Posts Tagged ‘Fromagerie Nouvelle France’

Got your tickets? BC, Ont, Quebec & NS wineries are coming to town!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, June 15th, 2017
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The countdown to Canada150 & Ottawa2017 celebrations is on!  We’re celebrating in a BIG way this year – by showcasing wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia at our upcoming event: Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White in Ottawa on Thursday, June 22 – next week!

100% Canadian wines.  You read that right…wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia will be available for you to Taste & Buy….then have your favorites delivered to your doorstep.

 

Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

Corks will be popping at this all-Canadian Taste & Buy as we celebrate winemakers who have worked incredibly hard to put our country on the world wine map. Meet these Canadian wine rockstars, taste their wines that are WOWing the world…then order your favs to enjoy at home.

 

It’s THE event you have been waiting for…

The #1 question we get asked: Can you buy from BC, NS & Quebec wineries as well those in Ontario?  YES you can!  Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste & Buy event is all about ordering wines from BC, NS, Quebec and Ontario…then have them delivered directly to your home or office to enjoy all summer long.

 

Show your colours!  Buy a $80 ticket & bring a friend for FREE OR $150 for a foursome of Canadian wine lovin’ friends

Canadian cheese too!

What goes best with Canadian wines?  Canadian artisan cheese of course! Cheesemakers & our Cheese Sommelier will be serving samples of award-winning cheeses that you can buy onsite too.

 

Look who is coming:

From British Columbia…

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Sperling Vineyards
Abeego

From Niagara…  

Legends Estates Winery
Reif Estate Winery
The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Westcott Vineyards
Vieni Estates 

From Prince Edward County…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Huff Estates
Karlo Estates
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards
Kinsip House of Fine Distillers
Trail Estate Winery

From other corners of Ontario & Ottawa…

Copper Tree Creative Studio
Mariposa Dairy
Pure Bread Bakery
Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.
St-Albert Cheese Co-op
The Merry Dairy
Top Shelf Preserves

From Quebec…

Ferme Guy Rivest
Fromagerie Montebello
Fromagerie Nouvelle-France
Fromagerie du Presbytere
Vignoble Carone Wines

From P.E.I…

COWS Creamery

From Nova Scotia…

Gaspereau Vineyards
Jost Wines

 

Wine Shopping Heaven! 

At this Taste & Buy event, EVERYTHING is 100% Canadian.

Create your own combo of Canadian wines to have delivered to your home after the event. You won’t find any of the featured wines at the LCBO – the wines will be delivered straight from the winery anywhere in Canada directly to you.  AND…there’s FREE shipping on 6 or more bottles of your top picks.

Bring a picnic basket & fill it up with artisan cheeses & gourmet treats too.

 

TIP: Be a V.I.T!

What’s a V.I.T? A Very Important Taster.  With 100+ wines, cheeses & goodies to try, purchase your tickets then upgrade each person for an additional $25 to get a V.I.T. Pass.   

You’ll enjoy red carpet treatment with advance access from 5 to 7pm to spend more time sipping & meeting the makers.  Stay as long as you like for the main event.

Buy your Ticket & V.I.T. Pass >>

 

Don’t miss this all-Canadian celebration! 

Buy your tickets >>   Event Deets

DATE: Thursday June 22 – next week!
VENUE: Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne Complex in Ottawa

TIMES:
V.I.T. Reception – 5 to 7pm ($25 upgrade pass per person is required)
Main Event – 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: $80 + bring a friend FREE  OR  Group of 4 people for $150
IDEA: Take the bus.  OC Transpo is FREE – simply show a printout of your ticket.

 

Wear Red & White…Win $50

Be a proud Canadian  – come to this Taste & Buy event dressed head to toe in red & white and we’ll automatically give you $50 off your ticket to our next Savvy Event.

 

Unable to make it, but want to order?

Don’t sweat it!  The Savvy Team will help you stock up on featured wines showcased at this event. Call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email us & we’ll send you the complete list of wines & online order form.  You too can get FREE shipping – your order needs to be received by midnight on Sunday June 25.

 

WIN TICKETS!  Go on the Savvy Scavenger Hunt…

Find this video on our Facebook or Instagram pages, then…LIKE it & POST the name of your favorite Canadian wine.  On Monday, we’ll pick 2 lucky people to receive a pair of tickets & V.I.T. Passes to join us at Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White.  It’s easy to win!  On your mark…Get Set…GO!!!

 

Psst…it’s Father’s Day weekend!

Yikes…totally forgot? Our #1 Father’s Day gift is a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops beer-o-month club.

Click here to subscribe your Dad for 4 or 6 months & his fridge will auto-magically be filled with the best craft beers from a different Ontario brewery each month – bottles, growlers & cans not available at LCBO or The Beer Store.  100% guaranteed to make your Dad smile from beer to beer!

 

We’re hiring…

We have cool summer job opportunities for a high school or university students to work with the Savvy Team at Savvy HQ in Ottawa. We’re looking for creative & savvy students who are keen to learn about Canadian wine, artisan cheese, craft beer & cider.

Interested?  Contact us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send your resume to cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Happy Birthday Canada!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

 

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I’ve gone to cheese heaven!

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
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We are in love!  In love with Canadian cheese that is!  We’re thrilled to highlight Fromagerie Nouvelle France from Racine, Quebec in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds.  The hardworking, passionate sister brother team of Marie-Chantal and Jean-Paul Houde make spectacular raw and pasteurized sheep milk cheeses, winning over 20 awards since their first cheese, Zacharie Cloutier was born, including top honours for Best Cheese in Quebec, twice.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including:

La Madelaine 150g
Frechette 140g
Zacharie Cloutier 200g
Zacharie Cloutier 12 month 200g
Le Pionnier 200

 


Looking for more fabulous Nouvelle France Cheese?

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 & Enjoy!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

Photos by Vanessa & Fromagerie Nouvelle France unless noted.

 

Introducing…

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

I first met Marie-Chantal Houde (left in photo) during a special cheesemaking workshop I attended at my first ever cheese conference put on by the American Cheese Society, in Montreal in 2011. It’s an action packed week of learning and tastings, and networking with cheese gurus and legends in the industry, a not to miss event for cheese professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Marie-Chantal was demonstrating the making of her special Zacharie Cloutier cheese, which at that time, was brand new on the market. I was in awe of both the science and art of cheesemaking coming to life in front of my eyes as pure milk was transformed into something even greater than itself.

We take for granted the work involved in making artisan cheese, the level of skill, effort, luck and love to make such a quality product for the enjoyment of others. PH/acidity needs to be just so, a light touch or heavy hand is needed depending on the type of cheese being made. And timing is everything. As I watched Marie-Chantal she had not only the expertise, but the intuition as well which made the whole exercise look seamless, effortless and simple, and I fell in love with cheese, again. She was approachable and fun, answering my questions with interest, later inviting me to meet more of the Quebec cheesemaking crowd, and from there I was “in” as the girl from Ontario promoting Canadian cheese.

 

Committed to Local

Fromagerie Nouvelle France, located in the tiny village of Racine, Quebec, is a brother and sister enterprise founded in 2009. It’s the tale of family joining forces, passionate about sheep farming and raw milk and excellent quality production in the making of fine cheese.  Cheesemaker Marie-Chantal studied in France, and is a sought after consultant and technical expert and industry speaker, especially in the area of raw milk cheese production.  Jean-Paul Houde is the shepherd, tending to the 250-acre family farm where the siblings were born, with his expertise in animal husbandry and taking care of the land.

Over 300 East Freisian and Lacaune ewes enjoy their summers spent out in pasture among the rolling hills with beautiful vistas as their view. They are fed dry hay, which contributes to the high quality of the milk they provide, playing a huge factor in Marie-Chantal & Jean-Paul’s mission to create the best sheep’s milk cheeses in the region. The two are committed to their region; their little shop at the town’s farmer’s market promotes complimentary artisan products made in the area. They’re full of hospitality, ready to share knowledge on a farm tour, or cheesemaking stories over a glass of wine outside at the picnic table.  Cheese is made at the Fromagerie du Presbytère facilities in Warwick (who we featured in November), not far away, with which they have a special partnership, friendship and shared passion.

 

Award-winning Reputation

Since their launch, every one of the Fromagerie Nouvelle France cheeses have been winning awards regionally at the Canadian Cheese Awards, and Caseus, Quebec Cheese Awards for best cheese, best soft cheese, best raw milk cheese, best in show, in North America at the American Cheese Society in multiple categories, and on the world stage at the World Cheese Awards.

As you dig into your Savvy Cool Curds this month, you’ll taste the difference excellence makes and see why Fromagerie Nouvelle France has made a name for themselves as leaders in the artisan cheese industry in Canada.

Enjoy every bite!



 ~ 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!

 

Fréchette

Frechette is a named for a family from both sides of the Houde clan, and is like a chèvre only made with cow’s milk, lighter and more delicate than a cream cheese, making it a heavenly choice.  Another award winner for Fromagerie Nouvelle France, it took top honours in the Best Flavored Cheese category at the Canadian Cheese Awards in 2016.

Tasting Notes: This mild fresh cheese is fluffy and silky but flavourful on the palate with noticeable herb and garlic flavors.

Suggested Pairing:  The sky’s the limit with this versatile yummy cheese. Tuck dollops into phyllo triangles or purses with sautéed wild mushrooms and leeks. Quickly melt for a fast and easy veggie dip.  Spread on crostini and broil, topped with rosemary and honey.

 

 

La Madelaine

La Madelaine, another tribute to Marie-Chantal’s ancestry and heritage, is a crowd-pleasing favourite, consider it one of those little luxuries of life.  Soft, oozy and sinful, it’s perfectly ripe for to enjoy right now. 

Tasting Notes: La Madelaine is a soft, surface ripened sheep milk cheese with a dewy, delicate bloomy rind. Inside a runny pearly colored paste bursts with flavor of sweet grass, dry hay, and sweet milk, with light mushroomy aromas.

Suggested Pairing: Enjoy with Ontario Organized Crime Pinot Gris or a Quebec Sparkling Ice Cider. Pair with fermented berry fruit flavors, cassis, sour cherry or cranberry or a local hot red pepper jelly for a complimentary zing. 

 

 

Zacharie Cloutier

Fromagerie Nouvelle France’s signature cheese, Zacharie Cloutier, is a raw sheep’s milk cheese, named for an ancestor who came to Canada from France in 1634.

Tasting Notes: Marie-Chantal’s love for her craft and talent transfers to her flagship cheese. Zacharie Cloutier is a 6-month semi-cooked, firm, raw sheep’s milk cheese with a very distinct exterior basket weave design attributed to a specially selected mold that gives the cheese and apricot rind its unique appearance.  Inside is a dense, meaty, bone-coloured paste that portrays a mix of complex aromas and flavors: salt, butter, hazelnut, caramel, and coconut, with a hint of ripe pineapple.

Suggested Pairing: Zacharie Cloutier is an awesome melting cheese and goes well with any stone-fruit-based jam or compote.  Pair with unoaked Chardonnay.

 

 

Zacharie Cloutier – 12 Month

This mature version of Zacharie Cloutier is a rare find out of the shop and took home third place honours at the 2015 Quebec cheese awards the first year it was launched. 

Tasting Notes:  With age it’s rind becomes a little drier and more mottled, while retaining the distinctive basket weave and the eyes (holes) are noticeably smaller due to loss of moisture. Flavors develop further into the sweeter and fruitier end of the spectrum. Small crystals are noticeable as a sign of quality.

Suggested Pairing:  Grate into anything for an extra savoury finish. Enjoy with a local Chardonnay or mildly hoppy craft beer.

 

 

Le Pionnier

I first tasted this cheese 6 years ago at the American Cheese Society conference in 2011 – “surprise” is what it was called. Pionnier (Pioneer) is what it is called now as a tribute to two of Quebec’s cutting-edge cheesemakers Marie Chantal-Houde and Jean Morin. 

Tasting Notes:  Pionnier is a 12 month 40kg firm, washed-rind, cooked, raw mixed cow and sheep’s milk cheese, a mix of Louis D’Or & Zacharie Cloutier, both award-winners in their own right. You’ll get everything in this cheese: butter, grass, brown sugar, complexity, tanginess and even fermented tropical fruit!

Suggested Pairing:  Use Pionnier as you would Parmesan.  A robust red wine, Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon will stand up to the complexity in this cheese. Experiment with Ice Cider.

 

 

~Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

With Fréchette …

Herbed Root Vegetable Cobbler

Recipe & Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Ingredients

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
1lb. rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried fines herbs, herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 oz. semi-soft cheese with garlic and herbs (Fréchette)
Herbed Cheese Dumplings

 

Herbed Cheese Dumplings

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. dried fine herbs, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, crushed
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter
¼ cup finely shredded Zacharie Cloutier cheese, 12 month
2 lightly beaten eggs
⅓ cup milk

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In an ungreased 3-quart baking dish, combine potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, onion, and garlic.

In a small bowl, combine broth, fines herbs, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables, stirring to coat. Bake, covered, about 1 hour or until vegetables are nearly tender. Carefully uncover vegetables, stir in semisoft cheese.

Drop Herbed Parmesan Dumplings into 12 mounds on top of hot vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in centers of dumplings comes out clean. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

 

Herbed Cheese Dumplings

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, fine herbs, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, and salt. Using a pastry blender cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Zacharie Cloutier cheese. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened

 

 

With La Madeleine…               

Grilled Vegetable and Cheese Panini

Recipe & Photo Credit: Yummly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Asian eggplant (cut into 8 slices, each 4 inches long, ¼” thick)
2 zucchini (small, cut lengthwise into 8 slices, ¼” thick)
1 red bell pepper (small, seeded, cut into 8 slides, each ¼” thick)
Oil
3 tbsp. spring onions
1½ tsp. herbs de Provence
Freshly ground pepper
Salt
8 slides country bread
6 Tbsp. olive tapenade
7 ½ oz. soft sheep milk cheese (La Madeleine), thinly sliced

Method

Preheat an electric Panini press according to the manufacturers instructions.

In a bowl, stir together the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and the 3 tbsp. dipping oil, the herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables on the preheated Panini press, turning once, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Brush one side of each bread slice with dipping oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface. Spread each of 4 slices with 1 ½ tbsp. tapenade. Top with 2 slices of each vegetable. Arrange the cheese on top, dividing evenly. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.

Place the sandwiches on the preheated Panini press and cook according to the manufacturers instructions until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately.

 

 

With Zacharie Cloutier…

Cheddar, Leek & Mushroom Focaccia

Recipe & Photo Credit: Zeste.tv
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8hr 10 minutes

Ingredients

3.5 lbs. of Quebec lamb leg or shoulder
Olive oil
8 slices of multigrain organic bread
Butter
Old-style mustard
Mayonnaise
6 oz. of Zacharie Cloutier cheese
Fresh basil pesto

Method

Salt and pepper the leg of lamb. Cook over medium-high heat in a frying pan in olive oil, until it turns into a beautiful golden color. Transfer to slow cooker and bake for 8 hours at low heat.

Slice the leg and keep more or less 175 g. Butter each slice of bread and spread it on the inside with a bit of old-fashioned mustard on one side and mayonnaise on the other.

Add one slice of cheese. Top with shredded lamb and basil pesto.

Place the two slices in a skillet heated on medium heat, with a little olive oil. Cook until golden and fold together. 

  

 

With Zacharie Cloutier 12 month…

Beef Tartare

Recipe & Photo Credit: Curieux Begin TeleQuebec
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. of beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 French shallots, finely chopped
½ tsp. green olives, pitted and chopped
1 small garlic clove, pressed (or finely chopped)
¾ tsp. diced Zacharie Cloutier – 12 month
Tabasco (to taste)
¼ tsp. celery leaves, chopped
10 chives, chopped
1 handful of parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Place beef, shallots, olives, garlic and cheese in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Add the herbs and the Tabasco salt and pepper and mix well, coating with oil to obtain a soft texture.

Serve immediately on grilled baguette croutons.

 

 

With Le Pionnier…

Cheese Fondue

Recipe & Photo Credit: Wikibouffe
Or enjoy Vanessa’s instructions found here and use Nouvelle France cheeses.
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients

175 g Zacharie Cloutier cheese
175 g of Louis D’Or cheese (substitute Pionnier)
175 ml of dry white wine, lager or dry apple cider
2 tsp. white flour
2 tsp. garlic clove
To taste pepper and nutmeg

Method

Cheese preparation: Zacharie Cloutier and Louis D’or (Pionnier) Cut the rind off the cheese and grate. Add the white flour to the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Add the wine or beer to the pot. Heat until the mixture is simmering. Add the garlic clove to the pot. Add the cheese gradually and stir continuously. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Stir until smooth and smooth and serve with crusty bread and blanched vegetables.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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12 Outstanding Cheeses of 2014

Posted by Vanessa

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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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 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!

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: This reserve blue cheese is even more robust, buttery than the regular Celtic Blue we know and love from Glengarry Fine Cheese

Taliah

Taliah is a finished cotton cheddar aged 1 year, manufactured by Olivier Ducharme of Fromagerie Du Charme in St-Rémi-de-Tingwick, Québec

Taliah

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

Lenberg Classic ReserveA 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.

Bonnechere

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 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

Magie de MadawaskaThis 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

Canadian Cheese AwardsCrafted 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.

 

Quality Cheese burrataQuality Cheese Hand-Pulled Burrata

Another winner by Quality Cheese.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Heaven. Pure indulgence. Need I say more?

 

Sylvan Star Natural Smoked Gouda

Sylvan Star Farms smoked goudaSylvan 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.

Chever a ma maniereChèvre a Ma Maniere

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!

 La Madeleine

La madelaine cheeseIn 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 FranceSince 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.

Pont Blanc

Au Gres des ChampsProduced 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.

Laliberté

laliberteIn 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.
Bon appetite!

 

Photo credits: Thanks to Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons, CheeseLover.ca as well as the cheese producers for these photos.

 

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Wheying in on Quebec’s top cheeses

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
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Have you ever tasted cheese? I mean really tasted it. Rolled it around with your tongue and let it linger on the roof of your mouth? Cheese eating is a sensual and sensory pleasure according to Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. “You want the cheese to go right to the back of your mouth, popped up where the peanut butter used to get stuck when you were a kid, and swish it all the way around so you are absolutely coating your palate and getting all of your taste buds working,” she advises.

Vanessa Simmons is openly fanatical about artisan cheeses

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierI met Simmons at a tutored tasting for Quebec cheeses at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, in June. The Festival, showcasing the best Canadian cheeses under one roof, attracted 4,000 cheese lovers this year. Artisan cheeses from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta were all on offer.

One-third of the producers were from Quebec, Canada’s leading cheese-making region. According to Simmons, Quebec cheese makers are well organized and funded, share knowledge, are well informed by international research and display superior craftsmanship.

Tasting – REALLY tasting – your cheese

Simmons is passionate about cheese and even has a cow named after her. She led a two-hour Quebec cheese tasting and advised on proper tasting technique. The cheeses on our plates ranged from light to robust. We were given three choices for pairing — Keint-He Winery’s 2010 Pinot Squared, Stanners Vineyards 2010 Lincoln Lakeshore Chardonnay or Beau’s Beaver River beer. “At the end of the tasting you should not just taste cheese on the back of your palate, otherwise your wine is not bold enough to stand up to that cheese. If all you taste is wine or beer, there’s not enough going on with that cheese — it’s not big enough,” she said.

Premium Goat Milk Cheddar, Back Forty Artisan Cheese Co. and Black River Cheese CompanySimmons encouraged us to get physical with our cheese, to rip each piece in two and examine the formation of the curds inside. We noted whether the cheese broke evenly or if there was a jagged edge. We considered whether the cheese was made from a mould or hand crafted with care. We examined the outside, inside, colour and texture and noticed if the cheeses were creamy, hard, glistening or runny.

Then we savoured the fabulous cheeses of popular producers such as Fromagerie Médard, Fromagerie du Presbytère, Fromagerie Nouvelle France and Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent.

Fromagerie Médard: Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean Region

Normand Côté is the fifth generation owner of Domaine de la Rivière, a farm in Saint-Gédéon, Québec, two hours north of Montreal. The dairy, Fromagerie Médard, named after Médard Côté, the son of the original landowner, uses milk from the farm’s Brown Swiss cows. Fromagerie staff member Diane Paget explained that the taste of the cheese varies depending on what the cows ate: “Was it just pasture or was it augmented because of a sparse year?”

Belle mère cheese Fromagerie MédardOn hand at the Festival were two Fromagerie Médard cheeses. The first one, Belle-Mère (in photo at left), an orange-brown washed rind semi-firm cheese was made from pasteurized milk and aged for three months. Washed rind cheeses are bathed in liquid, usually salted water, wine, brandy, local spirits, or herbs making them susceptible to bacteria that break down the curd from the outside, resulting in a more pungent flavour. The Belle-Mère with big buttery notes and aromas of lilac and lavender won a 2012 Selection Caseus award in the semi-firm, cow’s milk cheese category. Also made with pasteurized cow’s milk, 14 arpents, aged 30 days, was creamy and full of flavour, with the slight taste of hazelnut.

Fromagerie du Presbytère: centre-du-Québec Region

The Morin family has operated the Louis d’Or farm in Warwick, Quebec for four generations. In 1980, the farm went organic. Holstein and Jersey cows chow down on dry hay, clover, timothy grass, bluegrass and other organic grains and are not injected with antibiotics or hormones. “This dairy really pushes the envelope with raw cheese and more layers of complexity. They are more true to traditional cheese making,” says Simmons. A renovated church rectory built in 1936 houses the dairy. Friday nights are a celebration of cheese and community. Visitors converge on the rectory lawn with bottles of wine and beer to enjoy fresh cheese, music and bread.

bleu elizabethFromagerie du Presbytère took three awards at the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, Best Blue and Best Organic for Bleu d’Élizabeth (photo at left) and Best Swiss-type Cheese for Louis d’Or, aged for 18 months. I sampled four Fromagerie du Presbytère cheeses.

The Brie Paysan, a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese had a bloomy rind and soft paste that melted in my mouth. Bloomy rind cheeses are covered with Penicillium candidum forming a white casing causing the cheese to ripen from the outside and become soft and runny on the inside. The vegetal, grassy and fungal notes offered an amazing expression of terroir.

Laliberté is a triple cream cheese, made with whole organic milk and aged for 45 days. The bloomy rind surrounds a soft paste with mushroom flavour and a creamy mouthfeel.

Louis d'Or cheeseLouis D’Or, made from raw organic cow’s milk is crafted in 40-kilogram wheels and develops complex flavours after nine months of ripening. This washed rind, firm pressed, cooked paste cheese has nutty and fruity aromas.

Bleu d’Élizabeth is a semi-soft fruit-flavoured cheese made from non-pasteurized milk, displaying blue and greenish veins resulting from the presence of Penicillium roqueforti.

Fromagerie Nouvelle France: Eastern Townships

A young brother and sister team, Marie-Chantal and Jean-Paul Houde, started a sheep farm and a cheese-making operation, the Fromagerie Nouvelle France in 2010. Jean-Paul tends to a herd of over 200 East Friesian sheep on the 250-acre farm in the village of Racine. Marie-Chantal makes cheese.

Fromagerie Nouvelle France’s signature cheese, Zacharie Cloutier, is a raw sheep’s milk cheese, named for an ancestor who came to Canada from France in 1634. This ancestor is also said to be a distant relative of Céline Dion. In its first appearance at the 2011 Selection Caseus awards, Zacherie Cloutier won gold for the best cheese in Quebec in all categories. This orange washed rind, firm pressed cheese, aged for six months, exudes aromas of butter and caramel.

Le pionnier cheeseLe Pionnier, a cheese-making partnership between Fromagerie Presbytère and Fromagerie Nouvelle France is a 40-kilogram wheel made of raw sheep’s and cow’s milk coming from the cheese maker’s herds. The cheese is a “great marriage of cow’s milk cheese according to Morin’s tradition, and sheep’s milk cheese, according to Houde’s tradition,” offers Simmons. Le Pionnier is a firm cheese with a bit of washed rind, a dense cheese texture and some earthiness, and is very robust. Aged for 10 to 12 months, Le Pionnier displays complex aromas of butter, brown sugar and macadamia nuts with a delicate floral note. As Simmons says, “This cheese says ‘look at me’ and is very indicative of their personalities. They are very outspoken cheese makers.”

Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent: Iles de la Madeleine

In 1998, Jérémie Arseneau brought over a herd of Canadienne cows, a small black heritage breed, from Saint-Simon-de-Rimouski and l’île Verte to Îles-de-la-Madeleine. He launched the Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent and began cheese production on islands traditionally known for a strong fishing industry.

Pied du Vent cheesePied-du-Vent (photo at left) is a whole milk, soft surface-ripened cheese with a bloomy natural rind and a dominant flavour of hazelnuts. Surface-ripened cheeses have mould on the rind, ripening the surface first and then the inside.

Tomme Des Desmoiselles is a raw milk thermalized cheese in a gouda-like style with a washed rind. The cheese is full and robust with a fruit aroma. You get a bit of salt in the cheese because the cows graze on hay and grasses around the edge of the island and right on the border of the St. Lawrence River. Two beautiful small hills on the Havre Aubert landscape inspired the fromagerie in the creation of this cheese.

Plan your route of Quebec cheeses from east to west

To sample some stellar cheeses, take a tour on La Route des Fromages du Quebec linking producers across the province. Enjoy the ride through Quebec’s scenic countryside. Many barns are open, allowing direct access to goats, sheep, cows or calves.

Ontario cheese tasting trails

In Ontario, check out Oxford County’s new cheese trail to see a life-sized statue of record-setting milk producer Springbank Snow Countess, or be a cheese maker for a day. Or head for the Taste Trail in Prince Edward County for a quick calcium fix. You’ll develop a whole new appreciation for fromage.

 

This article was written by Merle Rosenstein, a freelance travel, food and beverage writer.
Click here to see this article as it appeared in
Quench Magazine.

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The Best of the Fest …Cheese Festival that is!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
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I laughed, I cried (they were tears of joy for the abundance of cheese), and ate a heck of a lot of cheese. Close to 4000 cheeselovers assembled in Picton, (aka Prince Edward County) June 1st to 3rd to celebrate their love for curd at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. A plethora of over 125 different types of cheese showcasing our nation’s best from PEI to Vancouver Island were ripe and ready – soft cheese, hard cheese, blue cheese, stinky cheese, pungent cheese, young and old cheese, rustic cheese, raw cheese, and sheep, cow, goat and even buffalo milk cheese.  Joining them in the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair were all the best compliments to cheese — artisan foods of crackers, breads, charcuterie, jams, chutneys, jellies, honey, and fine wines, ciders, and craft beer.

I was adamant to not miss a single second of my cheesey weekend, and so planned to leave on Thursday early evening.  After packing the car to the hilt with event supplies, my large electric cooler, and other cheesey bits and pieces for my tutored tasting I was on the road again, although much later than expected, but happy my destination yet again involved cheese.  Of course, I had to fit in a last minute stop/cheese pick up at Clarmell Farms on the way, for chèvre & goat gouda cheese as a special treat for the Cooks & Curds Gala chefs on Saturday night.  Big hugs and thanks to Paul & Grace Mussell for the snack & extra coffee to keep me awake as I hit the road.

Rain, rain go away!  Friday began ducking raindrops during quick wine stops at Rosehall Run & Huff Estates before heading to the Crystal Palace to check out the site and check in for volunteer duties.  Despite crappy weather, the show must go on – dedicated volunteers diligently worked to set up the site, get exhibitors moved in, assemble registration packages, complete guest cooler bags, get volunteers oriented, cut & organize cheese, direct trucks/rentals arriving, set up special event facilities, and decorate, among many other logistical tasks. Amid very organized chaos, everyone silently prayed as one mind to the cheese gods for beautiful weather Saturday and Sunday (thank you, cheese gods).  Friday ended with a casual meet & greet of the stellar lineup of chefs featured at Saturday’s Cooks & Curds Gala, courtesy of Swallow’s Ivy Knight, chef wrangler extraordinaire, Ottawa’s own Michael Blackie  – Executive Chef of the National Arts Centre – among them.

Saturday started peacefully with more prayers (thank you, cheese gods) and quickly turned to cheese frenzy with tutored tastings on cheddar & cheese 101, ongoing demos, sampling of all kinds, a cheese food court, Food Network celebrity Bob Blumer’s grilling artisan cheese pizza, and me taking it all in from behind the scenes helping cheesemakers, selling cheese, and organizing hospitality for the chefs, post-gala.  Congrats to Chef Michael Blackie for top honors for the second year in a row, recognized by the People’s Choice Award he shared with Montreal’s Francois Gagnon at Cooks & Curds for his delicious Highland Blue Cubic Melt.   An outstanding 400 guests took part in the strolling dinner.

Family day Sunday arrived too early after a late night, but provided more of an opportunity to chill & chat with the Quebec cheesemakers featured in my “Taste of Quebec” tutored session and sample my picks one last time.  I wandered at a more leisurely pace to nibble on yet more cheese, take in the milking demo, photograph Yvette the water buffalo in the dairy farm before showcasing the best of La Belle Provence. I was pleasantly surprised to see friend & Ottawa cheesemonger Peter Fiander volunteering with the prep team in the kitchen under the guidance of newly certified Cheese Sommelier and festival cheesemonger Jackie Armet.  Thanks to Savour Ottawa member Maggie Paradis, of Fromagerie les Folies Bergères for the spotlight goat milk cheese on my plate – soft, surface-ripened La Sorcière Bien Aimée.  Made on April 24, our advanced planning made sure it was perfectly “à point”.  Jackie’s daughter Clare can certainly attest – she enjoyed every finger lickin’ moment of it.

Volunteering is a great way to get closer to cheese, meet cheesemakers and increase your cheese IQ.  Consider joining the cheese team for 2013.

All in all it was a whirlwind, but super cheesey weekend.  Here’s my roundup of “Best of the Fest” and here’s a look at the photos I took too!  Just looking at them will make you hungry!

–  Monforte Dairy launching a new Spanish-styled, dry, crumbly, pasteurized sheep’s milk blue – rustic, powerful – and in need of a name – tweet @monfortedairy  if you have ideas for Ruth.  The Piggy Market carry Monforte products locally.  My tasting notes for Black Sheep can be found here

–  Glengarry Fine Cheese expanding their horizons with a new artisan buffalo milk blue and goat gouda made with milk from Clarmell Farms. Often found at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market, Thyme & Again Creative Catering, Farm Boy, Sobey’s, The Piggy Market, and Serious Cheese

– Tosano sheep’s milk cheese from Mariposa DairyI was thrilled to again try my outstanding cheese bite for 2011, Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar which is rarely available anywhere – if you see it, snap it up without hesitation.

–  New friends at Seed to Sausage – best pairing of charcuterie for cheese around (also great party pals).  Available at The Ottawa Bagel Shop & The Piggy Market locally as well as being featured at Play Food & Wine, Beckta Dining & Wine, Murray Street Kitchen, and Town, among others. The venison and fennel salami was a fave.  Thanks again for your support!

–  Shout out to budding cheesemakers at Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese – in business for a mere 6 months now, and new on the Ontario cheesemaking scene with Gouda & Swiss style soft, firm and hard farmstead cow’s milk cheeses.

–  BackForty Artisan Cheese, even with a change of ownership to Jeff & Jenna Fenwick still continues to shine with Madawaska, Bonnechere, and beautiful rustic wheels of Highland Blue.  We look forward to tasting Jeff’s own creations in 2013 (or sooner in Ottawa!).  Look for them at the Carp Farmer’s market on Saturdays.

–  Cheesewerksthrilled to see my old cheesey classmate Kevin’s dream turned into reality – well done on the branding and delivering on the promise of superb artisan grilled cheese, as the festival’s Official Grilled Cheese.

–   Michael’s Dolce – with new Rhubarb & Black Pepper Jam (pair with Coulée Douce, Laliberté, Riopelle, Bliss or Figaro) & unbelievable Citrus Ginger Chutney (fresh chèvre, Sorcière Bien Aimée).  Peach Cardamom Jam is my pick for his most versatile, goes with every cheese flavor.  I had fun making pairing recommendations on the fly as we chatted with visitors at the Taste of Ottawa booth.

–   Thanks to friends of cheese – wine & craft beer makers Karlo Estates, Rosehall Run, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company & Barley Days Brewery for the donations to keep our Cooks & Curds Gala chefs happy (very important to keep the chefs happy, so huge thank you!)

–  Hats off to The Ontario Waterbuffalo Company/Quality Cheese for their first ever cheddar made from waterbuffalo milk.  Mild, creamy & a great snack.

–  Always great to see friends Vicki from Empire Cheese (very creative, your new cheddars flavored with Mrs. McGarrigle’s Mustards), Black River Cheese (love Maple Cheddar), Best Baa Dairy (wouldn’t be a cheese fest without you, Eweda, Mouton Rouge & Ramembert), and the team from Glen Echo – featuring Cow’s Creamery Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from PEI, Salt Spring Island Cheese (oh, Juliette!) & Kootenay Alpine Cheeses (Alpindon made its way into Bob Blumer’s blue cheese cappuccino)

Sightings of cheeseheads young and old sparks  an idea for 2013 – think there should be a cheesehead fashion show next year Georgs? King & Queen Curd perhaps?

–   Lise Morrisette & Plaisirs Gourmets who brought Quebec to Ontario including the talented Marie-Chantal Houde Fromagerie Nouvelle France maker of multi award-winning Zacharie Clouthier, her raw sheep’s milk cheese.  And, Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère  – his cheeses were an easy sell – they speak for themselves – Brie Paysan showing especially ripe & ready with rustic vegetal aromas & flavors, and renowned Bleu D’Elizabeth & Louis D’or , 9 month & rare 2 year.  If you see Jean at an event, ask him for the good stuff – he usually has it along with him hiding under the counter somewhere.

–  New from Niagara – Upper Canada Cheese’s Nosey Goat Camelot alongside classic Niagara Gold – a bit reminiscent of Cape Vessey – coming along nicely as a cheese, much further developed, soft, subtle than when first released.

–   Mad Mexican’s Jose Hadad provided my snack for the drive home to Ottawa. Amazing I didn’t end up with more of his salsa, roasted tomatillo/avocado and salsa verde in my lap.

–   Lastly stunning craft beer & cider matches in Beau’s Beaver River, Mill Street Brewery’s Wit & County Cider Company’s County Cider paired with robust cheeses from my Taste of Quebec session – best with Petits Vieux (Fromagerie Médard), Zacharie Clouthier, Fleuron (Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde – it’s a beautiful thing), & Fromagerie F.X. Pichet’s organic Baluchon among others.

Hats (or cheeseheads) off to all the hardworking staff, volunteers, cheesemakers, artisan food producers, winemakers, presenters, chefs, celebrities, sponsors, speakers, supporters, mother nature and in particular, all you cheese lovers who attended for making this best celebration of Canadian curd yet.  If you didn’t make it, grab a pen and book the June 1st weekend in your calendar right now for the third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in 2013.

My photo album of The Cheese Festival is on Savvy Company’s Facebook page – enjoy!

-Vanessa

 

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