Sizzlin’ for Summer: Cheese Thrill for the Grill

Inspired by a favorite seasonal pastime & soaring temperatures, Guernsey Girl, this week’s cheese pick, is one of a handful featured on CBC’s In Town and Out with Michael Bhardwaj, & the perfect cheese companion for summer grilling adventures.  To listen to the interview – Guernsey Girl – In Town and out with Michael Bhardwaj & Vanessa Simmons.
Handcrafted in Jordon Station, Niagara, the milk is sourced from one of only a handful of Guernsey cow herds in Canada who call local 145-year old Comfort Family Farm their home.  Upper Canada Cheese Company, known for legendary firm, washed-rind Niagara Gold & soft, surface-ripened Comfort Cream can be credited with my cheesey version of fun in the sun.
Guernsey cows yield richer milk, higher in butterfat & protein than other milks.  More enriched in beta carotene, the cheese’s brilliant yellow color intensifies during summer. Guernsey Girl falls into the “fresh, unripened” cheese category & is considered a grilling cheese styled after Finnish bread cheese Juustoleipa or better known Halloumi.
Sometimes called a “bread cheese”, Guernsey Girl develops a crispy, toasty almost crunchy crust-like coating on the outside with pan frying or grilling & soft, gooey inside, yet remarkably still retains its form.  Caramelized, sweet, smoky & salty flavors combine with fresh milk taste & squeaky texture similar to fresh cheddar curds.  Any way you sear, skewer, slice or stack it – the keys to success are a clean, hot grill (med-high heat),  patting dry the cheese first, a little bit of patience & having extra on hand for your first attempt.  The final result is so worth the effort!
Guernsey Girl is available at Sobeys & select Metro & Loblaws stores.  Other great grillers include Halloumi (many varieties available at most grocery stores, or Middle Eastern Market Al Kalal on Kirkwood), fresh local feta (Clarmell Farms at the Manotick or Kanata Farmers’ Market, or Canreg Station Farm at Ottawa Farmer’s Market), or small soft wheels of goat or sheep’s milk  from Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères at il Negozio Nicastro on Wellington, or the Parkdale Market.  Buy these a little young for the BBQ, give them 2-3 mins on each side & watch them closely as these will melt.
Grilling cheeses are a great protein substitute for vegetarians (the ultimate in “grilled cheese”), served on their own as a side dish, or substituted into a Caprese salad for a change, with fresh tomatoes & basil, olive oil drizzle & balsamic.  They even work as dessert with fresh grilled pineapple, peaches, or plums, macerated berries & topped with a heaping scoop of Pascale’s goat cheese ice cream.
Catch more hot cheeses with Vanessa at upcoming HerbFest on July 29th, 2012 during her demo Summer Sizzlers – A Tasty Discovery of What’s Hot in Local Artisan Cheese from 9:30am – 10:30am & July 31 where artisan cheeses join grill favorites such as shrimp on the barbie as Savvy Company goes downunder during “Let’s go to Australia”, a fun evening featuring favorite summertime Australian wines.
Cheese: Guernsey Girl
Producer: Upper Canada Cheese Company
Interesting Fact: Guernsey Girl’s resistance to melting is due to a higher level of acidity and more closely knit protein network with tighter bonds that are harder to break when exposed to heat.

Enjoy! – Vanessa

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