Posts Tagged ‘La fromagerie les folies bergères’

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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Smash hit on the local cheese scene

Posted by Vanessa

Monday, May 2nd, 2016
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cheese-board-slider

Savvy Cool Curds cheese of the month club
Featuring Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères
–  April 2016 –

 

Hey Ewe! The Savvy Team are thrilled to bring ewe April’s Savvy Cool Curds, hailing from the tiny little town of Sainte-Sixte, Québec. Named after the famous Parisian music hall depicting fun and frivolity, La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères cheeses are a far cry from foolish and continue to be a smash hit on the local cheese scene.

Folies Bergeres logoLots of love, passion and farmstead milk from the East Friesian sheep they raise create a wide variety of yummy cheeses. Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard are proudly “in the business of selling pleasure, not cheese”. Their light-hearted approach to cheesemaking – and life overall – is evident right down to the cancan-dancing sheep with colourful tutus, adorning their logo.

“The Savvy Team is great & having this opportunity to be featured in Savvy Cool Curds is exciting!  Anyone who has met Vanessa Simmons quickly learns that she is passionate about Canadian cheese.  She has developed strong ties to the cheesemakers & has made countless contributions to promoting local, regional, provincial & national cheesemakers.  Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are in for a treat …the best part is that all of the cheese discoveries will be proudly Canadian.”

Maggie Paradis, owner & cheesemaker, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec)

 

CoolCurds_mail-2In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Approximately a kilogram of hard-to-find artisan sheep milk cheese including:

La Petite Folie 150g
La Petite Démone (Fine Herb) 140g
La Sorcière Bien Aimée 200g
Raclette de Brebis 200g
La Coulée Douce 200g

“Fou” (crazy) about Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères Cheese?

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

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Folies Bergeres building

From finishing feta in the make room, to farmer’s market visits to milking sheep in the parlour there is always an adventure to be had in the company of Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard (in photo below), the local “crazy shepherds” (translation) of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères.  Life is busy for this talented, dedicated, passionate and hardworking couple.

There are lambs to tend, sheep to shear, rams to satisfy, ewes to feed, barns to clean, milks to receive and process, cheeses to make and ripen, markets to attend and a business to run all with the goal of producing the very best possible artisan and farmstead cheeses to be enjoyed by all – and they do it with a huge dose of “joie de vivre”.

Only the best will do

Maggie Paradis & Christian GirardBoth have exacting standards. Not one to compromise quality or consistency, Maggie’s cheese must always be good or she won’t make it – pure and simple.  Specific cultures and a cheese maker’s patience and care give these excellent results — not rushing any step of the process is crucial.

The high quality of their milk (both from their flock and sourced locally for the goat and cow milk) and the high touch, manual labour involved in her cheesemaking are key contributors to the consistency and excellence of their cheese over time.

Maggie confesses “I am easily bored.” She is always thinking up new cheeses and innovative ways to be efficient in her cheesemaking.  Recently, haloumi was born because she had the moulds to make it in, the same used from her cow and goat’s milk cheddars.

And while each cheese has its own challenge in the aging or making or packaging, she believes in simplification and letting nature do its part.

A ladies man…

As shepherd, Christian has a way with the ladies – the couple’s East Fresian ewes that is. Milking twice a day is routine, between the demands of farm and cheesemaking.  When I visited their farm this past weekend, I was in awe observing how the sheep shuffled into the parlour and automatically took their places (rewarded with fresh feed – that is his magic!) oblivious to being milked. With a gentle touch and crooning voice, Christian coaxes every last drop of milk out of every ewe’s teat, knowing each of the ladies personally from either front or back end. 

What’s in a Name?

Coulee_Douce_smallMaggie loves a double entendre, thus her naming theme which depicts their personal characters as much as their cheeses, demonstrating they truly aren’t like everyone else.  Chèvre Fatale (a spin on Femme Fatale), L’Apprenti Sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) all are distinct and memorable as well as very visual.

International renowned local artist & friend of the couple Koen de Winter is the talent behind each hand-drawn illustration.  One cheese, Raclette, remains yet unnamed! Think about it as you dive into your Savvy Cool Curds – all name ideas are invited!

When asked, Maggie describes herself as a strong, potent cheese that bites back and Christian as a “pâte molle”, calm on the outside & all gooey on the inside.  Both perfect in their own “whey.”

As you can see…and soon will taste… there is personality in each of the cheeses made by Maggie and Christian. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

 

• 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!  All cheese photos were taken by Vanessa too.

La Petite Folie

La Petite FolieAward-winning La Petite Folie (meaning a little fun) is the simplest of Maggie’s cheeses to make yet the most labour intensive to package, given the care it takes to preserve the integrity of the cheese. I consider it one of life’s little luxuries, a treat for yourself reflecting the best nature has to offer as a reflection of fresh, rich ewe’s milk. 

Tasting Notes:  Petite Folie is a soft, unripened pasteurized ewe’s milk cheese with mild lactic aromas, a rich, dense, silky texture and clean, milky-creamy flavours finishing with a hint of citrus. 

Suggested Pairing: Pair with a robust grainy or seed bread or Enerjive Quinoa Crackers that we have popped into this month’s  box.  Mix in with crab, or top with smoked trout or salmon.

 

La Petite Démone (Fine Herb)

La Petite DemoneAs far as labels go, the gorgeous illustration for La Petite Démone is my second favourite of all of Maggie’s product labels (first place goes to Chèvre Fatale with her puckering red lips).

Tasting Notes:  Chèvre-style soft, fresh, unripened, pasteurized, goat milk cheese that comes in three flavors: plain, fine herbs and roasted red pepper. The texture is like velvet across your tongue and flavors are clean and herbaceous without being overpowering. Finishes with a characteristic tang that lingers. Notice no chalky texture or soapy aftertaste that can be common with many large-scale production goat milk chèvres (key indication of high quality milk).

Suggested Pairing:  The sky’s the limit for pairing this cheese – stuff into the center of a homemade burger, perk up a Sunday morning omelet with a dab, or melt into mashed potatoes as your “secret ingredient”.

  

La Sorcière Bien Aimee

LA Sorciere Bien AimeeInspired by her goat farming protégée and playing off popular TV series “Bewitched”, Maggie Paradis’ La Sorcière Bien Aimée, was born to add a brie type to the wonderful variety of other goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses she produces. I love Maggie’s cheeky attitude as she describes the aging of La Sorcière… “The cheese pouts at first, then it will cry, becoming a weepy mess…” My sentiments exactly, only they’re tears of joy in this case.

Tasting Notes:  Handmade from whole natural milk, La Sorcière Bien Aimée has a good, clean goaty flavour with a hint of sweet grass and no bitterness, ammonia or aftertaste, even if a little overripe. 

Suggested Pairing: A favourite pairing with this cheese is Michaelsdolce’s Spiced Cranberry or Spiced Cherry Jam.

 

Raclette de Brebis

Raclette de BrebisMaggie is on the hunt for an official sexy name for this cheese. Once you’ve tried it pop her a note on Facebook with your ideas!

Tasting Notes:  Maggie’s Raclette de Brebis is a pale straw colour, firm yet soft, curd-y & cooked pasteurized sheep milk cheese washed in raspberry wine from local Domain Mont Vézeau. Has a pleasant slightly sweet aroma and herbal, grassy and mild nutty flavours.

Suggested Pairing:  Use in a traditional Raclette recipe either as half wheel or small slices. Enjoy melted on toast topped with bacon (suggest Seed to Sausage Black Pepper Molasses Bacon). Pair with unoaked Chardonnay.

 

La Coulée Douce

La Coulee DouceNow this is a cheese for chilling out! A reflection of the cheesemaker herself, Maggie is laid-back, chilled, goes with the flow (thus the cheese’s name/label image) and doesn’t take life or herself too seriously (while remaining quite serious about making top notch artisan cheeses).

Tasting Notes:  100% pure pasteurized, firm, small wheel sheep’s milk cheese with an ivory slightly open (shows small holes) paste and thin, rustic, golden-hued washed rind.  Creamy aromas compliment rich, milky, slightly toasty and fermented fruit flavours with a grassy finish making it the perfect match for Quebec iced or apple cider as used to wash the rind from neighbouring Verger Croque-Pomme.

Suggested Pairing:  Serve shaved on homemade peach or apple pie. Or, as Maggie likes it, a bit aged, crumbly & dry with a good Port.

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses •

 

With La Petite Folie…

Waffle with Cream Cheese and Smashed Berries

Recipe & photo credit: BonAppetit.com
Prep Time:
  10 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes

IRecipe waffles with cream cheese & smashed berriesngredients

1 waffle
2 tablespoons cream cheese (La Petite Folie)
2 tablespoons raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
1-tablespoon honey or agave

Method

Use a frozen whole grain waffle, or freeze leftover homemade waffles between sheets of waxed paper.

Toast a waffle and smear with cream cheese (La Petite Folie).

Using a fork, smash raspberries, blueberries or blackberries on top of the cream cheese (La Petite Folie).

Drizzle with honey or agave. Enjoy! 

 

With La Petite Démone (Fine Herb)…                     

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese

Recipe & Photo credit: FoodNetwork.ca 

Maggie herself recommends the use of La Petite Démone on steak melted as a quick and easy sauce or garnish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Recipe filet mignon balsamic syrup & goat cheeseIngredients

1 ½ cups Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
6 (5-6 oz.) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper to tast
2 oz. soft, fresh goat cheese (La Petite Démone Fine Herb)

Method

Boil the balsamic vinegar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 of a cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  Melt the butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper.  Cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet.  Cover the cheese over the steaks and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle with pepper.

Transfer the steaks to plates.  Drizzle the balsamic sauce over and around the steaks and serve. 

 

With La Sorcière Bien Aimée…

Baked Maple Brie

Recipe & Photo credit: Foodnetwork.ca 

Maple season is here! Substitute luxurious La Sorcière Bien Aimée in this recipe and you’ll have a sure-fire crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients

Recipe baked maple brie1 package brie cheese (La Sorcière Bien Aimee)
1-cup maple syrup
2 apples, finely sliced
½ cup of brown sugar
1-teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag Tostitos bite sized round tortilla chips
(or Vanessa’s addition fresh baguette thinly sliced)

Method

Remove rind from top of brie (for easier dipping).

Make slices into the brie and insert apples.

Top with brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and apple as desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

With Raclette de Brebis…

Grilled Swiss Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus

Recipe & Photo credit: Dairygoodness.ca 

This recipe substitutes sheep milk cheese for the cow’s milk cheese originally used, as it’s a perfect compliment to fresh, seasonal, spring asparagus. 

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes 

Recipe grilled Swiss cheese sandwich & asparagusIngredients

1 bunch of green and/or white asparagus (3/4 lb. or 350g), trimmed
60 ml homemade Gouda asparagus pesto
8 slices whole wheat bread
4 oz. (120g) of Le Moine Cheese (cut into 8 slices) – substitute Raclette de Brebis
Butter at room temperature 

Gouda Asparagus pesto

1/4-cup (60 mL) raw almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of asparagus (about ¾ lb – 350 g), cut into 1˝ (2.5 cm) pieces
1 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) Aged Gouda, finely grated (substitute La Coulee Douce or last month’s Back Forty Bonnechere if you have any left!)

Method

In a large saucepan, cook asparagus in salted boiling water for 2 min. Drain.

Spread Gouda asparagus pesto over 4 slices of bread and top each one with 2 cheese slices. (For Pesto – In a food processor, chop almonds and garlic, add asparagus and process until finely chopped, continue to process while gradually pouring in oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and add cheese, transfer to a jar and seal with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

Add asparagus, alternating green and white, placing the tips in one direction and then the other. (If the asparagus stems are too thick, cut in half lengthwise).

Cover with remaining slices of bread. Butter outside of sandwiches, and cook in a skillet on medium heat for 4–5 min on each side.

Cut each sandwich into quarters and serve with a green salad, if desired. 

 

With La Coulée Douce…

Strawberry and Sheep Milk Crostini

Recipe & photo credit: Christian Begin – IGA 

We eat with our eyes first! This gorgeous colors; yet simplicity of this recipe makes you want to devour it! Cut into smaller slices, it’s a perfect pre-BBQ appetizer. 

IRecipe strawberry & sheep milk crostiningredients

1 baguette
olive oil, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 fairly thick slices of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix Cheese (substitute La Coulée Douce)
Honey, to taste
20 very ripe strawberries, quartered
60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
8 basil leaves finely minced

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).

Cut baguette into 4 equal-length pieces and then slice each one lengthwise to obtain 8 pieces & brush the inside of the baguette pieces with olive oil. Sprinkle them with freshly ground pepper.

Place a slice of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix cheese onto each one. Drizzle with honey.

Broil until cheese has melted, watching carefully to ensure the bread doesn’t burn, about 2 minutes.

Remove crostini from the oven and top with fresh strawberries.

Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with minced basil. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Prolonging Summer with Local Cheese

Posted by Vanessa

Saturday, September 6th, 2014
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Want to know how to hold onto Summer a little bit longer?  Think local and think cheese…your dreams will come true!  It’s still summer you can’t deny it when you look around the farmers’ markets still showing off all the local produce while they can.

Summer entertaining

Vaness & Leanne talking local cheese on CTV Aug 22My latest  interview with Leanne Cusack on CTV News at Noon was just like A Cheese Game Show – with Michael O’Byrne claiming to be a ‘mozarella man’  which he might live to regret that as he had the chance to expand his horizons on the set that morning with so many cheeses to sample and so little time!

Watch the TV segment here – Part 1 & Part 2

My cheese story began at a Cordon Bleu cooking class when food prep was going on so we were boiling some milk in the morning and then in the afternoon we had a freshly-made feta cheese to crumble on our salad.  My AHA moment for sure.  That’s the beginning and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m now a Cheese Sommelier (in my spare time) or if you prefer ‘Maitre Fromagier‘, either term rolls off the tongue quite nicely…rather like cheese in fact.

Let’s Celebrate Canadian Cheese

The best part of my day is often all about cheese. Whenever possible I breathe, smell & eat cheese so I wanted to take you on a little journey to help extend these marvelous summer days. Walk with me along the scumptious Canadian cheese board that I prepared for this TV segment – all made locally – and you will see what I see. Great flavors made lovingly by true artisans of their craft.

Millhouse Tomme

Milkhouse Tomme (Aged)Based on a traditional French Recipe from a cheese Called Tomme de Savoie this is a cheese native to the French Alps. Traditionally a skimmed cow’s milk cheese, Milkhouse Tomme is made with a full cream Sheep’s Milk, leading to a richer flavour and creamy texture.  The cheese has an edible, natural rind which adds an earthy flavour.  Our interest in Tomme de Savoie grew out of the enjoyment of a now retired cheese maker’s take on the classic called “Tomme de Gaston.”

Here’s a story for you…did you know it takes 10L of milk to make 1lb of cheese and that one day when I visited Kyle & Kate the young couple who run the dairy, well we milked a couple of sheep. 14 that is! And those 14 sheep gave us 7L of milk.  So the long & short of it is even all the milk of those 14 sheep there isn’t enough to produce 1 lb of cheese.  Tough work making cheese, I say.

La Sorcière bien aimée

Inspired by her goat farming protégée and playing off popular TV series “Bewitched” Maggie Paradis’ says that La Sorcière Bien Aimée was born to add a brie type to the wonderful variety of other goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses produced by Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères. Not one to compromise quality or consistency, Maggie’s cheese must always be good or she won’t make it – pure and simple.

Handmade from whole natural milk, La Sorcière Bien Aimée has a good, clean goaty flavour with a hint of sweet grass and no bitterness, ammonia or aftertaste, even if a little overripe.   The paste is thick, smooth, creamy and silky, wild with mushroom aromas and a salty finish.  Specific cultures and a cheesemaker’s patience and care give these excellent results — not rushing is crucial. I love Maggie’s cheeky attitude as she describes the aging of La Sorcière… “the cheese pouts at first, then it will cry, becoming a weepy mess…”.  My sentiments exactly, only they’re tears of joy in this case.

Bonnechère

Bonnechere

One of my earliest & fondest cheese tasting memories is my cheese pick this week, Bonnechere, from local Back Forty Artisan Cheese, hailing from Ottawa Valley’s own Lanark Highlands.  I was a young, unripened cheese enthusiast when I discovered Back Forty cheeses years ago, made from raw sheep’s milk & hand-crafted in the kitchen of owner Jim Keith.  This special find is named after the rugged Bonnechere River & mysterious cave landmarks of our region.

Bonnechere is one-of- a-kind artisan cheese.  It’s a semi-firm, double pressed and unique both inside and out.  A beautiful, chestnut patterned toasted rind covers the interior smooth ivory paste.  Hand torching gives Bonnecheresmoky aromas and a very distinct caramel flavor.  As it ages, these characteristics amplify the tangy, sweet, and fruity body of the cheese.  Sour milk lingers with a slight amount of acidity. Produced in very small quantities with seasonal milk, it’s a hot commodity.  If you see this cheese, don’t blink, don’t hesitate, snap it up immediately.  I suggest The Piggy Market or Serious Cheese as a starting point.  Make these cheesemongers your best friend and you’ll never miss out.

Honey Cheddar

Black River honey cheddarOne of Canada’s oldest cheese makers, Black River Cheese has been firmly rooted in Prince Edward County, Ontario, since 1901.

Situated along the banks of the picturesque Black River, Black River Cheese remains dedicated to preserving more than a century old tradition of producing real cheese; superior tasting and handcrafted, using only 100% pure fluid milk from Price Edward County dairy farms, and no modified milk ingredients, artificial preservatives or animal rennet.

This amazing bit of sweetness in your cheese will see you through summer for sure! Made by one of Prince Edward County’s two main cheese makers, Black River Cheese, this cow’s milk cheese is a great combo of sweet & salty.

Lindsay Bandaged Goats Milk Cheddar

Lindsay Bandaged Goats Milk CheddarThis multi-award-winning cheese from Mariposa Dairy in Lindsay, ON,  is preserved  in wax to hold all the flavour. Each piece is aged a minimum of 9 months and up to two years. Mariposa waxed goat cheddar will inspire your taste buds to enjoy the nuances of a great cheese and make any occasion memorable. 

So many great Canadian cheeses…how to taste them all?

 

Where to buy Canadian cheese in Ottawa?

Farmers Markets

In Ottawa, there is so much great local produce that we should take the time and the trouble to enjoy it – take a break from the daily grind and go to farmers markets on the weekend to seek out the freshest produce. That’s where you can meet the people who grow the peaches, talk to the cheesemongers who make the cheese and hear first hand about the bread that is baked fresh that morning.

While the weather is still warm & sunny, visit any number of Ottawa’s Farmers markets which showcase only local produce on Saturdays & Sundays until Thanksgiving.  Try each of these, you will probably discover something about each market that will keep you coming back!  Parkdale Market, Main Street Market, Brewer Park Market, Westboro Market.

Specialty shops

For those of you not in the know, Ottawa has some great specialty shops where you can buy local cheese.  Here are just a few of them:  Jacobsons at 141 Beechwood in the Rockcliffe/Manor Park area; Serious Cheese at 442 Hazledean in Kanata and Piggy Market at 400 Winston Avenue in Westboro.

Summer Recipe for Peach & Beet Salad

From Vanessa’s Kitchen
Watch it live on CTV News Ottawa

Ingredients

6 Local peaches
6 Beets
Olive oil to toss fruits in
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup local wild blueberries
1/4 cup toasted nuts or seeds of your choice
handful of microgreens
200g fresh chèvre or fresh local feta
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Peach beet & chevre saladPeel and par-boil local beets, then slice and toss with some oilve oil, salt & pepper to taste.

Slice peaches (skin on) and combine with partially cooked beets. Roast at 400F-425F  for about 30 mins.

Let cool then toss together with Upper Canada dried cranberries, local wild blueberries, toasted nuts or seeds.

Put fruits & nut mixture over bed of microgreens and add fresh chèvre (such as Crosswind Farms cranberry organge chevre available at Piggy Market). And voila!

Thanks to my sous-chef Leanne for all her help in producing this summer salad.

Bon appetit & here’s to holding onto summer!

Vanessa

 

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Monday, August 12th, 2013
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Looking for a different party idea for friends or for a business networking event?  We have some wonderful Savvy Sommeliers on our Team and we are called on frequently to create a special gathering for family & friends or businesses call us to design a way to thank clients & employees. No matter what the occasion the events we create are fun.

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

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

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

~ On Arrival: Sparkling Wine ~ 

Palatine Hills Romeo Blanc de Noir Sparkling VQA

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

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

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

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


~ Refreshing White, Rosé Wines & Craft Beers ~

FEATURED WINES:

Keint-He Voyageur Vidal VQA 2011

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

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

Suggested food pairings: BBQed pork tenderloin

 

Daniel Lenko White Cabernet VQA 2011 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Sign up now & have great Ontario wines…delivered! 

 

FEATURED CRAFT BEERS:

Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz

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

Photo credit: Debbie Trenholm

Big Rig Raspberry Ale 

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

HORS D’OEUVRES SERVED:

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

~ Red Wines & Craft Beers ~

FEATURED WINES:

Lailey Vineyard Canadian Oak Pinot Noir VQA 2008

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

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

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


Kacaba Cabernet-Syrah VQA 2011

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

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

FEATURED CRAFT BEERS:

Kichesippi Hell or Highwater

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

Beyond the Pale Hop on your Face

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

HORS D’OUEVRES SERVED:

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

~ Savvy Artisan Cheese Bar~ 

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

Bonnechere

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

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

Migneron de Charlevoix

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

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

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

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

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

Chèvre Fatale

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

 

Need a hand planning your party?

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

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

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