Posts Tagged ‘Great Canadian Cheese Festival’

139 Things to do in Prince Edward County

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
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We are always asked for travel tips. One destination in particular is Prince Edward County.  Just a short 3 hour drive from Ottawa or 2 hours from Toronto, it’s an easy daytrip or a weekend getaway.

This region, surrounded by water, is turning heads as Canada’s fastest growing wine region.  And it is not all about the wine either! “The County” has been named as Maclean’s Magazine’s Canada TOP 10 Places You’ve Got to See in 2014.  The town of Picton, Bloomfield, Milford, Wellington, Cherry Valley and all the points in between was hopping four years ago…and now there’s even more reasons to visit; our list is just a start.

Our 101 Things to Do in Prince Edward County was so popular that we’ve refreshed and updated for the second time.  To help you discover all the neat things that are going on in The County, we got the Savvy Team together (over a glass of wine of course!) & jotted down our favorite things to do in Prince Edward County.  Then we had a contest on Instagram and Facebook asking for hidden gems in the area…and went to the best source – the locals who live there for their secret spots.  Here is the list for now….and if we missed something that needs to be included, don’t be shy….Let us know by email, Facebook or Instagram.

How far down the list can you get? 

Start the car…and get rolling!

1. Visit North America’s largest dry stone bridge at Karlo Estates. And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet Spencer – one of Karlo’s winemakers – in the vineyard or in the cellar. (Spencer with a glass of his soon-to-be-released Rose, shown in photo right) 

2. Visit the Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates. Be sure to take advantage of their sculpture celebration happening from May to October 1st.

3. Want your wine tours to have a more rustic feel? Check out the historic barns at The Old ThirdClosson ChaseKarlo EstatesThe Grange of Prince Edward County and Hinterland Winery.

4. Sample amazing aperitif and dessert wines (and ports) – Sandbanks WineryHillier CreekKeint-He WineryKarlo Estates

5. Taste some of the best Canadian-made sparkling wines at HinterlandHuff Estates , Rosehall Run, Casa-Dea Lighthall Vineyards.

6. Cheese Please!  All weekend long at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (usually in June).

7. Sample County wines at great local restos – East & MainBlumen Garden & The Hubb.

8. Nothing goes “feta” with wine than cheese, so be sure to pop into Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. for some artisanal cheese.

9. The infamous Toronto’s Drake Hotel  now has a County location – Drake Devonshire.  Stay over or go for dinner.

10. Indulge in poutine and milkshakes at the Dari Bar in Wellington.

11. Enjoy some great apple cider & lunch of lamb burgers The County County Cider. (Owner, Jenifer Dean, serving her famous cider, in photo right

12. Need some coffee before OR after sampling wine? Miss Lily’s Café or the Bean Counter in Picton.

13. Find your favorite mantra pinned to the wall in the Cherry Valley General Store (hint: they’re all about slowing down to smell the roses!).

14. Stop by one of many veggie stands – Laundry FarmsHagerman FarmsCherryvale Organic Farm.

15. Sit on the porch at a B&B or your weekend cottage and read Geoff Heinrick’s book A Fool & Forty Acres.

16. Pop in to the Agrarian Cheese Market & Speakeasy, featuring craft brews on tap, great ciders, wine and killer cocktails with live music on Fridays & Saturdays.

17. Take a cooking class at From the Farm.

18. Dining delight at Countylicious– twice a year, 8 restos offer a prix fixe culinary celebration for $30 or $35 plus grats & tax.

19. Get inspired by sustainable growing while you chat with Lee & Bryan at Keint-He Winery.  They’ll help you pronounce that!

20. Hop on your bike & ride the back roads while exploring Canadian history along the Loyalist Parkway.

21. Take in Terroir Wine Festival at the Crystal Palace (Early June).

22. Plan for a beach day at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

23. Feel those rhythm mc-blues as you attend the PEC Jazz Festival (Mid August).

24. Discover new music talent from across North America at The Acoustic Grill in Picton.

25. Dive into the fantastic water sports at West Lake.

26. Take a billion pix of the gorgeous stain glass windows & hang out in the hammocks at Closson Chase ….then indulge in their wines.

27. Spend a Sunday afternoon on the patio at Huff Estates Winery listening to live musical talent. (Be sure to get a taste of their new wood-fired pizza! Photo on right)

28. And for more live music, enjoy some dinner-side entertainment at East & Main Bistro.

29. Red White & Blues festival at Rosehall Run features music in the vineyard. (September)

30. Meet the dogs & owners at Three Dog Winery. Or you can practice your downward dog at their built-in yoga studio

31. Get limbered up for the Full Moon Yoga Festival (August)

32. Hear James call his Chardonnay vines ‘Bella’ at Long Dog Winery.

33. Stock up on your picnic goodies at Chef Michael Hoy’s Weekend Market at 106 Bridge Street in Picton.

34. Start your day “sunny side up” with bacon & eggs at Picton Harbour Inn. Declared by Grapevine Magazing as the top breakfast joint in PEC.

35. Harvest parties at Sandbanks WineryHalf Moon Bay Winery Broken Stone are fun for the entire family.

36. Book a getaway room at The ManseNewsroom SuitesThe Inn at Huff EstatesMerrill Inn or the Cottage at Angeline’s.

37. Take an early morning walk on the ‘secret’ beach (at the bottom of Cold Creek Road).

38. Go apple picking at Campbell’s Orchards.

39. …or cool off with ice cream at Slickers.

40. Did you know that Hinterland Vineyards has peach slushies for the kids?

41. Visit the old-time school house at the Ameliasburgh Historical Museum.

42. Drinks & Dinner at Merrill Inn – guaranteed delicious!

43. What the heck is Wassail?  Ask around about this pre-Christmas festival where you sing for your drink.

44. Do a County Chardonnay-a-thon trying every Chard you can find.  Be sure not to miss Lighthall, Stanners, Exultet, RosehallKarlo….is just a start.

45. Pull a pint of Pumpkin Ale at Barley Days Brewing Co.

46. Maple in the County is a great spring weekend getaway

47. Check out the cideries that are popping up – 401 Cider Company, Apple Falls Cider, Clafeld Cider House, Kings Mill (in Stirling – near PEC), County Cider Co, and The Hard Way (in Bath – near Glenora Ferry)

48. Visit the Lavender Farm when the lavender is in full bloom (June/July) or take in the lavender from across The County at the Lavender Festival

49. Chat with Pat at Del-Gatto Estates .…where he lives la dolce vita!

50. What was that on the barn?  A Barn Quilt!  It’s a THING in The County & there are over a 100 of them.

51. They say one person’s trash is another’s treasure, so why not start your hunt at the many famous antique stores in Prince Edward County.

52. Discover a lost world of treasures at the County Spring and Fall Antique Show & Sale

53. Follow the Arts Trail & meet incredibly talented artists along the way.

54. In the summer, sip Rose wines as you tour around the Wine Trail – see how they all are different – different grapes used, hues of pink…and tastes!

55. Catch a movie at the Regent Theatre.

56. Visit the gallery at Small Pond Arts to see Milé Murtanovski’s paintings made with wine. The gallery recently reopened so be sure to make an appointment!

57. Unwind one of the few classic drive-in movie theatres in Ontario: Mustang Drive-In

58. Take a break for wine touring & leisurely shop on Bloomfield or Wellington Main Streets.

59. Meet the newest cider maker in town – Ryan Monkman.  In his ‘spare time’ he works for 8…yes eight!…other cideries to help them make world class hard cider – the craft way.  In addition to working with others, his FieldBird Cider is truly unique.

60. How about a visit to Dead Peoples Stuff? (antique store).

61. Lunch al fresco at Casa Dea Estates Winery, Huff Estates or The Grange.

62. Go house hunting – it does not cost anything to dream!

63. It might be a wine region, yet there is a distillery – Kinsip House of Fine Spirits – that is a must visit.  Especially for their Canadian Pine Vodka, Loyalist Gin, rums & whiskies too. (Photo on right) 

64. Watch the sunset over Hubbs Winery or let Batista – the winery owner – chat your ear off until the stars come out!

65. Enjoy classical music in a small church during the Prince Edward County Music Festival (September)

66. Make annual family traditions by renting one of the many of the Sunrise Cottages.

67. Drop by Highline Mushrooms to buy fresh gourmet mushrooms.

68. Homemade donuts like my grandfather would make await at Schroedter’s Market at Huff Corners – at Hwy 62.

69. Spend an hour or two checking out City Revival – a high end consignment shop.

70. Marvel at the Lake On The Mountain– it’s mystical up there. After you have figured out the geographic phenomena, head to the pub for a drink.

71. Stop at Black River Cheese Co. in Milford to try…and buy…all kinds of cheese.  Savvy Cheese Sommelier, Vanessa Simmons recommends: Maple Cheddar & fresh curds (TIP – when you put curds in the fridge, they lose their squeak)

72. Where else can wines be as easy as Not Red, Almost Red and Not White? At Sugarbush Wines.

73. Did we already tell you about North Beach Provincial Park? You gotta go!

174. Go strawberry, raspberry or blueberry picking on the roadside – they grow wild! (July, August, September)

75. Grab some wine after your round of golf at Picton Golf CourseBarcovan Golf Club or Wellington On The Lake Golf Course.

76. Pop in & out of all of the cool shops along Picton Main Street. Treat yourself with a crepe too!

77. Bird-watching!! And don’t miss BirdHouse City. If you can’t get enough birds, be sure to check out the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. (Trails are open-all-year-round but banding begins August 21).

78. More bird business…count how many birds yo spot at the Prince Edward County Birding Festival (May)

79. Take the scenic route. Drive along the Loyalist Parkway – Hwy 33.  Start in Kingston or Napanee and it will meander all the way to Trenton.

80. Gorge on the farm fresh food at Seedlings (formerly The Hubb) in Bloomfield.

81. Get tickets to TASTE! (late September).

82. The December Busy Hands Craft Sale at Books and Company & Miss Lily’s Café – great sale for gifts.

83. Pop into Rosehall Run Winery for neat locally made gourmet goodies.

84. Play life size chess in the vineyard at Casa Dea Estates.

85. Stop for Italian thin crust pizza at Bergeron’s Estate Winery…and have a glass of wine or cider too!

86. Take photos of Lake Ontario with morning fog near Moonlight on the Lake B&B.

87. Buy Ontario wine…craft beer…and cider too!– not available in the LCBO – shop directly from the makers while you are in Prince Edward County

88. Get married!

89. Running and drinking…drinking and running during Terroir Run (June) or County Marathon (Registration in Sept).Terroir boots logo

90. Taste wine in a converted cheese factory that now houses Exultet Estates.

91. Rent a cottage on the water for a week and really live The County life.

92. Stop at a yard sale.

93. Take the Glenora Ferry – its free & runs every 15 mins (in the summer) or every 30 mins (in fall & winter)

94. Take a workshop at The Red Barns, an artisan’s playground, featuring blown and stained glass, pottery, and iron art.

95. Visit Canada’s first off-grid winery Redtail Vineyard.

96. Browse the books and say hello to Miss Ella Vader, the book mascot at Books & Company.

97. Spend a weekend at Claramount Inn & Spa. H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y.

98. Stop by Huff Estates and get your picture taken with the giant steel pinecones.

99. Tired of wine tours? Satisfy your craft cravings with breweries like 555 Brewing Co. , Midtown Brewery, Prince Eddy’s and Barley Days.

100. Find out what all the buzz is about at Honey Pie Hives and Herbals!

101. Buy local ad support local farmers at the Wellington Farmer’s Market (July & August)

And there’s more …

So there is 101 Things  – all new from our last edition of this blog – but there is still some many events and activities to see and to in The County.  Let’s keep going….

102. Get belly laughs at The County’s Summer Comedy Series (May to Sept)

103. Let The County bring out your history buff with a Historic Walking Tour of Picton (July to Oct)

104. See The County from the coastline at Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area, Sandbanks Dunes Beach, Little Bluff Conservation Area,

105. Winter is a great season for the County too so strap on those snow shoes or skies and head to one of the many trails in PEC.  For a longer trail try the Millennium Trail – a whole 49km to enjoy!

106. Have a getaway for Family Day at the Sandbanks Snow Fest and other family friendly activities

107. Get out on the water in a canoe, kayak or paddle board rented from Twin Birch Suites & Cottages or right at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

108. They say that we’ll spend 29.75% of our lives sitting so why not get outside with a hike in the County.

109. Try not to tip over while you cycle through the County’s best wineries on one of the many bike routes.

110. Put your feet up at The Ferg: a Scandinavian historic house.

111. Feel the beat at one of the areas famous music festivals like the Sandbanks Music Festival (September), Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival (September), Prince Edward County Jazz Festival (August), PEC Fest (August) or County Pop (April).

112. Let the sweet and silvery voices take you to the south while to visit PEC’s Quinte’s Isle Bluegrass Celebration!

113. Park yourself down at a picnic table in the vineyards at Trail Estates or Traynor Family Vineyards

114. Stop and smell the roses at The County Blooms – The County’s Garden Show

115. Discover your artistic side at Art in the County (June/July) or at the old school Women’s Institute Art and Craft Sale

116. Show you national pride at Canada Day Celebrations in Wellington

117. Feel like royalty as you discover wineries in a horse drawn carriage with The County Carriage Co. (Photo on right)

118. Start practicing you lines to watch the Festival Players Theatre Company Productions

119. Get ready to rumble at the Consecon Soap Box Derby

120. Preserve the history of wine making, brewing, and more at the Ontario Fermentation Festival

121. Get your team together for the Wellington Lions Club Dragon Boat Festival (August)

122. It’s not Burning Man but you will get to camp in the woods and enjoy a line up of amazing performers for 4 whole days at the Country Jamboree (August)

123. Check out the cute pups and tractor pulls at the Picton Fair (September)

124. Get your bike in gear for the Gran Fondo (September). You can choose to a scenic ride of 50, 100 or 150 km.

125. Celebrate the harvest at Milford Fall Fair or Ameliasburgh Fall Fair

126. See The County with an artist’s eye at the PEC Studio Tour or the County Arts Fair

127. Support local at TASTE Community Grown (September) or The Makers Hand

128. Get into the Halloween spirit at Pumpkinfest (late September)

129. Come back at Christmas too for the Picton Santa Claus Parade

130. Ahoy! It’s time to set sail with the County Sailing Adventures. They can host private events or take you on a 2 or 3 hour cruises.

131. Find the plaque in Picton that explains the town’s claim to fame – where Sir John A. Macdonald grew up.

132. Be surrounded by creativity in the Rose Cottage Studio and Gifts in Picton.

133. Rest and recuperate at one of The Open Collaborative’s retreats. Choose from the “Run”, the “Activate”, the “Reset”, or the “harvest”.

134. Shop ‘til you drop at the Quinte Mall

135. Find your equilibrium on a Stand Up Paddleboard with Floating Lotus SUP

136. Get into the great outdoors with a luxury prospector tent at the Fronterra Farm Camp.

137. Find your perfect new outfit at Luna Boutique.

138. Be sure to veer off the highway and visit the newest winery in The County – Moranin Wines (just opened July 2018)

139. And last BUT definitely not the least…have breakfast, lunch and treats at Enid Grace Cafe in Wellington – go early because she makes only enough croissants, muffins, scones & cakes enough for the day.  Once your favorite treat is gone, you’ll have to wait til the next day.

 

 …and the list goes on!  

Even more tips and calendar of events can be found on Prince Edward County’s tourism web site is prince-edward-county.com

Wherever you decide to go – for a day trip, getaway or long weekend – why not work your way through this long list of things to see and do. It’s a beautiful place where you can make great memories of food, wine, great scenery – and more.  Call on our Savvy Sommeliers anytime on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for tips of places to visit.

Enjoy Prince Edward County!

 

 

 

 

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Announcing… In-Cider Picks Ontario craft cider…delivered

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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Summer just got cooler for craft cider fans. The Savvy Team is excited to announce that we are making plenty of room in our fridge for ciders made at boutique cideries across Ontario. The craft cider scene is exploding with new flavour combos being released every day – so many that it is hard to keep up.

You asked…we’re going to deliver!

This summer we are working with cidermakers to create Savvy In-Cider Picks to deliver crisp ciders to you – at home, work or your cottage. Each month is a different assortment of refreshing, dry & delicious ciders that are guaranteed to quench your thirst.

Order by July 20th & shipping is FREE

That’s right – deadline to order the July In-Cider Picks is Wednesday July 20th
Get them apples! Order yours now >>

 

What’s our July picks?

From County Cider Company (Prince Edward County)…

County Premium Cider
Blood Orange Cider
Pear Cider
Tortured Path Cider
2 bottles (500mL) of each will be sent

From Tawse Winery (Niagara)…

Sparkling Cider – just released last week!
2 bottles (750mL) will be sent

Mark. Our. Words. These craft ciders are hard-to-come-by & quickly sell out. You won’t find them at the LCBO.

 

Order one bunch OR get deliveries all summer!

What is the cost?

Each month is a slightly different price based on the ciders we picked. For July, the total price of this bushel is $82.00. Shipping is FREE to addresses in major cities in Ontario.

One month or two?

Order just the July In-Cider Picks OR have both July & August assortments delivered to you.

You don’t have to get out of your deck chair.
Order Now >>

 

…and we have Cheese too!

Our Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-o-month club has become WILDLY popular! It’s the new whey to discover hard-to-find cheese made across Canada. Each month, we will deliver 4 to 5 outstanding cheeses – hard, soft, fresh or aged – made with various milks – cow, goat, sheep…even buffalo!

These artisan cheeses are perfect for picnics, in summer salads or melted on top of your BBQed burger.

In July we will send you ‘The Best of the Fest’. This is an extra special assortment of 5 different artisan cheeses that wowed our Cheese Sommelier at this year’s Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

 

Try it once…or subscribe!

Exclusively for July you can order Savvy Cool Curds for a one-time price of $60 OR subscribe for 4 or 6 months for $55 per month. Shipping + HST is extra.

It is easy to be cheese-y!
Order up your Savvy Cool Curds >>

 

Cheers & Keep cool,
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
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/SavvyCompanyInc

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Cheesin’s Greetings!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Celebrating with Canadian cheese is one of the simplest ways I know to entertain during hectic holidays. Cheese is low maintenance and requires no time or fuss to prepare. It always presents well, but best of all, when chosen with care, is guaranteed to be the highlight of party conversations and special memories for years to come.  This month’s holiday issue of Savvy Cool Curds spotlights a selection of cheeses for easy entertaining.

2016 was another busy year for Canadian cheesemakers. With more events, competitions and awards, producers and tasty cheeses on the scene than ever, deciding on only a few will be the hardest chore you’ll have on your “to do” list.  Read on for holiday tips with Canadian Cheese and last minute gift ideas!

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

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

Apprenti Sorcier 200g
Homecoming 200g
Milkhouse Tomme 200g
Muskoka Bliss 200g
Christmas Cheese Ball 200g


Looking for more awesome Canadian cheese for holiday entertaining?

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

  

Cheesin’s Greetings
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Entertaining with Canadian artisan cheese is the easiest whey to add a cheesy element to your holiday plans this festive season. Give cheese as a hostess gift or for that hard to buy for name on your list, introduce a cheese course to your holiday meal either as a stunning appetizer to kick things off or as a lazy finish, or pull together a quick wine & cheese tasting as a cocktail party substitute.  Here are some of my quick tips:

Top Tips for Entertaining

1) Think of your audience

Who are you entertaining and for how long?  Will a meal or other snacks be served? When in doubt choose small soft wheels of cheese (buy a few to have on hand, they make wonderful hostess gifts too).

2) Be a Savvy shopper

Buy from a reputable cheese shop as close as possible to your celebration. Ask for a fresh cut wedge. In Ottawa, look for artisan cheeses at Serious Cheese, The Piggy Market, Thyme & Again, The Red Apron, Jacobson’s Gourmet Concepts, the Ottawa Bagelshop and throughout Ontario at fine grocery stores such as Farm Boy.

2) Mix & mingle

Consider taste, style and texture or region, milk type (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo) or category  (fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard, blue).  3 to 5 cheeses display well on a board or serve one stellar cheese as an appetizer or dessert. Buying cheeses that look different offers visual appeal.  5-10gms/cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

3) Serve with star treatment

Serve at room temperature.  Offer one knife per cheese. Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.  Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.  Keep it simple so the cheese will shine.

4) Compliment your cheese

Serve specialty breads, gourmet crackers, fresh seasonal or dried fruits, figs, dates, raw or toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

5) Add wine or craft beer

In general beers and white wines pair best and more often with a wider variety of cheeses. Remember balance is key. For help on selecting wines & craft beers give our experts a call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

6) Talk it up

What do you see, smell and taste?  Share your experience. Compare notes.  Conversations around the cheese board create lasting memories of your event.  Cheese has evolved from being solely an ingredient to the focal point of a party, as it’s the perfect food to bring people together.

7) Take time to enjoy every nibble

Slow down and savor each morsel.  The holidays are a special time of year to make merry with friends, family (and cheese!).  Take a break from hosting to enjoy yourself and the company of your guests.

 

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!

Apprenti Sorcier

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères is the wizard behind Apprenti Sorcier (translated as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), a soft, surface-ripened pasteurized mixed sheep and cow milk cheese sold in small wheels.

Tasting Notes: A thick, bright white bloomy rind and rich, runny, ivory paste produce wild mushroomy aromas mixed with buttery, finger-licking, salty flavours.

Suggested Pairing:  Have a loaf of crusty baguette on hand if your piece is ripe — you’ll need it to “mop up” until the cheese is all gone!  Top with chutneys, relishes, caramelized onions, cranberries, nuts, maple syrup or honey/rosemary for a quick appetizer.

Stonetown Cheese Homecoming

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 and first prize at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair recently. 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 snacking or grilled cheese, pair with unoaked Chardonnay or Semillon.

 

Milkhouse Tomme

The hardworking team of Cait and Kyle White from Smiths Falls makes Milkhouse Tomme lovingly from their own flock of British Milk Sheep. They are proud to have full traceability from animal to market of their milk and their cheese.

Tasting Notes: Milkhouse Tomme is a beautiful, rustic raw sheep milk cheese with a natural rind styled after French Tomme de Savoie.  It’s a tasty package of richness, with a dense interior texture and herbal and grassy notes on the nose and palate.

Suggested Pairing: Great paired with Sauvignon Blanc or oaky Chardonnay and dolloped with a stone fruit (peach, apricot) preserve.

 

Muskoka Bliss

Muskoka Bliss is a seasonal cow milk cheese from Stonetown Cheese in St. Mary’s, Ontario. Gorgeous on a cheese plate for holiday entertaining. 

Tasting Notes:  Muskoka Bliss comes in an attractive package of dark eggplant colored wax. On the inside find mild, buttery milky flavors with a hint of cranberry fruit. 

Suggested Pairing:  Pair with a light red (Gamay or Pinot Noir) and fruit/nut crackers.

 

Maggie’s Cheese Ball

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères makes these rare, seasonal cheese balls once a year. They’re a guaranteed sell out but we managed to secure some for our coveted Savvy Cool Curds subscribers.

Tasting Notes:  Maggie’s cheese ball is a combination of both local cow and goat’s milk mixed with a variety of ingredients to add zing and extra flavor such as lemon juice and scallions all rolled in crushed pecans for a gorgeous finish.

Suggested Pairing:  Enjoy on it’s own (even by yourself without sharing!) with a hearty sourdough bread or Parisian baguette.  Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or local brew for extra enjoyment.  Or, do as I do, eat it right off the spoon – it doesn’t last long in my house!

NOTE: you may see a crease of blue on the inside of the packaging…don’t despair, this is not mould, rather it is the extra pieces of CFAI approved cellophane (aka Saran Wrap) crunched tightly into the vacuumed pack bag!

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses

With Apprenti Sorcier…

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted & Photo Credit: Epicurious

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
8 cups sliced onions (about 4 large)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. sugar
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce Brie
2 baguettes, sliced

Method

Melt butter in heavy very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add minced thyme, reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and sautée 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine; stir until almost all liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over onions and sauté until soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine; stir just until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie and place on a shallow small round baking dish (for presentation). Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return to dish, rind side down. Place dish on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with onion mixture. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a platter. Surround with baguette slices.

 

 

With Stonetown cheeses…

Cheese Fondue for Two
Recipe & Photo Credit: Stonetowncheese.com

Ingredients

a loaf of French Bread
1/2 clove of garlic
160 g Grand Trunk, grated
160 g Wildwood, grated
80 g Homecoming, grated
2 tsp. cornstarch

Method

Cut French bread into 1″ cubes and set the table before you start heading the fondue.

Rub the caquelon (fondue pan) with half a clove of garlic, cut into small pieces and leave in the caquelon (fondue pan).

Mix Grand Trunk, Wildwood and Homecoming with cornstarch in caquelon (fondue pan), add wine and lemon juice.

With constant stirring, heat up until the cheese is melted and creamy. Add kirsch brandy (optional), season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Place the caquelon (fondue pan) over a small spirit burner to keep the fondue at boiling point.

Dip the bite size, cubed French bread into the fondue using a long handled fork.

Stir the fondue every time you dunk a piece of break so the fondue does not burn to the bottom of the caquelon (fondue pan).

 

With Milkhouse Tomme…

Tartiflette
Recipe & Photo Credit: Laura Robin – The Ottawa Citizen

Ingredients

6 medium potatoes
2 large red onions
2 to 4 cloves garlic
Dash olive oil
½ lb. bacon or pancetta
Dash Sherry or white wine (optional)
5 to 8 oz. Milkhouse Tomme, cut into small cubes
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 cup 18% (half-and-half or light) cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Slice potatoes 1/4-inch (1-cm thick) and cook in boiling, salted water about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, set aside.

Slice the red onions 1/4-inch (1-cm) thick, lengthwise, from the root to the tip, and fry with chopped garlic and a dash of olive oil over medium heat until soft.

Roughly chop bacon or pancetta and add to pan with onions and garlic. Add a dash of sherry or white wine and scrape to deglaze pan. Simmer until bacon is cooked and onions are caramelized.

Layer half the sliced potatoes in a buttered 9-by-13-inch (23-by-35-cm) glass baking dish. Sprinkle half of the bacon-and-onion mixture over. Repeat both layers. Sprinkle cubed Tomme on top.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, mix, and cook briefly, then gradually stir in milk and cream. Cook, stirring, until mixtures thickens and almost boils. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over potatoes and cheese in dish.

Bake uncovered on the middle rack of oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is puffy and slightly golden and sauce is bubbling.

 

With Muskoka Bliss…

Brie, Cranberry and Pancetta Phyllo Bites
Recipe & Photo Credit: Popsugar.com

Ingredients

Coconut oil spray
1/2 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 roll of phyllo sheets, defrosted
1-pint cranberries
1/4-cup water
1/3-cup sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
5 ounces brie (substitute Muskoka Bliss)

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Cook pancetta until crisp.

Place one piece of phyllo dough on a flat surface. Spray with coconut oil. Place another sheet on top; repeat four more times for a total of six sheets. Spray top piece of dough with coconut oil. Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 3-inch squares. Tuck into mini muffin tins. Repeat two more times until you have 36 shells.

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Reduce heat in oven down to 300°F.

For the cranberries: Place cranberries, water, sugar and pinch of cayenne in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the berries are reduced, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Divide cheese into 36 even pieces. Place in bottom of each shell. Top with a little bit of cranberry sauce. Pop into the oven for five minutes or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with crispy pancetta.

 

Last Minute Cheese-y Gifts…

With only a few sleeps until Christmas, here are some easy ways to take care of those last minute presents for the “nice” cheese lovers on your list dreaming of a cheesey Christmas!

Personal-sized Raclette or fondue for two

A gift card from a local cheese monger or fine food shop

A selection of hand crafted jams, chutneys, jellies, preserves or charcuterie

A chunk of natural honeycomb to enjoy with Canadian cheese

Canadian Cheese A Guide by Kathy Guidi

A subscription to Savvy Cool Curdsof course!

A gift certificate to a Savvy Event to discover craft beers, artisan wines and Canadian cheese

Tickets to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Picton, June 3 & 4th, 2017, Canada’s biggest cheese show

A set of cheese knives

A handmade cutting board or live edge boards for serving

A Cheese Sommelier hosted in-home cheese tasting experience – call us on 613-SAVVYCO to get started!

A “cheesemaker for a day” experience at a local producer

A cheese journal to track tasting notes and favourites

Cheese paper for storing Canadian cheese

Local craft beer, artisan wine to go with cheese

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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101 Things to do in Prince Edward County

Posted by Debbie

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
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Where are you going this Long Weekend? We are always asked for travel tips. One destination we are frequently asked about is Prince Edward County.  Just a short 3 hour drive from Ottawa or 2 hours from Toronto, you can go for the day or a weekend getaway.

Stanners Vineyard vinesThis region, surrounded by water, is turning heads as Canada’s fastest growing wine region.  And it is not all about the wine either! The County has been named as Maclean’s Magazine’s Canada TOP 10 Places You’ve Got to See in 2014.

To help you discover all the neat things that are going on in The County, we got the Savvy Team together (over a glass of wine of course!) & jotted down 101 of our favorite (and there are still many more) things to do in Prince Edward County.

How far down the list can you get?  Do you know about other fun things to see & do in PEC that we can add to our list?

101 Things to Do in Prince Edward County Wine Country

 

1. Visit North America’s largest dry stone bridge at Karlo Estates.

2. Visit the Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates.

3. Do the Creepy Corn Maze (Oct).

4. Eat some freshly baked pizza at Norman Hardie’s.

5. Check out some great old barns at The Old Third, Closson Chase, Karlo Estates, The Grange of Prince Edward County and Hinterland Winery.

6. Sample amazing aperitif and dessert wines (and ports) – Sandbanks Winery, Hillier Creek, Keint-He Winery, Karlo Estates

wine_tasting_sparkling7. Taste some of the best Canadian-made sparkling wines at Hinterland, Huff Estates, The Grange, By Chadsey’s Cairns & Lighthall Vineyards.

8. Cheese Please!  All weekend long at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (June).

9. Sample County wines at great local restos – East & Main, Blumen Garden & The Hubb.

10. Buy some artisan cheese to go with your wine at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.

11. Toronto’s Drake Hotel now has a County location – Drake Devonshire.  Stay over or go for dinner.

12. Indulge in poutine and milkshakes at the Dari Bar in Wellington.

13. Enjoy some great apple cider & lunch of lamb burgers The County County Cider.

14. Need some coffee after sampling wine? Miss Lily’s Café or the Bean Counter in Picton.

15. Find your favorite mantra pinned to the wall in the Cherry Valley General Store (hint: they’re all about slowing down to smell the roses!).

16. Stop by one of many veggie stands – Laundry Farms, Hagerman Farms, Cherryvale Organic Farm.

17. Sit on the porch at a B&B or your weekend cottage and read Geoff Heinrick’s book A Fool & Forty Acres.

18. Pop in to the Agrarian Cheese Market & Speakeasy, featuring craft brews on tap, great ciders, wine and killer cocktails with live music on Fridays & Saturdays.

19. Take a cooking class at From the Farm.

20. Dining delight – Countylicious – twice a year, 8 restos offer a prix fixe culinary celebration for $30 or $35 plus grats & tax.

21. Chat with Bryan at Keint-He Winery.  He’ll help you pronounce that!

22. Get on your bike & ride the backroads or along the Loyalist Parkway.

Terroir wine festival23. Take in Terroir Wine Festival at the Crystal Palace (May).

24. Plan for a beach day at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

25. Attend the PEC Jazz Festival (summer).

26. Discover new local music talent at The Acoustic Grill in Picton.

27. Slide down the dunes at West Lake.

28. Harvest grapes with Norman Hardie & celebrate afterwards with a pig roast & bbq (fall).

29. Take a billion pix of the gorgeous gardens at Closson Chase then indulge in their wines.

30. Spend a Sunday afternoon on the patio at Huff Estates Winery listening to live jazz.

31. Red White & Blues festival at Rosehall Run features music in the vineyard.

32. Meet the dogs & owners at Three Dog Winery.

33. Get lost on the back roads.

34. Hear James call his Chardonnay vines ‘Bella’ at Long Dog Winery.

35. Stock up on your picnic goodies at Chef Michael Hoy’s Weekend Market at 106 Bridge Street in Picton.

36. Best bacon & eggs in town are at Picton Harbour Inn.

Debbie at 2012 harvest37. Harvest parties at Sandbanks Winery, Half Moon Bay Winery & Broken Stone are fun for the entire family. Here I am (photo at right) picking grapes at last year’s harvest – boy that was hard work!

38. Book a room at The Manse, Newsroom Suites, The Inn at Huff Estates, Merrill Inn or the cottage at Angeline’s.

39. Take an early morning walk on the ‘secret’ beach (at the bottom of Cold Creek Road).

40. Ice cream at Slickers.

41. Go apple picking at Campbell’s Orchards.

42. Sparkling wine awaits at Hinterland Vineyards – and peach slushies for the kids.

43. Visit the old-time school house at the Ameliasburgh Historical Museum.

44. Drinks & Dinner at Merrill Inn –guaranteed delicious!

45. What the heck is Wassail?  Ask around about this pre-Christmas festival where you sing for your drink. Does this photo get you thinking about Christmas?

46. Do a County Chardonnay-a-thon trying every Chard you can find.  Be sure not to miss Lighthall, Stanners, Exultet, Rosehall, Karlo….is just a start.

maple_web_logo47. Pull a pint of Pumpkin Ale at Barley Days Brewing Co.

48. Maple in the County is a great spring getaway

49. All aboard!  Stop in at the red caboose at 33 Vines Winery – it is their tasting room.

50. Visit the Lavender Farm when the lavender is in full bloom (June).

51. Chat with Pat at Del-Gatto Estates…where he lives la dolce vita!

52. Kick back & chillax in a Muskoka chair with a glass of Sandbanks wine…in their vineyard (must trys – Cabernet Franc Reserve, Baco Noir, Marchel Foch).

53. Go antiquing.

artstrail-bluesign54. Follow the Arts Trail & meet incredible artists along the way.

55. In the summer, sip Rose wines around the Wine Trail – see how they all are different – different grapes used, hues of pink…and tastes!

56. Catch a movie at the Regent Theatre.

57. Visit the gallery at Small Pond Arts to see Milé Murtanovski’s paintings made with wine.

58. Unwind one of the few classic drive-in movie theatres in Ontario: Mustang Drive-In

59. Take a break for wine touring & leisurely shop on Bloomfield Main Street.

60. Six Barrels for Six Chefs at Huff Estates Winery (June).

61. Get your heirloom tomatoes and lots of other fresh from the farm veggies at Vicki’s Veggies

62. How about a visit to Dead Peoples Stuff? (antique store).

63. Enjoy heaven in a glass with a sip of VanAlstine White Port at Karlo Estates.

64. Lunch al fresco at Casa Dea Estates Winery, Huff Estates, The Grange or Norman Hardie Winery.

65. Go house hunting – it does not cost anything to dream!

66. It might be a wine region, yet there is a distillery – 66 Gilead – that is a must visit.  Especially for their Canadian Pine Vodka, Loyalist Gin, rums & whiskies too.

67. Watch the sunset at North Beach.

68. Enjoy incredible classical music in a small church during the Prince Edward County Music Festival (September)

69. Make annual family traditions by renting one of the many of the Sunrise cottages.

70. Drop by Highline mushrooms to buy fresh gourmet mushrooms.

71. Homemade donuts like my grandfather would make await at Schroedter’s Market on Hwy 62.

72. Spend an hour or two checking out City Revival – a high end consignment shop.

73. Be marvelled by Lake On The Mountain – it’s mystical up there.

Premium Goat Milk Cheddar, Back Forty Artisan Cheese Co. and Black River Cheese Company74. Stop at Black River Cheese Co in Milford to try…and buy…all kinds of cheese.  Savvy Cheese Sommelier, Vanessa Simmons recommends: Maple Cheddar & fresh curds (TIP – when you put curds in the fridge, they lose their squeak)

75. Where else can wines be as easy as Not Red, Almost Red and Not White? At Sugarbush Wines.

76. Ride the waves at North Beach Provincial Park.

77. Go strawberry, raspberry or blueberry picking on the roadside – they grow wild!

78. Grab some wine after your round of golf at Picton Golf Course, Barcovan Golf Club or Wellington On The Lake Golf Course.

79. Pop in & out of all of the cool shops along Picton Main Street.

80. Bird-watching!! And don’t miss BirdHouse City.

81. Take the scenic route. Drive along the Loyalist Parkway – Hwy 33.  Start in Kingston or Napanee and it will meander all the way to Trenton.

82. Order everything on the chalkboard at The Hubb Restaurant in Bloomfield.

83. TASTE! at the Crystal Palace (late September).

84. Have afternoon tea or a treat at Tall Poppy Café in Wellington.

85. The December Busy Hands Craft Sale at Books and Company & Miss Lily’s Café, hosted by Vicki’s Veggies – great sale for gifts.

86. Pop into Greer Road Grocer at Rosehall Run Winery for neat locally made gourmet goodies.

87. Play life size chess in the vineyard at Casa Dea Estates.

88. Stop for Italian thin crust pizza at Bergeron’s Estate Winery…and have a glass of wine too!

89. Take photos of Lake Ontario with morning fog near Moonlight on the Lake B&B.

90. Buy Ontario wine – and beer! – not available in the LCBO – shop directly at the wineries & brewery in Prince Edward County!

91. Get married!

92. Running and drinking…drinking and running during Terroir Run (June) or county Marathon (Oct).

93. Taste wine in a converted cheese factory that now houses Exultet Estates.

94. Rent a cottage on the water for a week and really live The County life.

95. Stop at a garage sale.

96. Take the free Glenora Ferry.

97. Take a workshop at The Red Barns, an artisan’s playground, featuring blown and stained glass, pottery, and iron art.

98. Visit Canada’s first off-grid winery Redtail Vineyard.

99. Browse the books and say hello to Miss Ella Vader, the new book mascot at Books & Company.

100. Spend a weekend at Claramount Inn & Spa. Heavenly.

101. Stop by Huff Estates and get your picture taken with the giant steel pinecones.

…and the list goes on!   Even more tips and calendar of events can be found on Prince Edward County’s tourism web site is prince-edward-county.com

 

Wherever you decide to go this Long Weekend…or anytime, why not work your way through this long list of things to see and do in Prince Edward County. It’s a beautiful place where you can make great memories of food, wine, great scenery – and more.  Call on our Savvy Sommeliers anytime on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for tips of places to visit.

Enjoy Prince Edward County!
Debbie

 

 

 

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Top 5 reasons to go the Cheese Festival

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is a fun-filled weekend of nibbling delicious artisan cheese from coast to coast.  No where in Canada are there more chunks of cheese than here – and it all happens in the quaint town of Picton in the heart of Prince Edward County. We have been proud to sponsor this festival every year.  With so much to see, eat & do, here are our top 5 reasons why you should join us.  Pack up the car & head down for the weekend, or join us on the Savvy Bus – only a few seats left!

Makers & Mongers dinner logo#1 – Have dinner under the stars at the NEW Makers+Mongers event

Mix and mingle with the neat people who make and sell great cheese and tasty artisan foods while eating, drinking and making merry at Makers+Mongers on Saturday evening.

What’s for dinner?

Artisan appetizers
Cheese-themed dishes
Unbelievably tasty chicken on the barbie by Seed to Sausage
Ontario’s finest wines and newest craft beers featured at the cash bar
Cheese-themed dishes prepared by local chefs using winners in the Canadian Cheese Awards.

The Guest of Honour: Marie-Claude Harvey of Fromagerie FX Pichet, makers of Le Baluchon, the Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Here are all the details of the evening:

Date: Saturday June 7, doors open at 6 p.m.
Setting: Casual and informal – with music
Location: Cheese Festival’s new Celebrate Ontario Pavilion on Picton Fairgrounds in Picton, Ontario.
Admission:  $26.55+HST
Click here to purchase advance tickets  or purchase at the door. Hurry as only 300 tickets to this exclusive event will be sold.

 

#2 – You be the Judge – tutored tasting hosted by Vanessa Simmons & Janice Beaton

Saturday at 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
The tables are turned…this time you will be the judge as you taste & score Canadian Cheese Awards winners to select People’s Choice for Canadian Cheese of the Year.

cheese-of-the-year-1000-mar-19-copyHere is your chance to sample the 16 best artisan cheeses made in Canada in a three-hour marathon tasting. Yes…3 hours of nothing but cheese! Evaluate and score them just like a judge would in a competition.  You’ll be guided by two experts who served as judges at the Canadian Cheese Awards earlier this year, Vanessa Simmons cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and Janice Beaton, owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and FARM Restaurant, Calgary. Your scores will be tabulated on the spot to then determine the People’s Choice Canadian Cheese of the Year. It will be interesting to compare your choice against the cheese the professional judges named at the REAL Canadian Cheese Awards on April 7 2014 in Toronto.Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese Sommelier

Janice and Vanessa were amongst those judges.  During this tasting, they will explain how to look for technical excellence and why different cheese show different aesthetic qualities. In the end, it comes down to flavour, aroma and texture. The 16 cheeses you will sample and judge will be the category winners in the Awards, such as Washed Rind Cheese, Flavoured Cheese and Fresh Cheese. Click here to view the entire list of categories.

You’ll leave the tasting with a much deeper understanding of cheese. Don’t quit your day job just yet! As a new ‘judge’, you’ll be given a red Canadian Cheese Awards apron as well as VIP pass to the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards in Montréal.

Tickets: still a few spots left – ORDER NOW

 

#3 – Wine or Beer, Which Pairs Better with Cheese? – tutored tasting hosted by Debbie Trenholm

Debbie Trenholm - Savvy CompanySaturday at 2 p.m.
We’ve all been to a Wine & Cheese . . . but might Beer & Cheese be a better taste match?

Join Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier at Savvy Company and founder of Savvy Hip Hops Ontario craft-beer-of-the-month-club as she puts fine wines and craft beers to the taste test.  The winning verdict of this Battle of the Taste Buds will be determined after enjoying many chunks of award-winning Canadian cheese paired with outstanding Ontario wines and craft beers. It’s not easy being cheesy, yet one thing is for sure, this tasting will be delicious!

Bonus: All participants will take home complimentary wine and beer tasting glasses.

Tickets: still a few spots left – ORDER NOW

 

#4 – More than 200 amazing Canadian artisan cheeses

Vanessa cheese board for CBC Radio Canada Fr transmissionArtisan cheeses from coast to coast – hardly any available in grocery stores!

The Festival showcases producers who turn the pure milk of Canadian cows, goats, sheep and water buffalo into cheese, using no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients.

At this year’s Cheese Festival there will be more than 125 cheeses from Canadian producers that you can buy. Bring cash as Crystal Palace, our historic venue, isn’t wired for credit cards. There is an ATM on the premises. An insulated Festival cooler bag for hauling fromage home can be purchased for $10 to benefit a cheese scholarship for a deserving young Canadian.

Click here for a complete list of cheese makers from Ontario, Quebec, BC, Nova Scotia & PEI.

 

#5 – Buy your favorite Ontario Wines

The fine wines of Prince Edward County, the newest VQA wine region in Canada, are naturally front and centre at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, but this year, for the first time, you’ll also be able to taste wine from Niagara.

Click here for the list of wineries from Ontario which will be at the Cheese Festival.

 

Cheeseheads at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by Vanessa Simmons…and there are even more reasons go to the Cheese Festival!

A variety of specialty exhibitors and vendors can be found in the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair showcasing artisanal foods, wine, beer and cider. Click here for the list of other exhibitors & vendors to make this a great day out.

So whether you drive or hop on the Savvy Bus from Ottawa & Kingston, we want you to make the most of your cheese laden weekend.

 

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Finding your Whey with local artisan cheese

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
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Hot off the press!  This cheese-y article appeared in the latest issue of Grapevine Magazine loaded with our Cheese Sommelier – Vanessa SimmonsTop 10 Tips on where to find, how to buy & tasting tips on enjoying artisan cheeses.

Navigating the world of artisan cheese is something like dating.  You never truly know what you’re getting into until you spend the time, experiment and have several encounters, noticing the person’s character traits, appearance and mannerisms in a variety of situations.  Only then do you discover the true personality of an individual or, in this case…a piece of cheese.

Here are 10 ways to really get to know your cheese better:

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierSpend time at your local farmer’s market

Chances are you’ll find a cheesemaker at most Ontario farmer’s markets.  Visit often, ask a lot of questions and taste something new each time.  Seek out jams, jellies, chutneys, honey, charcuterie, pates, artisan breads and crackers as well as ripe, in season produce to complement your cheese.  Inquire whether there might be a wheel specially aged or a new cheese in development to test. Experiment.

Visit a local cheesemaker at their production facility

Call first to introduce yourself and confirm availability. If it’s your lucky day, you’ll be able to actually see cheese being made and perhaps participate.  One of my earliest and most memorable WOW cheese moments was scooping warm, fresh, soft, moist, silky cheese curds right out of the vat with my bare hands and slurping them up.  Pure heaven.  To this day I remember the cheesemaking experience at Fifth Town Cheese in Prince Edward County that gave me a true appreciation for the work that goes into producing artisan cheese.

Try a variety of milk types and categories of cheese

Fresh cheeses taste most like the real milk flavor of cow, sheep, goat or even water buffalo milk.  Cheeses that are aged longer are more complex with developed flavors that give character.  In Canada alone there are over 2000 types of cheese ranging from fresh, soft and un-ripened, soft and ripened to semi-soft, firm, washed rind, cheddar, hard and blue cheeses.  Be sure to nibble on them all (even the blues).  If you don’t like the cheese’s appearance, close your eyes and taste.

Compare “grocery store” generic brand cheese with artisan cheese

Upper Canada Cheese Co Niagara Gold by Vanessa Simmons largeCheck the same category of cheese you would buy at the grocery store with what an artisan cheesemaker produces.  Note the flavors, texture and characteristics, or more commonly, lack thereof.  Read labels to confirm the cheese is made with 100% natural Canadian milk and doesn’t contain modified milk ingredients.  You’ll quickly realize the differences and merit of choosing local artisan cheese.

Buy the same cheese from various sources

cheese-of-the-year-1000-mar-19-copyThere are so many opportunities to buy cheese…at the market, cheesemongers, or direct from the manufacturer, to get a sense of what is normal for a particular cheese.  Not all cheeses are handled properly through the supply chain and even cheese has a bad or off day every once and a while that will affect flavor, aroma, texture and appearance.  My experience judging the Canadian Cheese Awards was a good example of this – some submissions weren’t truly at their best.  Buying direct from the cheesemaker will give you a good benchmark to measure against over time.

Track your tastings and do some research

Keep a cheese journal.  Note date purchased, date made/age (ask), where you bought it, price, amount, and your thoughts.  Record what you see, smell, feel and savor over time (size, colors, texture, distinguishing features, ripeness).  List words you use as descriptors such as mushroomy, velvety, creamy, buttery, grassy, vegetal, barny, oozy, gritty, pasty, chalky, smooth, sweet and fruity.  Not sure how to describe?  Close your eyes and picture yourself in a farmer’s field with the sun shining and see what comes to mind.  Check websites and reviews (but be cautious, much of what is published can be re-postings of the content of others).  In some cases reviewers are writing about cheeses and pairings they’ve never tasted themselves.

Pair with wine (don’t forget bubbly & rosé), local beer & even cider!

beercheeseGather friends, fabulous fromage and your favorite local wine, craft beers and ciders.  Conduct a tasting of the cheeses first then mix n’ match with your bevvies and let the games begin.  Note popular pairings and throw standard pairing rules out the window.

Sample the same cheese over time

Taste at the beginning of summer, middle/end of summer and over the winter months.  Do you notice a difference in flavor, complexity or terroir (reflection of the milk by region)?  Record your findings.

Hang out with cheesy peoplecheese festival logo

If you’re really passionate about Canadian cheese get your curd loving self to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival June 7/8 in Prince Edward County.  Canada’s largest gathering of artisan cheese producers offers the best chance to do some serious experimentation with 4000+ cheesy friends.  I’ll be there with the Savvy Company team. Track down Canadian Cheese Award winners. While in town visit Black River Cheese, Ontario’s oldest diary co-op.  Sample their new-on-the-market honey and wine-soaked cheddars, and popular maple cheddar.  Also make it a point to drop by Fifth Town Cheese, who are now under new management and warrant a stop for local products.

Taste, taste, taste!

Celtic blueOf all ten tips, this is the most important in truly getting to know your artisan cheese. Pick a handful of your favorite cheeses and make it a priority to really be mindful and fully aware (like yoga for cheese) of your experience with that cheese over a period of one-year minimum.

How do you know you’ve found “the one”? Keep trying until a cheese gives you an OMG reaction where your eyes pop out of your head, your heart sings, and you experience that oh-so-orgasmic feeling on your palate right down to the tips of your toes.  Then repeat & share with friends.

At the end of all of that hard work, you’ll have discovered the cheese love of your life and can continue your journey to explore new artisan cheeses.

 

This article has been reposted with the permission of Grapevine Magazine.

More about Vanessa Simmons – our Savvy Cheese Sommelier 

Vanessa Simmons is the cheese sommelier at Savvy Company in Ottawa, spending countless hours with regional cheese mongers and cheesemakers.  Vanessa has studied with Cheese Education Guild (Level 2), Toronto, and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute, Basic Cuisine Certificate, Ottawa; has worked as a chef and her popular tasting seminars & speaking events throughout Ontario make for a delicious discovery of Canadian artisan cheeses.

She’s been seen & heard on Rogers TV Daytime, CTV Morning Live, CBC Radio & Radio Canada, RubyTV, has been a keynote presenter at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival year over year, a judge at the 2013 Selection Caseus – Le Concours de Fromages Fins de Quebec & inaugural 2014 Canadian Cheese Awards and it’s been noted by The Toronto Star that she is “openly fanatical about artisan cheese”. Follow Vanessa @savvyvanessa or read her popular “Curd On the Street” blog posts.

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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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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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Five Brothers by Gunn’s Hill

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
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This week I’m thrilled to introduce Ontario’s new “cheese on the block”, debuting in Ottawa at Jacobson’s Gourmet ConceptsFive Brothers from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario. Passion is a common theme among cheesemakers and Shep Ysselstein, who I first met at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, is no exception. He just named their three Swiss style cheeses, a process that took a year that I equate to picking names for children. I love his philosophy that the names “need to feel right”. You know it’s going to be good cheese when so much patience, thought and effort goes into choosing the name!

Five Brothers, named for Shep’s siblings, is a pressed, cooked, washed-rind, farmstead cow’s milk cheese.  An amber-colored, weathered-looking exterior covers these robust wheels featuring a pale straw open interior paste with unique subtle texture and smooth richness. Flavours hint of Gouda (buttery) & Appenzeller (fruity) sweetness ending up almost Cheddar-like (lactic) without the sharpness or characteristic tang.  A very tasty addition to round out your end- of- summer entertaining cheese board.

 

FACTBOX:
Cheese: Five Brothers (Gunn’s Hill Semi-Hard)
Producer: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
Interesting Fact: Oxford County boasts some of the most abundant and fertile soils in Canada earning it the title “Dairy Capital of Canada”.

Enjoy! – Vanessa

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