Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Sommeliers cheese tips’

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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It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Posted by Vanessa

Monday, August 15th, 2016
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At the height of summer, this month’s Savvy Cool Curds is inspired by my tour around Italy a few years ago as well as the empty place left in my heart (and stomach) for Italian homemade, melt in your mouth, soft artisan

Quality cheesecheeses. Mama Mia! After living on fresh cheese daily for almost a month, I was thrilled to return home to discover new finds by Quality Cheese in Vaughn, Ontario.   

Italy’s finest is made here with a touch of Canadian flair by three Borgo brothers who believe passionately in making cheese from the heart that reflects in their product. “Do it right or don’t do it at all” is the motto. Bellisimo!

 

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… the biggest and best assortment of cheeses yet! Very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including: savvy_coolcurds_Colour

– Ricotta 300g
– Burrata 250g
– Buffalo Mozzarella 125g
– Mascarpone 250g
– Fleur de Buffala 200g
– Triple Crème Brie 300g

 

Craving more cool Quality 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…
Quality Cheese

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

 

As soon as I entered the doors of Quality Cheese, I was struck by the warm, comforting aromas of fresh and cooked milk that instantly took me back to my vacation in Tuscany, Italy and it’s amazing landscapes, traditions, delicious food, artisans and history.

My visit and tour to Quality Cheese reminded me why I barely made it home from that vacation as I had spent three weeks at the height of sensory enjoyment, in awe and amazed by the simplicity yet flavorful impact of dishes made with love and only the finest and freshest of ingredients.

The Borgo family of Vaughn, Ontario – representing four generations behind Quality Cheese – manufacture, distributes and retail Italian specialty cheeses unlike any others made in Canada. Their first cheese was made almost 55 years ago. Quality Cheeses – particularly the ones in the fresh cheese category in your Savvy Cool Curds – are firmly rooted in Italian artisanal cheesemaking tradition and to this day are made with the same family recipes.

Innovative but firmly rooted…

The three Borgo brothers are actively involved in the business with Albert as the cheese salesman, Joe as the cheese scientist, and William (Bill) as the master cheesemaker. While traditional, these men are blazing new trails and innovating all the time.

Much applause and award-winning recognition has been given over the years to their delectable cheeses made with cow, buffalo and goat milk. When their Ricotta won the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in 2013, it was an industry first. Never before had a fresh cheese, or an Ontario cheese won Grand Champion (best of the best) in the awards’ history. From the judges’ perspective, their Ricotta was a shining star, and truly the best example of a well-made artisan cheese at the ceremony, standing out among the crowd.

Even on the plant floor they’ve been innovating for over 17 years. From how milk is stored and piped, to various safety and sanitary processes, to finding ways to become more efficient at cheesemaking while retaining quality and artisan craftsmanship, their business is tweaked on a daily basis.

 

Experience in actionCHEESE FACTORY

The heightened energy and activity in the make room is akin to bees buzzing around a hive, almost organized chaos-like, but with the execution and precision that demonstrates years of experience and expertise. Albert, Joe and Bill continue to be very hands on, testing curd as they weave through equipment, tweaking machines, and providing guidance on texture and readiness.

A lot goes on in a ‘make day’. Fresh, tender mozzarella curd is cut and waits patiently in the vat to be transformed into multiple cheeses. Whey is drained from the fresh mozzarella and gets re-purposed into vats and heated to make fresh ricotta that is sold warm daily at the plant. Then the ricotta is hand scooped into forms or small tubs for immediate sale at retailers. Stretchy fresh mozzarella curd is hot water warmed, plied and kneaded into small oblong shapes, cut, hand stretched into pouches and filled with fresh cream/creamy curd as a delicious center. Chalky white buffalo mozzarella curd drains as cheesemaker Bill waits for the right texture before the next step – hand stretching.

Nothing says summer like the freshest, tastiest, juiciest and most flavorful of artisan and local foods ingredients. Dive into this month’s Savvy Cool Curds cheeses, grab good friends, and head for your backyard or cottage deck or dock for easy peasy entertaining during laziest haziest days of summer!

 – 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!

 

ricottaRicotta

Humble Quality Cheese Ricotta (ricotta means cooked again) reined supreme in 2013, winning Grand Champion against over 225 of Canada’s best cheeses, a first for both an Ontario and fresh category cheese.

Tasting Notes: Made with 100% Canadian whole cow or buffalo milk and the whey of from other brie-style and mozzarella cheeses, acidity and temperature levels are carefully monitored to ensure quality craftsmanship. Each Ricotta is hand-dipped and packed cool, resulting in a rich, luxurious, creamy, dense, full lactic and sweeter tasting product. Locally, the Ricotta is sold hot, straight from the vat for neighbors who appreciate the traditional Italian style.

 Suggested Pairing: “It is like fresh milk, you can do anything with it”, says Albert Borgo. “Eat it as a staple, some as food ingredient like with toast and jam.”  Try in cheesecake, fresh pasta, with fresh seasonal fruit, pancakes or dessert recipes or the Plum Salad with Ricotta and Prosciutto Twist recipe in the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine.

 

buff mozzBuffalo Mozzarella

 Experience the luxury of hand crafted silky artisan Mozzarella di Buffala as it’s meant to be. Made with 100% pure milk from local water buffalo (don’t be fooled with “cheater” buffalo mozzarella which is mostly cow’s milk with small percentage of buffalo milk mixed in!). A bit sweeter than it’s Italian cousin because salt is added during the make process instead of after in brine.

Tasting Notes: Enjoy the fresh, mild, buttery milky flavor and smooth silky texture of this small, soft and delicate but oh so versatile cheese.

 Suggested Pairing: Pairs perfectly with both sweet and savory accoutrements from your local farmer’s market.

  

QualityCheeseBurratabyVanessaSimmonsBurrata


Burrata is a rare breed of cheese in the fresh category, as a mix of mozzarella & cream, its name meaning, “buttered”.

 Tasting Notes: Burrata is part pasta filata (meaning stretchy) cheese as a combo of scraps of soft fresh mozzarella curd and cream center and curd that has been worked, heated and stretched it into little pouches around the exterior.  Enjoy flavors of rich, buttery, fresh milk and thick cream.

Suggested Pairing: Serve classically with ripened tomatoes, drizzled with oil, cracked black pepper & fresh basil. Try it with a twist, grilled plums drizzled with balsamic vinegar & small toasts.

 

mascarponeMascarpone

As far as fresh cheeses go, if ricotta was the humble man’s cheese, mascarpone is the “Gatsby” of the fresh cheese world. True to Italian culture, Bella Casara Mascarpone exemplifies passion, as a sexy and sinful artisan cheese.

Tasting Notes: As a description rich, luxurious and voluptuous come to mind along with butter as a main theme.  Caramelized butter-coloring appeals to the eye, while the lightest of sweet dulce de leche flavor melds with butter and cream on the palate. Even the consistency, density, smoothness are what one would find of the best quality hand churned butter.

 Suggested Pairing: IMHO Bella Casara Mascarpone is best eaten with a tablespoon, straight. Or, use in your favorite brownie recipe as an extra special secret ingredient for maximum cheesy goodness.

                                       

fleur de buffFleur de Buffala

Fleur de Buffala is a unique cheese for Ontario, just released onto the market, and aged for only a few weeks, made with local water buffalo milk.

Tasting Notes: These small, tender wheels of soft surface-ripened cheese have a rustic and delicate appearance from the light dewy crust of a rind. Feel the luxurious texture on your palate while enjoying both grassy and herbaceous aromas and flavors. Will be ripe and ready to best enjoy mid-next week.

 Suggested Pairing: Pair with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc and lazy summer afternoon.

 

 

triple cream brieTriple Cream Brie

Albert’s Leap Triple Cream Brie is a shining example of a fan favorite, made with only the 100% Canadian milk, delivered in the wee hours of the morning to ensure maximum freshness for cheesemaking.

Tasting Notes: Triple cream Brie follows French-style making processes, as a classic soft surface-ripened cheese with a velvety, downy rind and full on characteristic butter, cream and mushroomy aromas and flavors.

TIP: Save this cheese for another week or two to experience it at its peak as the inside becomes supple and runny.

Suggested Pairing: Try flipped on the grilled (indirect heat) warm with fresh grilled stone fruit or with any array of fresh homemade summer fruit jams.

 

– Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses –

 

With Burrata…

Burrata with Roasted Grapes & Figs

Recipe & Photo Credit: LCBO Food & Drink Summer 2016

 

Ingredientsburratta recipe

6 oz red seedless grapes
6 ripe black mission figs, quartered

2 tsp olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1 Burrata at room temperature
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh purple thyme leaves
Toasted baguette or crackers (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Place grapes and figs on a foil-lined baking sheet, trying to keep bunches of grapes together (for a lovely presentation). Drizzle with oil. Season with salt. Bake for 10 minutes

Place cheese on the middle of your serving dish, surrounded by warm fruit. Drizzle everything with honey and sprinkle with purple thyme. Encourage guests to take slices of cheese and roasted fruit onto their plates or you can plate it for them. Serve with slices of toasted baguette or your favourite crackers (such as Rosemary Raisin Pecan Raincoast Crisps) or oatcakes to make it more like a dessert.

 

With Ricotta…

Bella Casara Ricotta Cake with Lemon

Recipe & Photo Credit All You Need is Cheese

Ingredientsriccotta recipe

⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2 lemons
½ cup slivered almonds
1-⅓ lbs. Ricotta
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla abstract
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
½ cup all purpose flour
Dried cranberries for garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes to obtain a syrup. Cook lemon slices in syrup over medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain the syrup into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Spread almonds in an oven-safe baking dish and toast them for 7–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat Ricotta with eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest and the reserved lemon-flavored syrup. Incorporate the flour.

Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Cover bottom of pan with toasted almonds and pour Ricotta mixture on top. Bake in the oven 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake is firm and lightly golden. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour before removing from pan.

Decorate chilled Ricotta cake with candied lemon slices and dried cranberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: This cake can also be accompanied by a cranberry coulis, if desired.

 

 

With Buffalo Mozzarella…                    

Ombre Fresh & Roasted Tomatoes On Charred Bread

Recipe & Photo Credit: LCBO Food & Drink Summer 2016
This recipe substitutes Wasabi cream cheese for fresh buffalo mozzarella

Ingredientsbuff mozz recipe

1 round Buffalo Mozzarella
3 small beefsteak tomatoes
2 pkgs. mix of red and orange cherry and grape tomatoes
Olive oil – use the Unrefined Olive oil we included!
Sea salt and pepper to taste
4 slices sourdough bread (or an Italian crusty bread)
¼ cup crispy shallots (found in Asian markets, or fry your own)

Method

Slice buffalo mozzarella into 8 thin slices.

Slice beefsteak tomatoes into wedges, keep cherry and grape tomatoes whole.

Preheat broiler on oven.

Place foil on a baking sheet, add cherry and grape tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Broil until just starting to pop and blister, around 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and lift foil from baking sheet. Refrigerate tomatoes to cool.

Place bread on baking sheet and toast until slightly charred.

Spread each toast slice with 2 slices of buffalo mozzarella, and sprinkle evenly with crispy shallots. Arrange fresh and broiled tomatoes in a colourful Ombre composition, moving from reds to oranges. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

With Mascarpone…

Melon and Mascarpone Salmon Tartare

Recipe & Photo Credit: Quality Cheese

 IngredientsMascarpone recipe

½ cup Bella Casara Mascarpone
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill
10 oz. very fresh salmon
½ cup honeydew melon
½ cup cucumber

Method

Whip Mascarpone and milk together. Add lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Chop salmon, honeydew and cucumber into small cubes. Place salmon in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Gently mix together, and let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Divide tartare into 4 ramekins, then invert onto plates.

Top with Mascarpone and season to taste. Serve immediately with slices of bread.

 

 

With Fleur de Buffala…

Roasted Portabello Mushroom with Albert’s Leap Melted Brie

Recipe & Photo Credit: Quality Cheese

Ingredientsfleur de buff recipe

4 Portobello mushrooms
8 oz. Fleur de Buffala Brie
1 shallot
½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
Fresh tender lettuce or mixed greens


Method

Preheat barbecue to medium.

In a bowl, mix shallot with mustard. Add olive oil and whisk to mix. Add vinegar and season to taste. Set aside.

Gently clean mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove stems, keeping only the caps. Stems may be used for another recipe.

Brush mushroom caps with a little dressing and cook them upside down on grill.

When mushrooms are tender, divide cheese slices between them so that interiors are filled. Let Fleur de Buffala melt and serve on a bed of lettuce, accompanied with remaining vinaigrette.

  

With Triple Cream Brie…

Choco Brie S’Mores

Recipe & Photo Credit: All You Need Is Cheese


brieIngredients

8 Graham Crackers
3 oz. Triple Cream Brie, sliced
1 ½ oz. of dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1-cup miniature marshmallows

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Arrange crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each cracker with Brie, chocolate and finish with marshmallows.

Place in the oven and cook until nicely browned, 7–10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

Enjoy the summer with your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Celebrate with Award Winning Canadian Cheeses!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
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This month’s Savvy Cool Curds selection pays tribute to the Canadian Cheese Awards, and the best artisan cheeses in Canada. Launched in 2014 by Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, and staunch supporter of the Canadian artisan cheese industry, the Canadian Cheese Awards are the first of their kind, inclusive of all milk types and all provinces across our nation. AND Georgs is a Savvy Cool Curds subscriber too!

Judging for the Canadian Cheese Awards takes place every second year. Beyond many category winners there is one ultimate champion, named Cheese Of The Year. It was just announced that this year, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, from COWS Creamery in Prince Edward Island took home the of Cheese of The Year title. Our long time subscribers will remember Avonlea as we sent you 2 chunks of it in the Savvy Cool Curds February feature.

This month’s selection is from those cheesemakers who only have a few types of cheeses – not enough for a full feature in Savvy Cool Curds. The other award winners will be showcased in upcoming months. Stay tuned!

 In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

…hard-to-find and delicious award-winning artisan cheeses including:savvy_coolcurds_Colour

-Sabot de Blanchette (Natural)
-Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans
-Le Baluchon
-Old Growler
-Dragon’s Breath Blue

Crazy for more medal winning 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…
Canadian Cheese Award Winners

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Canada is home to over 1500 different varieties and types of cheeses. While not all of them are considered artisanal, about half make that grade. There are also a handful of cheese awards through a number of industry organizations, recognizing the crème de la crème of cheeses in various categories, however The Canadian Cheese Awards is the first and only cheese competition in this country that considers all milk types such as cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo from all provinces. This means cheeses are made with 100% natural Canadian milk, with no artificial colors, flavours, preservatives and no modified milk ingredients.

Earlier this year, on February 18 & 19th, 12 judges (myself included!) gathered at the University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, for a two-day cheese tasting experience like no other, presided over by Dr. Arthur Hill.

So many cheeses…

vanessaA whopping 301 entries were submitted by artisan cheesemakers from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, and all the provinces in between. There is an official process for cheese submission, which remains anonymous to both judges and the general public. Cheesemongers and cheese industry professionals manage the reception and storage of cheese to ensure secrecy and that quality is maintained during the judging process. Judges are recognized in the industry for their deep expertise in artisan cheese.

Overall the goals of The Canadian Cheese Awards are to determine and promote the best cheeses in Canada for all milks, to provide honest and constructive feedback to cheesemakers on their cheeses and create a symbol of excellence in Canadian cheese that consumers and the industry alike will recognize.

A winning recipe

Judging happens in teams of two in each of 17 categories, one person evaluating aesthetics and one evaluating the technical aspects of each entry. Both consider aroma, appearance, texture and flavor. Marks are given by the aesthetic judge for superior qualities of those 4 areas. Marks are deducted by technical judges for any faults noticed in the cheese. Both strive to uncover nuances of terroir, character, flavor profile, and differences that make the cheese standout and unique, worth of being best in it’s class. Not just any old cheese makes the grade. This is very similar to how we decide which cheeses and cheesemakers make it to Savvy Cool Curds – we want to WOW you! At the end of two days of tasting over 301 cheeses, 78 finalists rose to the top, in 31 categories including contenders for Cheese of the Year.

The who’s who of the Canadian cheese industry gathered in April at the Time Supper Club in Montreal for the Awards Ceremony, naming all category winners and Cheese of the Year –Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, followed by a packed-house Awards Tasting Gala for the general public and media (we’ll make sure all Savvy Cool Curds subscribers get an invite for 2018!) and giant cheese tasting party!

CDN cheese awards

Put your tasting hat on!

We’re thrilled to bring you Fromagerie F.X. Pichet Le Baluchon (2014 Cheese of the Year winner) – born of a love story which dates back to when the owners Michel Pichet & Marie-Claude Harvey of Sainte-Anne-De-La-Pérade, Québec were high school sweethearts, and reunited later in life. Fromagerie La Suisse Normande’s Sabot de Blanchette (2016 Best Soft Cheese) is a stunning little goat milk pyramid from Lanaudière, Quebec (a quick stop off Hwy 40 on the way to Montreal). Old Growler and Dragon’s Breath Blue from That Dutchman’s Farm from Upper Economy, Nova Scotia are rare finds in Ontario. Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans, said to be the first cheese
produced in America, of Fromagerie de L’Isle D’Orléans, Quebec is a fun grilling cheese experience…it is no wonder it was awarded 2016 Best Grilling Cheese.


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!

Sabot de Blanchette

Sabot de BlanchetteBest Bloomy Rind Cheese 2016

Inspired by their European cultures (Swiss & French), this fromagerie’s products are a marriage made in heaven and leaving their mark in Québec.  Cheeses are made from goats raised on the farm, in true “fermier” (farmstead) fashion.

Tasting Notes: This soft-surface-ripened goat’s milk cheese has a unique pyramid shape, with a lovely, natural, slightly wrinkled, soft moldy rind, that on occasion displays spots of blue.  The paste is creamy, velvety & white, firm towards the center, & acidity and yeasty tang on the palate.

Suggested Pairing: Try with a crisp dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. Enjoy spread on fruit & nut crackers, smeared with seasonal compote (rhubarb or strawberry).

 

Le Paillasson de l’Isle D’Orléans

Le Paillasson de l’Isle D’OrléansBest Grilling Cheese 2016

Paillasson is special cheese somewhat like an uncooked marshmallow, its unique character doesn’t fully shine until it’s fried or grilled, lending to its melty (but not melted) properties. Best always served warm.

Tasting Notes: This fresh, unripened semi-soft grilling cheese has milky aromas. When heated in a skillet or over a grill, flavors go from bland to boom becoming all melted butter and toasted nut, complete with the crispy bits we all love (just like your favorite grilled cheese without the bread!)

Suggested Pairing: Enjoy sliced wedges with spicy chorizo on a toothpick as a snack, wrap with prosciutto as an appetizer, serve as a side or centerpiece garnish to a local mixed green salad. 

 

Le Baluchon

Le Baluchon Best FarmsteadBest Farmstead Cheese 2016
Best Organic Cheese 2016
Cheese of the Year 2014

Le Baluchon is an example of organic products, created through systems and processes that are more sustainable and harmonious with their environments (soil, animals, people, and plants).  Generally lower tech operations and milk sourced from pasture-based farms (if not their own) is used where animals are free of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.

Tasting Notes: Le Baluchon is a farmstead, washed-rind, certified “Québec Vrai” organic raw cow’s milk cheese aged for 60 days.  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, it has similar characteristics: a gritty textured rind, toasted hazelnut flavors, and pungent barny aromas.

 Suggested Pairing: Melted as Raclette or enjoyed with an oaky Canadian Chardonnay.

 

Old Growler

Best Gouda Cheese 2016Old Growler

Old Growler is a more mature (and the most popular) of The Dutchman’s Goudas.  Born of a surplus of older cheeses, they decided to name it, and sell it at eighteen months.

 Tasting Notes: Traditional aged Gouda characteristics starting to show – more pale gold hued open paste with eyes (pinholes) and crystals forming, firm to hardening texture, malty aromas developing with much stronger & lingering caramel flavor over milk with a bit of bite.

Suggested Pairing: A favourite pairing with this cheese is Michael Dolce Peach Cardamom Jam, or local stone fruit based marmalade. Enjoy with a Canadian Pinot Gris.

  

Dragon’s Breath Blue

Best Blue Cheese 2016dragons breathe blue

A rare find and multi-award winner, Dragon’s Breath Blue is a closely guarded family secret.

 Tasting Notes: Unique in shape and size, these small cylinders of blue cheese are aged only a few weeks then coated with wax for ripening another 2-6 months.  The flavor and texture varies by season, more buttery/creamy in the summer months with higher fat content in the milk.  Note sharp blue flavor, moist texture with fruity notes, and little blue veining depending on exposure to air. Tip: Pop a small slice of the top off and leave it uncovered for 24-48 hrs. to develop more blue veining.

 Suggested Pairing: Pair with a Canadian Gamay or Pinot Noir. Melt wedges into phyllo pastry squares and garnish.

 

 

 Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses

 

With Sabot de Blanchette

Spring Salad with Honeyed Rhubarb and Goat Cheese

The Ottawa Citizen’s Laura Robin

IngredientsSpring Salad with Honeyed Rhubarb and Goat Cheese

¾ lb. (340 g) rhubarb (about 7 slender stalks),
cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) pieces
¼ cup (60 mL) honey
½ cup (125 mL) walnut halves
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bunches arugula (about 12 cups/3 L), tough stems removed
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup (25 mL) goat cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp (45 mL) fresh snipped chives (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C) with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss rhubarb pieces with honey. Roast on upper rack until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, on another rimmed baking sheet, toast walnuts on lower rack until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Let rhubarb cool on pan. Cool walnuts, and then chop coarsely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula and fennel with the vinaigrette. Top the salad with the rhubarb, walnuts, goat cheese and chives.

 

With Le Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans…                    

Grilling Cheese with Cranberry & Pistachios

Dairy Goodness All You Need Is Cheese

IngredientsGrilling Cheese with Cranberry & Pistachios

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted shelled pistachios
3 Tbsp (45 mL) sugar, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) cranberry juice
8 oz. (250 g) Canadian grilling cheeseLe Paillasson de L’Isle D’Orléans

Method

In a small skillet, toast pistachios on medium heat with 2 tbsp. (30 mL) sugar. Cook until sugar becomes golden brown and sticks to pistachios.

Transfer to a parchment-lined plate. Once pistachios have cooled, coarsely chop.

In a small saucepan, mix cranberries, cranberry juice and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cranberries are tender. Using an upright or hand blender, purée mixture until smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Grill cheeses for 3–4 minutes on each side. You can also place cheeses on a parchment-lined baking sheet and grill in the oven, preheated to 450°F (230°C), for 4–5 minutes on each side.

Serve hot on top of cranberry coulis, garnished with crispy pistachios.

 

With Le Baluchon…

Tartlets with Baluchon and Caramelized Onions

Les Producteurs de lait du Quebec – Our Cheeses

Tartlets with Baluchon and Caramelized Onions Ingredients

12 Tartlet Crusts (Store-bought)
250 ml (1 cup) Le Baluchon Cheese, rind removed, grated
2 eggs
250 ml (1 cup) of 15% cream
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Caramelized Onions

45 ml (3 Tbsp) butter
250 ml (1 cup) pearl onions
30 ml (2 Tbsp) sugar
15 ml (1 Tbsp) balsamic vinegar
15 ml (1 Tbsp) fresh rosemary, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).

Bake tartlets for 10 minutes or until crusts are golden.

Whisk cheese, eggs, cream and nutmeg in the food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Fill tartlets with the cheese mixture.

Garnish with caramelized onions.

Bake for 10 more minutes or until the filling is golden.

 

Caramelized Onions

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and brown the onions for 5 minutes.

Add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar.

Continue cooking for 5 minutes until the onions are caramelized and add the rosemary.

 

With Old Growler

Gouda Asparagus Pesto

Dairy Goodness All You Need Is Cheese

IngredientsGouda Asparagus Pesto

¼ 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) Canadian Aged Gouda – Old Growler, finely grated

Method

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.

 

With Dragon’s Breath Blue

Marinated Hangar Steak with Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Recipes4EveryKitchen

 IngredientsMarinated Hangar Steak with Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Hangar steak (recipe works great with flank, skirt, tenderloin and any grilling beef you choose).

Marinade

½ cup red wine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme or rosemary
2 tsp dried basil
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Salad

Romaine hearts, torn into bite sized chunks
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1/2 English cucumber, chunked
Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese

Chef Craig Flinn’s Awesome Vinaigrette
3 anchovy fillets
1 shallot, very finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced to pulp
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

For the vinaigrette:

Smash anchovy fillets in a bowl with a fork and add the shallot and garlic.

Add the mustard, lemon juice & zest, vinegar, salt & pepper and whisk until smooth. Add the oil in a slow steady stream while whisking until the vinaigrette is smooth and emulsified. Makes ¾ cup and will keep refrigerated for a couple of weeks.

For the steak/salad

In a large Ziplock bag, combine all the marinade ingredients and blend well. Add the prepared hanger steak (or whatever other cut you choose), coat well with the marinade and massage. You can let the meat marinate on the counter for a couple of hours before grilling or refrigerate for up to 48 hours. If refrigerating, bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.

To grill with bbq/ grill pan/ electric grill/ broiler… whatever you have – heat to high and grill for 3-4 minutes, turn the meat, lower the temp a bit and continue to grill for 4 minutes for medium rare. That’s how long for flank steak, but hanger steak being thicker will require more time. Turn the heat down to medium so it will not char, and turn every 4 minutes until done to your liking.

Remove from the grill and place on a plate, flipping the hot side (closest to the grill) on top and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Then slice on the diagonal, across the grain to serve.

While the steaks are grilling, place the torn romaine hearts and chunks of red peppers & cucumbers into a large serving bowl. Toss with vinaigrette.

Once the steaks are sliced, place them on top of the salad and crumble the cheese over top.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

 

 

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