Posts Tagged ‘Georgs Kolesnikovs’

Imagine 375 Canadian cheeses!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
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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. 

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Here’s the Best of the Fest!

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
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Savvy Cool Curds is all about celebrating Canadian artisan cheese and so it’s only fitting to pay homage to my favourite event of summer, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival (#TGCCF). The first weekend of June every year, thousands of die-hard cheese fans flock to Prince Edward County to partake in the largest cheesy party in Canada.

This month’s Savvy Cool Curds showcases a selection of hard to find cheeses sourced from the festival, ripe and ready for you to enjoy, best paired with fun in the sun summer activities.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…TGCCF

… Very special and delicious artisan cheeses including:

– Fromagerie Montebello Rebellion 1837
– Du Champ a la Mule Victor et Berthold Reserve
– Stonetown’s Homecoming

And since the festival took place in Prince Edward County, we thought it was opportune to include some cheeses made in the area:

– Black River Cheddar with Honey
– Black River Maple Cheddar

 

savvy_coolcurds_ColourFlipping for more fabulous cheese festival flavours?
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…
Best of Fest 

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier


cheese manThe Great Canadian Cheese Festival, going into its 7th year, is the one place every summer the cheese industry and consumers alike come gather in a celebration of all things Canadian cheese. I’m proud of my good friend, founder and Festival Director, Georgs Kolesnikovs (aka the Big Cheese in photo below) has managed to stay true to the roots of it’s inception in showcasing the very best of Canadian artisan cheese by profiling only cheese producers who use 100% pure Canadian milk, and no additives or modified milk ingredients.

The festival is not only a food or cheese show, it’s hugely important as the glue that binds the Canadian artisan cheese industry, breaking down barriers between provinces, encouraging new relationships, and the inclusiveness of both larger and smaller producers as well as all milk types (cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo) in support of Canadian producers.

#TGCCF is a not-to-miss event on my summer list, having been a presenter, party host, judge, cheese cutter, media personality, MC, and overall go to cheese gal for whatever helping hands have been needed over the years.

 

A feeding frenzy…

Earlier this summer, June 4-5 in Picton, Prince Edward County, the quiet quaint Crystal Palace and Picton Fairgrounds turned into the wildest cheese party in Canada, as over 5300 cheese lovers gathered to make merry over Canadian cheese.

Cheesemakers love it because visitors are true cheese fans. Well educated on the merits of artisan cheese, they come armed with a list, detailed notes & rolling coolers to take home their treasures.  Attendees love it because they have a chance to meet makers and artisan producers and discover new favorites.

Over 130 exhibitors and vendors showcased their wares to taste and buy. 150 different types and styles of Canadian cheese from coast to coast were found: water buffalo aisago, a wide variety and ages of gouda, more ooey gooey soft cheeses than you can imagine, fabulous tasty cheddars and many beaudacious blues to name a few.

Hundreds of artisan food products that go with cheese were discovered: jams, jellies, chutneys, kimchi, pickled everything, charcuterie, cookies, chocolate, honey, salsas, local sodas, crackers, shortbread, olive oil, preserves, condiments of all kinds, and even ice syrup. Also things to add wow to your cheese presentation like live edge boards in a variety of woods, handcrafted boards, and unique serving utensils. And, not to mention the artisan wine, craft beer and cider selections!

 

So much to see and do!

From Jamie Kennedy’s farm to table dinner, the grilled cheese chowdown, St. Albert’s free cheese curd giveaways, water buffalo rides, profiled cheese award winners, the Saturday Raclette rave party, free Dairy Farmer’s of Canada seminars, tutored tastings, celebrity chef cook-off’s, dairy farm displays, food court and local tours there is much to see and do over the weekend as you explore Prince Edward County and take in the festivities.

Never been to the festival? Crack open this month’s Savvy Cool Curds grab your preferred summer sipping wine, beer or cider and settle into a lazy reading spot. My Best of the Fest blog post will whet your appetite and the Best of Show Guide with my top 10 notable noshes will make you wish that the 2017 festival was here already.

Save the date June 3-4, 2017. Any cheese lover worth their curd knows it’s THE place to be the first Saturday in June.  Savvy Cool Curds subscribers get VIP treatment.

See you there!

 – 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!

 

Cheddar with honeyCheddar with Honey

“Canadiana” is a familiar term to all of us, referring to things related to the country of Canada. Black River Cheese (recently purchased by Gay Lea) gives a taste of Canadiana as one of the regions oldest farmer-owned dairy co-operatives with over 100 years of cheesemaking experience to their credit.

 Tasting Notes: Black River’s Honey Cheddar cheese is sunny medium cheddar that has been naturally aged (meaning it sits in an aging room for a length of time vs. fake additive flavoring that makes a cheese taste aged), accented with a splash of local honey to contrast a gentle sweetness against a mild salty finish.

 Suggested Pairing: Try it with sparkling summer bubbles or Rose. Shred on grilled veggies or grilled/roasted summer fruit (think plums, peaches, strawberries).

 

Maple CheddarMaple Cheddar

The idea for Black River Cheese Maple Cheddar was born in 2003 to coincide with local Prince Edward County festival “Maple in the County”.  Cheddar is naturally aged for 5-8 months, shredded, mixed with local Fosterholm Farms pure amber Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar, pressed into hoops & then cut into blocks and packaged.

 Tasting Notes: This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is a great example of what good medium cheddar should be with a surprise flavor twist.  It has a nice, dense, smooth paste (not too dry, soft but still crumbly), milky aromas, clean slightly fruity taste & is accented with true Canadian maple flavor without being overly sweet

 Suggested Pairing: Enjoy with a local microbrew or cider. Add to a burger for a surprise flavor twist. Bake into dessert pastries.

  

HomecomingHomecoming

One of Ontario’s newest “cheeses on the scene”, Stonetown Cheese’s Homecoming is already making headlines as a finalist in the “Best New Cheese” category at the Canadian Cheese Awards. I love the quote on their website “Life is great, cheese makes it better”. We wholeheartedly agree!

 Tasting Notes: Homecoming is a semi-soft, washed rind, Swiss alpine style farmstead cheese. Made with fresh unpasteurized Holstein milk it has mild earthy flavor profile.

 Suggested Pairing: Great as a summer picnic snacking cheese, pair with an unoaked Chardonnay or Semillon.

 

french cheeseVictor et Berthold de Reservé

Fromagerie du Champ a la Meule, located in the south central region of Quebec, pays tribute to the founders who once ran the farm, with Victor et Berthold de Reservé; affiné (cheese speak for aged) an extra 40 days to intensify the flavor.

 Tasting Notes: Victor et Berthold de Reservé has a gorgeous light copper-hued washed rind and smooth, bone-colored paste. Flavors are a mix of milk, cream and butter with a noticeable meaty texture on the palate and slight bite on the finish.

 Suggested Pairing: Appreciate on a summer-grilled cheese with smoky bacon and freshly sliced beefsteak tomatoes. Pair with a light hoppy beer. Also works well with a dollop of Indian Chutney or stone fruit marmalade.

 

Rebellion

rebellion cheese

New blue on the block Rebellion 1837 is named for those who love bold blue cheeses, and those who are considered just that, a little rebellious, after Louis-Joseph Papineau who led as Chef of the Patriots during the famous Quebec rebellion of 1837-38.

Tasting Notes: Shaped into tall, cylindrical wheels Rebellion is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese with rustic, slate blue veining that concentrates in the center of the wheel. The moist, creamy paste, with rich, velvety, texture gives mild floral & mushroom
y aromas with big ‘shroomy flavor and a light balance of salt.  Delish!

Suggested Pairing: Pair with a Canadian Ice Cider or Sparkling Ice Cider. Enjoy crumbled on fresh summer greens or atop a sizzling rib eye steak, right off the grill!

 

– Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses –

 

With Cheddar with Honey…

Cheddar Biscuits with Honey Butter

Recipe & Photo Credit: Cookingwithawallflower.com
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredientscheddar scones

Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick of butter (4 ounces)
1-cup buttermilk
⅓ cup shredded Cheddar with Honey cheese
¼ cup Cheddar with Honey cheese for topping

Honey Butter

4 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
2½ tsp. honey
¼ tsp. powdered sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or with a silicone-baking mat.

In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Mix these ingredients until they are well combined.

Next, add butter to the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to break the butter apart. Mix the butter with the flour until they become pea size.

Fold in the cheddar cheese until they are well distributed in the dough. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until the ingredients are wet.

Use a ¼-measuring cup to scoop each serving of dough. Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle extra cheddar cheese over each biscuit before placing the baking sheet into the oven to bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are golden brown.

While the biscuits are baking, whisk the room temperature butter until it becomes smooth. Add honey and powdered sugar and whisk until the butter becomes smooth.

Once the biscuits are done, allow to cool for a few minutes before serving them with the honey butter.

With Maple Cheddar…                    

Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion & Horseradish Mustard

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada

Prep Time: 15minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

cheeseburgerIngredients

2 lb(s) freshly ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 slices yellow Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 hamburger buns
Horseradish Mustard (recipe follows)
8 leaves Romaine lettuce
Grilled Vidalia Onions (recipe follows)
Dill pickles, sliced
Ketchup

Horseradish Mustard

½ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, drained

Grilled Vidalia Onions

2 Vidalia onions, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat grill or a cast iron skillet to high.

Divide the beef into 8 (4-ounce) burgers. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill or cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. During last minutes of cooking add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover grill and let melt, approximately 1 minute. Place burger on bun and top with Horseradish Mustard, lettuce, Grilled Vidalia Onions, pickles and ketchup.

Horseradish Mustard

Whisk mustard and horseradish together in a small bowl.

Grilled Vidalia Onions

Brush olive oil on both sides of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onion slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

 

With Homecoming…

Cheese Pie

Recipe & Photo Credit: Stonetowncheese.com

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes

cheese pieIngredients

Pie Crust

2 ready-made puff pastry sheets 

Filling

300 ml whipping cream
2 eggs
100 g Wildwood, grated
100 g Grand Trunk, grated
100 g Homecoming, grated
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt,
Pepper, paprika, nutmeg to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 220 C / 425 F.

Use 2 ready-made puff pastry sheets and place in 8″ pie shell. Cut to size of pie shell and poke the base with a fork.

Put whipping cream and eggs into a bowl, mix well.

Add cheeses, cornstarch, salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg to bowl, stir.

Add cheese mixture to pie base, spread evenly. Bake: Approx. 25 minutes toward the bottom of the oven (preheated to 220 C/ 425 F). Remove from oven, place pan on wire rack and remove from pie shell and serve

With Victor et Berthold de Reservé…

Strawberry Bruschetta

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada

Vanessa adapted this recipe by adding a slice of Victor et Berthold de Reservé for a bit of extra flair!

Prep Time:  6 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Strawberry BrushcettaIngredients

3 slices (1/2-inch-thick) rustic white bread
2 – 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10 strawberries, sliced
3 – 5 tsp. sugar
3 slices Victor et Berthold de Reservé

Method

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the bread until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Spread the butter over the toasts. Add a slice of Victor et Berthold de Reservé. Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cheese. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Broil until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes 

With Rebellion…

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

 IngredientsROast pears

3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
3 oz. coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese, such as Stilton
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
½ cup apple cider
3 Tbsp. Port
⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup good olive oil
6 oz. baby arugula
Kosher salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.CoolCurds_mail-2

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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 It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 8th, 2016
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cheese-board-slider

Are you often mesmerized by the number of different cheeses? There are so many interesting wedges and rounds that it is hard to know where to start. In the latest issue of Ottawa Life Magazine, our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons advises, “Try it all! Good cheese shops in town will offer you a small slice to sample.”

And you don’t have to look farther than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. A few months ago, Glengarry Fine Cheese located in Alexandria (35 minutes from downtown Ottawa) was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards. In November at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won Super Gold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. To add to this high acclaim, this unique cheddar was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world.

Spend your time searching for good cheese

Like wine and craft beer, not everything that the cheesemaker creates is readily available at your local grocery store. Farm Boy, Whole Foods, Metro and some Loblaws locations all have decent Canadian cheese selection. Specialty stores like Jacobsons (New Edinburgh), Nicastro’s (Westboro & downtown), Serious Cheese (Kanata) and The Piggy Market (Westboro) have even a greater selection of hard-to-come-by artisan cheeses.

CoolCurds_mail-2Or…have it delivered to your door!

Rather than running around all these stores, you can have cheese delivered. There is a new ‘whey’ to discover artisan cheeses made across Canada…subscribing to Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-of-the-month club. “It is our way of forging a connection between the dynamic people who make artisan cheeses and the consumers who enjoy it at home”, explains Simmons. Each month a different Canadian cheesemaker is showcased and Simmons curates 4 to 5 different cheeses in a parcel that is delivered to the subscriber’s home or office. “To add to the enjoyment of each bite of cheese, I share the stories behind the uber-talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic cheesemakers. Each person has an interesting story that makes their cheese even richer.”

Meet Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierThere is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. Savvy Cool Curds is hands-down a great idea. I see it each year at our festival, consumers want local…they want Canadian!” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

What’s in the box?

Every month subscribers will receive a parcel hand-delivered containing 4 to 5 different wedges and rounds between 200 to 250 grams each. The assortment of farmstead and artisan cheeses are at their peak ripeness and ready to simply be unwrapped and served. From fresh to washed or aged, made using  cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and on occasion – buffalo milk; all told, the parcel will be approximately 1 kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese.

Coming soon

Cheese lovers will be in heaven when their monthly parcel arrives from these cheesemakers: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Cow’s Creamery (PEI), Back Forty Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec), and new on the scene in Prince Edward County Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy (Ontario). And that is just the beginning.

To top it all off, in each issue of the monthly Curd On The Street Magazine, Simmons’ shares her tasting notes, tips & tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes.

Seriously…Canadian artisan cheese delivered to your doorstep. Does life get any better than this?

 

This article will appear in the Feb/March 2016 Ottawa Life Magazine

 

 

 

 

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Love cheese? Here’s a Festival for you!

Posted by Vanessa

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
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PRESS RELEASE: Come to the annual celebration of ‘all things cheese’ on June 7-8th at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Award-winning artisan and farmstead cheese from coast to coast will be showcased at the biggest cheese show in Canada, held in Picton, Ontario.

Canadian Cheese of the Year – and the winner is…

Visitors to the festival will be able to taste and purchase more than 125 different cheeses including Le Baluchon, the Cheese of the Year made by Fromagerie F.X. Pichet of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec. 

Marie-Claude Harvey, who owns the fromagerie with her husband, Michel Pichet, will be the guest of honour at Makers+Mongers, the Festival’s Saturday evening function celebrating the men and women who make and sell artisan cheese and artisan foods.

Cheesemakers, artisan food producers, small-batch wineries and craft breweries and other exhibitors and vendors have reserved 125 booths in Crystal Palace, Prince Edward Curling Club, the new Artisan Foods Pavilion and Picton Fairgrounds making the event thecheese-of-the-year-1000-mar-19-copy biggest cheese show in Canada and one of the biggest artisan foods markets in Ontario.

New & improved in 2014

In addition to cheese and more cheese, artisan foods and beverages, the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, features:

New for 2014: Sales of VQA wines by the bottle or case by wineries as part of the pilot project initiated by the Ontario government to promote locally-grown wines. 

New for 2014: Rest and recover from all the sampling in the Festival’s new Presentation Pavilion while listening to local musicians. 

New topics: Seminars in the All you Need Is Cheese® Annex presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada as a bonus feature of the

Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair. Learn about the best in Canadian cheese at special presentations conducted by leading cheese educator Deborah Levy. 

The Festival’s own Cheese Dairy Farm featuring cows, goats, sheep and Yvette, the sweetest water buffalo you’ll ever meet. 

A Food Court featuring tasty eats prepared by Urban Herb, Picnic Food Truck and Seed to Sausage. 

Sunday, June 8, is Family Day at the Cheese Fair with children admitted free when accompanied by an adult. 

Cheese Fair adult admission includes

Access to all sponsors, exhibitors and vendors—with close to 200 products to sample

10 tasting tickets for cheese, artisan foods, wine and beer, valued at $10

Souvenir Festival insulated bag for your purchases, valued at $10

Glass for sampling wine, beer and cider

Admittance on first-come, first-served basis to cheese seminars presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada

Festival Dairy Farm, Food court and FREE parking. 

Tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The advance ticket price is $36. At the event, the price is $45. There is no fee charged on online ticket purchases. Youth and child tickets for the Cheese Fair are available. All other Festival events are age of majority only.

Cheeselovers sample award winning cheeses by Vanessa SimmonsSpecial Events & Presentations at the The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The Tutored Tasting presentations include how to pair artisan cheese with wine, how to pair artisan cheese with beer and a three-hour marathon tasting billed as You Be The Judge: Taste and score the 16 best cheeses in the Canadian Cheese Awards to determine the People’s Choice for Canadian Cheese of the Year. Separate tickets required.

Special events like Gastronomy on the Farm with Jamie Kennedy and Cooking with Cheese Class are sold out already. Still available are tickets for Tutored Tastings, Cheese Tours—one in Prince Edward County, the other in Bay of Quinte Region—and Makers+Mongers.

Picton Fairgrounds is located in the heart of Prince Edward County, south of Belleville in Bay of Quinte Region. One hour from Kingston, two hours from Toronto, three hours from Ottawa and New York State, and less than four hours from Montreal.

Cheeseheads at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by Vanessa SimmonsThe Great Canadian Cheese Festival is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the generous support of Celebrate Ontario. Dairy Farmers of Canada is Diamond Sponsor and Bay of Quinte Region is Gold Sponsor. Savvy Company is Presenting Partner.

Advance tickets are sold online at www.CheeseFestival.ca. In order to assure a high-quality experience for consumers and producers, ticket sales will be limited, so don’t delay. Save money and avoid the line-up at the door by purchasing tickets in advance.

Details for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival 

June 7-8, 2014, Picton, Ontario
1.866.865.2628
http://www.CheeseFestival.ca

 

 

 

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These Canadian cheeses are medal worthy!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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This week our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons is one of 10 judges in the first Canadian Cheese Awards Surrounded by over 250 wedges of cheeses & sampling all day long is hard job. . .  but Vanessa is happy to do it!

“I am delighted & honoured to be a judge for this brand new competition of Canadian cheeses.  There are many Canadian artisan cheeses that win international awards, the time is ripe to have the Canadian Cheese Awards,” shares Vanessa.

Neal's Yard Dairy: Mecca for cheese lovers. Photo: Julia Rogers.Georgs Kolesnikovs from CheeseLover.ca and the organizer of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival is the main man behind the scenes of this ground breaking competition.   While organizing the awards, Georgs called out to his cheese industry friends (including Vanessa) asking them for their top cheese picks of the year.  Here’s the Best Bites: Outstanding cheeses of 2013 as published on CheeseLover.ca.

Only one imported cheese – Taleggio – made the 2013 most memorable list, Julia Rogers offers this ‘shopping tip’, “As far as international picks go, I’d suggest that any cheese lover make a pilgrimage to Neil’s Yard Dairy in London (photo left ). The pleasures are too many to enumerate, but this is mecca, without a doubt. And, yes, I tasted virtually everything in this photo! – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

 

Drumroll please…Outstanding cheese of 2013

The cheeses are listed in alphabetical order, so consider this as your ABC’s of artisan cheese!

Alfred Le Fermier (24 months), Fromagerie La Station de Compton
Alfred Le Fermier is a true, rustic, organic, raw cow’s milk farmstead cheese made in small batches, pressed and cooked, washed/turned by hand, as a way of life on the farm. It has a European style, but with local terroir, as a result of choosing closely the hay from their local Estrie region. Note heavy woodsy, herbal and mild floral aromas, with layers of milky, grassy and buttery complexity on the palette, more pronounced when aged for 24 months. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Beau’s Abbey Style Cheese, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
A delicious marriage of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese of Woodstock, Ontario, with Beau’s All Natural Brewing of Vankleek Hill, Ontario. This sumptuous semi-soft cheese is washed with a seasonal beer from Beau’s. Beer and cheese together, pure bliss! – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Brebichon, Les Fromages du Verger
I simply adore Brebichon, a farmstead sheep milk cheese that is oh so creamy, delicate and lucious. This apple juice washed cheese is an absolute must buy on every stop I make at Fromagerie Atwater in Montréal. – Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

Chemin Hatley, Fromagerie La Station de Compton
Made with organic raw milk from a closed herd of fourth-generation family-farmed cows, this cheese readily fulfills its potential. Supple and fragrant, with yeasty and savoury aromas, and a long layered finish. – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

Crottin à ma Manière, Fromagerie L’Atelier
The goat’s milk cheese Crottin à ma Manière from Simon Hamel at Fromagerie l’Atelier in the Bois-Francs region of Québec surpasses famed Chavignol of France, is much cheaper and it’s federally licensed. – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

Dragon’s Breath Blue, That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm
A rare find and 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finalist, Dragon’s Breath Blue is a closely guarded family secret. 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. More than worth the shipping charges! – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Figaro from Glengarry Fine Cheese. Photo: Vanessa Simmons.

Figaro, Glengarry Fine Cheese (left)
I choose Figaro from Glengarry–not that I don’t love (and love the Global award!) for the Lankaaster Aged but I kind of forgot about the amazingly fresh and delicate qualities. And we found each other again this year–lucky for me. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail 

Fleur des Monts, La Moutonnière
Not as consistent as one might want, though still an ambitious and expressive farmstead cheese modeled loosely after Manchego, but more floral, bright and pungent. – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture 

Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese
I’ve served the Grizzly Gouda from Sylvan Star many times at events or at home this year and it is outstanding in its complexity, looooong finish and “ability to wow” factor. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail 

La Sauvagine Réserve, La Maison Alexis de Portneuf
Somehow the cheesemakers at Alexis de Portneuf improved their already mouth-watering, soft, mixed rind La Sauvagine cheese. What did they do? Add cream to it, making it a triple crème. Grab some of this cheese while you can. A limited amount of this OMG mouth experience was created. – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Laliberté, Fromagerie du Presbytère,
 I have to start with Laliberté from Fromagerie du Presbytere–the triple cream that I could not stop eating, and made from organic milk to boot. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail

Lankaaster Aged, Glengarry Fine Cheese
Supreme Global Champion at the 2013 Global Cheese Awards, this firm to hard cow’s milk cheeses comes shaped in a loaf or wheel, covered in a waxy rind, and is a Gouda-style after Dutch farmstead cheeses. It’s a rich, dense, chewy cheese with intense buttery, fruity, caramelized nutty flavors that linger forever. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Le Vlimeux, Fromagerie Le Mouton Blanc
It’s not hard to see how this multiple Caseus award-winning cheese is smokin’ hot! Vlimeux is a firm, pressed, uncooked raw sheep’s milk cheese, with a hard, waxy, glossy, caramel-hued rind. Smoke, salt and nut permeate the interior overlaying the cheese’s natural sweet milky flavors in a perfect complement. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Maple Cheddar, Black River Cheese
 What could be more Canadian than Black River’s Maple Cheddar? This cheese provides a bite that is perfectly balanced between sweet and savoury, and just —Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
Okay, this is part of the cheese but my wife and I cannot resist adding small cubes of it into our soups, chili, tomato sauce and risotto. The dried rind softens in the broth, releasing its flavour and becomes chewable. We love it so much that we actually have to buy some from our local grocery store. – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Pont Blanc, Fromagerie Au Grés Des Champs
Pont Blanc is a soft, lactic, surface ripened cow milk cheese. A rare find outside the farmstead retail store, the skin-like rind on this beauty reminds of intricate ivory lace, while the dense interior has the texture of a soft cream sandwich and moist piece of cheesecake. Note pronounced flavors and aromas of fresh sweet milk, and grass that linger and linger. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Ricotta, Quality Cheese
The 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Grand Champion, the humble Ricotta from Quality Cheese reigned supreme, winning against more than 225 of Canada’s best cheeses, a first ever for both an Ontario cheese and a fresh category cheese. Fresh, creamy, melt in your mouth Ricotta (which means re-cooked in Italian, as it’s made from the leftover whey after making other cheese). Very light, but rich, and very versatile as a simple cheese to eat with a variety of garnishes/condiments or used in cooking. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company 

Taleggio, Northern Italy
Taleggio (1996 Italian DOP) has and will always be in my Top 10. It’s a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio where it has been made since the 10th century. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

Water Buffalo Mozzarella, Old West Ranch

James Meservy deserves a medal for perseverance! He has faced many challenges in the last two years in his attempt to bring high quality Old West Ranch Water Buffalo Mozzarella to the artisan Canadian cheese market. When it is in its finest form, it is dense and velvety without being the least bit rubbery and sweetly milky with a tangy underpinning that keeps us reaching for more. – Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, FARM Restaurant

 

 

Flavoured cheeses

It is surprising, even to me, that two of my three faves of 2013 are flavoured cheeses, which to me is a testimony to high-quality cheesemaking. Flavours that meld with the cheese substrate where the cheese and the flavour counterpart do a sublime dance.  – Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, FARM Restaurant

Ruckles, Salt Spring Island Cheese Company David Wood knocks it out of the park, again. In a sea of so many pedestrian offerings of marinated goat cheese, Ruckles is in class all its own. Firm yet silkily textured cylinders of cheese are bathed in grapeseed oil which is speckled with a mix of thyme, rosemary, chives and garlic, in perfect proportion.

Chili Pecorino, The Cheesiry The Chili Pecorino is one of my favourite offerings from Rhonda Zuk Headon’s repertoire. The balance of chilis embedded in this toothsome cheese provides a gentle heat that lingers on the palate while the nutty, olive flavour of this sheep milk cheese still holds its own. Not an easy accomplishment but Rhonda pulls it off!

Cheese fondues

Cheese fondue, the melted-cheese dish popular some years ago, is making a comeback—but without the classic ingredients of Comté, Beaufort, Gruyere or Emmental.

Four new ready-to-eat Cheese Fondues arrived on the market in 2013. All amazing, with either Louis d’Or, 14 Arpents or Victor et Berthold or the one from Charlevoix with both 1608 and Hercule in the box!  – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

One of my best bites was a fondue made from Victor et Berthold, a beautiful washed rind from Fromagerie Du Champ a la Meule in Québec. This cheese made one of the most delicious fondues of all time. It made me very happy. – Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

 

Spend a day with Vanessa & learn all about cheese!

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

To top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm
Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – Ottawa
Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155).  Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

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The 3nd annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival gets bigger & better

Posted by Debbie

Friday, April 12th, 2013
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 12, 2013

Invitation to Media Launch in Ottawa

You are cordially invited to experience a taste of the upcoming Great Canadian Cheese Festival.   In its third year, the expanded Cheese Festival returns to historic Crystal Palace in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, on June 1 & 2, 2013. This year there will be additional exhibitors, vendors and new features in the adjacent Prince Edward Curling Club.

The Cheese Festival is the only event in Canada to bring together cheesemakers from coast-to-coast. Cheese lovers, foodies and culinary tourists can meet to learn, talk, taste and buy the best in artisan and farmstead cheese—as well as sample fine Ontario wine, craft beer and a cornucopia of artisan foods. 

Join us at the Ottawa Media Launch to meet Festival founder and director Georgs Kolesnikovs who will provide a preview of this year’s Festival offerings. Also meet an artisan cheesemaker and other artisan producers as you sample their creations. You will enjoy sipping on wine from Casa-Dea Estates Winery from Prince Edward County and craft beer from Ontario’s Creemore Springs Brewery.

One of the leading attractions at this year’s Cheese Festival will be A Taste of Ottawa pavilion featuring members of the Ottawa Specialty Food Association, small-batch food producers who make high quality and delicious creations ranging from cookies to unique smoked salt products.

New this year, long-time Festival partner Savvy Company will introduce “Savvy Sip ‘n Shop. Now, Festival-goers will have the convenience of ordering any Ontario wines and craft beers at the Festival for home delivery within a week.

Media Launch Details

DATE: Thursday May 2nd, 2013
TIME: 2pm reception, 2:30pm remarks & presentations
LOCATION: The new Canada Agriculture & Food Museum at the Experimental Farm 861 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa (free parking onsite)
RSVP: www.cheesefestival2013.eventbrite.com or debbie@savvycompany.ca

 


About The Great Canadian Cheese Festival:

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the generous support of Celebrate Ontario. Dairy Farmers of Canada is Diamond Sponsor, Bay of Quinte Region is Gold Sponsor and Savvy Company is Presenting Partner.

Advance tickets are available online at www.cheesefestival.ca

 

Festival contact:

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Festival Director
Cheese Lover Productions
905.837.0102
georgs@cheeselover.ca


Ottawa media contact:

Debbie Trenholm, President
Savvy Company
613.SAVVYCO (728-8926)
debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

 

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