Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Simmons’

Fabulous Fromages from Quebec

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
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This month’s Savvy Cool Curds, the only cheese-of- the-month club in the country dedicated to featuring hard-to-come- by lovingly handcrafted Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses celebrates SUMMER with Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde. For backyard BBQs, cottage country, lake living, patio parties, regional road trips or lazy hazy beach days, #CdnCheese is the easiest, effortless, “whey” to snack, feast or entertain this summer. Grab some good friends, pick a place, crack open a local craft brew, artisan wine or cider and kick back with your Savvy Cool Curds. As temperatures soar, who wants to work any harder than that?

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Very special and hard-to- find artisan cheeses including:
La Galette de La Table Ronde 250g
Le Fou du Roy 200g
Le Ménestrel 200g
Fleuron 200g
…and a box of savoury treats from Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.

 

Looking for more fabulous Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde Cheese?

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…

Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

A road trip almost ten years ago lead me to Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde in the Laurentians of Quebec, while I was exploring the famous Routes des Fromages fins du Quebec. All this time later, I return regularly as one of my must stops along the way to Montreal, along with a few neighbouring cheesemakers because of the awesome cheese, and the warm hospitality I always receive from owners France Dion and Ronald Alary (in photo below).

It’s an all out family business at the Fromagerie, as a 4 th generation dairy farm, dating back pre-1950’s, with Holstein (and a few Jersey) cows and in 2003, the cheese factory. And today they have an abundance of popular products that can be found across Quebec and in Ontario, while others are only available locally at the shop. If you visit, the fragrant aroma of fresh cheese and milk will immediately strike you as you walk in the door. I highly recommend soft cheeses Le Nymph and La Courtisan and, of course, their flagship all mushroomy all the time Rassembleu. France and Ronald have a special touch with soft and semi-soft cheeses.

All For One

The name Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde (the cheesemakers of the round table) stems from a family gathering, akin to that back in medieval times of the Knights of the Round Table. The Alarys were seated at a big round family table and discussing ways to viably keep their children involved in the farm and family business (and making money) and thus a Fromagerie where fine organic cheeses could be made was born.  All of the cheese names since relate back to that theme.

Rassembleu is the idea of gathering around a table and the others are for key roles held at court way back when. All of them are quirky but fitting, given the cheese, and the history of their makers. All the cheese production and aging happens on the property. One aging room houses over $100,000 worth of cheese at any given time! Ronald also has a partnership with neighbouring cheese house Fromagerie Fuoco for production of their mouth-watering buffalo milk products.

Committed to Organic

Long before cheesemaking the Alary family had been committed to organic as dairy farmers. Certified organic as of 1999, the same holds true today. Only the fresh, organic milk from their farm is used in their cheesemaking. A traditional process combined with modern day technology allows them to meet the rigorous standards of Quebec Vrai official certification, while producing their fine cheese and being committed to local. “Canadians want Canadian cheese” says Ronald. “They want to know where their food comes from and they will seek it out”. No pesticides or chemicals are used on the property, animals are hormone-free and a special ten-metre barrier separates their farm from neighbouring acreage.

Ronald and family are expanding their horizons, always experimenting. They expect growth in the cheese factory with some renovations over the coming years and a perhaps a new cheese on the block in the future, something much more bold and incredibly robust than any of their current products but we can’t say more than that! Stay tuned for more, or visit them this summer and ask about the secret! Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are always welcome for a tour!

 

~ 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!

La Galette de la Table Ronde

La Galette de la Table Ronde is an award-winning fan favourite from this cheesemaker. Aged less than a month before distribution, these small, beautiful wheels are enjoyed best at 4-6 weeks as they begin to relax & become ripe/runny.

Tasting Notes: Galette is a pasteurized organic cow’s milk cheese with a delicate soft, bloomy washed rind. Find it rich and creamy, sexy and sinful, especially if you keep it for an extra week! Enjoy lots of mushroomy with a little tang on the finish.

Suggested Pairing: Perfect for two to enjoy on your next picnic with fresh raspberries/blueberries/figs, local honey, topped with fresh market jam or hot pepper jelly on baguette or seed crackers. Pop the cork on a chilled Viognier or Pinot Gris and you’ll be sure to impress!

 

Le Fou du Roy

Keeping along the theme of ancient times, Le Fou du Roy (translated to the King’s Jester) is finalist in a
number of cheese awards and one of La Table Ronde’s most consistently perfect cheeses.

Tasting Notes: Le Fou du Roy is a semi-soft, washed-rind, farmstead, organic cow’s milk and truly a “stinky cheese”. It’s a gorgeous little wheel of just more than a kilo, with a perfect, apricot rind and golden paste interior. Aromas and flavors abound of butter, fresh hay, roasted nuts, and toast.

Suggested Pairing: Grilled artisan sausages (like Seed to Sausage Apple Sage, Caramelized Onion/Peppers or Maple Walnut) come to mind as a perfect partner for Le Fou du Roy. When almost cooked, split down the middle, line with Le Fou du Roy & your fave fixings & crack open a local seasonal microbrew, something hoppy, toasty or nutty.

 

Le Ménestrel

Ménestrel is one of La Table Ronde’s newest cheeses, named after medieval singing musicians. It’s made only occasionally during winter and spring months and ramp up production into end of summer/fall for the following winter/spring. Each wheel is an approximate 6-7 kg of cheesy goodness, aged for 9 months or more. Watch for special releases at Christmas time of reserved 1 or 2-year wheels at the cheese factory. A must for the cheese lover on your list as flavors become more intense over
time. Caseus D’Or (Gold) winner in 2015; this means out of all the cheeses judged, in all the categories it took top prize

Tasting Notes: Ménestrel is a washed rind cheese that has been pressed and cooked, made with pasteurized organic milk from Holstein cows. It has a pale straw to copper colour rind with a smooth paste, which tastes of butter, cream, nut and dried grass.

Suggested Pairing: Ménestrel is a great snacking cheese, perfect for picnics & shared with great company. Enjoy with a local IPA or medium red wine. Pair with nuts, fruit, and locally sliced charcuterie for an easy peasy cheese board!

 

Fleuron

More intense that its sister cheese, Rassembleu, Fleuron is a unique true Quebec bleu cheese as named for its origin region and made artisan-style, aged two to four months. Named a finalist in the Blue Cheese category at this year’s Caseus Quebec Cheese Awards.

Tasting Notes:  A natural grey/white rustic rind covers this tall cylindrical elegant organic cow’s milk blue cheese, hiding a pale ivory paste with slate-grey veining, concentrated closer to the center of the cheese. Earthy, woody & fungal aromas blend nicely with vegetal, creamy & slight salty flavors.

Suggested Pairing: Fleuron is soft and oozy, for summer enjoy with fresh ripe strawberries or cantaloupe drizzled with local honey, or as a surprise stuffing centre to home made burgers. Pair with bubbles such as Lighthall Progression or a Prince Edward County cider, such as Clafeld Smashed Apple Cider.

~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

With La Galette de la Table Ronde…
La Galette de la Table Ronde Smoked Salmon Bites

Adopted Recipe & Photo Credit: recettesdici.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 x 225 g (8 oz.) cheese – La Galette de la Table Ronde
24 rice crackers
4 ¼ oz. smoked salmon
2 tsp. mixture of roasted plain and black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. honey

Method

Cut the cheese into 24 small wedges.
Sprinkle sesame seeds one side of each wedge.
Place the rice crackers on a serving tray.
Spread the smoked salmon on the crackers. Add a wedge of cheese, seed side up.
Sprinkle all with more sesame seeds and drizzle honey over the entire plate.

With Le Fou du Roy…
Fou du Roy Bread

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 eggs
125 mL (½ cup) milk
30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
180 g (¾ cup) flour
5 mL (1 tsp.) baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
200 g (7 oz.) Le Fou du Roy cheese, shredded
90 g (cup) smoked turkey, chopped

Method

Beat the eggs, milk and olive oil.
Add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cheese. The mixture should be as homogeneous as possible.
Crumble in the smoked turkey.
Preheat oven to 200 ° C (400 ° F).
Butter a bread pan and pour in the mixture. Cook for 40 minutes.

 

With Le Ménestrel…
Eggs Benedictine a Le Ménestrel

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

15 ml (1 tablespoon) white vinegar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 English muffins, halved
4 small slices of cooked ham
water for boiling eggs

Cheese sauce:
30 ml (2 tbsp.) butter
30 ml (2 tbsp.) flour
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) warm milk
Salt and pepper
80 ml (cup) Le Ménestrel cheese

Method

Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Combine flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring, over medium heat. Add hot
milk, salt and pepper, whisking. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring. Stir in cheese and cook for 2 to 3
minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil water, vinegar and salt. Lower the heat and simmer.

In a small container, break the eggs and put them gently, one by one, in hot water. Cook for 3 to 4
minutes. Remove the eggs with a holed spatula. Set aside/keep warm.

Roast the English half-muffins and arrange them in two plates. Cover with a little cheese sauce.

Spread a slice of ham and a poached egg on each half-muffin. Cover with sauce. Serve with fresh fruit or small roasted potatoes.

 

With Fleuron…
Blue Cheese Apple Salad

Recipe & Photo Credit: Plaisirs Gourmets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

2 large apples cut into bite-size pieces
2 large handfuls of toasted nuts – hazelnuts or walnuts
1 tsp. mayonnaise & 1 tsp. yogurt, mixed
1 piece of Rassembleu (substitute Fleuron)
cut into small dice (approximately 75 g)

Method

Mix just before serving.

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Announcing… In-Cider Picks Ontario craft cider…delivered

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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Summer just got cooler for craft cider fans. The Savvy Team is excited to announce that we are making plenty of room in our fridge for ciders made at boutique cideries across Ontario. The craft cider scene is exploding with new flavour combos being released every day – so many that it is hard to keep up.

You asked…we’re going to deliver!

This summer we are working with cidermakers to create Savvy In-Cider Picks to deliver crisp ciders to you – at home, work or your cottage. Each month is a different assortment of refreshing, dry & delicious ciders that are guaranteed to quench your thirst.

Order by July 20th & shipping is FREE

That’s right – deadline to order the July In-Cider Picks is Wednesday July 20th
Get them apples! Order yours now >>

 

What’s our July picks?

From County Cider Company (Prince Edward County)…

County Premium Cider
Blood Orange Cider
Pear Cider
Tortured Path Cider
2 bottles (500mL) of each will be sent

From Tawse Winery (Niagara)…

Sparkling Cider – just released last week!
2 bottles (750mL) will be sent

Mark. Our. Words. These craft ciders are hard-to-come-by & quickly sell out. You won’t find them at the LCBO.

 

Order one bunch OR get deliveries all summer!

What is the cost?

Each month is a slightly different price based on the ciders we picked. For July, the total price of this bushel is $82.00. Shipping is FREE to addresses in major cities in Ontario.

One month or two?

Order just the July In-Cider Picks OR have both July & August assortments delivered to you.

You don’t have to get out of your deck chair.
Order Now >>

 

…and we have Cheese too!

Our Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-o-month club has become WILDLY popular! It’s the new whey to discover hard-to-find cheese made across Canada. Each month, we will deliver 4 to 5 outstanding cheeses – hard, soft, fresh or aged – made with various milks – cow, goat, sheep…even buffalo!

These artisan cheeses are perfect for picnics, in summer salads or melted on top of your BBQed burger.

In July we will send you ‘The Best of the Fest’. This is an extra special assortment of 5 different artisan cheeses that wowed our Cheese Sommelier at this year’s Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

 

Try it once…or subscribe!

Exclusively for July you can order Savvy Cool Curds for a one-time price of $60 OR subscribe for 4 or 6 months for $55 per month. Shipping + HST is extra.

It is easy to be cheese-y!
Order up your Savvy Cool Curds >>

 

Cheers & Keep cool,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

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

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

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No black sheep here! 100% creamy sheep milk cheese

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
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Spring has sprung …and hopefully you will feel the same sunny vibe when you open this month’s parcel of Savvy Cool Curds.  Bright colour cheeses & bundles of delicious-ness are there, waiting to be enjoyed.  This month, we shine the spotlight (or should I say ray of sunshine) on Best BAA Diary located in the small town of Fergus, Ontario.

Best Baa Dairy is a family run business that makes stunning cheese with local sheep milk. Not only do they make artisan cheese, their yogurt and ice cream is fantastic too…and it’s 100% sheep’s milk!  “The days are long but this tremendous family effort is rewarded by happy consumers of our delicious sheep milk products”, says Nicole Bzikot, the dairy’s second-generation owner.

 

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… these rare artisan cheese beauties:

Feta
Eweda Cru
Sheep in the Meadow
Ramembert
Mouton Rouge

 

Nicole and Peter – like Elisabeth and Eric before them – fundamentally believe that the viability, as well as sustainability, of the family farm is the backbone of rural communities.  Nicole and Peter continue the family mantra and are committed to the Five Freedoms of farming practiced by farming communities in the UK:

Freedom from hunger and thirst.
Freedom from fear and disease.
Freedom from discomfort.
Freedom from pain and injury.
Freedom to express natural, normal behaviour.

By providing the herd with these five freedoms, they tend to be healthier and the need for medication rare.

 

Special gift from us!

In your package this month you’ll find a little something extra from Savvy Company.  Our marketing wizard, Karen, let me in on a wonderful product she recently discovered; an all natural and reusable food wrap made from beeswax!  This Canadian invention keeps cheese much fresher and longer than plastic wrap can.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!  Learn how to use and care for the wrap at abeego.com.

Enjoy your cheese!

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds?  If we have extra chunks of cheese, you are welcome to it. Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you.  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing….
20 Questions with Nicole Bzikot

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

We’ve finally left winter behind, and we are ‘lighten-ing’ it up on these pages too.  Time to try something different to keep things fun & to dig a bit deeper and get some interesting ‘dirt’ (sorry for that corny pun) on the dynamic people behind the cheeses that we send you.   Not only are they great cheesemakers, they are incredibly interesting people with neat stories to tell about how they got into cheese biz!

So,  let’s pose some questions and put Nicole on the “Savvy Hot Seat”, shall we?

Current Job:
My husband Peter and I are the owner operators.  Peter’s parents started the biz & in January they retired. Honestly though, everyone does a bit of everything!

It’s Wine O’clock. What wine & cheese combo would you like right this minute?
My go-to is the Mouton Rouge, yet it needs a robust red to go with it and with the sun pouring into the cheese shop, I am thinking more along the lines of Rose wine right now.  So that definitely would be best with the Ramembert.

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The funny thing is that my background is in textile art.  I met Peter when I bought cheese at the St Laurence Market.  Interestingly, I was selling art supplies and hand made craft items at the time. I never EVER dreamed that I would be living on a farm. The craft part of me stays true as we are crafting cheese here.

What is in a name?
Around here, product names are often highly debated. We take the approach of using silly Sheep-related puns to make memorable.

What is it about cheese that got you hooked?
Cheese can be political, romantic, and when you travel there is always different types to try.

What lead you down the path to becoming the cheesemaker you are today:
Cheesemaker wasn’t my dream job, but now I realize that I love eating cheese and it is such meaningful work .  It is definitely physical work, I use my hands to create.  The best part is that our customers write regularly to thank you for the products we make.  That fills my soul.

Is there music playing in the cheesemaking facility right now?
Absolutely.  We mix it up all the time.  We have satellite radio and usually we listen to the channel called Spectrum.  It plays a mix of the 70s-80s-90s.

Favorite thing about the local cheese industry:
I love the fact that we know the people & family behind the milk we purchase.  It provides a significant income that allows them to stay on their family farm.

Favorite thing about making cheese:
By the end of the day you have a product that people need & want to keep them healthy. Something tangible.

What is the unglamorous thing about cheesemaking?
I find it funny that anyone thinks this is glamourous. Everyday we wear something just short of being called PJs & a hairnet.

Why did you choose yellow and green wax for your cheeses?
They are happy colours. Green = grass. Yellow = sunshine.

Industry Mentors:
We are humbled by what the cheese that is coming out of Quebec. While we grow, we are always trying to raise our own standards.

What wine region do you want to visit next?
Italy. But honestly, it is hard to get away.

One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
I have always enjoyed leadership through comraderie.  In addition to Peter and I, there are 8 people on staff.  They are all local (not relatives!).  The interesting thing is that we are all friends outside of work too.

When is your birthday (no year required!):
March 22 – and wouldn’t you know it…my Zodiac symbol is a ram!   

My Birthday “Favorite Meal”
That is easy….spaghetti.  Or fresh lobster, but that is hard to come by here in Fergus.

A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the cheese shop:
People are shocked when they meet me after chatting on the phone or online.  I am 6 feet tall & have a young face.  I usually get “you can’t possibly be the owner….you are too young!”

What does you daughter think?
She is 9 years old and is very proud of what we do.  She stamps the bags or is on the front line ready to offer samples at Farmers Market. I think she might like to be a shepherdess, like her grandmother.

 

 

~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Typically, Vanessa offers her tasting notes…but for this issue we are mixing it up a bit and have asked Nicole to share her thoughts on the special cheeses in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds.

 

Feta

This traditional Greek style feta is made from pasteurized and raw sheep milk.  The flavour in both versions is tangy and full, with hints of lemon.  The flavour is more abundant in the raw milk version with greater nutritional value preserved (cheese speak: flavour loss through pasteurization).

It takes upwards of 3 weeks to make this feta, then it is packaged in brine made from the whey.  This delicious cheese can stand on its own or enhance your favourite dish.

 

Eweda Cru

Beginning with a traditional gouda recipe, this raw milk cheese is aged for a minimum of 9 months.  Each wheel is marked with information pertaining to the producer of the milk used.

Each round of this semi-hard cheese weighs approx. 3 kgs.  Why is the wax green?  To represent the grass.  Cut inside and you will find the paste (cheese speak: the cheese) is pale yellow with many small holes.  The texture is slightly crumbly yet smooth on the tongue.  Its rich, earthy aroma leads beautifully towards an explosive, complex flavour.

When savoured, Eweda Cru is nutty at first, then grassy with a lingering finale of creamy freshness.

 

Mouton Rouge

It’s playful name; this firm cheese is mild yet pleasing, and full of surprises.

The reddish tinged rind encases a pale, creamy yellow paste, dotted with small holes.  The aroma is fresh and grassy.  The nutty rind contrasts beautifully with the mild, slightly buttery inner paste.  A lingering creaminess remains on the palette.  Made in rounds of 1 to 3 kgs that have aged for upwards of 60 days.

 

Ramembert

Get it?  This cheese is Best BAA’s version of Camembert.  “We love using puns for our product names…it makes you remember them better” says Nicole, laughing at her own joke.

This small, bloom ripened cheese, has an exterior that is fluffy and white, concealing an ivory white interior.  The paste is creamy and smooth with an earthy, mushroomy aroma.  The cheese is at its best when the sides yield easily to pressure.  Then the cheese oozes goodness!  Store in the fridge when ripe and serve with a crisp baguette, a few grapes and any bold red wine.

 

Sheep in the Meadow

This lactic cheese has a bloomy rind sprinkled with Herbes de Provence from France. Rosemary and thyme dominate the aroma while mushroomy undertones also are noticed.  Close to the rind, the texture is creamy, and you will find it increasingly firm towards the centre.  Luxuriously smooth, the creamy paste is imbued by the herbs.

It is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in its early, fresh cheese stage or in its later ripened state.  Savour it your way!

Photo credits: GuelphToday.com

 

 

 ~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

Asparagus Eweda Tart

from Martha Stewart’s kitchen

 

Ingredients

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Eweda cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

 

Lamb and Feta Chili

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen – Best Baa Dairy
TIP: This makes a BIG batch to feed a hungry crowd or to store in your freezer for a quick an easy meal later!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
250 grams of fresh Feta cheese
1 medium yellow pepper
1 medium red pepper
1 kg of ground lamb
3  16 oz. cans of tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Brown the ground lamb in a large pot.  Salt and pepper the meat while it is cooking.  Drain the lamb and set it aside in a second, medium size pot.  Saute the onions, garlic and peppers in the same pot used for browning the meat (without cleaning it!)  If there isn’t sufficient fat left in the pot, you may want to use a little olive oil.

Return the lamb to the large pot.  Add the tomato sauce and chili powder.  Cook on medium heat for approximately one and a half hours.

Serve up the chili in your favourite bowls and garnish with a few spoonfuls of the fresh sheep milk cheese curd or sheep milk creme fraiche.

Enjoy!

 

 

Curry Potato and Cheese Patties

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen- Best Baa Dairy

Ingredients

8 medium potatoes, peeled
1 cup of Eweda Cru cheese, grated
1 egg
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons of curry powder
½ cup of flour

 

Directions

Boil potatoes till tender.  Mash and cool.  Add egg, cheese, onion and salt. Form mixture into golf ball sized balls.

In separate bowl, mix flour and curry powder.  Roll potato balls in flour mixture.

Over medium heat, press in frying pan with olive oil and fry until lightly browned.  Add more grated cheese on top if desired and serve!

 

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Cheesin’s Greetings!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Celebrating with Canadian cheese is one of the simplest ways I know to entertain during hectic holidays. Cheese is low maintenance and requires no time or fuss to prepare. It always presents well, but best of all, when chosen with care, is guaranteed to be the highlight of party conversations and special memories for years to come.  This month’s holiday issue of Savvy Cool Curds spotlights a selection of cheeses for easy entertaining.

2016 was another busy year for Canadian cheesemakers. With more events, competitions and awards, producers and tasty cheeses on the scene than ever, deciding on only a few will be the hardest chore you’ll have on your “to do” list.  Read on for holiday tips with Canadian Cheese and last minute gift ideas!

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

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

Apprenti Sorcier 200g
Homecoming 200g
Milkhouse Tomme 200g
Muskoka Bliss 200g
Christmas Cheese Ball 200g


Looking for more awesome Canadian cheese for holiday entertaining?

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

  

Cheesin’s Greetings
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Entertaining with Canadian artisan cheese is the easiest whey to add a cheesy element to your holiday plans this festive season. Give cheese as a hostess gift or for that hard to buy for name on your list, introduce a cheese course to your holiday meal either as a stunning appetizer to kick things off or as a lazy finish, or pull together a quick wine & cheese tasting as a cocktail party substitute.  Here are some of my quick tips:

Top Tips for Entertaining

1) Think of your audience

Who are you entertaining and for how long?  Will a meal or other snacks be served? When in doubt choose small soft wheels of cheese (buy a few to have on hand, they make wonderful hostess gifts too).

2) Be a Savvy shopper

Buy from a reputable cheese shop as close as possible to your celebration. Ask for a fresh cut wedge. In Ottawa, look for artisan cheeses at Serious Cheese, The Piggy Market, Thyme & Again, The Red Apron, Jacobson’s Gourmet Concepts, the Ottawa Bagelshop and throughout Ontario at fine grocery stores such as Farm Boy.

2) Mix & mingle

Consider taste, style and texture or region, milk type (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo) or category  (fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard, blue).  3 to 5 cheeses display well on a board or serve one stellar cheese as an appetizer or dessert. Buying cheeses that look different offers visual appeal.  5-10gms/cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

3) Serve with star treatment

Serve at room temperature.  Offer one knife per cheese. Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.  Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.  Keep it simple so the cheese will shine.

4) Compliment your cheese

Serve specialty breads, gourmet crackers, fresh seasonal or dried fruits, figs, dates, raw or toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

5) Add wine or craft beer

In general beers and white wines pair best and more often with a wider variety of cheeses. Remember balance is key. For help on selecting wines & craft beers give our experts a call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

6) Talk it up

What do you see, smell and taste?  Share your experience. Compare notes.  Conversations around the cheese board create lasting memories of your event.  Cheese has evolved from being solely an ingredient to the focal point of a party, as it’s the perfect food to bring people together.

7) Take time to enjoy every nibble

Slow down and savor each morsel.  The holidays are a special time of year to make merry with friends, family (and cheese!).  Take a break from hosting to enjoy yourself and the company of your guests.

 

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!

Apprenti Sorcier

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères is the wizard behind Apprenti Sorcier (translated as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), a soft, surface-ripened pasteurized mixed sheep and cow milk cheese sold in small wheels.

Tasting Notes: A thick, bright white bloomy rind and rich, runny, ivory paste produce wild mushroomy aromas mixed with buttery, finger-licking, salty flavours.

Suggested Pairing:  Have a loaf of crusty baguette on hand if your piece is ripe — you’ll need it to “mop up” until the cheese is all gone!  Top with chutneys, relishes, caramelized onions, cranberries, nuts, maple syrup or honey/rosemary for a quick appetizer.

Stonetown Cheese Homecoming

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 and first prize at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair recently. 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 snacking or grilled cheese, pair with unoaked Chardonnay or Semillon.

 

Milkhouse Tomme

The hardworking team of Cait and Kyle White from Smiths Falls makes Milkhouse Tomme lovingly from their own flock of British Milk Sheep. They are proud to have full traceability from animal to market of their milk and their cheese.

Tasting Notes: Milkhouse Tomme is a beautiful, rustic raw sheep milk cheese with a natural rind styled after French Tomme de Savoie.  It’s a tasty package of richness, with a dense interior texture and herbal and grassy notes on the nose and palate.

Suggested Pairing: Great paired with Sauvignon Blanc or oaky Chardonnay and dolloped with a stone fruit (peach, apricot) preserve.

 

Muskoka Bliss

Muskoka Bliss is a seasonal cow milk cheese from Stonetown Cheese in St. Mary’s, Ontario. Gorgeous on a cheese plate for holiday entertaining. 

Tasting Notes:  Muskoka Bliss comes in an attractive package of dark eggplant colored wax. On the inside find mild, buttery milky flavors with a hint of cranberry fruit. 

Suggested Pairing:  Pair with a light red (Gamay or Pinot Noir) and fruit/nut crackers.

 

Maggie’s Cheese Ball

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères makes these rare, seasonal cheese balls once a year. They’re a guaranteed sell out but we managed to secure some for our coveted Savvy Cool Curds subscribers.

Tasting Notes:  Maggie’s cheese ball is a combination of both local cow and goat’s milk mixed with a variety of ingredients to add zing and extra flavor such as lemon juice and scallions all rolled in crushed pecans for a gorgeous finish.

Suggested Pairing:  Enjoy on it’s own (even by yourself without sharing!) with a hearty sourdough bread or Parisian baguette.  Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or local brew for extra enjoyment.  Or, do as I do, eat it right off the spoon – it doesn’t last long in my house!

NOTE: you may see a crease of blue on the inside of the packaging…don’t despair, this is not mould, rather it is the extra pieces of CFAI approved cellophane (aka Saran Wrap) crunched tightly into the vacuumed pack bag!

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses

With Apprenti Sorcier…

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted & Photo Credit: Epicurious

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
8 cups sliced onions (about 4 large)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. sugar
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce Brie
2 baguettes, sliced

Method

Melt butter in heavy very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add minced thyme, reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and sautée 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine; stir until almost all liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over onions and sauté until soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine; stir just until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie and place on a shallow small round baking dish (for presentation). Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return to dish, rind side down. Place dish on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with onion mixture. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a platter. Surround with baguette slices.

 

 

With Stonetown cheeses…

Cheese Fondue for Two
Recipe & Photo Credit: Stonetowncheese.com

Ingredients

a loaf of French Bread
1/2 clove of garlic
160 g Grand Trunk, grated
160 g Wildwood, grated
80 g Homecoming, grated
2 tsp. cornstarch

Method

Cut French bread into 1″ cubes and set the table before you start heading the fondue.

Rub the caquelon (fondue pan) with half a clove of garlic, cut into small pieces and leave in the caquelon (fondue pan).

Mix Grand Trunk, Wildwood and Homecoming with cornstarch in caquelon (fondue pan), add wine and lemon juice.

With constant stirring, heat up until the cheese is melted and creamy. Add kirsch brandy (optional), season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Place the caquelon (fondue pan) over a small spirit burner to keep the fondue at boiling point.

Dip the bite size, cubed French bread into the fondue using a long handled fork.

Stir the fondue every time you dunk a piece of break so the fondue does not burn to the bottom of the caquelon (fondue pan).

 

With Milkhouse Tomme…

Tartiflette
Recipe & Photo Credit: Laura Robin – The Ottawa Citizen

Ingredients

6 medium potatoes
2 large red onions
2 to 4 cloves garlic
Dash olive oil
½ lb. bacon or pancetta
Dash Sherry or white wine (optional)
5 to 8 oz. Milkhouse Tomme, cut into small cubes
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 cup 18% (half-and-half or light) cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Slice potatoes 1/4-inch (1-cm thick) and cook in boiling, salted water about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, set aside.

Slice the red onions 1/4-inch (1-cm) thick, lengthwise, from the root to the tip, and fry with chopped garlic and a dash of olive oil over medium heat until soft.

Roughly chop bacon or pancetta and add to pan with onions and garlic. Add a dash of sherry or white wine and scrape to deglaze pan. Simmer until bacon is cooked and onions are caramelized.

Layer half the sliced potatoes in a buttered 9-by-13-inch (23-by-35-cm) glass baking dish. Sprinkle half of the bacon-and-onion mixture over. Repeat both layers. Sprinkle cubed Tomme on top.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, mix, and cook briefly, then gradually stir in milk and cream. Cook, stirring, until mixtures thickens and almost boils. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over potatoes and cheese in dish.

Bake uncovered on the middle rack of oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is puffy and slightly golden and sauce is bubbling.

 

With Muskoka Bliss…

Brie, Cranberry and Pancetta Phyllo Bites
Recipe & Photo Credit: Popsugar.com

Ingredients

Coconut oil spray
1/2 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 roll of phyllo sheets, defrosted
1-pint cranberries
1/4-cup water
1/3-cup sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
5 ounces brie (substitute Muskoka Bliss)

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Cook pancetta until crisp.

Place one piece of phyllo dough on a flat surface. Spray with coconut oil. Place another sheet on top; repeat four more times for a total of six sheets. Spray top piece of dough with coconut oil. Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 3-inch squares. Tuck into mini muffin tins. Repeat two more times until you have 36 shells.

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Reduce heat in oven down to 300°F.

For the cranberries: Place cranberries, water, sugar and pinch of cayenne in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the berries are reduced, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Divide cheese into 36 even pieces. Place in bottom of each shell. Top with a little bit of cranberry sauce. Pop into the oven for five minutes or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with crispy pancetta.

 

Last Minute Cheese-y Gifts…

With only a few sleeps until Christmas, here are some easy ways to take care of those last minute presents for the “nice” cheese lovers on your list dreaming of a cheesey Christmas!

Personal-sized Raclette or fondue for two

A gift card from a local cheese monger or fine food shop

A selection of hand crafted jams, chutneys, jellies, preserves or charcuterie

A chunk of natural honeycomb to enjoy with Canadian cheese

Canadian Cheese A Guide by Kathy Guidi

A subscription to Savvy Cool Curdsof course!

A gift certificate to a Savvy Event to discover craft beers, artisan wines and Canadian cheese

Tickets to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Picton, June 3 & 4th, 2017, Canada’s biggest cheese show

A set of cheese knives

A handmade cutting board or live edge boards for serving

A Cheese Sommelier hosted in-home cheese tasting experience – call us on 613-SAVVYCO to get started!

A “cheesemaker for a day” experience at a local producer

A cheese journal to track tasting notes and favourites

Cheese paper for storing Canadian cheese

Local craft beer, artisan wine to go with cheese

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Savvy gifts guaranteed to WOW!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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Santa’s elves & the Savvy Team are working around the clock arranging subscriptions to our of-the-month clubs & gift certificates for wine, craft beer & cheese lovers across the country! Our Holiday Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) is ringing off the hook & our web site is buzzing with last minute shopping.

Here’s our Top 3 Savvy Gifts….you can order with just one click!

 

CRAZY for Cheese!

Savvy Cool Curds is the new ‘whey’ to discover hard-to-find Canadian artisan cheeses. Each month, we deliver 4 to 5 wedges or rounds of ready-to-eat cheese from a featured cheesemaker. The assortment is always different – hard, soft, fresh & aged cheeses made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep….even buffalo!

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa introduces you to the cheesemaker in each issues of Curd on the Street Magazine along with cheese tasting 101 tips & cheese ladened recipes.

The 3 delicious wheys to order:
#1 – One time purchase: $60 + shipping
#2 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY month: $55/month + shipping
#3 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY OTHER month: $55/month + shipping

Special Subscription Promo
$55 per month (usually $60) & shipping>>

We’ll ship across Canada

 

PERFECT for craft beer fans

Give a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-o-month club featuring hard-to-find craft beers made across Ontario. Along with the beers, our Beer Backstory Magazine, will give you the skinny on the brewmaster, tasting tips & recipes with the featured beers.

There are 2 sizes of packages:
#1 – Quick Picks – a small assortment each month
#2 – Taste Case – the full selection from the featured brewery.

NEW! In addition to featuring a different brewery each month, we are including a Special Savvy Summer 2-4 in June & July AND back by popular demand our Hoppy Holidays Craft Beer Advent Calendar in Nov & Dec.

Wrap up a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months>>

 

Wine lovers will LOVE this!

Our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club features an assortment of 3 Ontario wines that you won’t find at the LCBO – each handpicked by our Savvy Sommeliers.

Check out the 2017 line up of wineries we’re featuring >>

To further your enjoyment of the wines, you’ll receive our monthly online magazine with the inside scoop on the winery, neat stories about the people who make the wine, our Sommelier tasting notes & recipes paired with each wine.

Special Holiday Promo
Give a 3 month subscription>>

(regularly 4 month minimum)

 

Still can’t decide? Here’s FREE Money!

You read that right! Buy a Savvy Gift Certificate to redeem for tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event & we’ll give you 25% more.

Order a $100 gift certificate & we’ll top it up to $125. Order $150, we’ll make it $190…you get the idea.  Give this gift >>

 

Savvy Elves are standing by…

The Savvy Team…errr…elves are at the ready to help you make your Christmas shopping a breeze. Call us each day leading up to Christmas on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email cheers@savvycompany.ca

Ho-Ho-Ho & have a wonderful holiday.
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Debbie Trenholm
Sommelier & Founder
Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
Now on Instagram too! instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

We’ll be enjoying the holidays to the fullest.  Savvy Company will be closed from December 25 to January 11 all set & ready for an exciting 2017.

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Our Biggest Taste & Buy Event…EVER! NEXT week

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
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On your mark…get set…Power Shop! Our 5th annual Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event is happening next week. Don’t miss it! It is a perfect way to get your holiday groove on & stock up on wine, craft beer & ciders…after all, the holiday parties are kicking into high gear!

AND there will be artisan cheeses & one-of-a-kind gourmet goodies to buy as gifts or to have on hand for the holidays (try saying that fast!!).

Special PROMO
Buy a $70 ticket + bring a friend FREE

Only available ’til Friday @ midnight

 

nullSip & Stock Up!

Join us & enjoy chatting to award winning winemakers, brewmasters & cidermakers from across Ontario who are coming to Ottawa especially for you.

Everything is EXTRA SPECIAL as you won’t find any of these outstanding bevvies at the LCBO.

 

Check out who is coming….

…from Prince Edward County

Broken Stone Winery * County Cider Company * Karlo Estates * Trail Estates Winery

…from Niagara

Amazing Wines * Aure Winery * Chateau des Charmes * Fielding Estates Winery * Kacaba Vineyards * Legends Estates Winery * Melville Winery * Two Sisters Vineyards * Veini Estates * Vineland Estates Winery

…from even further away

Railway City Brewery (St. Thomas)

…from closer to home

Calabogie Brewing Co. * KIN Vineyards * Tuque de Broue Brewery

 

FREE Shipping

To make your holiday shopping easy, we will give you FREE shipping when you order 6, 12 or more bottles of ANY combo of your favorites bevvies & Santa will hand deliver (aka by courier) to your home or office – absolutely FREE – in time for the holidays!

 

Event Deets

DATE: Thursday December 1st
VENUE: Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne, Ottawa
VERY IMPORTANT TASTER (V.I.T.) RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – special passes required
MAIN TASTING EVENT: 7 to 9pm

 

We’ll roll out the red carpet

Upgrade your ticket with a Very Important Taster Pass (V.I.T.) for only an additional $25. Includes advance access from 5 to 7pm without line ups to have more one-on-one time & meet the makers…then stay on as long as you like for the main event. Limited to 150 passes.

NEW! Cheesemakers are coming too

Wait til you see the Savvy Cheese Bar ladened with hard-to-come-by artisan cheeses from Ontario & Quebec.

Nibble & sample while cheesemakers & our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons share ‘how to’ make a festive cheese board. Best part…you can buy your new cheese favorites right on the spot.

75% of tickets are already sold.
Quick!  Buy your tickets >>

 

Does not end there!

We’ve hand picked local artisans who create gourmet goodies & hand crafted items for the foodie on your gift list. Click to check out who will be there >>

 

Win 4 tickets…

Tell us what you leave for Santa on Christmas Eve…cookies or a dram of something stronger, perhaps? Send us an email to cheers@savvycompany.ca & we’ll enter you into the draw for 4 free tickets to Outstanding in their Fields.

The countdown to the holidays is on. Dash through the snow & get a jingle-a-ling on at this OUTSTANDING Taste & Buy event.

Mark my words, this is our BIGGEST event EVER!
– Debbie and the Savvy Team

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

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany

www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

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100+ hard-to-find wines, craft beers, ciders & cheeses too!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
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This is THE hottest ticket in town…and you’re invited to join us & bring a friend for FREE. We’re hosting the always popular 5th annual Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event where you will meet the makers of the finest wines, craft beers & ciders from across Ontario…and gourmet artisans too!

 

Sip & Stock up for the holidays

On your mark….get set…Power Shop! To prep you for this special Taste & Buy night, we’ll send you the list of featured products AND our Savvy Sommeliers & Cicerones will be at the event ready to share ‘must try’ tips.

There’ll be wines of all kinds – sparkling, white, red & even port, PLUS a variety of craft beers & ciders too. You won’t find any of the featured bevvies at the LCBO or grocery stores.

Special PROMO
Buy a $70 ticket + bring a friend FREE

 

Look who is coming from Niagara, The County & Ottawa region too!

Amazing Wines * Aure Winery * Chateau des Charmes * County Cider Company * Fielding Estates Winery * Legends Estates Winery * Karlo Estates * KIN Vineyards * Melville Winery * Trail Estates Winery * Tuque de Broue Brewery * Veini Estates * Vineland Estates Winery …and more will be announced!

 

FREE Shipping

This is an OUTSTANDING offer! At this event, order 6, 12 or more bottles of ANY of your favorites & we’ll deliver by courirer to your home or office – absolutely FREE.

 

Event Deets

DATE: Thursday December 1st
NEW VENUE! Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne, Ottawa
V.I.T. RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – special passes required
MAIN TASTING EVENT: 7 to 9pm

 

Shop for cheeses too

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons will be shining the spotlight on hard-to-come-by cheeses from Ontario & Quebec that we’ve featured in our Savvy Cool Curds cheese-o-month-club. You can buy your new cheesey favorites to take home for the holidays.

 

Get the red carpet treatment….be a V.I.T.

Buy a Very Important Taster Pass (V.I.T.) for an additional $25 & enjoy advance access from 5 to 7pm…then stay on as long as you like for the main event. Limited to 150 passes.

This OUTSTANDING event always sells out quickly.
Buy your tickets >>

 

Hold on!!! There’s MORE…

For the Love of Cheese

Did you know it’s Cheese Month at the Canadian Agriculture & Food Museum? We are co-hosting these cheese-y activities every Tuesday evening – join us!
Nov 15: Wine & Cheese with a TWIST
Nov 22: Holiday Cheese Boutique
Nov 29: Fondue Fest & Racelette Rendez-Vous

FREE Tix!

Email us your favorite Canadian cheese & we’ll add your name to our draw for 2 tickets to any of these events. Need some help with pickin’ cheese? Check out our monthly Curd on the Street Magazine.

A FUNdraiser not to miss…

The Canadian Nurses Foundation called on us to create Sip & Savour FUNdraising event to help raise $1 million in one year to develop educational & special health care programs that will increase the number of nurses in Indigenous communities.

Join us on November 16 at The Westin Ottawa where Executive Chef Kenton Leier will be pulling out all of the stops to prepare an incredible menu paired with fine Ontario wines. It will be a delicious night with chefs & winemakers. Only 150 tickets….and selling quickly!

Don’t miss this event. Click to get your tickets >>

 

See you at all of these OUTSTANDING events…
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

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

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany

www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

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Here’s the Best of the Fest!

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
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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!

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A kaleidoscope of cheeses from Salt Spring Island

Posted by Vanessa

Friday, May 27th, 2016
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This month’s Savvy Cool Curds hails all the way from Canada’s west coast, as a tasty way to shift into summer.  Soft Chèvre is only one of many unique, handcrafted goat and sheep milk cheeses from David Wood’s Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, near Fulford Harbour south of Ganges, nestled among the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Colombia.

Having discovered this quaint, artisan community almost 20 years ago while on a chartered sailing adventure with Savvy Company’s founder Debbie Trenholm (hmmm…maybe there was an inkling of the business on that trip!), I experienced first-hand how the simple & relaxed lifestyle is the order of the day for the local residents. 

CoolCurds_mail-2In your May Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… very hard-to-find and delicious artisan goat milk cheese including:

Flower Chèvre
Pepper Chèvre
Romelia
Blue Juliette

Sold on Salt Spring Island Cheese? 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…
Salt Spring Island Cheese Company

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier 

 

It’s hard not to fall in love with Salt Spring Island, BC, dubbed a “nature lover’s paradise”.  From experiencing remote, pristine beaches to stunning coastal scenery to gorgeous vistas and landscapes one never wants to leave.  With the discovery of Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, the hub of this small artist community, a more fitting reference might be “cheese lover’s paradise”.

Salt Spring Island Cheese Company sold their first cheese in 1996.  Twenty years later they are true to their roots, having maintained their philosophy of making the best cheese around, of family, pride and a commitment to quality in using only 100% natural ingredients in their cheeses.

All In The Family

David WoodDavid Wood (in photo at right – credit The Globe & Mail) has maintained the business as a small, family-oriented company, even though it started as a one-man show.  While he makes cheese less and less these days, all of his children, Daniel, Joshua and Thea are involved in the business in one way or another.  And impressively, all of them can make cheese too – they come by it honestly.  Daniel particularly remembers back to when he was twelve years old, milking sheep before school, and working in the shop after school and during the summer months while on school break.

Daniel is proud of their unique specialty products. He attributes his passion to his parents’ and to seeing the business grow from when he was a child. To date he’s one of the few who works on Christmas Day and is thrilled to do it too!. 

Cheesemaking Challenges

Salt Spring Island cheeses are as much a feast for the eyes as they are pleasing to one’s palate. A rainbow of color and textures from their fresh, equisite garnishes make them most distinct.   Creating such a pretty package isn’t without it’s challenges however, each cheese is individually hand labeled, and handpacked which is a lot of manual effort.

With few ingredients, cheesemaking isn’t complicated, it’s all in consistently controling the factors involved such as temperature, milk quality, milk quantity, humidity and timing among other things

In the beginning they had varying amounts of milk from little to a crazy supply availability.  The longer a cheese is aged, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong with it (and for one to find that out through the tasting feedback loop) as in the case of their more aged, Montaña their flagship hard sheep’s milk.  Montaña is the company’s labor of love and overall favorite to produce however there is more consistency in making chèvres and the soft cheeses and more guarantee in the supply chain thus their shift in focus from sheep to goat milk. Seasonality also plays a role; recipes have to be adjusted in summer as the fat content of milk changes.

Watch for more to come…

There are a few ideas cooking up in the kitchen at Salt Spring Island Cheese Company.  Watch for additional flavours of Ruckles, their delectable soft chèvre marinated in grape seed oil among other new releases. The company also plans to expand slowly into the US.

To sum it up Daniel says “we’re a goat milk cheese company that happens to milk sheep on the side. We put a lot of pride in what we do, a lot of care and effort, with a focus on local, high quality ingredients and to doing things the right way. That’s the difference in our cheeses.”

  Cheese Tasting Notes •

 

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with interesting tidbits, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!  Photo credits: Vanessa Simmons

Flower Chèvre

Salt Spring Island Cheese Flower ChevreBeautifully packaged, the very small round containers are designed to show off a variety of flavors & garnishes including red peppercorns, edible flowers, roasted garlic, rosemary, lemon, chili, tapenade, truffle and basil to name a few.  Festive and fabulous for entertaining – these pretty little cheeses make great “alternative” hostess gifts.

Tasting Notes:  Inside you’ll find a soft, pasteurized, and unripened goat’s milk chèvre that is smooth, rich and incredibly creamy with a hint of tanginess and mild citrus note. 

Suggested Pairing: Serve on homemade crackers, spread on crispy baguette, melt over grilled vegetables, fold into omelets, mash into potatoes, crumble on salad. Enjoy with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc…from Canada of course!

 Pepper Chèvre

Salt Spring Island Cheese Pepper ChevreA tasty way to begin an evening is with one of the many flavored varieties of handmade artisan cheeses from this unique cheese maker.  Stunning festive on a cheese plate, or as a quick last minute entertaining idea on it’s own.

Tasting Notes:  This peppered, soft, pasteurized goat’s milk chèvre is beautifully packaged, topped with whole red & green peppercorns.  Smooth & creamy with a hint of tanginess, acidity, and a little spicy kick!

Suggested Pairing:  Enjoy on homemade crackers, wrap with smoked salmon, toss into fresh pasta for a quick and colorful dinner fix.  

Salt Spring Island Cheese RomeliaRomelia

Named after an employee, Romelia is unique among the many varieties of handmade artisan cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company. It’s rare to find this type of soft, goat milk cheese in Canada.

Tasting Notes:  Romelia is a soft, surface-ripened, washed-rind pasteurized goat’s milk cheese, sold in small wheels. Its rind is hand-washed as it ages over five weeks, which intensifies the aroma and flavor, giving it a bright orange/apricot color and “sticky” texture. The paste is smooth, and rich, but toothsome and almost fudgy when young, with tangy, slightly strong meaty flavors.  Romelia is best when ripe and runny. 

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 or Pinot Grigio.  

 

Salt Spring Island Cheese Blue JulietteBlue Juliette

Blue Juliette is produced in the same style as Camembert, handmade with lots of tender loving care and very little handling throughout the cheese making process!

Tasting Notes:  This soft, surface-ripened, pasteurized goat milk cheese has a thin, mixed, velvety, white & blue/grey, bloomy rind developed due to the addition of Penicillium Roqueforti culture (used in making of blue cheese). The paste is creamy white, firm towards the center & slightly softer closer to the rind. Note the goaty fragrance, herbal & mild mushroom scent with a creamy, slightly salty & tangy flavour, slightly stronger than its sister cheese Juliette, which more resembles a mild goat milk brie.

Suggested Pairing:  Pair with a Gamay or Pinot Noir red wine.  Melt wedges into phyllo pastry squares and garnish with stewed cherries, strawberries or raspberries drizzled with a dash of balsamic vinegar.

 

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses •

 

With Flower Chèvre…

Empress Honey & Salt Spring Island Goat Cheesecake

Chef Morgan Wilson, Victoria BC – The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker By the Sea,  Jennifer Schell 2015

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  60 minutes

Recipe for Empress Honey & Salt Spring Island Goat CheesecakeIngredients for Cheesecake

3 ½ cups Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese
½ cup mascarpone cheese
¾ cup Empress honey (or other local honey)
6 tsp. cornstarch
1 2/3 cup sour cream
6 large eggspinch salt
½ tsp. lemon juice
zest from a ½ lemon
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for Cheesecake Base

1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (for a gluten-free option use gluten-free cracker crumbs)
¼ tsp. cinnamon powder
2 ½ Tbsp. butter, melted

Method

For cheesecake: In a mixer, combine goat cheese, mascarpone, honey and starch until it reaches a smooth paste consistency.  Add the sour cream and mix further.

Gradually add in the eggs, salt, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined.

For cheesecake base: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and then spread the mix on the bottom of a foil wrapped 6” cake ring.  Compact the crumbs and bake at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Pour the prepared goat cheesecake mix on the baked base.  Bake at 250 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until firm in the center.

Yields 1 6-Inch Round Cake

“This gorgeous cake is rich but not too sweet.  The goat cheese adds a lovely tang and the beautiful Empress honey lends a sparkle of sweetness.  Serve with a sweet wine, at a table in a bee pen with a chef, a cheese maker, a beekeeper, and a goat named Bess… that’s what we did!” Misconduct Wine Co. in Penticton BC recommends Misconduct Inverno Icewine with this dessert. 

 

With Pepper Chèvre…                     

Patty Pan Squash Frittata

The Ravishing Root & Mother Felker Farms

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Recipe for Patty Pan Squash FrittataIngredients

12 patty pan squash
1 dozen eggs
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1 large tomato
1 package of fresh Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese (Flower or Pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper if using pepper chèvre)
Handful of fresh herbs

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut the stem portion off the squash, leaving the ¾ of the bottom intact.  Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out the inside of the squash leaving ¼ – ½ on the outside wall of the squash, and arrange on a baking sheet with parchment.

Sauté onion and bell pepper until they become translucent, add to a large mixing bowl with salt, pepper (omit pepper if using pepper chèvre), eggs, tomato and herbs and half of the goat cheese.  Using an immersion blender mix all the ingredients and fill hollowed out squash.  Top with remaining cheese.  Cook for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the patty pan.

Serves 12 as an appetizer or 6 as a main.

 

With Romelia…

Best Burger

Rock Salt Restaurant

Chosen because of the rave review on this restaurant’s website. Add your favourite fixings including a thick wedge of Romelia & crispy bacon. 

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10-15 minutes 

Ingredients

Combine:

2 large eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced onion (really really small or burgers will fall apart)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Then add and mix well:

1 cup breadcrumbs
1 kg hamburger meat
Wet mix
Wedges of Romelia cheese
Crispy strips of bacon

Recipe for Best Burger from Rock Salt RestaurantMethod

Form into balls and then press firmly into patties.

Burgers are always best if cooked over a flame.

Be careful to ensure that they are done all the way through but not over done.  When the juice runs clear they are done.

 

With Blue Juliette…

Salt Spring Island Stuffed Chicken with Peach and Cherry Chutney

Recipe & photo credit from thriftyfoods.com
Prep Time:
  30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes 

Ingredients for the chutney

Recipe for Salt Spring Island Stuffed Chicken with Peach & Cherry Chutney2 ripe peaches, halved, pitted, and diced
1 cup pitted cherries coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint or cilantro
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Ingredients for the chicken

4, 6oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
125 g. salt spring island lemon sheep cheese (substitute Blue Juliette)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chilli powder
Salt and pepper

Method

Combine chutney ingredients and let stand 30 minutes to allow flavours to meld. With a small, sharp knife, cut a pocket in the top end of each chicken breast.

Slice a wedge of Blue Juliette. Place cheese into into the pocket you made in the chicken. Brush chicken with vegetable oil, then sprinkle with spices and salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Divide chicken among plates and serve chutney alongside. A mixed green salad would go nice with the chicken. 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

 

 

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Smash hit on the local cheese scene

Posted by Vanessa

Monday, May 2nd, 2016
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Savvy Cool Curds cheese of the month club
Featuring Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères
–  April 2016 –

 

Hey Ewe! The Savvy Team are thrilled to bring ewe April’s Savvy Cool Curds, hailing from the tiny little town of Sainte-Sixte, Québec. Named after the famous Parisian music hall depicting fun and frivolity, La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères cheeses are a far cry from foolish and continue to be a smash hit on the local cheese scene.

Folies Bergeres logoLots of love, passion and farmstead milk from the East Friesian sheep they raise create a wide variety of yummy cheeses. Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard are proudly “in the business of selling pleasure, not cheese”. Their light-hearted approach to cheesemaking – and life overall – is evident right down to the cancan-dancing sheep with colourful tutus, adorning their logo.

“The Savvy Team is great & having this opportunity to be featured in Savvy Cool Curds is exciting!  Anyone who has met Vanessa Simmons quickly learns 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.  Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are in for a treat …the best part is that all of the cheese discoveries will be proudly Canadian.”

Maggie Paradis, owner & cheesemaker, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec)

 

CoolCurds_mail-2In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Approximately a kilogram of hard-to-find artisan sheep milk cheese including:

La Petite Folie 150g
La Petite Démone (Fine Herb) 140g
La Sorcière Bien Aimée 200g
Raclette de Brebis 200g
La Coulée Douce 200g

“Fou” (crazy) about Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères Cheese?

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…

Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères

by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Folies Bergeres building

From finishing feta in the make room, to farmer’s market visits to milking sheep in the parlour there is always an adventure to be had in the company of Maggie Paradis and Christian Girard (in photo below), the local “crazy shepherds” (translation) of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères.  Life is busy for this talented, dedicated, passionate and hardworking couple.

There are lambs to tend, sheep to shear, rams to satisfy, ewes to feed, barns to clean, milks to receive and process, cheeses to make and ripen, markets to attend and a business to run all with the goal of producing the very best possible artisan and farmstead cheeses to be enjoyed by all – and they do it with a huge dose of “joie de vivre”.

Only the best will do

Maggie Paradis & Christian GirardBoth have exacting standards. Not one to compromise quality or consistency, Maggie’s cheese must always be good or she won’t make it – pure and simple.  Specific cultures and a cheese maker’s patience and care give these excellent results — not rushing any step of the process is crucial.

The high quality of their milk (both from their flock and sourced locally for the goat and cow milk) and the high touch, manual labour involved in her cheesemaking are key contributors to the consistency and excellence of their cheese over time.

Maggie confesses “I am easily bored.” She is always thinking up new cheeses and innovative ways to be efficient in her cheesemaking.  Recently, haloumi was born because she had the moulds to make it in, the same used from her cow and goat’s milk cheddars.

And while each cheese has its own challenge in the aging or making or packaging, she believes in simplification and letting nature do its part.

A ladies man…

As shepherd, Christian has a way with the ladies – the couple’s East Fresian ewes that is. Milking twice a day is routine, between the demands of farm and cheesemaking.  When I visited their farm this past weekend, I was in awe observing how the sheep shuffled into the parlour and automatically took their places (rewarded with fresh feed – that is his magic!) oblivious to being milked. With a gentle touch and crooning voice, Christian coaxes every last drop of milk out of every ewe’s teat, knowing each of the ladies personally from either front or back end. 

What’s in a Name?

Coulee_Douce_smallMaggie loves a double entendre, thus her naming theme which depicts their personal characters as much as their cheeses, demonstrating they truly aren’t like everyone else.  Chèvre Fatale (a spin on Femme Fatale), L’Apprenti Sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) all are distinct and memorable as well as very visual.

International renowned local artist & friend of the couple Koen de Winter is the talent behind each hand-drawn illustration.  One cheese, Raclette, remains yet unnamed! Think about it as you dive into your Savvy Cool Curds – all name ideas are invited!

When asked, Maggie describes herself as a strong, potent cheese that bites back and Christian as a “pâte molle”, calm on the outside & all gooey on the inside.  Both perfect in their own “whey.”

As you can see…and soon will taste… there is personality in each of the cheeses made by Maggie and Christian. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

 

• 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!  All cheese photos were taken by Vanessa too.

La Petite Folie

La Petite FolieAward-winning La Petite Folie (meaning a little fun) is the simplest of Maggie’s cheeses to make yet the most labour intensive to package, given the care it takes to preserve the integrity of the cheese. I consider it one of life’s little luxuries, a treat for yourself reflecting the best nature has to offer as a reflection of fresh, rich ewe’s milk. 

Tasting Notes:  Petite Folie is a soft, unripened pasteurized ewe’s milk cheese with mild lactic aromas, a rich, dense, silky texture and clean, milky-creamy flavours finishing with a hint of citrus. 

Suggested Pairing: Pair with a robust grainy or seed bread or Enerjive Quinoa Crackers that we have popped into this month’s  box.  Mix in with crab, or top with smoked trout or salmon.

 

La Petite Démone (Fine Herb)

La Petite DemoneAs far as labels go, the gorgeous illustration for La Petite Démone is my second favourite of all of Maggie’s product labels (first place goes to Chèvre Fatale with her puckering red lips).

Tasting Notes:  Chèvre-style soft, fresh, unripened, pasteurized, goat milk cheese that comes in three flavors: plain, fine herbs and roasted red pepper. The texture is like velvet across your tongue and flavors are clean and herbaceous without being overpowering. Finishes with a characteristic tang that lingers. Notice no chalky texture or soapy aftertaste that can be common with many large-scale production goat milk chèvres (key indication of high quality milk).

Suggested Pairing:  The sky’s the limit for pairing this cheese – stuff into the center of a homemade burger, perk up a Sunday morning omelet with a dab, or melt into mashed potatoes as your “secret ingredient”.

  

La Sorcière Bien Aimee

LA Sorciere Bien AimeeInspired by her goat farming protégée and playing off popular TV series “Bewitched”, Maggie Paradis’ La Sorcière Bien Aimée, was born to add a brie type to the wonderful variety of other goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses she produces. I love Maggie’s cheeky attitude as she describes the aging of La Sorcière… “The cheese pouts at first, then it will cry, becoming a weepy mess…” My sentiments exactly, only they’re tears of joy in this case.

Tasting Notes:  Handmade from whole natural milk, La Sorcière Bien Aimée has a good, clean goaty flavour with a hint of sweet grass and no bitterness, ammonia or aftertaste, even if a little overripe. 

Suggested Pairing: A favourite pairing with this cheese is Michaelsdolce’s Spiced Cranberry or Spiced Cherry Jam.

 

Raclette de Brebis

Raclette de BrebisMaggie is on the hunt for an official sexy name for this cheese. Once you’ve tried it pop her a note on Facebook with your ideas!

Tasting Notes:  Maggie’s Raclette de Brebis is a pale straw colour, firm yet soft, curd-y & cooked pasteurized sheep milk cheese washed in raspberry wine from local Domain Mont Vézeau. Has a pleasant slightly sweet aroma and herbal, grassy and mild nutty flavours.

Suggested Pairing:  Use in a traditional Raclette recipe either as half wheel or small slices. Enjoy melted on toast topped with bacon (suggest Seed to Sausage Black Pepper Molasses Bacon). Pair with unoaked Chardonnay.

 

La Coulée Douce

La Coulee DouceNow this is a cheese for chilling out! A reflection of the cheesemaker herself, Maggie is laid-back, chilled, goes with the flow (thus the cheese’s name/label image) and doesn’t take life or herself too seriously (while remaining quite serious about making top notch artisan cheeses).

Tasting Notes:  100% pure pasteurized, firm, small wheel sheep’s milk cheese with an ivory slightly open (shows small holes) paste and thin, rustic, golden-hued washed rind.  Creamy aromas compliment rich, milky, slightly toasty and fermented fruit flavours with a grassy finish making it the perfect match for Quebec iced or apple cider as used to wash the rind from neighbouring Verger Croque-Pomme.

Suggested Pairing:  Serve shaved on homemade peach or apple pie. Or, as Maggie likes it, a bit aged, crumbly & dry with a good Port.

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses •

 

With La Petite Folie…

Waffle with Cream Cheese and Smashed Berries

Recipe & photo credit: BonAppetit.com
Prep Time:
  10 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes

IRecipe waffles with cream cheese & smashed berriesngredients

1 waffle
2 tablespoons cream cheese (La Petite Folie)
2 tablespoons raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
1-tablespoon honey or agave

Method

Use a frozen whole grain waffle, or freeze leftover homemade waffles between sheets of waxed paper.

Toast a waffle and smear with cream cheese (La Petite Folie).

Using a fork, smash raspberries, blueberries or blackberries on top of the cream cheese (La Petite Folie).

Drizzle with honey or agave. Enjoy! 

 

With La Petite Démone (Fine Herb)…                     

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese

Recipe & Photo credit: FoodNetwork.ca 

Maggie herself recommends the use of La Petite Démone on steak melted as a quick and easy sauce or garnish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Recipe filet mignon balsamic syrup & goat cheeseIngredients

1 ½ cups Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
6 (5-6 oz.) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper to tast
2 oz. soft, fresh goat cheese (La Petite Démone Fine Herb)

Method

Boil the balsamic vinegar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 of a cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  Melt the butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper.  Cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet.  Cover the cheese over the steaks and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle with pepper.

Transfer the steaks to plates.  Drizzle the balsamic sauce over and around the steaks and serve. 

 

With La Sorcière Bien Aimée…

Baked Maple Brie

Recipe & Photo credit: Foodnetwork.ca 

Maple season is here! Substitute luxurious La Sorcière Bien Aimée in this recipe and you’ll have a sure-fire crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients

Recipe baked maple brie1 package brie cheese (La Sorcière Bien Aimee)
1-cup maple syrup
2 apples, finely sliced
½ cup of brown sugar
1-teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag Tostitos bite sized round tortilla chips
(or Vanessa’s addition fresh baguette thinly sliced)

Method

Remove rind from top of brie (for easier dipping).

Make slices into the brie and insert apples.

Top with brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and apple as desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

With Raclette de Brebis…

Grilled Swiss Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus

Recipe & Photo credit: Dairygoodness.ca 

This recipe substitutes sheep milk cheese for the cow’s milk cheese originally used, as it’s a perfect compliment to fresh, seasonal, spring asparagus. 

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes 

Recipe grilled Swiss cheese sandwich & asparagusIngredients

1 bunch of green and/or white asparagus (3/4 lb. or 350g), trimmed
60 ml homemade Gouda asparagus pesto
8 slices whole wheat bread
4 oz. (120g) of Le Moine Cheese (cut into 8 slices) – substitute Raclette de Brebis
Butter at room temperature 

Gouda Asparagus pesto

1/4-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) Aged Gouda, finely grated (substitute La Coulee Douce or last month’s Back Forty Bonnechere if you have any left!)

Method

In a large saucepan, cook asparagus in salted boiling water for 2 min. Drain.

Spread Gouda asparagus pesto over 4 slices of bread and top each one with 2 cheese slices. (For Pesto – 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.)

Add asparagus, alternating green and white, placing the tips in one direction and then the other. (If the asparagus stems are too thick, cut in half lengthwise).

Cover with remaining slices of bread. Butter outside of sandwiches, and cook in a skillet on medium heat for 4–5 min on each side.

Cut each sandwich into quarters and serve with a green salad, if desired. 

 

With La Coulée Douce…

Strawberry and Sheep Milk Crostini

Recipe & photo credit: Christian Begin – IGA 

We eat with our eyes first! This gorgeous colors; yet simplicity of this recipe makes you want to devour it! Cut into smaller slices, it’s a perfect pre-BBQ appetizer. 

IRecipe strawberry & sheep milk crostiningredients

1 baguette
olive oil, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 fairly thick slices of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix Cheese (substitute La Coulée Douce)
Honey, to taste
20 very ripe strawberries, quartered
60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
8 basil leaves finely minced

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).

Cut baguette into 4 equal-length pieces and then slice each one lengthwise to obtain 8 pieces & brush the inside of the baguette pieces with olive oil. Sprinkle them with freshly ground pepper.

Place a slice of La Tomme de Brebis de Charlevoix cheese onto each one. Drizzle with honey.

Broil until cheese has melted, watching carefully to ensure the bread doesn’t burn, about 2 minutes.

Remove crostini from the oven and top with fresh strawberries.

Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with minced basil. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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