After several years of perfecting cheese and honing her craft behind the scenes, Terroir Cheese cheesemaker Sandra Proulx has taken over the business.
Founded by Leonard Marriott, Armstrong’s Terroir Cheese quickly took off in Okanagan foodie circles as a great local choice for artisanal cheese. They made their presence known with cheese for sale at nearly every farmers’ markets up and down the valley.
Over the years the brand has grown and Marriott decided it was time to leave the business in the hands of someone with as much passion for cheese as he has. That time came in May when his longtime cheesemaking partner Sandra Proulx took over Terroir.
“We always shared a passion of cheesemaking,” said Proulx. “Last year I was trying to start my own cheese company and we decided that it would be a great idea to take over Terroir Cheese and expand a company that already had a good base.”
Before her takeover of the company, Proulx grew to love the product while making cheese alongside Marriott.
“I love the cheese, I love the brand, I really have a big interest in raw milk cheese,” said Proulx. “The views of the company suited with mine and Len didn’t have a cheese plant ready, and nor did I, so I thought if we worked together we would have a better chance of success.”
Proulx explained that she was drawn to the “science and the art” of cheesemaking.
“You start with milk and then you have to be creative and really understand how bacteria works, and the different flavours you can get from it. Every milk is different as well, depends on the breed of cow, depends on what they eat. So it is really about playing with that and coming up with a product that is really outstanding and delicious. It is really fulfilling.”
Proulx’s hard work also paid off as her half goat, half cow cheese won an award at the World Cheese Championship.
“For me that was really the beginning of being able to share my passion with people and prove that it was not just in my head. My cheeses are actually very good and very unique and some people really appreciate them.”
The Terroir Cheese goaty-cow.(Photo submitted)
Proulx got into cheesemaking after a friend of hers randomly mentioned they had spent the winter learning to make cheese.
“He was from France and he had done that in a suburb of Montreal and I thought, ‘Really?, You just woke up one morning decided you’re going to make cheese and someone hired you?’ I thought someone was born a cheesemaker, how do you learn? So my first winter in B.C. nine years ago I decided I wanted to learn to make cheese.”
After her first gig assisting a B.C. cheesemaker she said there was no turning back, she loved the work that much.
As for her her work at Terroir Cheese, she said the quality of the milk sets them apart.
“It really all comes down to how good your milk is to start with, especially when you want to make raw milk cheese,” explained Proulx.
“It is very important your milk is actually healthy.
Proulx aims to expand the company by acquiring a cheese plant so they can easily produce all their classic cheeses while continuing to explore additional products like her award-winning goaty-cow.
“It is an absolutely fantastic cheese. When you cut it, you can actually see the difference in the colours because there are two separate cheeses that I have fused together,” explains Proulx. “It gives it a very distinctive note that if you would have mixed both milks together, or aged them separately, would be different. It is very, very special.”
Proulx was born and raised in Quebec and permanently made the move to B.C. five years ago.
For more information on Terroir Cheese, click here.
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