Posts Tagged ‘Canadian cheese’

Imagine 375 Canadian cheeses!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Share

It’s happening right now! Judging of 375 artisan cheeses for Canadian Cheese Awards under way at University of Guelph this week. Somebody’s got to do it–taste 375 cheeses over a day and a half!  Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons is returning again to be a judge.  

That’s precisely what 14 experts are doing this week in order to evaluate and score cheese entered in Canadian Cheese Awards/Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens 2018. This independent competition–with Loblaw Companies and Dairy Farmers of Canada as its lead sponsors–is the biggest cheese competition in Canada with 80 producers from Newfoundland to British Columbia submitting 375 cheeses for judging.

This intense judging takes place this week at University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, headed by Dr. Arthur Hill, Chair and Professor in Food Science and an internationally recognized authority in cheese technology, who serves as Chief Judge.  Finalists in 32 categories will be announced March 5. Winners will be revealed during an Awards Ceremony, Reception and Tasting Gala on June 6 in Toronto at historic St. Lawrence Market, Temporary North Hall. The inaugural Canadian Cheese Expo trade show and the first-ever Artisan Cheese Night Market for the public will take place June 7.

This is the only cheese competition in Canada open to all milks used in cheesemaking – cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo-with only pure natural cheese accepted for judging. That means no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients. 

“We aim to honour and celebrate 100% pure natural cheese that has achieved technical excellence and exhibits the highest aesthetic qualities,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Awards Chairman. 

Canadian Cheese Awards aims to recognize excellence in 18 main categories, nine special awards, five regional awards and the one very best cheese in Canada, the Grand Champion promoted as 2018 Canadian Cheese of the Year.  

They’ll be the judge! 

An extensive knowledge of cheese, on technical basis as well as aesthetic values, was the key factor in selection of the Jury, the judges who will evaluate and score entries following blind tasting of the cheese.

Debra Amrein-Boyes, Founder and co-owner, now retired, The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz, British Columbia

Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Cheese Partners, Calgary

Étienne BiotteauCheese technology advisor, Centre d’expertise fromagère du Québec, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec

Nathalie FilionManager, Yannick Fromagerie, Québec City, the Laurentians and Montréal

Odysseas Gounalakis, Owner, Scheffler’s Delicatessen & Cheese, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

Marla Krisko, Formerly co-owner, Cheese Education Guild, Toronto

Ghislain Paquet, Co-owner, Fromagerie De la Gare, Sherbrooke

Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Special Projects, Deli Cheese (Market Division), Loblaw Companies, and cheese educator and author

Heather Rankin, Co-owner, Obladee Wine Bar, Halifax

Geoff Rempel, Formerly Specialty Team Leader, Whole Foods Market, Square One, Mississauga

Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company, Ottawa **Yeah Vanessa!**

Egon Skovmose, Co-founder, Danlac Canada, Calgary, Alberta

Heather Thelwell, Cheese specialist, Guelph, Ontario

Nick Tsioros, Co-owner, Olympic Cheese Mart, Toronto.

Jackie Armet, Cheese Co-ordinator, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, and formerly cheesemonger at Whole Foods Market in Yorkville, and Jeanne Rodier, Cheesemonger and Administrator, Yannick Fromagerie, serve as Awards Co-ordinators. Awards Registrar is Heather Robertson, retired cheesemaker and Ticketing Co-ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Roxanne Renwick, cheese specialist and Liaison to artisan cheese producers. Nathalie Rollet Schofield, Liaison to artisan cheese producers in Quebec. Mary Ann Ferrer, Department of Food Science, University of Guelph.

Canadian Cheese Awards is produced by Cheese Lover Productions, Georgs Kolesnikovs, President (in photo) with the support of Loblaw Companies as Marquee Sponsor and Dairy Farmers of Canada as Principal Partner, Cow Milk Cheese.

 

Stay tuned! We’ll be posting the winners as soon as the awards are announced. 

Share

Fondue Frenzie!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
Share

Cheese fondue is quick and easy meal to make, especially if you have a bunch of different cheeses in your fridge.  It is truly a melting pot! Fondue is a signature dish from Switzerland, so do as the Swiss do – use firm alpine style cheeses such as Swiss & Gruyere.

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa has Canadian-ized this classic fondue recipe with suggestions of Canadian cheeses that will make a great combo.   Remove the rind…and get shredding!

 

Ingredients

1 pound of shredded firm cheeses
Vanessa’s TIP: Use any combo of these stunning firm Canadian cheeses:  La Nouvelle France Zacharie Cloutier, Fromagerie du Presbytere Louis d’Or, Gunn’s Hill Handeck or St Albert’s 1894

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon kirsch aka cherry brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg

Assorted items to dip into the fondue.  Grainy baguette slices, apple & pear slices, grilled sausages, cubes of cooked ham or peameal bacon, blanched pea pods & green beans, chunks of red & green peppers…anything goes!

 

Method

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheeses with cornstarch and set aside.

With the garlic clove, vigorously rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic.  Throw away the garlic afterwards…and wash your hands – garlicy fingers are not that sexy!

In a medium saucepan add the wine and lemon juice.  Heat on medium & bring to a gentle simmer. Stir the cheese a handful at a time into the simmering hot liquid. This will gradually melt the cheese to create a smooth fondue.

Once the fondue looks ready, stir in kirsch (optional), mustard and nutmeg. Stir again.

Remove from heat and pour cheese into the garlic ladened fondue pot.

Place on fondue apparatus with a votive or fondue burner underneath in order to keep the cheese warm.

Go nuts & enjoy!

 

What wines to serve with this fondue?  

Canadian of course! A fondue full of Canadian cheese would be best with Canadian wines.

Our Sommeliers recommend that the wine should enhance the melted cheese combo rather than overpower it.  If white wine is your preference, look for a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Viognier or Pinot Gris.  For red wines, a light to medium bodied wine would be ideal.

As for red wines, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir or a blend with Cabernet Franc & Merlot.

Rose wine would work too!

 

 

Share

Having a party? Make it a wine, craft beer & artisan cheese tasting

Posted by Debbie

Monday, August 12th, 2013
Share

Looking for a different party idea for friends or for a business networking event?  We have some wonderful Savvy Sommeliers on our Team and we are called on frequently to create a special gathering for family & friends or businesses call us to design a way to thank clients & employees. No matter what the occasion the events we create are fun.

A few weeks ago we hosted a client appreciation event for a local business to celebrate summer. It was one of those sweltering, steamy days during the mid-July heat wave that you really need to have a chilled Ontario rosé in your hand, or better yet an ice-cold craft beer to help unwind after a busy day. Held at the picturesque Ottawa Rowing Club overlooking the Ottawa River, our guests were treated to the latest & greatest wines from across Ontario in addition to some thirst-quenching craft beers made in Ottawa.

Our guests enjoyed summertime hors d’oeuvres made by The Mixing Bowl Catering that were paired with the various drinks.  And we had a Savvy Cheese Bar with a variety of artisan cheeses from Ottawa & Quebec  that our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa especially selected.

To tempt your tastebuds & give you an idea for your next party, here’s what we served…and we continue to receive rave reviews!

~ On Arrival: Sparkling Wine ~ 

Palatine Hills Romeo Blanc de Noir Sparkling VQA

Special Savvy Bin Ends price $22.95 (regular $29.95)

Popping the cork is a great way to begin any event. This sparkling wine made in Niagara-on-the-Lake is our top selling Savvy Bin Ends wine. Your guests will be Wowed with the light salmon colour & outstanding taste. Made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, this bubbly is a perfect way to celebrate summer. Refreshing with the zippy acidity & elegant mousse (winespeak: bubbles) with citrus, strawberry & apple notes.

Suggested food pairings: Served well chilled, this wine is lovely on its own, with shrimp or paired with light appetizers.

Chef Scott Lucas at The Mixing Bowl created a Chili citrus marinated watermelon with garlic feta cheese & pickled rind to go with this bubbly.


~ Refreshing White, Rosé Wines & Craft Beers ~

FEATURED WINES:

Keint-He Voyageur Vidal VQA 2011

One of Prince Edward County’s hidden gems! This boutique winery is so small that you won’t find them at the LCBO. We are delighted to showcase their wines in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club.

Vidal is the same grape that is often reserved to make icewine. In this case, this wine is not sweet at all, rather it is dry, crisp & refreshing.  There are loads of delicious aromas & tastes that may remind you of fresh fruit salad in a glass!  Our Savvy Sommeliers picked this wine for our Savvy Selections subscribers to enjoy as it is perfect to unwind in a deck chair at the cottage or back yard deck with a good book.

Suggested food pairings: BBQed pork tenderloin

 

Daniel Lenko White Cabernet VQA 2011 

A unique wine using grapes from some of the oldest vineyards in Niagara, especially a unique Rosé made with Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes!

Suggested food pairings: Aromas of wild strawberry, pink grapefruit & peach that follows into the taste. Delicious chilled on its own, with grilled salmon or beef & strawberry spinach salad.

 

Daniel Lenko wines are hard to find & we are delighted to offer them this month for Savvy Selections – our wine of the month club – the best way to have Ontario wines delivered to your door every month! 

  Our Savvy Sommeliers chose 3 wines that are ready to drink now – at the cottage, at a campsite or on a deck chair in your backyard.   In addition to this unique Rose, our subscribers received bottles of these delicious Daniel Lenko wines:

Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2010 – a classic, finely-balanced Chardonnay barrel aged in French oak
Old Vines Merlot 2008 – a BIG fruit filled red wine.

Sign up now & have great Ontario wines…delivered! 

 

FEATURED CRAFT BEERS:

Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz

This is a refreshing wheat beer that the brewmaster (who remarkably doesn’t like fruit of any kind!) concocted by adding grapefruit zest and pulp at different points in the beer making process to insert a zippy character of grapefruit into the beer.  The hops were carefully selected to specifically emphasize the citrus notes in each pint.

Photo credit: Debbie Trenholm

Big Rig Raspberry Ale 

Brewmaster Lon Lodell tapped the keg of his first-of-its-kind creation at Big Rig in time for us to showcase at this corporate event.  Our guests were treated to this brand new wine!  A refreshing cold one with subtle raspberry – we heard many ‘yum’ followed by nodding heads of approval were heard at the event. This brew certainly made an impression

HORS D’OEUVRES SERVED:

Roasted asparagus-risotto cake with herb mascarpone cream
Honey date chicken roulade on a sweet potato coin

~ Red Wines & Craft Beers ~

FEATURED WINES:

Lailey Vineyard Canadian Oak Pinot Noir VQA 2008

There is a fantastic story about how winemakers where talking shop over beers at a summer backyard BBQ & created a new way of aging wine…with native Canadian oak.  Read this story in our Savvy eZine – our mini magazine for our Savvy Selections subscribers. 

When plans were made for Bank of Canada’s Mark Carney’s final Board of Governors dinner, I was called on to be the Sommelier for this VIP event & it was easy to select this truly Canadian wine crafted in Niagara-on-the-Lake by Lailey’s renowned winemaker Derek Barnett.

Suggested food pairings: Pinot Noir could be served lightly chilled (10 mins in the fridge) with BBQed salmon, pork chops or portabello mushrooms.


Kacaba Cabernet-Syrah VQA 2011

Now this is a BIG red wine! Whenever I am asked to find a bold red wine from Ontario…Kacaba Vineyards of Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment) will always impress. They are consistently crafting outstanding red wines that turn heads & win awards. Few of their wines are available at the LCBO, so we showcased their big red wines in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club early this year.

Suggested food pairings: Fire up the BBQ & uncork this wine to enjoy with steak, lamb, burgers…and ribs too!

FEATURED CRAFT BEERS:

Kichesippi Hell or Highwater

This is the summer seasonal beer from Ottawa’s first brewery. Only brewed until mid-August, be sure to visit the brewery to get some of this Bavarian Lager.  Brewed with a combination of German malts, German noble hops and a genuine Munich yeast, this is a good example of the ‘session beers’ enjoyed in Bavarian beer gardens…or your back deck in Ottawa!

Beyond the Pale Hop on your Face

A uber hoppy beer, this brew has strong aromas & tastes of hops.  This big beer loaded with high alcohol at 7% is the cold one you want to have with heavier foods – think BBQed steak, ribs or thick pork chops.

HORS D’OUEVRES SERVED:

Olive stuffed meatball crusted with parmesan & tomato coulis
Wild mushroom gallette with avocado pesto

~ Savvy Artisan Cheese Bar~ 

Have you had cheese & wine – absolutely!  How about cheese & beer?  Our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa selected these cheeses from across Canada that she thinks are great to nibble on during the summer:

Bonnechere

Raw sheep’s milk made by Back Forty Artisan Cheese located in Lanark County, Ontario

Interesting Fact: Pressing a cheese during the cheesemaking process expels more whey and gives the paste a firm, dense texture as found in Bonnechere. 

Migneron de Charlevoix

Pasteurized cow’s milk made by Madison D’Affinage Maurice Dufour, Baie-Ste.-Paul, Quebec

Interesting Fact:  Washed rind cheeses age or ripen from the outside in, and the inside out, contributing to both the complexity of the aging process as well as the flavors and aromas of the cheese itself.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

Raw cow’s milk made by Cow’s Creamery, Charlottetown, PEI

Interesting Fact:  Roughly 100 liters of Holstein cow milk goes into making 1 wheel of Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

Chèvre Fatale

Pasteurized goat’s milk made by Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, Sainte-Sixte, QC 

 

Need a hand planning your party?

Call on us anytime.  Whether you’re planning a surprise birthday celebration, a family get-together, a client appreciation event or corporate team building, we can make all of the arrangements for you.  Whether wine, beer, cheese or catering is required, every event we design is customize & will suit your budget.

Give us a call at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to talk to Amanda our event manager extraordinaire or email her on amanda@savvycompany.ca .  We are ready to help make your next event a memorable one!

Share