then, I didn’t really understand why she was showing me all these things. But my as I learned, my appreciation and passion grew. Now my siblings and I have taken over the business from my parents.
TOMME: As you grew into your role, what became your personal cheesemaking philosophy?
Magaly: I want to create cheese as naturally as possible. You have to trust in nature, it does things well!
Natural doesn’t mean easy. We’re constantly working to better understand and enhance each part of the process—from the way we care for our herd, to what they eat, to the way we carefully handle and process their milk.
Magaly checking on delicate white pyramids of Sabot de Blanchette goat milk cheese.
TOMME: What is the most difficult aspect of cheese making?
Magaly: It’s quite difficult to produce the same cheese consistently day after day. The milk is always changing with the seasons and weather conditions. I have to ensure we constantly adjust the cheese making parameters for each batch.
But in the end, overcoming these challenges is what makes me and everyone who works here most proud!
TOMME: Are you training any other women to become cheese makers?
Magaly: Absolutely! Our manager of cheese production is Mélissa Carpenter and she has been working with us for 7 years now. Mélissa is a busy mom of 2 kids and somehow manages to juggle this with her work at the fromagerie!
I really rely on her dedication to the processes to make help us make consistently good cheese, no matter the challenge.
TOMME: What’s the most rewarding aspect of cheese making for you?
Magaly: The most rewarding aspect of the job comes at the end of each day. When I look back at the care and attention we’ve given our cheeses, it’s very satisfying to know we’ve given everything to ensure our cheeses will evolve into something special.
TOMME: Thank you and happy International Women’s Day!
Magaly: Thank you!
About La Suisse Normande
Focusing on goat and cow milk cheeses, Magaly’s fromagerie is part of the busy La Suisse Normande family farm operation north of Montreal with a herd of 475 Alpine and Saanen dairy goats.
La Suisse Normande produces 18 unique cheeses. It is definitely worth a visit, especially since you can meet and pet the friendly goats!
Check out our selection of cheese from Magaly’s fromagerie here at TOMME!