Posts Tagged ‘Savour Ottawa’

Wineries in the National Capital – yes Ottawa!

Posted by Susan

Monday, February 25th, 2013
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Savour Ottawa recently hosted a number of intrepid local farmers, winemakers and micro brewers at the Château Laurier, who came out, despite the inclement weather, to introduce residents and visitors alike to their products.

Savour Ottawa is a collaboration among Ottawa Tourism, the City of Ottawa, and Just Food working to promote the national capital region as a year-round culinary destination, offering extensive and varied opportunities to ‘savour’ local foods grown, harvested and produced right here in our own back yard.

The event at the Château Laurier provided the opportunity to visit with the owners and taste the wines of two local wineries:  Jabulani Vineyard & Winery, located southwest of Ottawa near Richmond, and Domaine Perrault, located east of the city, near the town of Navan. In both cases, the wineries grow their own hybrid grapes – hardy varieties such as Frontenac, Marquette – and use grapes from specific Niagara growers with whom they have an ongoing relationship. Their wine is available only directly from the farm. Should you be interested in acquiring some of these wines, contact us at Savvy Company.

 

Domaine Perrault

Domaine Perrault is located on a dairy farm owned and operated by Denis Perrault and his family. Denis first planted vines in 1999, in consultation with a University of Guelph viticultural expert. A few years later, he extended the planting to 6 acres, and in 2006 received his license to produce and sell wine on the farm premises. When I asked if he was the winemaker, Denis’ response was “No, I’m just the owner”. A modest man, he credits his current winemaker, local oenologist Bernard Martineau, for the quality and style of the Domaine Perrault wines. The winery offers a range of wines, including varietal wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Frontenac, as well as rosé and a dessert wine called Nectar des Neiges.

Domaine Perrault Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Product of Canada $16.00 12.6% alcohol

Vinified from Niagara fruit, this straw-hued white wine offers attractive aromas of grass, herbs, citrus and mineral. Dry, light-mid weight, the fresh flavours include citrus, orchard fruit and a touch of mineral underlaid by clean crisp acidity that assures a bright tasty finish. Serve it with coquille St-Jacques or with soft cheeses.

Domaine Perrault Shiraz 2010

Product of Canada $24.00 13.5% alcohol

Also produced from Niagara fruit, this approachable wine was aged 6 months in seasoned French oak. There’s sweet ripe red and black berry on the nose, mingling with notions of sweet spice, vanilla and pepper. Dry, mid-weight, it’s round and satiny in texture, spiced vanilla replaying, wrapped around delicious blackberry and raspberry flavours. Pepper warms the lengthy flavourful finish.

Jabulani Vineyard & Winery

According to Wikipedia, jabulani is the Zulu word for ‘rejoice’ and the owners, Tom Moul and his wife Janet, no doubt did when their search for a suitable site for a vineyard and winery led them to their property by the Jock River. They found it flourishing with apples, berries and wild grapes, giving them hope for success in their wine venture. Research on suitable grape varietals led them to the University of Minnesota and eventually to grape guru Alain Breault. They have now planted 11 acres to a variety of hybrid grapes including Frontenac Gris and Marquette. They also source grapes from a contract grower in Virgil, in the Niagara area. Visit their wine patio overlooking the vineyard, take a tour, or book a private event and enjoy, as their website suggests “The Spirit of Happiness”.

Jabulani Frontenac Gris/Vidal 2011

Product of Canada $11.00 13.0% alcohol

Enjoy the floral notes and aromas of stone fruit and tangerine of this dry yet fruity wine. On the slightly honeyed palate, there’s a whiff of mineral while stone fruit and citrus flavours replay balanced by fresh acidity and a touch of residual sugar through a mid-length finish. An enjoyable quaffer. 

Jabulani Sauvignon Blanc/Frontenac Gris 2011

Product of Canada $14.00 13.5% alcohol

Displaying grassy notes, citrus and citrus zest, this dry, mid-weight wine is crisp and tangy, with notes of passionfruit and citrus ringing through a lively, lasting pithy finish where mineral and citrus zest cleanse the palate. Serve with pan-fried white fish. 

Jabulani Marquette/Cabernet Franc ‘Barrel Select’ 2010

Product of Canada $18.00 15.5% alcohol

Aged 18 months in new French oak, this deep ruby red wine offers some classic Cab Franc aromas—floral, grilled herbs, pepper and dark berries. Dry, mid-full weight, it’s firmly structured with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity framing rich dark fruit garnished with notes of cocoa, spice and  pepper. The extended finish is dry and savoury. Match to rare roast beef or grilled red meats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vanessa’s Cheese-y Top 10 To Do’s this year

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
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All too often, the beginning of a new year we jot down things ‘to do’ differently.  Well, that is exactly what our Cheese Sommelier – Vanessa – has done for you as she shares with you cheese-y tips to get your 2013 off to a tasty start.  Drum roll please….

1. Check out Milkhouse Dairy

Ottawa region’s newest raw sheep’s milk producers Cait & Kyle from Smiths Falls.  Sheep Tomme & fresh feta won’t be ready until summer 2013 but well worth the wait.  I’ve met & milked one of their star players sheep Brigitte – you’re in for a treat.

2. Take a road trip to ‘La Belle Province’

From Ottawa, a road trip to Montreal and back in a day with about 5-7 cheese stops along the way is easy.  Must visits include Le Troupeau Bénit, Fromagerie de la Table Ronde (think Fleuron), Fromagerie de la Suisse Normandie, and Fromagerie Montebello to name a few.

3. Try these exotic and unique cheese boards

Bored with your boards?  On one of my recent trips to the Ottawa Farmer’s Market (where I buy a lot of my artisan cheese), I found these exquisite cheese boards handcrafted by Joseph Henri.  Without a doubt, they are the hottest cheese boards – made here in Ottawa!

4. Go on a shopping spree at Glengarry Fine Cheese

A quick drive to Lancaster (Ontario) makes for a fun shopping trip…for cheese that is.  Be on the look out for their newest addition of stellar artisan cow’s milk cheeses – Nevis will be making its debut around March – stay tuned!

5. Visit the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Prince Edward County, June 1-3 2013


2013 marks the 3rd year for this weekend long festival held in Prince Edward County.  It is a tasty weekend that will fill your head with lots info about artisan cheeses & fill your belly with delicious cheeses from across Canada.  Read my blog highlighting the 2012 festival.  This year, Savvy Company returns as a sponsor & I will be hosting a cheese tasting.

6. Become a cheesemaker for a day!

Glengarry Fine Cheese hosts a full day workshop.  The hands on experience will definitely increase your appreciation for the stunning cheeses we make in Canada.  And never again will you be the one asking why artisan cheese is more expensive.

7. Get over yourself & try a bite of blue cheese.

All you non-believers out there don’t know what you’re missing (close your eyes, it helps!).   Start with “beginner blues” such as Celtic Blue, St. Laurent Blue & Bleu D’Élizabeth & Geai Bleu as they are surprising soft flavours – far from the off putting pungent flavours & aromas that often come to mind when someone says ‘blue cheese’.

 

 

8. Join me for the Great Canadian Cheese Discovery

It’s a tasty way to spend an evening sampling a variety of cheeses while I show you the “whey”.  Each evening features a selection of cheeses from a different province (January – Ontario, February – Quebec, March – BC, PEI & NS).  With a glass of Canadian wine in hand you will learn the fun-damentals of artisan cheese with each bite. Advance tickets only… these tastings sell out fast!

9. Head to Prince Edward County for wine…and cheese too!

With over 25 wineries awaiting your discovery, there are cheese makers too.  My must visis include Black River Cheese (definitely try their yummy Maple Cheddar) & the new County Cheese Company (located in the Waupoos Marina).  Stop for lunch or dinner at the Agrarian Cheese Market for the best gourmet grilled cheese sandwich around!

10. Spread the curd

Remember to support our 6 local artisan cheese producers Back Forty Artisan Cheese, Clarmell Farms, Canreg Station & Pasture Dairy, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, Glengarry Fine Cheese & Milkhouse Dairy.  Most of them are members of Savour Ottawa & can be found during the summer months at farmers markets all over the city & surrounding regions.  Let’s keep Ontario’s budding cheese industry alive!
 

 

 

 

 

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Cheese For Chillin’ Out

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, September 20th, 2012
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My cheese pick this week is a reflection of the cheesemaker herself.  Maggie Paradis of Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères in Ste. Sixte, Quebec, is laid-back, chill, goes with the flow (thus the cheese’s name) and doesn’t take life or herself too seriously (while remaining quite serious about making top notch artisan cheeses).

Among  the lineup of her famous soft cow, sheep and goat’s milk cheeses, La Coulée Douce is a 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 flavors with a grassy finish making it the perfect match for Quebec iced or apple cider as used to wash the rind from neighboring Verger Croque-Pomme.  Serve shaved on warm homemade peach or apple pie.  Find at The Piggy Market (Westboro) or at the Savour Ottawa Field House at Parkdale Market this season.

 

 

FACTBOX:
Cheese:  La Coulée Douce
Producer: Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères
PHOTO CREDIT:  La Coulée Douce by Vanessa Simmons

 

 

 

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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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