Posted by VanessaFriday, January 16th, 2015
Love cheese? You’ll love this shopping list! Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons compiled this list of her ‘top cheeses of 2014’ for www.cheeselover.ca. It is so delicious that we’re sharing it with you!
Keep this handy for your next visit to one of these artisan artisan cheese shops.
Celtic Blue Reserve
Glengarry Fine Cheese has made another winner! Located in Eastern Ontario just north of the village of Lancaster, they specializing in fine artisan style cheeses from cow & goat milk. This results in delicious, fine cheese that is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted!
Taliah has a welcoming aroma that is clean and earthy. Made from unpasteurized milk (not raw but thermized, meaning it undergoes heat treatment but not at high temperatures as in the pasteurization process). The wheel is aged 10 months to a year. There is a smooth richness in each bite, with the added bonus of those crunchy tyrosine crystals one finds in a the classic Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Sweet, clean milk notes woven with a gentle tanginess and a good balance of salt. The finish mirrored what I love in a good, aged sheep’s-milk cheese – mellow, creamy notes that have complexity and length. The texture clinched the deal, crumbly but not dry.
Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar
A special creation from Mariposa Dairy located near Lindsay, Ontario in the City of Kawartha Lakes. This award winning cheese is handcrafted in small batches using premium Ontario goat’s milk, resulting in a unique and delightful cheese. Once the wheel has been crafted, it is carefully wrapped in its bandage to preserve freshness and flavor. After aging in a humidity controlled room for 12 months, the cheese is ready to enjoy.
Perfectly creamy and buttery, with the slight tang of goat’s milk and a hard, crumbly texture, this cheese is a perfect alternative to cow’s milk cheddars.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Continues to wow me year after year. Tangy, fruity, yet clean.
The signature cheese from Back Forty Artisan Cheese – a small farm nestled in the heart of the Lanark Highlands. Cheesemaker Jeff Fenwick and his original raw ewe milk cheeses have grown to become favorites of top chefs and cheese lovers alike.
A distinct feature of Bonnechere cheese is the rind that is toasted over an open flame before aging. This painstaking process, traditional for certain Basque cheeses, imparts a delicious caramel essence which permeates the body of the cheeses as it ages, and provides a delicious contrast to the tangy and fruity body of the cheese.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: One-of-a-kind and very rare to find aged. Packs a punch of flavour with awesome bite on the finish.
Magie De Madawaska
Produced by Fromagerie le Détour in Témiscouate-sur-le-lac in Québec
This soft, washed-rind cheese is made with pasteurized whole milk that comes exclusively from Jersey cows from the Témiscouata region. Its orange rind is shiny, soft and sticky, sometimes displaying white moss spots. Like the rind, the ivory-coloured interior is sticky. It is chalkier at the centre and smoother towards the exterior. Its texture is supple even when the cheese is young, but as it ages, its chalky part fades and the interior becomes smooth and runny.
When it is older, it becomes so runny that it might call for a spoon. Magie de Madawaska has a mild, lactic, woody and earthy aroma that becomes more pronounced with age. Its taste varies from mild to strong, with an earthy, roasted hazelnut and lactic (melted butter) flavour.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Runny, lucious, creamy, buttery, nutty and ooey-gooey good when perfectly à point (cheese-speak: fully ripened).
Bella Casara Mascarpone
Crafted by Quality Cheese who specialize in fine soft cheeses – Boccancini, Borgonzola, Mozarella, Riccotta as well as select semi-soft & hard cheeses.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Rich, and oh so sinful, with flavors of butter, cream and a hint of sweet dulce de leche (to quote myself!). Hard not to eat right from the spoon.
Another winner by Quality Cheese.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Heaven. Pure indulgence. Need I say more?
Sylvan Star Natural Smoked Gouda
Sylvan Star Cheese Farm, of Red Deer Alberta, makes their cheese from heat-treated milk which contains no additives, no antibiotics and is lactose free. They produce Gouda, Edam, sheep Manchego & Gruyere cheese at their farm. They smoke their Goudas to perfection in their own smokehouse – mild or medium, take your pick.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Surprising! Hints of bacon, maple and smoke, with an overlay of butter and nut rounding out its smooth and supple texture.
Made by Fromagerie L’Atelier is located in central Quebec and specializing in goat and cow milk cheese.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Elegant, delicate, tender, yeasty, gorgeous!
In 2009, Jean-Paul and Marie-Chantal Houde (brother and sister) decided to join forces to develop a dairy barn project and cheese that is structured and rewarding for the family farm, Fromagerie Nouvelle France. Since opening in 2010, Fromagerie Nouvelle France has won more than 18 awards in various competitions, including the Best Cheese From Québec in 2011 and 2014 for their signature Zacharie Cloutier.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Soft and sweet, with a hint of sour finish.
Produced by Au Gré des Champs in Québec, is a farmstead artisan-made cheese that is ladled into a mold. It is a month the first raw milk cheeses aged under 60 to be made in Canada.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Texture of soft ice cream sandwich with flavours and aromas of fresh sweet milk and grass that lingers and lingers.
In 2005 the old presbytery at Sainte-Elizabeth-de-Warwick was transformed into a cheese production site, Fromagerie du Presbytere…making outstanding artisanal cheeses. The milk from the farm only has to cross the road to get to the fromagerie, which operates 7 days/week.
Laliberté is a triple cream cheese, made with whole milk. Its wonderful bloomy rind surrounds a melting paste with an exquisite creamy mushroom flavour & its name comes from the name of the sculptor, Alfred Laliberté.
Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Cheesecake-like luxury, silky, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Pace yourself this is a cheese smorgasbord for anyone.