Posts Tagged ‘Quebec cheese’

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

Posted by Debbie

Monday, August 12th, 2013

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 ~


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! 



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


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

~ Red Wines & Craft Beers ~


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!


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.


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:


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 .  We are ready to help make your next event a memorable one!


Organic Le Baluchon Cheese All Dairy Goodness

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Organic products are created through systems and processes that are more sustainable and harmonious with their environments (soil, animals, people, and plants). My cheese pick this week is “Le Baluchon” as an example of the dairy goodness that comes from organic practices, committed to by Fromagerie F.X. Pichet owners Michel Pichet & Marie-Claude Harvey of Sainte-Anne-De-La-Pérade, Québec.  Organic cheese producers generally have lower tech operations and milk sourced from pasture-based farms (if not their own) where animals are free of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, herbicides/synthetic fertilizers or chemicals aren’t used on their lands.

Le Baluchon is a farmstead, washed-rind, certified “Québec Vrai” organic raw cow’s milk cheese aged for 60 days. Outside you’ll notice harvest colors of apricot/orange/terracotta in the rind with a thin white dusty layer that develops as the cheese ages. Inside, a bright golden yellow semi-firm creamy paste showing small holes glistens in sunlight. Made OKA-style, Le Baluchon has similar characteristics: a gritty textured rind, toasted hazelnut flavours, and pungent barny aromas.


  Le Baluchon
  Fromagerie F.X. Pichet
Interesting Fact:
  For a cheese to be certified organic in Canada it must be produced in accordance with organic production systems and contain 95% or more organic ingredients.

Enjoy! – Vanessa


A delicious weekend of Quebec artisan cheeses

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

This summer has been one more for wine sipping on the screened porch (given all the rain!) rather than tripping to winery visits.

One weekend, I hopped in my car for an adventure to Quebec’s Eastern Townships.  My discovery involved stocking up on delicious Ontario and Quebec artisan cheeses and a lovely Quebec Rose wine.

Our cheese trip started with visits to Glengarry Cheesemaking new facility near Lancaster (Ontario), and l’Abbaye Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, where a congregation of Benedictine monks whose practices include a range of agricultural endeavors, including cheese-making.

We headed down Highway 417 on one of the overcast July days, looking for the exit to highway 34, leading to Alexandria and Lancaster.  The rain held off, and just before we arrived at Lancaster (literally at the access to the 401) we found Glengarry’s facility and shop.  The shop includes a great display counter with the many varieties of pasteurized cow cheese they produce, other local delicacies such as dried apples chips, as well as windows looking upon the cheese-making facilities.  We tasted a wide range of cheeses, each one seemingly more appetizing than the last.  While we enjoyed all of them, I’ll mention in particular:

Figaro – yes, it made me feel like singing! It is a buttery, delicately flavored, melt-in-your-mouth cheese that was delightful on a crisp cracker – or on one of those slightly sweet apple crisps.  Left out on the counter that evening for 15 minutes before serving, it was literally like butter!

Alexandran – named for the local area, it’s a washed rind semi-soft cheese with a lovely nutty flavor.  Serve it on its own or with some dried fruits and a nice glass of port.

Barely Blue – this delicate blue cheese was a big hit. Its firm texture, delicate veining and characteristic flavor.  This would be a great match with an apple ice wine, perhaps from La Face Cachee de la Pomme, located near Hemmingford, Quebec.

After fighting our way through Montreal’s ‘big dig’ traffic jam (is every bridge under construction?), we meandered along back roads of the Eastern Townships until we found our way to l’Orpailleur, located just outside the town of Dunham.  A pioneer in the Quebec wine industry, the winery was founded in 1982 by two daring Frenchmen – Herve Durand and Charles-Henri de Coussergues – and their Quebecois partner, Frank Furtado.  By hilling up the vines in the winter, they were able to ensure their survival and, in 1985, produced their first vintage.  The tasting room reminds me of a rustic Quebec country home, with large maples overhanging the wraparound veranda.  Once inside we were warmly welcomed and invited to visit the small wine museum.  We tasted a number of l’Orpailleur (it means gold gatherer) wines, including their fabulous rose produced from a blend of hybrid grapes and a sweet white wine produced from Seyval Blanc, called Vin de Marquise.  Recently, we sipped the l’Orpailleur Rose wine with friends as we sat on the deck enjoying our mid-August heat wave.

The next day, we were determined to visit l’Abbaye Saint-Benoit-du-Lac and its local shop.  The Abbey was founded in the early 1900s by monks escaping anti-clerical laws in France.  The original building was completed in 1941, and includes incredible brick and tile work.  According to the material at the monastery, Saint Benedict said that to be a true monk, man must live by the work of his hands.  The work of the monks of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac includes a cheese factory (in operation since 1943), an orchard, a cider factory, a farm and a store, which is open to the public.  After visitng the site and listening to the monks lyrical chants, we wandered through the store, which was practically mobbed by avid shoppers.  Not only were the famous cheeses available, but also cider, homemade pies and tarts, honey, preserves and a variety of products from other monastic orders in Quebec.  Of the cheeses, we purchased a range including l’Ermite, their savory blue cheese, Frere Jacques, a mild washed rind soft cheese, and Le Moine, a Gruyere-style cheese. 

We came away with bags of cheeses for ourselves and our hosts, and then sat down on a veranda overlooking Lake Memphramagog to sip l’Orpailleur Rose and sample our purchases.  Sipping local wine & nibbling on artisan cheese – there is no better way to spend a afternoon!

If you want a nice little overnight or weekend getaway, consider a trip to the Eastern Townships, with a stop in Lancaster on the way.  In addition to l’Orpailleur, there are number of other wineries in the area, as well as lovely inns, spas and restaurants.  Like Ontario’s Prince Edward County, the Eastern Townships is an easy drive from Ottawa, and a gourmand’s paradise. Contact me if I can help you plan a wine and cheese trip.