The Tasty Venture

The Tasty Venture

While visiting China in 2011, Francois Nadeau was surprised to learn that it was hard to find cheese — something he loved to eat — in the country. That experience spurred him to follow his dream of learning how to make cheese, so he would never be without it.

In mid-2015, Francois officially opened Fromagerie Kapuskoise, the first artisanal cheese factory and retail store in Kapuskasing, Ont., with the support from the community and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). “All along NOHFC has been the go-to program,” says Denis Nadeau, Francois’ father and the company’s manager of sales and marketing. “They are there for support for whatever project a person wants to do.”

Art of cheesemaking

After receiving basic training on how to make cheese in Quebec in 2013, Francois spent the next year and a half in France learning the finer details.

“He asked all the best cheesemakers in Canada how to become good,” recalls Denis. “They all told him to go to France.”

Francois became so skilful at cheesemaking in France that he was asked to stay as a teacher and cheesemaker, Denis says. But with his family and his heart in northern Ontario, Francois returned to his hometown and got straight to work.

With the initial support from the NOHFC, Francois bought the equipment he needed and transformed a residential home into a cheese factory and retail store, serving high-quality cheeses to local residents and travellers along Highway 11.

In 2015, Fromagerie Kapuskoise returned to the NOHFC for further funding to expand their product offerings. The company purchased another production tank, a new ripening room, a dehumidifier and hired more staff to make new products.

“We got a beautiful house as the site, very trained personnel, and great milk,” Denis says, adding the milk is locally sourced.

The road ahead

Fromagerie Kapuskoise offers nine distinct French-inspired artisanal cheeses, made from cow, sheep and goat milk. Some of the products are named after the rivers in northern Ontario, including Missinaibi, Opasatika and Mattagami.

Looking ahead, Denis says he would like Fromagerie Kapuskoise to continue to grow its clientele and give back to the community. “We want to help someone else start their cheese factory in Kapuskasing because we will never be able to meet the growing demand.”

Fromagerie Kapuskoise

Kapuskasing (Timmins/James Bay Area)

Northern Business Opportunity Program