Posts Tagged ‘the Great Canadian Cheese Festival’

Imagine 375 Canadian cheeses!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Share

It’s happening right now! Judging of 375 artisan cheeses for Canadian Cheese Awards under way at University of Guelph this week. Somebody’s got to do it–taste 375 cheeses over a day and a half!  Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons is returning again to be a judge.  

That’s precisely what 14 experts are doing this week in order to evaluate and score cheese entered in Canadian Cheese Awards/Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens 2018. This independent competition–with Loblaw Companies and Dairy Farmers of Canada as its lead sponsors–is the biggest cheese competition in Canada with 80 producers from Newfoundland to British Columbia submitting 375 cheeses for judging.

This intense judging takes place this week at University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, headed by Dr. Arthur Hill, Chair and Professor in Food Science and an internationally recognized authority in cheese technology, who serves as Chief Judge.  Finalists in 32 categories will be announced March 5. Winners will be revealed during an Awards Ceremony, Reception and Tasting Gala on June 6 in Toronto at historic St. Lawrence Market, Temporary North Hall. The inaugural Canadian Cheese Expo trade show and the first-ever Artisan Cheese Night Market for the public will take place June 7.

This is the only cheese competition in Canada open to all milks used in cheesemaking – cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo-with only pure natural cheese accepted for judging. That means no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients. 

“We aim to honour and celebrate 100% pure natural cheese that has achieved technical excellence and exhibits the highest aesthetic qualities,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Awards Chairman. 

Canadian Cheese Awards aims to recognize excellence in 18 main categories, nine special awards, five regional awards and the one very best cheese in Canada, the Grand Champion promoted as 2018 Canadian Cheese of the Year.  

They’ll be the judge! 

An extensive knowledge of cheese, on technical basis as well as aesthetic values, was the key factor in selection of the Jury, the judges who will evaluate and score entries following blind tasting of the cheese.

Debra Amrein-Boyes, Founder and co-owner, now retired, The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz, British Columbia

Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Cheese Partners, Calgary

Étienne BiotteauCheese technology advisor, Centre d’expertise fromagère du Québec, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec

Nathalie FilionManager, Yannick Fromagerie, Québec City, the Laurentians and Montréal

Odysseas Gounalakis, Owner, Scheffler’s Delicatessen & Cheese, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

Marla Krisko, Formerly co-owner, Cheese Education Guild, Toronto

Ghislain Paquet, Co-owner, Fromagerie De la Gare, Sherbrooke

Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Special Projects, Deli Cheese (Market Division), Loblaw Companies, and cheese educator and author

Heather Rankin, Co-owner, Obladee Wine Bar, Halifax

Geoff Rempel, Formerly Specialty Team Leader, Whole Foods Market, Square One, Mississauga

Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company, Ottawa **Yeah Vanessa!**

Egon Skovmose, Co-founder, Danlac Canada, Calgary, Alberta

Heather Thelwell, Cheese specialist, Guelph, Ontario

Nick Tsioros, Co-owner, Olympic Cheese Mart, Toronto.

Jackie Armet, Cheese Co-ordinator, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, and formerly cheesemonger at Whole Foods Market in Yorkville, and Jeanne Rodier, Cheesemonger and Administrator, Yannick Fromagerie, serve as Awards Co-ordinators. Awards Registrar is Heather Robertson, retired cheesemaker and Ticketing Co-ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Roxanne Renwick, cheese specialist and Liaison to artisan cheese producers. Nathalie Rollet Schofield, Liaison to artisan cheese producers in Quebec. Mary Ann Ferrer, Department of Food Science, University of Guelph.

Canadian Cheese Awards is produced by Cheese Lover Productions, Georgs Kolesnikovs, President (in photo) with the support of Loblaw Companies as Marquee Sponsor and Dairy Farmers of Canada as Principal Partner, Cow Milk Cheese.

 

Stay tuned! We’ll be posting the winners as soon as the awards are announced. 

Share

Get ready for… County in the Capital

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Share

Ready to experience Prince Edward County? Tomorrow night’s County in the Capital will be your chance to discover 100+ hard-to-find wines, craft beers, ciders, small batch, artisan cheeses & gourmet goodies – all under one roof.

We’ve had a tremendous response to this Taste & Buy event. It’s another sellout! Your name is on the guest list – either bring a paper copy of your ticket or save it onto your smartphone.

 

TIP: Have dinner beforehand

The focus of this event is about sampling & shopping. Be sure to have dinner beforehand to ‘fuel up’. Plan to book at table at one of the restaurants in Lansdowne or The Glebe.
Boccatto Restaurant located in the Horticulture Building has fabulous savoury & sweet crepes. Tell them you are going to County in the Capital & you’ll get 15% discount.

 

Sip, Savour & Stock up…

County in the Capital features products that are not readily available at the LCBO, The Beer Store or grocery stores.  CLICK for THE LIST of all the featured bevvies to create your ‘gotta try’ or ‘shopping list’. OR…use our online order form at www.savvycompany.ca/pec.

Onsite, you can also buy cool County poster art, maple syrup, hot sauce, handcrafted cheese boards, artisan cheeses & our most recent find…Abeego cheese wrap.

Be sure to put a little ‘mad cash’ in your pocket! There is no ATM onsite.

 

Order 6 bottles & we’ll ship it FREE…

Experience the SAVVY way to shop for bevvies. Everything at this Taste & Buy event is extra special – you won’t find them at the LCBO.
Order ANY combo of 6 or more bottles & we’ll deliver them by courier to your home or office – FREE. It’s that easy!

 

Event Details

Date: Thursday April 20 – tomorrow!!
5 to 7pm: V.I.T Reception – Did you upgrade your ticket with a special V.I.T. Pass (Very Important Tasters)? You’ll get the red carpet treatment with advance access.
7 to 9pm: Main Event
Location: Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia Way (Lansdowne Park)
Parking: Ample underground parking

 

NEW: It’s FREE to Ride the Bus!

Hop aboard the OC Transpo bus & show a paper copy of your ticket…and the bus fare is FREE. How cool is that – you can ride the bus to & from the event for $0. (can’t just show your tix on your phone.

 

Prizes Galore…

Feeling lucky? Hope so! All evening we will be giving away tickets to Terroir Wine Celebration in Picton in May, VIP passes to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in June, Fall Countylicious dining experience…and tickets to our next Savvy Event: Celebrate Red & White – an all Canadian Night on June 22.

 

Before an event, we are often asked:

What is the format of the evening?

ANSWER: Upon arrival, you will be provided a Savvy tasting glass- it is yours for the evening & to take home. With a glass in hand, visit the neat folks from The County.

Will I be able to order my favorites?

ANSWER: Absolutely! This Taste & Buy event features bevvies that you won’t find at the LCBO. Attached is the order form (copies will be available) or you can order online. Mix & match any wines, ciders, craft beers you enjoyed at the event & shipping by courier is FREE on orders of 6 bottles or more.

What is the dress code?

ANSWER: Dress as you like – this is your evening.

Is there a coat check?

ANSWER: There will be coat racks. If you park underground or nearby, consider leaving your coat in your car.

Do you Taste & Tweet?

ANSWER: Spread the word by including:
#CountyintheCapital
@SavvyCompany
#RootedinCool
#TheCounty
@VisittheCounty
Go ahead & post pix on our Instagram too!

TIP: Join our ‘Clubs’

Keep discovering with us. Subscribe or give a gift subscription to our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & receive a delivery of 3 hard-to-find Ontario wines every month. Love craft beer? Suds-cribe to our Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-o-month club. Our Savvy Cool Curds artisan-cheese-o-month club features cheeses from across Canada. Life does not get any better than this.

If you have any questions, just let me know….otherwise we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Cheers,
– Debbie and the Savvy Team

PS – Spring cleaning? Found some Savvy wine tasting glasses you no longer want? Bring ’em back!  For every 4 glasses, we’ll give you a $5 gift certificate you can apply towards tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event.

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

Share

Here’s the Best of the Fest!

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Share

Savvy Cool Curds is all about celebrating Canadian artisan cheese and so it’s only fitting to pay homage to my favourite event of summer, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival (#TGCCF). The first weekend of June every year, thousands of die-hard cheese fans flock to Prince Edward County to partake in the largest cheesy party in Canada.

This month’s Savvy Cool Curds showcases a selection of hard to find cheeses sourced from the festival, ripe and ready for you to enjoy, best paired with fun in the sun summer activities.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…TGCCF

… Very special and delicious artisan cheeses including:

– Fromagerie Montebello Rebellion 1837
– Du Champ a la Mule Victor et Berthold Reserve
– Stonetown’s Homecoming

And since the festival took place in Prince Edward County, we thought it was opportune to include some cheeses made in the area:

– Black River Cheddar with Honey
– Black River Maple Cheddar

 

savvy_coolcurds_ColourFlipping for more fabulous cheese festival flavours?
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…
Best of Fest 

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier


cheese manThe Great Canadian Cheese Festival, going into its 7th year, is the one place every summer the cheese industry and consumers alike come gather in a celebration of all things Canadian cheese. I’m proud of my good friend, founder and Festival Director, Georgs Kolesnikovs (aka the Big Cheese in photo below) has managed to stay true to the roots of it’s inception in showcasing the very best of Canadian artisan cheese by profiling only cheese producers who use 100% pure Canadian milk, and no additives or modified milk ingredients.

The festival is not only a food or cheese show, it’s hugely important as the glue that binds the Canadian artisan cheese industry, breaking down barriers between provinces, encouraging new relationships, and the inclusiveness of both larger and smaller producers as well as all milk types (cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo) in support of Canadian producers.

#TGCCF is a not-to-miss event on my summer list, having been a presenter, party host, judge, cheese cutter, media personality, MC, and overall go to cheese gal for whatever helping hands have been needed over the years.

 

A feeding frenzy…

Earlier this summer, June 4-5 in Picton, Prince Edward County, the quiet quaint Crystal Palace and Picton Fairgrounds turned into the wildest cheese party in Canada, as over 5300 cheese lovers gathered to make merry over Canadian cheese.

Cheesemakers love it because visitors are true cheese fans. Well educated on the merits of artisan cheese, they come armed with a list, detailed notes & rolling coolers to take home their treasures.  Attendees love it because they have a chance to meet makers and artisan producers and discover new favorites.

Over 130 exhibitors and vendors showcased their wares to taste and buy. 150 different types and styles of Canadian cheese from coast to coast were found: water buffalo aisago, a wide variety and ages of gouda, more ooey gooey soft cheeses than you can imagine, fabulous tasty cheddars and many beaudacious blues to name a few.

Hundreds of artisan food products that go with cheese were discovered: jams, jellies, chutneys, kimchi, pickled everything, charcuterie, cookies, chocolate, honey, salsas, local sodas, crackers, shortbread, olive oil, preserves, condiments of all kinds, and even ice syrup. Also things to add wow to your cheese presentation like live edge boards in a variety of woods, handcrafted boards, and unique serving utensils. And, not to mention the artisan wine, craft beer and cider selections!

 

So much to see and do!

From Jamie Kennedy’s farm to table dinner, the grilled cheese chowdown, St. Albert’s free cheese curd giveaways, water buffalo rides, profiled cheese award winners, the Saturday Raclette rave party, free Dairy Farmer’s of Canada seminars, tutored tastings, celebrity chef cook-off’s, dairy farm displays, food court and local tours there is much to see and do over the weekend as you explore Prince Edward County and take in the festivities.

Never been to the festival? Crack open this month’s Savvy Cool Curds grab your preferred summer sipping wine, beer or cider and settle into a lazy reading spot. My Best of the Fest blog post will whet your appetite and the Best of Show Guide with my top 10 notable noshes will make you wish that the 2017 festival was here already.

Save the date June 3-4, 2017. Any cheese lover worth their curd knows it’s THE place to be the first Saturday in June.  Savvy Cool Curds subscribers get VIP treatment.

See you there!

 – 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!

 

Cheddar with honeyCheddar with Honey

“Canadiana” is a familiar term to all of us, referring to things related to the country of Canada. Black River Cheese (recently purchased by Gay Lea) gives a taste of Canadiana as one of the regions oldest farmer-owned dairy co-operatives with over 100 years of cheesemaking experience to their credit.

 Tasting Notes: Black River’s Honey Cheddar cheese is sunny medium cheddar that has been naturally aged (meaning it sits in an aging room for a length of time vs. fake additive flavoring that makes a cheese taste aged), accented with a splash of local honey to contrast a gentle sweetness against a mild salty finish.

 Suggested Pairing: Try it with sparkling summer bubbles or Rose. Shred on grilled veggies or grilled/roasted summer fruit (think plums, peaches, strawberries).

 

Maple CheddarMaple Cheddar

The idea for Black River Cheese Maple Cheddar was born in 2003 to coincide with local Prince Edward County festival “Maple in the County”.  Cheddar is naturally aged for 5-8 months, shredded, mixed with local Fosterholm Farms pure amber Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar, pressed into hoops & then cut into blocks and packaged.

 Tasting Notes: This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is a great example of what good medium cheddar should be with a surprise flavor twist.  It has a nice, dense, smooth paste (not too dry, soft but still crumbly), milky aromas, clean slightly fruity taste & is accented with true Canadian maple flavor without being overly sweet

 Suggested Pairing: Enjoy with a local microbrew or cider. Add to a burger for a surprise flavor twist. Bake into dessert pastries.

  

HomecomingHomecoming

One of Ontario’s newest “cheeses on the scene”, Stonetown Cheese’s Homecoming is already making headlines as a finalist in the “Best New Cheese” category at the Canadian Cheese Awards. I love the quote on their website “Life is great, cheese makes it better”. We wholeheartedly agree!

 Tasting Notes: Homecoming is a semi-soft, washed rind, Swiss alpine style farmstead cheese. Made with fresh unpasteurized Holstein milk it has mild earthy flavor profile.

 Suggested Pairing: Great as a summer picnic snacking cheese, pair with an unoaked Chardonnay or Semillon.

 

french cheeseVictor et Berthold de Reservé

Fromagerie du Champ a la Meule, located in the south central region of Quebec, pays tribute to the founders who once ran the farm, with Victor et Berthold de Reservé; affiné (cheese speak for aged) an extra 40 days to intensify the flavor.

 Tasting Notes: Victor et Berthold de Reservé has a gorgeous light copper-hued washed rind and smooth, bone-colored paste. Flavors are a mix of milk, cream and butter with a noticeable meaty texture on the palate and slight bite on the finish.

 Suggested Pairing: Appreciate on a summer-grilled cheese with smoky bacon and freshly sliced beefsteak tomatoes. Pair with a light hoppy beer. Also works well with a dollop of Indian Chutney or stone fruit marmalade.

 

Rebellion

rebellion cheese

New blue on the block Rebellion 1837 is named for those who love bold blue cheeses, and those who are considered just that, a little rebellious, after Louis-Joseph Papineau who led as Chef of the Patriots during the famous Quebec rebellion of 1837-38.

Tasting Notes: Shaped into tall, cylindrical wheels Rebellion is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese with rustic, slate blue veining that concentrates in the center of the wheel. The moist, creamy paste, with rich, velvety, texture gives mild floral & mushroom
y aromas with big ‘shroomy flavor and a light balance of salt.  Delish!

Suggested Pairing: Pair with a Canadian Ice Cider or Sparkling Ice Cider. Enjoy crumbled on fresh summer greens or atop a sizzling rib eye steak, right off the grill!

 

– Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses –

 

With Cheddar with Honey…

Cheddar Biscuits with Honey Butter

Recipe & Photo Credit: Cookingwithawallflower.com
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredientscheddar scones

Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick of butter (4 ounces)
1-cup buttermilk
⅓ cup shredded Cheddar with Honey cheese
¼ cup Cheddar with Honey cheese for topping

Honey Butter

4 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
2½ tsp. honey
¼ tsp. powdered sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or with a silicone-baking mat.

In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Mix these ingredients until they are well combined.

Next, add butter to the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to break the butter apart. Mix the butter with the flour until they become pea size.

Fold in the cheddar cheese until they are well distributed in the dough. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until the ingredients are wet.

Use a ¼-measuring cup to scoop each serving of dough. Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle extra cheddar cheese over each biscuit before placing the baking sheet into the oven to bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are golden brown.

While the biscuits are baking, whisk the room temperature butter until it becomes smooth. Add honey and powdered sugar and whisk until the butter becomes smooth.

Once the biscuits are done, allow to cool for a few minutes before serving them with the honey butter.

With Maple Cheddar…                    

Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion & Horseradish Mustard

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada

Prep Time: 15minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

cheeseburgerIngredients

2 lb(s) freshly ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 slices yellow Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 hamburger buns
Horseradish Mustard (recipe follows)
8 leaves Romaine lettuce
Grilled Vidalia Onions (recipe follows)
Dill pickles, sliced
Ketchup

Horseradish Mustard

½ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, drained

Grilled Vidalia Onions

2 Vidalia onions, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat grill or a cast iron skillet to high.

Divide the beef into 8 (4-ounce) burgers. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill or cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. During last minutes of cooking add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover grill and let melt, approximately 1 minute. Place burger on bun and top with Horseradish Mustard, lettuce, Grilled Vidalia Onions, pickles and ketchup.

Horseradish Mustard

Whisk mustard and horseradish together in a small bowl.

Grilled Vidalia Onions

Brush olive oil on both sides of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onion slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

 

With Homecoming…

Cheese Pie

Recipe & Photo Credit: Stonetowncheese.com

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes

cheese pieIngredients

Pie Crust

2 ready-made puff pastry sheets 

Filling

300 ml whipping cream
2 eggs
100 g Wildwood, grated
100 g Grand Trunk, grated
100 g Homecoming, grated
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt,
Pepper, paprika, nutmeg to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 220 C / 425 F.

Use 2 ready-made puff pastry sheets and place in 8″ pie shell. Cut to size of pie shell and poke the base with a fork.

Put whipping cream and eggs into a bowl, mix well.

Add cheeses, cornstarch, salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg to bowl, stir.

Add cheese mixture to pie base, spread evenly. Bake: Approx. 25 minutes toward the bottom of the oven (preheated to 220 C/ 425 F). Remove from oven, place pan on wire rack and remove from pie shell and serve

With Victor et Berthold de Reservé…

Strawberry Bruschetta

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada

Vanessa adapted this recipe by adding a slice of Victor et Berthold de Reservé for a bit of extra flair!

Prep Time:  6 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Strawberry BrushcettaIngredients

3 slices (1/2-inch-thick) rustic white bread
2 – 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10 strawberries, sliced
3 – 5 tsp. sugar
3 slices Victor et Berthold de Reservé

Method

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the bread until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Spread the butter over the toasts. Add a slice of Victor et Berthold de Reservé. Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cheese. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Broil until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes 

With Rebellion…

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese

Recipe & Photo Credit: Food Network Canada
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

 IngredientsROast pears

3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
3 oz. coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese, such as Stilton
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
½ cup apple cider
3 Tbsp. Port
⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup good olive oil
6 oz. baby arugula
Kosher salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.CoolCurds_mail-2

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

Share

Top tips for your next visit to The County

Posted by Debbie

Monday, March 21st, 2016
Share

Prince Edward County…if you haven’t been…Start the car! Make a point to book a family vacation, play hooky and spend a long weekend or make a day of it. The County awaits!  To compile the 100+ things to do, I asked the locals and tourist for their tips. I was overwhelmed by the response….and as I write this article, more recommendations are flooding my inbox…and I will add updates to keep this list up to date.

101 Things (or more) to do in Prince Edward County

pec map for FBI have to admit that I haven’t done ALL the things on this list, but certainly plan to jump in my car soon! For starters… I always recommend getting off Highway 401 and taking the Glenora Ferry. This free ferry ride is less than 10 minutes (check the departure schedule). Mark my words, this ride will reset your pace to ‘County time’. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy being surrounded by water and get the welcoming 2 fingered wave from the ferry driver as you arrive.

Water all around

Be baffled by the geography of Lake on the Mountain. This unique body of water is one of Ontario’s natural wonders defying geographical and geological theories. Ponder its mystery over a drink at the Miller House Café and Brasserie…you can stay overnight here too!

Parks & beaches too

water-sandbanks-FOSPrince Edward County is synonymous for Sandbanks Provincial Park (photo at right), yet, there are many more beaches to discover: Wellington Beach and Park, North Beach Provincial Park, Westlake Beach. Switch from white sand to smooth pebbles and wander along Little Bluff Beach.

 

Old barns

Check out some great old barns at The Old ThirdClosson ChaseKarlo EstatesThe Grange of Prince Edward County and Hinterland Winery.

Traveling with Savvy Company

Places to stay – oh so many!

Clarmont Inn & Spa, Merrill Inn, The Drake Devonshire, Waring House, Angeline’s Inn, The Manse Boutique Inn. All of these places have gourmet restaurants too – book a reservation to make sure you get a spot!

Where to dine

Sample County wines at many of the restos including East & MainBlumen Garden & The Agarian

Visit Angeline’s Inn in Bloomfield & pick up some of their neat postcards with historical photos of The County in years gone by. While you are there, book your reservation for lunch or dinner at The Hubb Eatery & Lounge. You will definitely make delicious memories here!

Craving a pizza? There are several wineries that have a wood oven pizza place including Norman Hardie Winery – the perfect place for pizza and a Pinot Noir (try saying that fast!)

Spend Sunday morning at the Sunday Market at 106 Bridge or brunch made by Chef Michael Hoy. And in the afternoon, enjoy live jazz & al fresco dining on the patio at Huff Estates Winery.

Cuddle baby lambs & explore forest trails to walk off the amazing meal of farm to table cuisine enjoyed at Windhover County – a 140 year old Victorian Farm that has been transformed into a boutique inn.

Take a break from gourmet meals and make your way to the Lighthouse Restaurant at the Picton Harbour Inn – a popular local hot spot for breakfast – best sausages ‘n eggs, mile high pancakes &french toast in town.

…or nibble

Top places for treats & tea: The Vic Café, The Pink Lunch Pail Bakery, Tall Poppy Café, Miss Lily’s

Hands down the best old fashioned doughnuts are at Schroedter’s Farm Market Bakery & Cafe. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, a bowl of homemade soup&sandwiches will hit the spot. There are great gluten free goodies too.

Take a break from visiting wineries and stop in to visit the Pyramid Ferments Gut Hut. A wide variety of artisan made Sauerkrauts, Kimchis and Kombuchas – all using seasonal ingredients – are made in small batches.

Have you tried Maple Cheddar from Black River Cheese Factory?

Nightlife

Think there’s no nightlife in The County? Ha! You haven’t been to the movies at Mustang Drive-In on County Road 1.

Picton’s Main street has got it all. At The Regent Theatre, check out the list of movies, live musical performances & special talks as well as the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival. While you are there, snap a selfie with Sir John A Macdonald. His statue is located in front of the Armory.

Best view in town

The locals share this secret: enjoy the view of Picton from the Millenium Lookout – access it from County Road 22

Ice cream’s finest

Cave in…have ice cream at Slickers County Ice Cream in Bloomfield, stop in at Black River Cheese Factory or the locals hot spot is Cones & Shakes in Picton

Love museums?

Here is a ‘hit list’- Mariner’s Park Museum in South Bay, Rose House Museum in Waupoos, Wellington Historical Museum, Macauly Heritage Park and Ameliasburgh Pioneer Village

Wines, beers, ciders…and more

Pop into The County Canteen– Picton’s first brew pub – stop in for a flight of craft beers. The Acoustic Grill is a great place to see local bands.

Meet the dogs & owners at Three Dog Winery. In the summer they do yoga in the vineyard (the owners that is!) and XC ski parties too.

Ever been to a speakeasy? Click here to find where X marks the spot.

Pop the cork & taste some of the best Canadian-made sparkling wines at HinterlandHuff Estates, The GrangeBy Chadsey’s Cairns Lighthall Vineyards.

County Cider tasting June 2015Calling all cider lovers! You’ll want to hit these places for hard ciders made with County grown apples: The County Cider Co. (in photo at left), Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider House, and Clafeld Fruit

Head down at harvest and join in picking grapes at Sandbanks WineryHalf Moon Bay Winery Broken Stone – something that the entire family can do.

Chat with Bryan at Keint-He Winery.  He’ll help you pronounce that!

An open invitation to everyone! Brett French – the brewer at Barley Days Brewery – gives anyone reading this an invitation to drop by to sample his beers…ask for him and he will give you the skinny on how he makes each. And County Road Beer Co. just opened, so be sure to stop in here too!

Prince Edward County is known as a wine region, yet there is a distillery – 66 Gilead – that is neat place to visit & try their Canadian Pine Vodka, Loyalist Gin, rums & whiskies too.

Want some exercise? 

A local favorite bike ride is along Big Island Road following the beach on the northeast shore of Prince Edward County as well as along the Loyalist Parkway (Highway 33).

Drive or bike along the Barn Quilt Trail. There are over 100 barnswith painted quilts – neat!

Get running! The day after the annual Terroir Wine & Farmers Market Festival, get your shoes on to do the 10 km Terroir Run that winds through wineries along the way. The Wellington Women’s Half Marathon in June (complete with firemen handing out water along the route!) In October, The County Marathon is a great way to explore the backroads.

…and there is still more!

Lavender Farm by DT June 7 2015See a sea of purple at the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm. Tip: plan to visit the Lavender Festival or stop in when the plants are in bloom in mid to late June. Take photos in the gardens, learn how lavender is harvested & the oil is made. If you are lucky – stay at the B&B there too.

Play life size chess in the vineyard at Casa Dea Estates Winery.

The locals raved about –Birdhouse City with over 100 birdhouses of reproductions of historic buildings, whimsical designs & other recognizable structures.

A sign that will make you laugh as you drive by:Dead People’s Stuff Antiques.

Lose yourself flipping through neat books at Books & Company or the cool consignment shop – City Revival – on Main Street in Picton.

 

OenoGalleryToo many galleries to visit in one weekend! Some to make sure to visit: Oeno Gallery (photo at right courtesy of Oeno Gallery) Huff Estates Winery, Love Nest Studios. Follow the Arts Trail to discover incredible local artists along the way.

Crazy about airplanes? Lock-Sloy (aka Camp Picton) is one of Canada’s last intact 1940 British Commonwealth Air Training sites. Driving through here, it is easy to imagine what this place was like in the hay day.

If lighthouses are your ‘thing’, then make sure to visit Point Petre and South Bay Lighthouse – bring some local wine & cheese to have a picnic.

If vintage cars are your ‘thing’, then plan your trip to Prince Edward County to take in the Street Meet in early August. It is a blast reliving the past at this annual car show with over 200 classic cars come from all corners of Ontario and Quebec.

Karlo bridgeVisit North America’s largest dry stone bridge (in photo at right) at Karlo Estates – made by the winery owner & friends. A great place for a family photo or a picnic.

Sit on the porch at a B&B or your weekend cottage and read Geoff Heinrick’s book A Fool & Forty Acres all about the hard work of getting a vineyard planted in The County.

Take a cooking class at From the Farm. Tell Cynthia that we say hi!

Festivals galore

wine festivalFestivals that will give you a taste of The County: Maple in the County in March, then in May – Terroir where winemakers and artisan food producers are all under one roof. The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in June is a weekend of 100% Canadian artisan cheese (and wine and beer too).

TASTE – Community Grown in September (in photo at left) celebrates the harvest with local wines, ciders and farm fresh goodies. Join the fun at Wassail – a pre-Christmas festival where you sing for your drink. Check www.visitthecounty.ca for a comprehensive calendar.

Dining delight – Countylicious – twice a year, 8 restos offer a prix fixe culinary celebration for $30 or $35 plus grats & tax.

Red White & Blues festival at Rosehall Run features music in the vineyard.

PosterCool Collectibles

Collect a couple or all 8 of the cool County Posters with neat illustrations of all corners of Prince Edward County to remind you of the fun discoveries you had on your County getaway (photo attached –credit illustration by Marc Keelan-Bishop).

Sisters Jane Rutter & Susan Felton have brought pieces of history & heritage memorabilia back to life at the cool shop called Cannery Row.

Local produce abounds

In the summer, stop by one of many veggie stands – Laundry FarmsHagerman FarmsCherryvale Organic Farm & Vicki’s Veggies.

Stop in at Highline to grab a box of their gourmet mushrooms.

Only have time for a quick visit?

Go to the brand new The Local Store where all kinds of County treasures, artists & food stuffs are under one roof…in a heritage Loyalist barn.

Send us your tips on PEC!

As you can see, there are oodles of things to do in The County. While only 2 hours from Toronto or 3 hours from Ottawa, it is a place where you can really switch off! In fact, there are over 1000 places where you will probably lose cell phone reception.

Have fun as you discover Prince Edward County & email us with your favorite spots!
Debbie

 

Can’t get away?  Don’t worry….The County is coming to Ottawa!

Prep for your road trip by attending County in the Capital. Meet the makers from 20+ wineries, cideries, breweries &artisan food producers – all from The County. This is a unique opportunity to Taste & Buy your new favorites

County in the Capital picEvent Details:

Date: Wednesday April 20th
Time: 7 to 9pm
Place: Ottawa City Hall
Entry: Advance Tickets only: $55 (bring a friend for $5)
www.countycomes2ottawa.eventbrite.ca

This article was written by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm & will be featured in Ottawa Life Magazine on May 22.

 

 

Share

 It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 8th, 2016
Share

cheese-board-slider

Are you often mesmerized by the number of different cheeses? There are so many interesting wedges and rounds that it is hard to know where to start. In the latest issue of Ottawa Life Magazine, our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons advises, “Try it all! Good cheese shops in town will offer you a small slice to sample.”

And you don’t have to look farther than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. A few months ago, Glengarry Fine Cheese located in Alexandria (35 minutes from downtown Ottawa) was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards. In November at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won Super Gold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. To add to this high acclaim, this unique cheddar was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world.

Spend your time searching for good cheese

Like wine and craft beer, not everything that the cheesemaker creates is readily available at your local grocery store. Farm Boy, Whole Foods, Metro and some Loblaws locations all have decent Canadian cheese selection. Specialty stores like Jacobsons (New Edinburgh), Nicastro’s (Westboro & downtown), Serious Cheese (Kanata) and The Piggy Market (Westboro) have even a greater selection of hard-to-come-by artisan cheeses.

CoolCurds_mail-2Or…have it delivered to your door!

Rather than running around all these stores, you can have cheese delivered. There is a new ‘whey’ to discover artisan cheeses made across Canada…subscribing to Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-of-the-month club. “It is our way of forging a connection between the dynamic people who make artisan cheeses and the consumers who enjoy it at home”, explains Simmons. Each month a different Canadian cheesemaker is showcased and Simmons curates 4 to 5 different cheeses in a parcel that is delivered to the subscriber’s home or office. “To add to the enjoyment of each bite of cheese, I share the stories behind the uber-talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic cheesemakers. Each person has an interesting story that makes their cheese even richer.”

Meet Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierThere is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. Savvy Cool Curds is hands-down a great idea. I see it each year at our festival, consumers want local…they want Canadian!” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

What’s in the box?

Every month subscribers will receive a parcel hand-delivered containing 4 to 5 different wedges and rounds between 200 to 250 grams each. The assortment of farmstead and artisan cheeses are at their peak ripeness and ready to simply be unwrapped and served. From fresh to washed or aged, made using  cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and on occasion – buffalo milk; all told, the parcel will be approximately 1 kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese.

Coming soon

Cheese lovers will be in heaven when their monthly parcel arrives from these cheesemakers: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Cow’s Creamery (PEI), Back Forty Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec), and new on the scene in Prince Edward County Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy (Ontario). And that is just the beginning.

To top it all off, in each issue of the monthly Curd On The Street Magazine, Simmons’ shares her tasting notes, tips & tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes.

Seriously…Canadian artisan cheese delivered to your doorstep. Does life get any better than this?

 

This article will appear in the Feb/March 2016 Ottawa Life Magazine

 

 

 

 

Share

Our BIG CHEESE News!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Share

cheese-board-slider

ANNOUNCING: New cheese-of-the-month club delivers hard-to-come-by Canadian artisan cheeses Savvy Company launches ‘Savvy Cool Curds’.

Ottawa-based Savvy Company just made it easier for cheese lovers to enjoy the growing number of artisan cheeses being produced across Canada. Today Savvy Company has launched Canada’s first cheese-of-the-month club that hand delivers ready-to-enjoy Canadian artisan cheeses to your doorstep. Known for its wine & craft beer expertise and innovative Taste and Buy events, Savvy Company has expanded its business to work with cheesemakers, creating yet another innovative way of connecting consumers with producers with this new service.  Well-known Savvy Company Cheese Sommelier, Vanessa Simmons, will curate Savvy Cool Curds.

CoolCurds_mail-2“The artisan cheese industry in Canada is growing tremendously and making an incredible impression on the world stage.  Just last week at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won SuperGold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar and it was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world! In August, Ontario’s Glengarry Fine Cheese was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards,” says Savvy Company president and sommelier Debbie Trenholm.

“Artisan cheese is a perfect pairing with wine or craft beer.  We offer Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club and Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-of-the-month club which have both become the largest in Ontario.  Launching Savvy Cool Curds was a natural progression, seizing yet another opportunity to wave the Canadian flag.”

savvy_coolcurds_ColourEvery month Savvy Cool Curds subscribers will receive a parcel hand-delivered on the Wednesday closest to the 15th of the month.  A delivery of Savvy Cool Curds will contain 4 to 5 different wedges and rounds between 200 to 250 grams each.  A variety of farmstead and artisan cheeses have been hand-selected by Simmons and the month’s featured cheesemaker to ensure seasonality and peak ripeness for immediate enjoyment.  From fresh to washed or aged and made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep and on occasion – buffalo; all told, the parcel will be approximately 1 kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese.

To further the enjoyment & discovery of the featured cheeses, subscribers will receive the Curd on the Street eZine – a monthly mini magazine with the insider scoop, Cheese Sommelier’s tasting notes, tips & tricks along with cheese-laden recipes.

“Savvy Cool Curds is hands-down a great idea. There is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. I’m sure the cheese-of-the-month club will succeed because consumers want local…they want Canadian,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival held annually in Picton, Ontario.

“The team at Savvy Company is great & having this opportunity to be featured in Savvy Cool Curds is exciting for us. Anyone who has met Vanessa Simmons quickly sees that she is passionate about Canadian cheese. She has developed strong ties to the cheesemakers & has made countless contributions to promoting local, regional, provincial & national cheesemakers.  Subscribers to Savvy Cool Curds will benefit from her personal connections…the best part is that all of the cheese discoveries will be Canadian,” glows Maggie Paradis, owner & cheesemaker, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères in Quèbec.

The feature cheesemakers to date for 2016 include:Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese Sommelier

January Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Woodstock (ON)
FebruaryCow’s Creamery, Charlottetown (PEI)
MarchBack Forty Artisan Cheese, Lanark (ON)
April Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, St-Sixte, (QC)
May Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy, Prince Edward County (ON)

To subscribe for four, six, 12 months or longer, visit www.savvycoolcurds.ca.
Holiday Promo – subscribe for 6 or 12 months before December 30th & the subscription cost will be $55 per month (regular $60).

“As soon as Debbie told me about Savvy Cool Curds, I wanted to be featured. In fact, a cheese-of-the-month club is so incredible, that I am going to subscribe!” supports Glenn Symons, owner, winemaker & assistant cheesemaker, Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy.

“Consumers have fallen in love with artisan cheese. It is amazing. We have people who have subscribed to both our wine & craft beer of-the-month-clubs.  Now, their fridge will be full!’ exclaims Trenholm.

-30-

 

More about Savvy Company

Savvy Company specializes in creative social experiences – whether making the enjoyment of wine accessible to all, exploring the worlds of craft beer or discovering artisan cheeses. Their team of accredited Sommeliers delight in designing wine, beer and artisan events, shining the spotlight on the people who make them.  Their Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club is Ontario’s largest featuring Ontario wines not available in the LCBO, while Savvy Hip Hops has rapidly grown to be Ontario’s largest craft beer-of-the-month club.  Recently Savvy Company launched Savvy Cool Curds – Canada’s first artisan cheese-of-the-month club. Visit www.savvycompany.ca, follow @SavvyCompany or @SavvyVanessa on Twitter.

 

Media Contact:
Debbie Trenholm
Founder & Sommelier
Savvy Company
debbie@savvycompany.ca
@savvydebbie
613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)
cell: 613-851-1785

Share

Savvy Roadtrip to Prince Edward County

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 25th, 2015
Share

Hop on the Savvy Bus! We’re going to  The Great Canadian Cheese Festival on Saturday June 6. Ready for a delicious day of enjoying artisan cheeses from across Canada while also exploring Prince Edward County? We’re making it easy for you to enjoy an action-packed daytrip, with a roundtrip coach package from Ottawa & Kingston.

festival logoAt The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, you will quickly learn that Canadian cheese is so MUCH more than just cheddar! It will be a fun day meeting & learning from the dynamic people who put their heart & soul into crafting the cheeses. 

As great cheese goes with wine, ciders & craft beer, there will be several wineries, cideries & breweries from across Ontario at this year’s festival.

wapoos cider

And there is more!

After a cheese-laden afternoon, we will tour the back roads of The Country and take you to off the beaten track to a local cidery & a winery.  Here’s the inside scoop on what you’ll see at The County Cider Company, where they specialize in mouth-watering hard ciders.

wineandcrackersThree Dog Winery always tells visitors “we are the first winery you’ll get to when driving from Ottawa – we’re just over the bridge”. Enjoy the warm welcome from John Squaire and his wife Sacha, not to mention their lovely dogs Jersey, Rieki, and Bakkus.

They opened their doors in 2013 but have been planting and working the vines since 2003. It’s a great place to stop, sip & relax.

Later in the afternoon it’s back to the Crystal Palace for ‘Makers+Mongers’ dinner where you will nosh on gourmet appetizers, the best cheeseburgers on the planet & desserts that ooze cheese!

Makers+Mongers in Cheeseburger Paradise

Makers+MongersUnbelievably tasty cheeseburgers made by the grillmasters at Burger Revolution and Trade Craft Good Food using the exceptional beef from Enright Cattle Company where animals are raised on a natural, all-vegetable diet without the use of artificial hormones

Superb sausage by Seed To Sausage

Vegetarian options, too

Artisan appetizers and Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners

Scrumptious desserts

PLUS Jimmy Buffett music performed live by Brian Neale:

On a diet? It’ll just have to wait! 


Advance Bookings Only

Early Birds… get the cheese! Register before May 30 $149 per person (regular $165)

Tickets still available for the Savvy Bus

This price includes: round-trip luxury coach transportation, admission to the Cheese Festival, tasting tours of County Cider Co & 3 Dog Winery, a ticket for Makers + Mongers dinner & good ‘ol HST.
Book Now!

The Master Plan… 

The Savvy Bus will depart downtown Ottawa at 8:30am from the Ottawa Marriot (100 Kent St). Then we will head downtown to pick up passengers at Ottawa’s Pinecrest Mall & Starbucks on Princess Street (near the 401) in Kingston.

Our plan is to arrive at the Cheese Festival by 11:30am. By 3pm, we will head off ‘on tour’ to visit County Cider Co & Three Dog Winery, then return for the ‘Makers+ Mongers’ dinner on the lawn of the festival. The coach will leave the Crystal Palace (in Picton) by 7pm & be back in the Ottawa area around 10 pm.  

Bonus – wine experts on board!

Savvy Sommelier will be on the coach with you offering wine tips, telling you stories about Prince Edward County & answering any ‘County’ questions you may have along the way.

Hope to see you on the bus

Everyone is welcome to join us on this Savvy Roadtrip to Prince Edward County & The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Click here for tickets.

 

 

 

 

Share

Tips & tricks for this weekend’s Cheese Festival

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Share

Are you whey keen on cheese? With the largest cheese festival in Canada coming up this weekend (June 7 & 8), we want to help make your visit to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival the best experience yet. You will discover that Canadian cheese is so MUCH more than just cheddar! It will be a fun day meeting & learning from the dynamic people who put their heart & soul into crafting the cheeses. And new this year is a post-fest party Makers+Mongers that we are proudly sponsoring.  It will be a fun (and delicious) way to unwind after the festival and mix & mingle with those involved in the cheese biz.

cheese festival logoWith so much to see & do, it’s easy to be overwhelmed…so here are a few ‘cheesey’ tips to help you prep for the fest:

Tip #1 – How to Get There?

Hop on the Savvy Bus bound for The County stopping in at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival for the afternoon, then onwards to visit 2 wineries, then have dinner under the stars at the Makers+Mongers event.  Sit back & relax.  Let our Savvy Sommeliers take care of all of the details of this marvelous day trip.  Pick up points in Ottawa (downtown & west end) as well as Brockville & Kingston.  Only 6 spots left.  Book your spot on the Bus >>

Tip #2 – Make your ‘Must Try’ list

While you may be blown away with the numbers of different cheeses on display at Cheese Festival, the obvious question is: Where to Start?

Here the list of cheese makers by province to help you map out your trip around the festival.

Tip #3 – How to taste a cheese

Holiday-Cheese-BoardIt’s certainly not rocket science, yet here is how the pros do it – as easy as Eyes, Nose & Mouth:
EYES – Admire the rind (outside) & paste (inside), the color & texture
NOSE –Take a big sniff – what does the aroma remind you of…A barn? fruit? nuts? earth?
MOUTH –Take a nibble – Do it taste like mushrooms? sour milk? grass?  Saltiness? Herbs? Bitterness?
REPEAT & ENJOY of course…

 Tip #4 – Be on the look out for these cheeses!

There will be over 200 cheeses…yes you read that right 200! Be forewarned and don’t try to sample them all. In addition to the recent award winners from the All Canadian Cheese Awards, here some to be sure to try at either the Cheese Festival or make sure to seek them out at your local cheese store.

Ricotta – Quality Cheese

Best of Show: 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Grand Champion
2013 American Cheese Society Category Winner. 

Ricotta in Italian means re-cooked.  This cheese is made from the leftover whey after making other cheese. This Ricotta reigned supreme, winning against over 225 of Canada’s best cheeses, a first ever for both an Ontario cheese, & fresh category cheese.

My Notes: Fresh, creamy, melt in your mouth.  Very light, but rich & very versatile as a simple cheese to eat with a variety of garnishes/ condiments or used in cooking.

Le Sabot de Blanchette – La Suisse Normande

sabot2013 Selection Caseus Goat’s Milk Cheese, Laureate 

Inspired by their Swiss & French cultures, the resulting products are a marriage made in heaven & leaving their mark in Quebec.  Cheeses are made from goats raised on the farm, in true “fermier” fashion.

My 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, firm towards the center & slightly softer closer to the rind.  It has a fresh aroma, with a light acidity.

 

Pont Blanc – Fromagerie Au Grés Des Champs

Pont Blanc cheese2013 Selection Caseus Cow Milk Cheese, Fresh/Soft Paste, Laureate 

Organic farming techniques contribute to the aromas & flavors in their cheeses, as cows feed from forage fields of aromatic plants & flowers & care is taken to preserve flavors through the milking, handling & cheesemaking processes. One of the only producers of raw milk cheeses aged less than 60 days in Canada.

My Notes: Soft, lactic, surface ripened cow milk cheese.  A rare find. The skin-like rind reminds Vanessa of intricate ivory lace, while the dense interior has the texture of a soft cream sandwich or cheesecake.  Note pronounced flavors & aromas of fresh sweet milk & grass that linger and linger.  Finger licking good!

 

Alfred Le Fermier – Fromagerie La Station de Compton

Alfred le Fermier cheese2013 Selection Caseus Longaevi 

Famous among Quebec cheeses, having won more awards over the years than one can keep track of.  Simon Pierre, master cheese maker started off helping out & never left the business! Named as a tribute to his grandfather Alfred Bolduc who started the business 80 years earlier – as shown in the beautiful imprint inset into the rind of the cheese. 

My Notes: A true, rustic, organic, raw cow’s milk farmstead cheese made in small batches, pressed & cooked, washed/turned by hand. It has a European style, but with local terroir, as a result of choosing closely the hay from their local Estrie region (terroir!). Note heavy woodsy, herbal & floral aromas, with layers of milky, grassy & buttery complexity on the palette, more pronounced with age.

 

Mont Jacob – Fromagerie Blackburn

Mon Jacob cheese2013 Selection Caseus Silver 

Named for a mountain across from the cheese shop, not surprisingly big on taste! 

My Notes:  A semi-firm, farmstead, pale blush-colored washed-rind cheese whose ivory paste becomes suppler with age – softening closer to the rind. Aromas are pronounced at room temp & on the palate experience fruity, salty flavors, sweet & sour cooked milk. Dense texture is perfect for snacking, or melted as grilled cheese.

 

Old Grizzley – Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd.

Old Grizzly cheese2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Category Winner: Gouda & Farmhouse Cheese 

Owner Jan Schalkwijk, has been making cheese for over fifty years, from The Netherlands to Canada, has always been a dairyman, focusing on cows as a hobby. 

My Notes: Named for power & strength, naturally ripened & touted as “lactose-free” after one week due to the cultures used & the varying of temperature from room to higher than average during the first stages of affinage. Aged for two years, it has strong flavors of nut combined with a smooth creamy texture.

 

Lankaaster Aged – Glengarry Fine Cheese

Lankaaster from Glengarry Fine Cheese2013 Global Cheese Awards – Supreme Global Champion 

Named for its local region (“kaas” the Dutch word for cheese), aged for 14 to 24 months, this extra old batch of Lancaster is from gourmet artisan cheese maker pioneer Margaret Morris. 

My Notes: Firm to hard cow’s milk cheeses comes shaped in a loaf or wheel, covered in a waxy rind is a Gouda-style after Dutch farmstead cheese. It’s rich, dense & chewy with intense buttery, fruity, caramelized nutty flavors that linger forever.

 

Bleu D’Élizabeth – Fromagerie de la Presbytere

Bleu D'Elizabeth, Fromagerie de la Presbytere by Vanessa Simmons2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Category Winner: Blue Cheese & Organic Cheese
2013 Sélection Caseus, Quebec Fine Cheese Awards Best of Show Winner: Gold, Emeritus & Blue-Veined Cheese Category
 

My Notes: A beautiful, semi-soft, raw organic cow’s milk blue cheese, it has a natural rind with spots of dark clay.  The creamy, silky, straw-colored paste is speckled with slate & blue-green veins throughout. Rich in flavor, with a hint of sweetness, spice & salt, it pairs beautifully with iced wine, cider or port.

 

TIP #5 – Stay for dinner at Makers+MongersMakers & Mongers dinner logo

New this year we are sponsoring the post-festival party called the Makers+Mongers serving up even more opportunity to mix & mingle with folks in the cheese biz while noshing on gourmet creations.  Each dish will feature one of the top winning cheeses from the Canadian Cheese Awards.

Everyone welcome to join the fun.

Buy your tickets in advance or at the door >>

 

 

 

BONUS TIP #6 – Even more ways to learn about cheese

And be sure to take part in the seminars too – including a Craft Beer & Cheese tasting by our own Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. And my seminar: The People’s Choice Awards to select your favorite Canadian cheese.

vanessa-bioYou be the Judge – tutored tasting hosted by Vanessa Simmons & Janice Beaton

Saturday at 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
The tables are turned…this time you will be the judge as you taste & score Canadian Cheese Awards winners to select People’s Choice for Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Here is your chance to sample the 16 best artisan cheeses made in Canada in a three-hour marathon tasting. Yes…3 hours of nothing but cheese! Evaluate and score them just like a judge would in a competition.  You’ll be guided by two experts who served as judges at the Canadian Cheese Awards earlier this year, Vanessa Simmons cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and Janice Beaton, owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and FARM Restaurant, Calgary. Your scores will be tabulated on the spot to then determine the People’s Choice Canadian Cheese of the Year. It will be interesting to compare your choice against the cheese the professional judges named at the REAL Canadian Cheese Awards on April 7 2014 in Toronto.

Tickets: ORDER NOW

  

Debbie TrenholmWine or Beer, Which Pairs Better with Cheese? – tutored tasting hosted by Debbie Trenholm

Saturday at 2 p.m.
We’ve all been to a Wine & Cheese . . . but might Beer & Cheese be a better taste match?

Join Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier at Savvy Company and founder of Savvy Hip Hops Ontario craft-beer-of-the-month-club as she puts fine wines and craft beers to the taste test.  The winning verdict of this Battle of the Taste Buds will be determined after enjoying many chunks of award-winning Canadian cheese paired with outstanding Ontario wines and craft beers. It’s not easy being cheesy, yet one thing is for sure, this tasting will be delicious!

Bonus: All participants will take home complimentary wine and beer tasting glasses.

Tickets: still a few spots left – ORDER NOW

We make it easy to be cheesey!

See you at the fest!

-Vanessa

 

 

Share

Newsletter May 2014 – Cheese-y Road Trip to The County & BBQ wine tips

Posted by Debbie

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Share

Spring has burst into summer & the Savvy Team has organized a road trip to Prince Edward County, top wine picks when you fire up the BBQ & insider tips on how to get involved in the wine, beer & spirits biz. Join us!

Did you know. . . today is Chardonnay Day? 

Corks will be flying around the world today celebrating this white wine grape & the upcoming International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (aka i4c) in Niagara that shines the spotlight on all wines made with Chardonnay.

Is it Chard’-o’clock yet??

Hop on the Savvy Bus – we’re going to Prince Edward County!

Last month’s Savvy Bus trip sold out so quickly . . .we’re going to The County again! Join us on Saturday June 7th bound for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival where hundreds of artisan cheeses are waiting to be enjoyed. Everyone will be there – cheesemakers, farmers, brewmasters, winemakers, chefs & artists too.

Be sure to take part in the Savvy Seminars too – including a Wine or Craft Beer – which is better with cheese? tasting by our own Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. And be part of the People’s Choice Awards with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons to have your say in Canada’s top artisan cheese.

And any trip to The County is not complete without a visit to a winery or two. We’ll take a break from cheese to hit the country roads and discover some nearby wineries.

NEW: Makers+Mongers dinner under the stars!

We are delighted to be the sponsor of the new Makers+Mongers after-festival party! The Savvy Bus will return to Picton to take in the fun mixing & mingling with those involved in the cheese industry. The cheese laden menu will feature top winning cheeses from the Canadian Cheese Awards & a tasty BBQ.

Book your spot on the Savvy Bus $130 includes everything! (reg $150) > >

OR. . .go for a gourmet getaway!

 

Buy tickets to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival & join us for dinner at Makers+Mongers > >

Get the inside scoop on Importing Wine, Beer & Spirits

Thinking about becoming a wine, beer & spirits agent? Or already involved & looking for a competitive edge? Register for the popular Importing Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits for Pleasure & Profit seminar to learn from industry ‘guru’ Steven Trenholme. During this day long seminar he will explain how to bring wine back from your travels, how to start an agency & sell through the LCBO or SAQ.

Steven certainly knows the ins & outs. He has over 30 years experience working as manager of a national sales agency, brand manager of Mosel wines in Germany, consultant to Wines of South Africa & SABMiller. An invaluable seminar if you are wondering what it takes to be involved in ‘the biz’.

Toronto: Saturday June 7th

Only 6 seats left.

Register before it sells out > >

Firing up your BBQ? Here are 3 Savvy wine tips:

TIP #1 – Every 2 weeks, our Savvy Sommeliers blog If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages’ – it’s a tried & tested shopping list of wines we highly recommend to buy at LCBO Vintages.

TIP #2 – What goes with BBQ? Malbec of course! We recently showcased renowned Canadian winemaker Ann Sperling who is a winemaker in Niagara, Okanagan & Argentina – all at once! Ann’s full bodied Versado Malbec 2012 WOWed the crowd. This BIG red is begging to be enjoyed with anything off the BBQ or lay down in your cellar. Treat yourself! Click to find this premium Malbec at your LCBO – you’ll thank us for this tip!

TIP #3Do you like Rosé wine? We’re about to make a first-of-its-kind announcement that will make you clink & drink pink. Email us cheers@savvycompany.ca to get the news first!

Happy Chardonnay Day!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 

Share

Love cheese? Here’s a Festival for you!

Posted by Vanessa

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
Share

PRESS RELEASE: Come to the annual celebration of ‘all things cheese’ on June 7-8th at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Award-winning artisan and farmstead cheese from coast to coast will be showcased at the biggest cheese show in Canada, held in Picton, Ontario.

Canadian Cheese of the Year – and the winner is…

Visitors to the festival will be able to taste and purchase more than 125 different cheeses including Le Baluchon, the Cheese of the Year made by Fromagerie F.X. Pichet of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec. 

Marie-Claude Harvey, who owns the fromagerie with her husband, Michel Pichet, will be the guest of honour at Makers+Mongers, the Festival’s Saturday evening function celebrating the men and women who make and sell artisan cheese and artisan foods.

Cheesemakers, artisan food producers, small-batch wineries and craft breweries and other exhibitors and vendors have reserved 125 booths in Crystal Palace, Prince Edward Curling Club, the new Artisan Foods Pavilion and Picton Fairgrounds making the event thecheese-of-the-year-1000-mar-19-copy biggest cheese show in Canada and one of the biggest artisan foods markets in Ontario.

New & improved in 2014

In addition to cheese and more cheese, artisan foods and beverages, the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, features:

New for 2014: Sales of VQA wines by the bottle or case by wineries as part of the pilot project initiated by the Ontario government to promote locally-grown wines. 

New for 2014: Rest and recover from all the sampling in the Festival’s new Presentation Pavilion while listening to local musicians. 

New topics: Seminars in the All you Need Is Cheese® Annex presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada as a bonus feature of the

Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair. Learn about the best in Canadian cheese at special presentations conducted by leading cheese educator Deborah Levy. 

The Festival’s own Cheese Dairy Farm featuring cows, goats, sheep and Yvette, the sweetest water buffalo you’ll ever meet. 

A Food Court featuring tasty eats prepared by Urban Herb, Picnic Food Truck and Seed to Sausage. 

Sunday, June 8, is Family Day at the Cheese Fair with children admitted free when accompanied by an adult. 

Cheese Fair adult admission includes

Access to all sponsors, exhibitors and vendors—with close to 200 products to sample

10 tasting tickets for cheese, artisan foods, wine and beer, valued at $10

Souvenir Festival insulated bag for your purchases, valued at $10

Glass for sampling wine, beer and cider

Admittance on first-come, first-served basis to cheese seminars presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada

Festival Dairy Farm, Food court and FREE parking. 

Tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The advance ticket price is $36. At the event, the price is $45. There is no fee charged on online ticket purchases. Youth and child tickets for the Cheese Fair are available. All other Festival events are age of majority only.

Cheeselovers sample award winning cheeses by Vanessa SimmonsSpecial Events & Presentations at the The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The Tutored Tasting presentations include how to pair artisan cheese with wine, how to pair artisan cheese with beer and a three-hour marathon tasting billed as You Be The Judge: Taste and score the 16 best cheeses in the Canadian Cheese Awards to determine the People’s Choice for Canadian Cheese of the Year. Separate tickets required.

Special events like Gastronomy on the Farm with Jamie Kennedy and Cooking with Cheese Class are sold out already. Still available are tickets for Tutored Tastings, Cheese Tours—one in Prince Edward County, the other in Bay of Quinte Region—and Makers+Mongers.

Picton Fairgrounds is located in the heart of Prince Edward County, south of Belleville in Bay of Quinte Region. One hour from Kingston, two hours from Toronto, three hours from Ottawa and New York State, and less than four hours from Montreal.

Cheeseheads at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by Vanessa SimmonsThe Great Canadian Cheese Festival is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the generous support of Celebrate Ontario. Dairy Farmers of Canada is Diamond Sponsor and Bay of Quinte Region is Gold Sponsor. Savvy Company is Presenting Partner.

Advance tickets are sold online at www.CheeseFestival.ca. In order to assure a high-quality experience for consumers and producers, ticket sales will be limited, so don’t delay. Save money and avoid the line-up at the door by purchasing tickets in advance.

Details for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival 

June 7-8, 2014, Picton, Ontario
1.866.865.2628
http://www.CheeseFestival.ca

 

 

 

Share