La Fromagerie Boivin is a cheesemaking company in Quebec, owned by a man named Luc Boivin. Sometime around the year 2000, said Luc Boivin, a fisherman approached him. The man had fished a block of Boivin cheese out of a lake. How it got there, no one knew. But he tasted it, and Boivin tasted it too, and this cheese was uniquely delicious. 

Following that story, which Boivin might have just made up for all we know, Boivin embarked on a project, and this one definitely happened for real. He would drop one ton of cheese into deep water to try to give it that mysterious delicious taste. He would seal the cheese in barrels (he didn’t want fish to eat it), and trust in the water pressure of the ocean to affect how the cheese aged, changing it for the better.

In 2004, he dropped ten of these barrels of cheddar, valued at $5,000 each, into a Canadian cove called Baie des Ha! Ha!. Quick side note about that cove. You read that correctly; it is called “Baise des Ha! Ha!” with exclamation points as part of the official name. It is named for the Ha! Ha! River, which in turn gets its name from the French word ha-ha, a type of tiered landscape. A ha-ha is generally not spelled with exclamation marks, but someone slipped those into the name of the river, and now the river and all surrounding features are stuck with them. 

Almost a year later, Luc Boivin sent a crew to retrieve the cheese. The divers saw no sign of it. They couldn’t figure out what had happened. The waves should not have been able to take the heavy cache away. Some big fish live in those waters, including the huge Greenland shark, but none should have been able to get into the barrels. Though they may have been able to roll the barrels far away into the open ocean, they’d have no motive to do so. 

Boivin staged a couple different dives then gave up, as the cost of the expeditions would seen exceed the value of the cheese. Even if he did manage to retrieve the cheese, he might have had some trouble selling it. Canada regulates how cheese is made—you can’t legally (say) stick cheese in a pig pen for a month then sell it in stores, and the law similarly leaves no room for aging cheese at the bottom of the sea. Maybe it should, though. No one knew octopus was safe to eat, and delicious, until we went and tried it. 

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For more cheesy tales, check out:

The Great Cheese Party of 1837

7 Dumb Food Myths the Internet Thinks Are True

Blue Cheese Mousse

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Top image: Open Food Facts

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