Posts Tagged ‘Discover Canadian cheese’

Make my Cheese Canadian – please!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
Share

Warning: if you love artisan cheese, you’ll be drooling over this article.

Grocery stores and farmers markets are overflowing with artisan cheese – the good news is that the rise of local cheesemakers is not stopping anytime soon.  There is no need to venture to the European section of the cheese counter to find a wedge that will WOW.  Impressive cheese is made in our backyard.  In fact, being in Ottawa we are treated to cheesemakers on both sides of the border – Quebec and Ontario.

And we are talking about more than just cheddar! Locally made cheeses span the gamut of tastes and styles.  Best of all, Canadian cheeses are rivaling the European equivalent at international competitions.

One of Canada’s renown judges at these competitions is Vanessa Simmons  – Cheese Sommelier and curator of Savvy Cool Curds – the only artisan cheese of the month club that exclusively features Canadian cheeses. Vanessa knows everything there is about cheeses and she travels coast to coast visiting cheesemakers and farmers to learn the ‘whey’ they make Canadian cheeses.  “Often a recipe that has been passed through a family for generations is the starting point,” explains Vanessa.

This is exactly the case with Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese located in Woodstock – Canada’s dairy capital.  “We make alpine style cheese like they do in Holland”, explains Shep Ysselstein (in photo) who weaves his family Dutch roots into his rapidly growing cheese business. “All of my cheese is made with the milk of my father’s herd of 120 Holstein cows.  Every two days, fresh milk is delivered from the farm across the street to my cheese production facility.  I use every last drop.”  Gouda, washed rind cheeses and brie are Shep’s signature creations. If you have enjoyed the Beau’s cheese – washed with Lugtread Beer – the cheese is in fact made at Gunn’s Hill.

Sheep, goat and cow milks are the main ingredient that the cheesemaker starts with.  Seasonally, the cheesemakers need to tweak their recipes to reflect the make up of the milk. In the winter, they need to compensate for higher fat content in the milk, in order for the cheese to not be too soft.  During times of the year when the animals are fed a lot of carrots, there are higher levels of beta carotene in the milk, resulting in a cheese with a more golden hue. Whether the recipe is a family secret or not, cheesemaking is part art & part science.

 

So many cheeses, so little time!

In France, they boast that there are over 365 different types of chévre (goat cheese), equating to one to enjoy each day.  While this sounds devine, the idea of constantly trying different cheeses is definitely appealing.  Where to start?

 

Vanessa offers these tips:

Check out the Best Before Date – Pick a cheese that is closest to best before date to enjoy right away.  This might actually mean that the price of the cheese is discounted for quick sale!  “Often cheese is sold into grocery stores young. You want a cheese that has been ripening.”  The exception to this rule: Fresh Cheese or Cheese Curds.

Soft rounds of cheese – Buy small! Give them a squeeze on the sides.  Notice if they are firm or ‘squishy’.  What you want is a round where the edges are soft to indicate that the cheese is ripe n’ ready.

It’s OK to eat the rind – The rind is often washed with wine, beer or a special concoction that is intended to help the aging process while the cheese is in the caves.  The effect is a hardened outside to the cheese that is fine – not to mention delicious – to eat.  The exception to this rule: watch out for rind that is wax.  This is not intended to be eaten!

Like your curds squeaky? – As soon as you put curds in the fresh, the squeak disappears. The cheese is fine on the counter for a few days.

 

Building a Canadian Cheese Board 101

With these tips, Vanessa makes it easy to create a cheese board to serve instead of slaving hours to make hors d’oeuvres or a fancy dessert. Use Vanessa tried & true tips and you’ll be guaranteed to get Oooohs and aaahs reviews for your cheese selection.

Vanessa’s Buying Tips: 

Milk type – cow, sheep, goat, buffalo (when in season).  Buy at least one of each

Style of cheese – Select different styles: fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard…and always make sure there is a blue cheese!

Age of Cheese – have a variety of young & old cheeses

Visual Variety – select cheeses that have visual appeal.  Rounds, wedges, chunks, even in pyramid shape – in combination will create WOW factor.

How much? – 5-10gms of each cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

Vanessa’s Serving Tips:

Take them out of the fridge – make sure the cheeses are at room temperature – arrange on the cheese board atleast 1 hour beforehand.  This will allow the flavours and texture to shine their finest

One knife please – place one knife per cheese on the board.

To cut or not to cut – Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.

Wood, plate or slate – Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, antique plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.

Plain Jane – Serve specialty breads and plain crackers.  Crackers dressed with herbs or spices will conflict with the taste of the cheese.

Add ons – sprinkle onto the board fresh berries, dried fruits, toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

 

This is part of an article written by Debbie Trenholm that will appear in the January/February 2018 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

Share

It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Posted by Vanessa

Monday, August 15th, 2016
Share

At the height of summer, this month’s Savvy Cool Curds is inspired by my tour around Italy a few years ago as well as the empty place left in my heart (and stomach) for Italian homemade, melt in your mouth, soft artisan

Quality cheesecheeses. Mama Mia! After living on fresh cheese daily for almost a month, I was thrilled to return home to discover new finds by Quality Cheese in Vaughn, Ontario.   

Italy’s finest is made here with a touch of Canadian flair by three Borgo brothers who believe passionately in making cheese from the heart that reflects in their product. “Do it right or don’t do it at all” is the motto. Bellisimo!

 

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… the biggest and best assortment of cheeses yet! Very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including: savvy_coolcurds_Colour

– Ricotta 300g
– Burrata 250g
– Buffalo Mozzarella 125g
– Mascarpone 250g
– Fleur de Buffala 200g
– Triple Crème Brie 300g

 

Craving more cool Quality Cheeses?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!). Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…
Quality Cheese

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

 

As soon as I entered the doors of Quality Cheese, I was struck by the warm, comforting aromas of fresh and cooked milk that instantly took me back to my vacation in Tuscany, Italy and it’s amazing landscapes, traditions, delicious food, artisans and history.

My visit and tour to Quality Cheese reminded me why I barely made it home from that vacation as I had spent three weeks at the height of sensory enjoyment, in awe and amazed by the simplicity yet flavorful impact of dishes made with love and only the finest and freshest of ingredients.

The Borgo family of Vaughn, Ontario – representing four generations behind Quality Cheese – manufacture, distributes and retail Italian specialty cheeses unlike any others made in Canada. Their first cheese was made almost 55 years ago. Quality Cheeses – particularly the ones in the fresh cheese category in your Savvy Cool Curds – are firmly rooted in Italian artisanal cheesemaking tradition and to this day are made with the same family recipes.

Innovative but firmly rooted…

The three Borgo brothers are actively involved in the business with Albert as the cheese salesman, Joe as the cheese scientist, and William (Bill) as the master cheesemaker. While traditional, these men are blazing new trails and innovating all the time.

Much applause and award-winning recognition has been given over the years to their delectable cheeses made with cow, buffalo and goat milk. When their Ricotta won the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in 2013, it was an industry first. Never before had a fresh cheese, or an Ontario cheese won Grand Champion (best of the best) in the awards’ history. From the judges’ perspective, their Ricotta was a shining star, and truly the best example of a well-made artisan cheese at the ceremony, standing out among the crowd.

Even on the plant floor they’ve been innovating for over 17 years. From how milk is stored and piped, to various safety and sanitary processes, to finding ways to become more efficient at cheesemaking while retaining quality and artisan craftsmanship, their business is tweaked on a daily basis.

 

Experience in actionCHEESE FACTORY

The heightened energy and activity in the make room is akin to bees buzzing around a hive, almost organized chaos-like, but with the execution and precision that demonstrates years of experience and expertise. Albert, Joe and Bill continue to be very hands on, testing curd as they weave through equipment, tweaking machines, and providing guidance on texture and readiness.

A lot goes on in a ‘make day’. Fresh, tender mozzarella curd is cut and waits patiently in the vat to be transformed into multiple cheeses. Whey is drained from the fresh mozzarella and gets re-purposed into vats and heated to make fresh ricotta that is sold warm daily at the plant. Then the ricotta is hand scooped into forms or small tubs for immediate sale at retailers. Stretchy fresh mozzarella curd is hot water warmed, plied and kneaded into small oblong shapes, cut, hand stretched into pouches and filled with fresh cream/creamy curd as a delicious center. Chalky white buffalo mozzarella curd drains as cheesemaker Bill waits for the right texture before the next step – hand stretching.

Nothing says summer like the freshest, tastiest, juiciest and most flavorful of artisan and local foods ingredients. Dive into this month’s Savvy Cool Curds cheeses, grab good friends, and head for your backyard or cottage deck or dock for easy peasy entertaining during laziest haziest days of summer!

 – Cheese Tasting Notes – 

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

 

ricottaRicotta

Humble Quality Cheese Ricotta (ricotta means cooked again) reined supreme in 2013, winning Grand Champion against over 225 of Canada’s best cheeses, a first for both an Ontario and fresh category cheese.

Tasting Notes: Made with 100% Canadian whole cow or buffalo milk and the whey of from other brie-style and mozzarella cheeses, acidity and temperature levels are carefully monitored to ensure quality craftsmanship. Each Ricotta is hand-dipped and packed cool, resulting in a rich, luxurious, creamy, dense, full lactic and sweeter tasting product. Locally, the Ricotta is sold hot, straight from the vat for neighbors who appreciate the traditional Italian style.

 Suggested Pairing: “It is like fresh milk, you can do anything with it”, says Albert Borgo. “Eat it as a staple, some as food ingredient like with toast and jam.”  Try in cheesecake, fresh pasta, with fresh seasonal fruit, pancakes or dessert recipes or the Plum Salad with Ricotta and Prosciutto Twist recipe in the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine.

 

buff mozzBuffalo Mozzarella

 Experience the luxury of hand crafted silky artisan Mozzarella di Buffala as it’s meant to be. Made with 100% pure milk from local water buffalo (don’t be fooled with “cheater” buffalo mozzarella which is mostly cow’s milk with small percentage of buffalo milk mixed in!). A bit sweeter than it’s Italian cousin because salt is added during the make process instead of after in brine.

Tasting Notes: Enjoy the fresh, mild, buttery milky flavor and smooth silky texture of this small, soft and delicate but oh so versatile cheese.

 Suggested Pairing: Pairs perfectly with both sweet and savory accoutrements from your local farmer’s market.

  

QualityCheeseBurratabyVanessaSimmonsBurrata


Burrata is a rare breed of cheese in the fresh category, as a mix of mozzarella & cream, its name meaning, “buttered”.

 Tasting Notes: Burrata is part pasta filata (meaning stretchy) cheese as a combo of scraps of soft fresh mozzarella curd and cream center and curd that has been worked, heated and stretched it into little pouches around the exterior.  Enjoy flavors of rich, buttery, fresh milk and thick cream.

Suggested Pairing: Serve classically with ripened tomatoes, drizzled with oil, cracked black pepper & fresh basil. Try it with a twist, grilled plums drizzled with balsamic vinegar & small toasts.

 

mascarponeMascarpone

As far as fresh cheeses go, if ricotta was the humble man’s cheese, mascarpone is the “Gatsby” of the fresh cheese world. True to Italian culture, Bella Casara Mascarpone exemplifies passion, as a sexy and sinful artisan cheese.

Tasting Notes: As a description rich, luxurious and voluptuous come to mind along with butter as a main theme.  Caramelized butter-coloring appeals to the eye, while the lightest of sweet dulce de leche flavor melds with butter and cream on the palate. Even the consistency, density, smoothness are what one would find of the best quality hand churned butter.

 Suggested Pairing: IMHO Bella Casara Mascarpone is best eaten with a tablespoon, straight. Or, use in your favorite brownie recipe as an extra special secret ingredient for maximum cheesy goodness.

                                       

fleur de buffFleur de Buffala

Fleur de Buffala is a unique cheese for Ontario, just released onto the market, and aged for only a few weeks, made with local water buffalo milk.

Tasting Notes: These small, tender wheels of soft surface-ripened cheese have a rustic and delicate appearance from the light dewy crust of a rind. Feel the luxurious texture on your palate while enjoying both grassy and herbaceous aromas and flavors. Will be ripe and ready to best enjoy mid-next week.

 Suggested Pairing: Pair with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc and lazy summer afternoon.

 

 

triple cream brieTriple Cream Brie

Albert’s Leap Triple Cream Brie is a shining example of a fan favorite, made with only the 100% Canadian milk, delivered in the wee hours of the morning to ensure maximum freshness for cheesemaking.

Tasting Notes: Triple cream Brie follows French-style making processes, as a classic soft surface-ripened cheese with a velvety, downy rind and full on characteristic butter, cream and mushroomy aromas and flavors.

TIP: Save this cheese for another week or two to experience it at its peak as the inside becomes supple and runny.

Suggested Pairing: Try flipped on the grilled (indirect heat) warm with fresh grilled stone fruit or with any array of fresh homemade summer fruit jams.

 

– Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses –

 

With Burrata…

Burrata with Roasted Grapes & Figs

Recipe & Photo Credit: LCBO Food & Drink Summer 2016

 

Ingredientsburratta recipe

6 oz red seedless grapes
6 ripe black mission figs, quartered

2 tsp olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1 Burrata at room temperature
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh purple thyme leaves
Toasted baguette or crackers (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Place grapes and figs on a foil-lined baking sheet, trying to keep bunches of grapes together (for a lovely presentation). Drizzle with oil. Season with salt. Bake for 10 minutes

Place cheese on the middle of your serving dish, surrounded by warm fruit. Drizzle everything with honey and sprinkle with purple thyme. Encourage guests to take slices of cheese and roasted fruit onto their plates or you can plate it for them. Serve with slices of toasted baguette or your favourite crackers (such as Rosemary Raisin Pecan Raincoast Crisps) or oatcakes to make it more like a dessert.

 

With Ricotta…

Bella Casara Ricotta Cake with Lemon

Recipe & Photo Credit All You Need is Cheese

Ingredientsriccotta recipe

⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2 lemons
½ cup slivered almonds
1-⅓ lbs. Ricotta
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla abstract
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
½ cup all purpose flour
Dried cranberries for garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes to obtain a syrup. Cook lemon slices in syrup over medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain the syrup into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Spread almonds in an oven-safe baking dish and toast them for 7–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat Ricotta with eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest and the reserved lemon-flavored syrup. Incorporate the flour.

Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Cover bottom of pan with toasted almonds and pour Ricotta mixture on top. Bake in the oven 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake is firm and lightly golden. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour before removing from pan.

Decorate chilled Ricotta cake with candied lemon slices and dried cranberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: This cake can also be accompanied by a cranberry coulis, if desired.

 

 

With Buffalo Mozzarella…                    

Ombre Fresh & Roasted Tomatoes On Charred Bread

Recipe & Photo Credit: LCBO Food & Drink Summer 2016
This recipe substitutes Wasabi cream cheese for fresh buffalo mozzarella

Ingredientsbuff mozz recipe

1 round Buffalo Mozzarella
3 small beefsteak tomatoes
2 pkgs. mix of red and orange cherry and grape tomatoes
Olive oil – use the Unrefined Olive oil we included!
Sea salt and pepper to taste
4 slices sourdough bread (or an Italian crusty bread)
¼ cup crispy shallots (found in Asian markets, or fry your own)

Method

Slice buffalo mozzarella into 8 thin slices.

Slice beefsteak tomatoes into wedges, keep cherry and grape tomatoes whole.

Preheat broiler on oven.

Place foil on a baking sheet, add cherry and grape tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Broil until just starting to pop and blister, around 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and lift foil from baking sheet. Refrigerate tomatoes to cool.

Place bread on baking sheet and toast until slightly charred.

Spread each toast slice with 2 slices of buffalo mozzarella, and sprinkle evenly with crispy shallots. Arrange fresh and broiled tomatoes in a colourful Ombre composition, moving from reds to oranges. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

With Mascarpone…

Melon and Mascarpone Salmon Tartare

Recipe & Photo Credit: Quality Cheese

 IngredientsMascarpone recipe

½ cup Bella Casara Mascarpone
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill
10 oz. very fresh salmon
½ cup honeydew melon
½ cup cucumber

Method

Whip Mascarpone and milk together. Add lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Chop salmon, honeydew and cucumber into small cubes. Place salmon in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Gently mix together, and let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Divide tartare into 4 ramekins, then invert onto plates.

Top with Mascarpone and season to taste. Serve immediately with slices of bread.

 

 

With Fleur de Buffala…

Roasted Portabello Mushroom with Albert’s Leap Melted Brie

Recipe & Photo Credit: Quality Cheese

Ingredientsfleur de buff recipe

4 Portobello mushrooms
8 oz. Fleur de Buffala Brie
1 shallot
½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
Fresh tender lettuce or mixed greens


Method

Preheat barbecue to medium.

In a bowl, mix shallot with mustard. Add olive oil and whisk to mix. Add vinegar and season to taste. Set aside.

Gently clean mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove stems, keeping only the caps. Stems may be used for another recipe.

Brush mushroom caps with a little dressing and cook them upside down on grill.

When mushrooms are tender, divide cheese slices between them so that interiors are filled. Let Fleur de Buffala melt and serve on a bed of lettuce, accompanied with remaining vinaigrette.

  

With Triple Cream Brie…

Choco Brie S’Mores

Recipe & Photo Credit: All You Need Is Cheese


brieIngredients

8 Graham Crackers
3 oz. Triple Cream Brie, sliced
1 ½ oz. of dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1-cup miniature marshmallows

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Arrange crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each cracker with Brie, chocolate and finish with marshmallows.

Place in the oven and cook until nicely browned, 7–10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

Enjoy the summer with your Savvy Cool Curds!

Share

Celebrate with Award Winning Canadian Cheeses!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Share

This month’s Savvy Cool Curds selection pays tribute to the Canadian Cheese Awards, and the best artisan cheeses in Canada. Launched in 2014 by Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, and staunch supporter of the Canadian artisan cheese industry, the Canadian Cheese Awards are the first of their kind, inclusive of all milk types and all provinces across our nation. AND Georgs is a Savvy Cool Curds subscriber too!

Judging for the Canadian Cheese Awards takes place every second year. Beyond many category winners there is one ultimate champion, named Cheese Of The Year. It was just announced that this year, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, from COWS Creamery in Prince Edward Island took home the of Cheese of The Year title. Our long time subscribers will remember Avonlea as we sent you 2 chunks of it in the Savvy Cool Curds February feature.

This month’s selection is from those cheesemakers who only have a few types of cheeses – not enough for a full feature in Savvy Cool Curds. The other award winners will be showcased in upcoming months. Stay tuned!

 In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

…hard-to-find and delicious award-winning artisan cheeses including:savvy_coolcurds_Colour

-Sabot de Blanchette (Natural)
-Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans
-Le Baluchon
-Old Growler
-Dragon’s Breath Blue

Crazy for more medal winning cheeses? 

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!). Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

Introducing…
Canadian Cheese Award Winners

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Canada is home to over 1500 different varieties and types of cheeses. While not all of them are considered artisanal, about half make that grade. There are also a handful of cheese awards through a number of industry organizations, recognizing the crème de la crème of cheeses in various categories, however The Canadian Cheese Awards is the first and only cheese competition in this country that considers all milk types such as cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo from all provinces. This means cheeses are made with 100% natural Canadian milk, with no artificial colors, flavours, preservatives and no modified milk ingredients.

Earlier this year, on February 18 & 19th, 12 judges (myself included!) gathered at the University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, for a two-day cheese tasting experience like no other, presided over by Dr. Arthur Hill.

So many cheeses…

vanessaA whopping 301 entries were submitted by artisan cheesemakers from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, and all the provinces in between. There is an official process for cheese submission, which remains anonymous to both judges and the general public. Cheesemongers and cheese industry professionals manage the reception and storage of cheese to ensure secrecy and that quality is maintained during the judging process. Judges are recognized in the industry for their deep expertise in artisan cheese.

Overall the goals of The Canadian Cheese Awards are to determine and promote the best cheeses in Canada for all milks, to provide honest and constructive feedback to cheesemakers on their cheeses and create a symbol of excellence in Canadian cheese that consumers and the industry alike will recognize.

A winning recipe

Judging happens in teams of two in each of 17 categories, one person evaluating aesthetics and one evaluating the technical aspects of each entry. Both consider aroma, appearance, texture and flavor. Marks are given by the aesthetic judge for superior qualities of those 4 areas. Marks are deducted by technical judges for any faults noticed in the cheese. Both strive to uncover nuances of terroir, character, flavor profile, and differences that make the cheese standout and unique, worth of being best in it’s class. Not just any old cheese makes the grade. This is very similar to how we decide which cheeses and cheesemakers make it to Savvy Cool Curds – we want to WOW you! At the end of two days of tasting over 301 cheeses, 78 finalists rose to the top, in 31 categories including contenders for Cheese of the Year.

The who’s who of the Canadian cheese industry gathered in April at the Time Supper Club in Montreal for the Awards Ceremony, naming all category winners and Cheese of the Year –Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, followed by a packed-house Awards Tasting Gala for the general public and media (we’ll make sure all Savvy Cool Curds subscribers get an invite for 2018!) and giant cheese tasting party!

CDN cheese awards

Put your tasting hat on!

We’re thrilled to bring you Fromagerie F.X. Pichet Le Baluchon (2014 Cheese of the Year winner) – born of a love story which dates back to when the owners Michel Pichet & Marie-Claude Harvey of Sainte-Anne-De-La-Pérade, Québec were high school sweethearts, and reunited later in life. Fromagerie La Suisse Normande’s Sabot de Blanchette (2016 Best Soft Cheese) is a stunning little goat milk pyramid from Lanaudière, Quebec (a quick stop off Hwy 40 on the way to Montreal). Old Growler and Dragon’s Breath Blue from That Dutchman’s Farm from Upper Economy, Nova Scotia are rare finds in Ontario. Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans, said to be the first cheese
produced in America, of Fromagerie de L’Isle D’Orléans, Quebec is a fun grilling cheese experience…it is no wonder it was awarded 2016 Best Grilling Cheese.


Cheese Tasting Notes

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

Sabot de Blanchette

Sabot de BlanchetteBest Bloomy Rind Cheese 2016

Inspired by their European cultures (Swiss & French), this fromagerie’s products are a marriage made in heaven and leaving their mark in Québec.  Cheeses are made from goats raised on the farm, in true “fermier” (farmstead) fashion.

Tasting Notes: This soft-surface-ripened goat’s milk cheese has a unique pyramid shape, with a lovely, natural, slightly wrinkled, soft moldy rind, that on occasion displays spots of blue.  The paste is creamy, velvety & white, firm towards the center, & acidity and yeasty tang on the palate.

Suggested Pairing: Try with a crisp dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. Enjoy spread on fruit & nut crackers, smeared with seasonal compote (rhubarb or strawberry).

 

Le Paillasson de l’Isle D’Orléans

Le Paillasson de l’Isle D’OrléansBest Grilling Cheese 2016

Paillasson is special cheese somewhat like an uncooked marshmallow, its unique character doesn’t fully shine until it’s fried or grilled, lending to its melty (but not melted) properties. Best always served warm.

Tasting Notes: This fresh, unripened semi-soft grilling cheese has milky aromas. When heated in a skillet or over a grill, flavors go from bland to boom becoming all melted butter and toasted nut, complete with the crispy bits we all love (just like your favorite grilled cheese without the bread!)

Suggested Pairing: Enjoy sliced wedges with spicy chorizo on a toothpick as a snack, wrap with prosciutto as an appetizer, serve as a side or centerpiece garnish to a local mixed green salad. 

 

Le Baluchon

Le Baluchon Best FarmsteadBest Farmstead Cheese 2016
Best Organic Cheese 2016
Cheese of the Year 2014

Le Baluchon is an example of organic products, created through systems and processes that are more sustainable and harmonious with their environments (soil, animals, people, and plants).  Generally lower tech operations and milk sourced from pasture-based farms (if not their own) is used where animals are free of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.

Tasting Notes: Le Baluchon is a farmstead, washed-rind, certified “Québec Vrai” organic raw cow’s milk cheese aged for 60 days.  Notice harvest colors of apricot/orange/terracotta in the rind with a thin white dusty layer that develops as the cheese ages. Inside, a bright golden yellow semi-firm creamy paste showing small holes glistens in sunlight.  Made OKA-style, it has similar characteristics: a gritty textured rind, toasted hazelnut flavors, and pungent barny aromas.

 Suggested Pairing: Melted as Raclette or enjoyed with an oaky Canadian Chardonnay.

 

Old Growler

Best Gouda Cheese 2016Old Growler

Old Growler is a more mature (and the most popular) of The Dutchman’s Goudas.  Born of a surplus of older cheeses, they decided to name it, and sell it at eighteen months.

 Tasting Notes: Traditional aged Gouda characteristics starting to show – more pale gold hued open paste with eyes (pinholes) and crystals forming, firm to hardening texture, malty aromas developing with much stronger & lingering caramel flavor over milk with a bit of bite.

Suggested Pairing: A favourite pairing with this cheese is Michael Dolce Peach Cardamom Jam, or local stone fruit based marmalade. Enjoy with a Canadian Pinot Gris.

  

Dragon’s Breath Blue

Best Blue Cheese 2016dragons breathe blue

A rare find and multi-award winner, Dragon’s Breath Blue is a closely guarded family secret.

 Tasting Notes: Unique in shape and size, these small cylinders of blue cheese are aged only a few weeks then coated with wax for ripening another 2-6 months.  The flavor and texture varies by season, more buttery/creamy in the summer months with higher fat content in the milk.  Note sharp blue flavor, moist texture with fruity notes, and little blue veining depending on exposure to air. Tip: Pop a small slice of the top off and leave it uncovered for 24-48 hrs. to develop more blue veining.

 Suggested Pairing: Pair with a Canadian Gamay or Pinot Noir. Melt wedges into phyllo pastry squares and garnish.

 

 

 Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses

 

With Sabot de Blanchette

Spring Salad with Honeyed Rhubarb and Goat Cheese

The Ottawa Citizen’s Laura Robin

IngredientsSpring Salad with Honeyed Rhubarb and Goat Cheese

¾ lb. (340 g) rhubarb (about 7 slender stalks),
cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) pieces
¼ cup (60 mL) honey
½ cup (125 mL) walnut halves
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bunches arugula (about 12 cups/3 L), tough stems removed
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup (25 mL) goat cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp (45 mL) fresh snipped chives (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C) with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss rhubarb pieces with honey. Roast on upper rack until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, on another rimmed baking sheet, toast walnuts on lower rack until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Let rhubarb cool on pan. Cool walnuts, and then chop coarsely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula and fennel with the vinaigrette. Top the salad with the rhubarb, walnuts, goat cheese and chives.

 

With Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans…                    

Grilling Cheese with Cranberry & Pistachios

Dairy Goodness All You Need Is Cheese

IngredientsGrilling Cheese with Cranberry & Pistachios

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted shelled pistachios
3 Tbsp (45 mL) sugar, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) cranberry juice
8 oz. (250 g) Canadian grilling cheeseLe Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans

Method

In a small skillet, toast pistachios on medium heat with 2 tbsp. (30 mL) sugar. Cook until sugar becomes golden brown and sticks to pistachios.

Transfer to a parchment-lined plate. Once pistachios have cooled, coarsely chop.

In a small saucepan, mix cranberries, cranberry juice and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cranberries are tender. Using an upright or hand blender, purée mixture until smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Grill cheeses for 3–4 minutes on each side. You can also place cheeses on a parchment-lined baking sheet and grill in the oven, preheated to 450°F (230°C), for 4–5 minutes on each side.

Serve hot on top of cranberry coulis, garnished with crispy pistachios.

 

With Le Baluchon…

Tartlets with Baluchon and Caramelized Onions

Les Producteurs de lait du Quebec – Our Cheeses

Tartlets with Baluchon and Caramelized Onions Ingredients

12 Tartlet Crusts (Store-bought)
250 ml (1 cup) Le Baluchon Cheese, rind removed, grated
2 eggs
250 ml (1 cup) of 15% cream
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Caramelized Onions

45 ml (3 Tbsp) butter
250 ml (1 cup) pearl onions
30 ml (2 Tbsp) sugar
15 ml (1 Tbsp) balsamic vinegar
15 ml (1 Tbsp) fresh rosemary, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).

Bake tartlets for 10 minutes or until crusts are golden.

Whisk cheese, eggs, cream and nutmeg in the food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Fill tartlets with the cheese mixture.

Garnish with caramelized onions.

Bake for 10 more minutes or until the filling is golden.

 

Caramelized Onions

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and brown the onions for 5 minutes.

Add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar.

Continue cooking for 5 minutes until the onions are caramelized and add the rosemary.

 

With Old Growler

Gouda Asparagus Pesto

Dairy Goodness All You Need Is Cheese

IngredientsGouda Asparagus Pesto

¼ cup (60 mL) raw almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of asparagus (about ¾ lb. – 350 g), cut into 1˝ (2.5 cm) pieces
1 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) Canadian Aged Gouda – Old Growler, finely grated

Method

In a food processor, chop almonds and garlic.

Add asparagus and process until finely chopped.

Continue to process while gradually pouring in oil.

Season generously with salt and pepper, and add cheese.

Transfer to a jar and seal with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

With Dragon’s Breath Blue

Marinated Hangar Steak with Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Recipes4EveryKitchen

 IngredientsMarinated Hangar Steak with Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Hangar steak (recipe works great with flank, skirt, tenderloin and any grilling beef you choose).

Marinade

½ cup red wine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme or rosemary
2 tsp dried basil
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Salad

Romaine hearts, torn into bite sized chunks
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1/2 English cucumber, chunked
Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Chef Craig Flinn’s Awesome Vinaigrette
3 anchovy fillets
1 shallot, very finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced to pulp
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

For the vinaigrette:

Smash anchovy fillets in a bowl with a fork and add the shallot and garlic.

Add the mustard, lemon juice & zest, vinegar, salt & pepper and whisk until smooth. Add the oil in a slow steady stream while whisking until the vinaigrette is smooth and emulsified. Makes ¾ cup and will keep refrigerated for a couple of weeks.

For the steak/salad

In a large Ziplock bag, combine all the marinade ingredients and blend well. Add the prepared hanger steak (or whatever other cut you choose), coat well with the marinade and massage. You can let the meat marinate on the counter for a couple of hours before grilling or refrigerate for up to 48 hours. If refrigerating, bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.

To grill with bbq/ grill pan/ electric grill/ broiler… whatever you have – heat to high and grill for 3-4 minutes, turn the meat, lower the temp a bit and continue to grill for 4 minutes for medium rare. That’s how long for flank steak, but hanger steak being thicker will require more time. Turn the heat down to medium so it will not char, and turn every 4 minutes until done to your liking.

Remove from the grill and place on a plate, flipping the hot side (closest to the grill) on top and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Then slice on the diagonal, across the grain to serve.

While the steaks are grilling, place the torn romaine hearts and chunks of red peppers & cucumbers into a large serving bowl. Toss with vinaigrette.

Once the steaks are sliced, place them on top of the salad and crumble the cheese over top.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

 

 

Share