Posts Tagged ‘What is on in Picton’

Tips & tricks for this weekend’s Cheese Festival

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
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Are you whey keen on cheese? With the largest cheese festival in Canada coming up this weekend (June 7 & 8), we want to help make your visit to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival the best experience yet. You will discover that Canadian cheese is so MUCH more than just cheddar! It will be a fun day meeting & learning from the dynamic people who put their heart & soul into crafting the cheeses. And new this year is a post-fest party Makers+Mongers that we are proudly sponsoring.  It will be a fun (and delicious) way to unwind after the festival and mix & mingle with those involved in the cheese biz.

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

Tip #1 – How to Get There?

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

Tip #2 – Make your ‘Must Try’ list

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

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

Tip #3 – How to taste a cheese

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

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

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

Ricotta – Quality Cheese

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

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

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

Le Sabot de Blanchette – La Suisse Normande

sabot2013 Selection Caseus Goat’s Milk Cheese, Laureate 

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

My Notes: This soft-surface-ripened goat’s milk cheese has a unique pyramid shape, with a lovely, natural, slightly wrinkled, soft moldy rind, that on occasion displays spots of blue.  The paste is creamy, velvety, firm towards the center & slightly softer closer to the rind.  It has a fresh aroma, with a light acidity.

 

Pont Blanc – Fromagerie Au Grés Des Champs

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

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

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

 

Alfred Le Fermier – Fromagerie La Station de Compton

Alfred le Fermier cheese2013 Selection Caseus Longaevi 

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

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

 

Mont Jacob – Fromagerie Blackburn

Mon Jacob cheese2013 Selection Caseus Silver 

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

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

 

Old Grizzley – Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd.

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

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

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

 

Lankaaster Aged – Glengarry Fine Cheese

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

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

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

 

Bleu D’Élizabeth – Fromagerie de la Presbytere

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

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

 

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

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

Everyone welcome to join the fun.

Buy your tickets in advance or at the door >>

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets: ORDER NOW

  

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

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

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

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

Tickets: still a few spots left – ORDER NOW

We make it easy to be cheesey!

See you at the fest!

-Vanessa

 

 

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Love cheese? Here’s a Festival for you!

Posted by Vanessa

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
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PRESS RELEASE: Come to the annual celebration of ‘all things cheese’ on June 7-8th at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Award-winning artisan and farmstead cheese from coast to coast will be showcased at the biggest cheese show in Canada, held in Picton, Ontario.

Canadian Cheese of the Year – and the winner is…

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

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

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

New & improved in 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheese Fair adult admission includes

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

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

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

Glass for sampling wine, beer and cider

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

Festival Dairy Farm, Food court and FREE parking. 

Tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival 

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

 

 

 

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