Saturday, April 13, 2024

Freedom: Bagel lovers are losing their beloved cream cheese

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Freedom is not a kind of yogurt, as the great Pierre Vallardo claimed. Well, it’s no longer a brand of cream cheese either, to the detriment of bread lovers.

Liberté ceased production of its spreadable cheese, which it began in Quebec in 1932, three weeks ago.

For a year, Liberté belongs to the US giant General Mills, which did not respond to requests for an interview on Thursday.

“This product has been discontinued, as Liberté can no longer continue to supply the high-quality product,” the multinational wrote on its website.

Instead, the magazine learned between branches that the Ontario factory where the famous spread of cheese was produced had just closed.

Big void to fill

“We just lost our classics,” says Saul Restrepo, director of the legendary St-Viateur Bagel in Montreal.

The establishment, which has been open since 1957, was already selling Liberté cream cheese when he started working there in 1981.

“Every time I called her, I spoke to Quebecers,” he recalls.

Le Journal spent just under an hour in the store in St-Viateur on Thursday.

Through conversations with the ten or so employees present, we realize that Liberté cheese held a special place among bread lovers.

“It’s going to make a hole in our fridge, it was a good product. A good product is easy to sell,” the store manager explains.

This branch of St-Viateur Bagel sold 50 dozen jars a week, for example.

Celebrate during the coronation

Customers are still asking for it. This very morning, someone left cursing, because we had no more,” he laughs.

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Just within the hour we were there, several customers searched for the product.

“It’s a shame it’s gone, it was by far the best, much better than Philadelphia,” she took a while to point out to Celine, a client in her sixties who had been collecting bread and cheese here for a long time. “I have to say it.”

To replace the prominent place Liberté cream cheese occupies in his refrigerators, Saul Restrepo has turned to a Norwegian product from the Arla brand.

“It’s also very good, but it comes from too far away,” he drops.

long story

Liberty Dairy Products was founded in 1936 next to St-Viateur Bagel.

Legend has it that the family behind the company gave the name Liberty in honor of the hope the Statue of Liberty sighting sparked when it arrived on the continent.

The company’s ownership was changed in 1971 and its name was changed to Liberty. It was then acquired by Yoplait in 2010, which was acquired by General Mills in 2011.

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