Cheese curds or cheese curds and sometimes “couic couic” cheese – the noise that this cheese makes in the mouth – is a fresh curdled cheddar cheese. It is an essential ingredient in poutine.
It is simply a cheddar cheese that has not been pressed.
In Quebec, it is also called “fromage en crottes” in colloquial terms. This cheese is at its
best fresh today, even though it has not been refrigerated. When refrigerated, frozen, it
loses its ﬁrm texture with textured taste, it becomes ﬁrmer and changes taste a lot. This
cheese is also found in other provinces of Canada, and in the northeast of the United
The origins of this cheese are located in the Center-du-Québec region around 1960. At
that time, there was an enormous surplus of milk coming from the farms, which
saturated the processing plants. The many dairies in the region wanted to ﬁnd a solution
to sell off stocks sold at a loss. They developed a new variety of cheese, cheese curds.
Easy and quick to prepare, this cheese quickly became very popular. The profession of
traveling cheese maker was created a little later, which perpetuated the tradition of
disposing of surplus milk by making cheese curds.
Another unfounded, but still far-fetched legend would locate the true origins of cheese
curds during the English conquest, or shortly before. The European colonists would
have liked to teach the Abenakis to make cheese. These having missed the recipe, they
obtained a crumbled cheese, similar to the current cheese curds.