Posts Tagged ‘Mariposa Dairy’

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

Posted by Debbie

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

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

 

Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

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

 

It’s THE event you have been waiting for…

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

 

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

Canadian cheese too!

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

 

Look who is coming:

From British Columbia…

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Sperling Vineyards
Abeego

From Niagara…  

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

From Prince Edward County…

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

From other corners of Ontario & Ottawa…

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

From Quebec…

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

From P.E.I…

COWS Creamery

From Nova Scotia…

Gaspereau Vineyards
Jost Wines

 

Wine Shopping Heaven! 

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

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

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

 

TIP: Be a V.I.T!

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

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

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

 

Don’t miss this all-Canadian celebration! 

Buy your tickets >>   Event Deets

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

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

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

 

Wear Red & White…Win $50

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

 

Unable to make it, but want to order?

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

 

WIN TICKETS!  Go on the Savvy Scavenger Hunt…

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

 

Psst…it’s Father’s Day weekend!

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

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

 

We’re hiring…

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

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

 

Happy Birthday Canada!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

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

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

 

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You’ve got my goat! Goat milk chevre & neat cheeses that is…

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
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Mariposa Dairy is well known for 100% fresh Ontario sheep and goat’s milk used in the wide variety of soft plain and flavored chèvres and specialty line of hard and cheddar cheeses.  Their cheeses have been winning awards on the world stage for years. In fact, Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar is one of the most celebrated cheeses in Canada and certainly tops our Cheese Sommelier’s list of favorite unique Canadian cheddars. As you crack the wax seal on Lindsay and the other treats in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds , we are certain that you too will fall in love with these cheeses.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…mariposa-dairy-seal

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

– Original Chèvre 130g
– Cranberry Chèvre 130g
– Tania 200g
– Zoey 200g
– Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar 250g

Hankering for more marvellous Mariposa cheeses?

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

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Mariposa Dairy
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

 

Since 1989, Sharon and Bruce Vandenberg have been the owners and operators of Mariposa Dairy in the small town of mariposa-wheelsLindsay, Ontario located in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes region. Milk for their animal rennet-free goat and sheep milk cheeses is sourced from their own Lenberg Farms and other local producers who share similar humane practices and farming philosophy. Interesting to note that Mariposa cheeses are even Halal and Kosher certified.

In summer 2015 Mariposa purchased a new facility, doubling their capacity to 45,000+ square feet to meet growing market demand for their tasty cheeses.

 

A Chèvre for Every Occasion…

Fresh chèvre marketed under the brand name “Celebrity” or “Mariposa Dairy” is the flagship of Mariposa cheeses. While the list of flavours gets longer every year, the high quality and creamy characteristic tang of the original base plain cheese remains constant.

The chèvre curd starts in large vats, then is pumped through a small sieve into hanging draining bags – an invention created by Bruce and his team. These special bags are made from a special weave of cotton that allows the whey to leak through, but keep the milk solids intact (many testing phases of fabrics happened before finding something that would work at not losing precious milk solids!). Gravity does its magic to drain the whey and the chèvre is lightly pressed as the bags are gently compacted together (somewhat like an accordion). Minimal handling in this step is critical to ensure the chèvres aren’t chalky or pasty and more importantly have a light and fluffy texture. The plant has 5 presses to do this now, but have space in the new plant for a potential of 16 more presses. Imagine a mountain of snowy white chèvre!

The final step to making their delicious chèvre is the finished curd is released from the draining bags into 130kg small vats and transported to Mariposa’s new facility around the corner. This ensures no cross contamination between milk/cheese processing and finishing. The chèvre is then tumbled into another machine that mildly presses and forms curds into log shapes of various sizes.

The garnishing happens by hand. For infused flavours, such as honey, fig or truffle, chèvre curd is hand mixed with the finest ingredients before pressing. For other flavours such as the cranberry that is in your Savvy Cool Curds, the berries are hand press onto the cheese exterior. Often times whey from cheesemaking may be added to the curd to guarantee a level of moisture content – the goal is plump cranberries covering chèvre vs. a runny gooey mess.

 

Dedicated to His Craft

The Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar has been winning awards nationally and internationally since hitting the cheese scene in Canada in 2010, given the talent and watchful eye of cheesemaker Pieter (in photo). This world famous cheddar is the only its kind in Canada.man-and-wheel

On my visit to Mariposa this summer during the heat wave, I watched with great interest Pieter in the ‘make room’. It is not work for the faint of heart. My respect for him and love for Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar (LBC) has grown in leaps and bounds from that day. He’s a true professional, with an intimate knowledge of his craft, milk, tools and cheese. Pieter has his own special French style vat specifically for handmaking LBC. It’s a highly manual process where curds are “cheddared” (stacked and flipped) 5 times (or more) until they reach proper texture or ph. They’re salted in 3 stages by hand, where paddles (and Pieter dipping and ducking) lift and separate the curds. The result is 10 wheels of cheese – each 22 lbs – that have been handscooped, and pressed into Egyptian cotton lined custom molds and one of Canada’s top celebrated cheeses.

When not making cheese, you’ll find Pieter at farmers markets and charitable events promoting cheese. If you happen to see him, ask him if there’s any truth to the rumor that dancing cheesemakers make better cheese 😉

– Cheese Tasting Notes –

It’s not easy being cheesey! Here 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!

 

og-chevreOriginal Chèvre

A great way to start off any cheese plate, or most versatile in cooking, Celebrity Original Plain Chèvre is always sure to please. Past winner of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence, the adventure doesn’t stop here – try other flavors such as dill, herb & garlic, fig, blueberry, honey or truffle.

Tasting Notes A soft, unripened goat’s milk cheese, with a smooth, rich, snow white, velvety texture, it has a creamy, fresh, tart flavor on the tongue and no chalky aftertaste (sign of a good chèvre).

Suggested Pairing: It’s like a canvas where you build your gourmet creation. Perfect blended with fresh herbs or rolled with nuts as a bite-sized app. Toss into fresh seasonal pasta or over balsamic & oil-grilled vegetables as a finishing touch. Dollop on harvest soups as a garnish. Enjoy with a crisp dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc. 

 

cranberry-chevreCranberry Chèvre

Cranberry Chèvre is Mariposa’s most popular flavored goat milk cheese. Plump cranberries are hand rolled onto the fresh chèvre logs to ensure full coverage and less damage to the fruit. 

Tasting Notes: Cranberry Chèvre is nothing short of wow as a perfect blend of both sweet and savory flavors where fruity goodness meets tarty tang rounded off by the mild spicy hint of cinnamon.

Suggested Pairing: Enjoy smeared on toast for an indulgent breakfast or over brownies or chocolate squares and bake as a decadent finish. Stuff inside herbed chicken breasts for a savory surprise. Pinch or twist inside PC phyllo dough squares to make cranberry purse h’ors d’oeuvres.

 

taniaTania

Tania, Mariposa’s firm Italian-style sheep’s milk cheese, has been turning heads since it was launched 5 years ago, taking first or Gold at many industry awards, including the American Cheese Society Competition, International Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards, and Royal Winter Fair and most recently Best Ontario Cheese at the Canadian Cheese Awards.

Tasting Notes: If you have occasion to, compare Tania young and old.  When young under the rustic natural rind, it’s the color of hay, with a sleek almost translucent interior, and powerful grassy notes under fermented fruit (detect a tiny bit of cantaloupe). Tania old ages to a rustic, pumpkin pie color inside and emit fresh intense cracked black pepper aromas on the rind.

 Suggested Pairing: Use as you would Parmesan for a lighter finish to your favourite dishes.

                                       

zoey-cheeseZoey

Zoey is Mariposa’s newest creation; a washed-rind mixed goat and sheep milk cheese was a triple winner at the Canadian Cheese Awards this spring for best mixed rind cheese, best mixed milk cheese and best new cheese. One nibble and you’ll know why!

Tasting Notes: Zoey has a similar rustic appearance to it’s sister cheese Tania, but with more potent grassy, herbal, and earthy aromas & flavors due to the sea salt washed rind.

 Suggested Pairing: Enjoy with unoaked Chardonnay. Melt into grilled cheese for an extra zing.

 

lindsay-bandaged-cheddar

 

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar

Consider multi-award winning Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar that one oh-so-special cheese to stand alone on a board, a hidden gem, regal and elegant in character.  10-kilogram wheels of glorious goaty goodness are the best ‘whey’ to describe this firm, pasteurized goat’s milk cheddar naturally aged under specially sourced Egyptian cheesecloth bandage. Often mistaken for a cow’s milk cheese, it’s so amazing!

Tasting Notes:  Light depending, note ivory coloring with champagne hue to the paste. Texture is firm and crumbly but moist revealing a lovely noticeable curd silhouette and tiny crystalline.  A concentrated tang hits the palate first, followed by a slight ripe condensed strawberry fruitiness, and clean goat’s milk flavor that lingers.

Suggested Pairing: Crumbled ‘nuggets’ are the perfect lunchbox snack. Grate over salads, hot potato dishes or sliver curls on a slice of fresh-from-the-oven sour cherry pie. Enjoy with an Ontario Pinot Gris.

– Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses –

With Original Chèvre…

Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin

Recipe & Photo Credit: Epicurious.com
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  1.5 hrs

og-chevre-recipeIngredients

1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
1 medium sweet potato, peeled sliced into ½” rounds
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
1 medium parsnip, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
1 small red onion, sliced into ½” rounds
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
⅓ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh sage
4 oz. fresh Celebrity Original Plain Goat Chèvre
1 disk All-Butter Pie Dough
All-purpose flour (for surface)

Method

Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400°. Toss potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, and onion with oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper and arrange vegetables in a single layer. Roast until golden around the edges and tender, 30-35 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, cook sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium high heat, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is amber-colour, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and a pinch of salt, swirling pan to combine. Quickly pour caramel into a 9″-diameter pie pan; tilt and rotate pan to evenly coat bottom with caramel. Scatter rosemary and sage over top.

Arrange potatoes, carrots, and parsnips snugly in a single layer on top of caramel, using smaller carrot and parsnip pieces to fill in any holes. Scatter onion rings and crumble goat cheese over vegetables.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Drape over vegetables, tucking edges into pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until crust looks dry, about 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Let tart cool 5 minutes before inverting carefully onto a large plate.

Do ahead: Vegetables can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.

 

With Cranberry Chèvre…                    

Cranberry Orange Stuffed French Toast

Recipe & Photo Credit: CelebrityGoat.com

 Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

cranberry-chevre-recipeIngredients

4 slices challah bread
1 package Celebrity Cranberry Goat Chèvre, crumbled
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. half and half cream
½ tsp. grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. butter

Method

Arrange crumbled Goat Cheese evenly over 2 slices challah. Cover with remaining bread slices to make 2 sandwiches.

Beat egg, half and half and orange zest in shallow bowl until well blended. Dip sandwiches, one at a time, into egg mixture, allowing egg to soak into sandwich.

Melt butter in large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Slice each sandwich in half and serve with syrup, if desired.

 

With Tania…

Spiced Ribbon Salad

Recipe & Photo Credit: Mariposadairy.ca

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes 

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. Celebrity Mediterranean Goat Chèvre (or Original Plain Chèvre)
2 Tbsp. Tania Sheep Cheese, shredded
2 small green zucchinis
2 cups arugula & spinach leaves
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
½ cup walnuts, toasted

Method

Cut the ends off the zucchini and using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Stop peeling when seeds are visible. Sauté̀ zucchini in a pan on medium heat with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and cook until delicate, about 6 minutes. Set aside, until cool.

In the same pan, heat syrup and toast walnuts for about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, toss arugula and spinach in remaining oil, vinegar, Dijon, and garlic. Incorporate zucchini with leaves. Crumble Mediterranean or Original Plain Chèvre and Tania over salad along with walnuts

With Zoey…

Belgium Leek Tart with Aged Goat Cheese

Recipe & Photo Credit: Epicurious.com

Prep Time:  2.5 hours
Cook Time:  1.5 hours

 

zoey-recipeIngredients

Crust:

4 Tbsp. (or more) ice water
¾ tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) plus 1 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter

Filling:

½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup crumbled aged goat cheese (such as Zoey), rind trimmed
1 ½ cups Leek Confit

Method

Crust:

Combine 4 tablespoons ice water and cider vinegar in small bowl. Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, slowly add water-vinegar mixture, processing until moist clumps form. If dough seems dry, add ice water by teaspoonful’s. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Allow dough to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Roll dough out on lightly floured work surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides. Fold in overhang and press to extend dough 1/2 inch above sides of pan. Line pan with foil and dried beans or pie weights. Bake until dough looks dry and set, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and beans and continue to bake until crust is pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool while preparing filling.

Filling:

Whisk milk, cream, egg, egg yolk, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over bottom of warm crust; spread leek confit over and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Pour milk mixture over. Bake until filling has puffed, is golden in spots, and center looks set, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool slightly. Remove pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

With Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar…

Savoury Buttermilk Scones 

Recipe & Photo Credit: Mariposa Dairy

by Chef Sasha Douglas

Nothing beats these light-as-air biscuits, warm from the oven, with melted Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar. The key to a light and flaky scone is to not overwork the dough— work quickly with a light touch. Cold butter is also essential, so keep it in the fridge until ready to use. And make sure to bake them in a preheated 400°F oven or they won’t rise up if the oven is not hot enough. Simple and easy to make-ahead— these savoury scones are perfect for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, or with a soup or stew for a hearty meal.” 

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

lindsay-recipeIngredients

3 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 ¼ cup buttermilk (or use regular milk with a bit of lemon juice added)
1 cup Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar shred
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (your choice: chives, thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram, etc.)
2 Tbsp. 35% cream (for brushing the scones)

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the cold cubes of butter and pulse a few times, until butter is incorporated and mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Set aside ¼ cup of grated cheese for topping. Add remaining grated cheese and fresh herbs to the flour/butter mixture in the bowl. Add buttermilk and mix gently with a fork just until combined.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead gently a few times– it will be quite crumbly still, but gently bring it back together, without overworking, until dough comes together. Shape into a circle about 1-inch thick. Cut into 10 triangles.

Place scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with 35% cream and sprinkle each scone with reserved grated cheese.

Bake scones in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until risen & golden

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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12 Outstanding Cheeses of 2014

Posted by Vanessa

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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Love cheese?  You’ll love this shopping list!  Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons compiled this list of her ‘top cheeses of 2014’ for www.cheeselover.ca.  It is so delicious that we’re sharing it with you!

Keep this handy for your next visit to one of these artisan artisan cheese shops.

Celtic Blue Reserve

Glengarry Celtic Blue Reserve

Glengarry Fine Cheese has made another winner!  Located in Eastern Ontario just north of the village of Lancaster, they specializing in fine artisan style cheeses from cow & goat milk. This results in delicious, fine cheese that is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted!

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

Taliah

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

Taliah

Taliah has a welcoming aroma that is clean and earthy. Made from unpasteurized milk (not raw but thermized, meaning it undergoes heat treatment but not at high temperatures as in the pasteurization process). The wheel is aged 10 months to a year. There is a smooth richness in each bite, with the added bonus of those crunchy tyrosine crystals one finds in a the classic Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Sweet, clean milk notes woven with a gentle tanginess and a good balance of salt. The finish mirrored what I love in a good, aged sheep’s-milk cheese – mellow, creamy notes that have complexity and length. The texture clinched the deal, crumbly but not dry.

Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar

Lenberg Classic ReserveA special creation from Mariposa Dairy located near Lindsay, Ontario in the City of Kawartha Lakes. This award winning cheese is handcrafted in small batches using premium Ontario goat’s milk, resulting in a unique and delightful cheese. Once the wheel has been crafted, it is carefully wrapped in its bandage to preserve freshness and flavor. After aging in a humidity controlled room for 12 months, the cheese is ready to enjoy.

Perfectly creamy and buttery, with the slight tang of goat’s milk and a hard, crumbly texture, this cheese is a perfect alternative to cow’s milk cheddars.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Continues to wow me year after year. Tangy, fruity, yet clean.

Bonnechere

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe signature cheese from Back Forty Artisan Cheese  – a small farm nestled in the heart of the Lanark Highlands.  Cheesemaker Jeff Fenwick and his original raw ewe milk cheeses have grown to become favorites of top chefs and cheese lovers alike.

A distinct feature of Bonnechere cheese is the rind that is toasted over an open flame before aging. This painstaking process, traditional for certain Basque cheeses, imparts a delicious caramel essence which permeates the body of the cheeses as it ages, and provides a delicious contrast to the tangy and fruity body of the cheese.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: One-of-a-kind and very rare to find aged. Packs a punch of flavour with awesome bite on the finish.

Magie De Madawaska

Produced by Fromagerie le Détour in Témiscouate-sur-le-lac in Québec

Magie de MadawaskaThis soft, washed-rind cheese is made with pasteurized whole milk that comes exclusively from Jersey cows from the Témiscouata region. Its orange rind is shiny, soft and sticky, sometimes displaying white moss spots. Like the rind, the ivory-coloured interior is sticky. It is chalkier at the centre and smoother towards the exterior. Its texture is supple even when the cheese is young, but as it ages, its chalky part fades and the interior becomes smooth and runny.

When it is older, it becomes so runny that it might call for a spoon. Magie de Madawaska has a mild, lactic, woody and earthy aroma that becomes more pronounced with age. Its taste varies from mild to strong, with an earthy, roasted hazelnut and lactic (melted butter) flavour.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Runny, lucious, creamy, buttery, nutty and ooey-gooey good when perfectly à point (cheese-speak: fully ripened).

Bella Casara Mascarpone

Canadian Cheese AwardsCrafted by Quality Cheese who specialize in fine soft cheeses – Boccancini, Borgonzola, Mozarella, Riccotta as well as select semi-soft & hard cheeses.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Rich, and oh so sinful, with flavors of butter, cream and a hint of sweet dulce de leche (to quote myself!). Hard not to eat right from the spoon.

 

Quality Cheese burrataQuality Cheese Hand-Pulled Burrata

Another winner by Quality Cheese.

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

 

Sylvan Star Natural Smoked Gouda

Sylvan Star Farms smoked goudaSylvan Star Cheese Farm, of Red Deer Alberta, makes their cheese from heat-treated milk which contains no additives, no antibiotics and is lactose free. They produce Gouda, Edam, sheep Manchego & Gruyere cheese at their farm.  They smoke their Goudas to perfection in their own smokehouse – mild or medium, take your pick.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Surprising! Hints of bacon, maple and smoke, with an overlay of butter and nut rounding out its smooth and supple texture.

Chever a ma maniereChèvre a Ma Maniere

Made by Fromagerie L’Atelier is located in central Quebec and specializing in goat and cow milk cheese.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Elegant, delicate, tender, yeasty, gorgeous!

 La Madeleine

La madelaine cheeseIn 2009, Jean-Paul and Marie-Chantal Houde (brother and sister) decided to join forces to develop a dairy barn project and cheese that is structured and rewarding for the family farm, Fromagerie Nouvelle FranceSince opening in 2010, Fromagerie Nouvelle France has won more than 18 awards in various competitions, including the Best Cheese From Québec in 2011 and 2014 for their signature Zacharie Cloutier.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Soft and sweet, with a hint of sour finish.

Pont Blanc

Au Gres des ChampsProduced by Au Gré des Champs in Québec, is a farmstead artisan-made cheese that is ladled into a mold. It is a month the first raw milk cheeses aged under 60 to be made in Canada.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Texture of soft ice cream sandwich with flavours and aromas of fresh sweet milk and grass that lingers and lingers.

Laliberté

laliberteIn 2005 the old presbytery at Sainte-Elizabeth-de-Warwick was transformed into a cheese production site, Fromagerie du Presbytere…making outstanding artisanal cheeses. The milk from the farm only has to cross the road to get to the fromagerie, which operates 7 days/week.

Laliberté is a triple cream cheese, made with whole milk. Its wonderful bloomy rind surrounds a melting paste with an exquisite creamy mushroom flavour & its name comes from the name of the sculptor, Alfred Laliberté.

Vanessa’s tasting Notes: Cheesecake-like luxury, silky, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

 

Pace yourself this is a cheese smorgasbord for anyone.
Bon appetite!

 

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

 

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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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The Best of the Fest …Cheese Festival that is!

Posted by Vanessa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Vanessa

 

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