Louis d’Or crowned Grand Champion at The Royal—again

Grand Champion: Louis d’Or made by Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte Elizabeth de Warwick, Québec.

Louis d’Or is truly the King of Cheese in Canada.

The Alpine-style cheese made by Jean Morin and his équipe at Fromagerie du Presbytère in Québec has won the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. It has been honoured as Cheese of the Year at the Canadian Cheese Awards. It has been recognized as the Best Cheese in Quebec at the Caseus competition—twice.

Now, Louis d’Or 18 months has been crowned Grand Champion in the cow milk division at the 2022 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario at the 100th Anniversary Royal Agricultural Winter Fair—eight years after it was crowned Grand Champion at The Royal the first time!

No other Canadian cheese has won all four of the most prestigious competitions in Canada.

Here’s what Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons of Ottawa has to say about Louis d’Or:

Made in monster-sized 40-kilogram wheels, this washed-rind raw cow milk cheese is cooked, pressed and aged from 9 to 24 months with extra care taken during the ripening process. Resulting is a smooth, rich-textured paste encased in an antique gold, amber-colored rind. Aromas range from butter to onion and ripe pineapple. A complex mix of sweet, salty and dominant nutty, meaty flavors finish with a tingle at the back of the palate that lingers thanks to raw milk.

“Balance is achieved with a grand array of flavours blending into a mélange of excellence,” one judge at The Royal competition commented. Said another: “The aroma is nutty and herbal, the complex flavours are fantastic.”

What’s the secret of the success of Louis d’Or?

“Happy, healthy cows,” Cheesemaker Jean Morin says. “It all starts with the milk, and the care we show the cheese as we make it.”

Jean Morin is the fourth generation Morin to run the dairy farm known as Ferme Louis d’Or in Sainte Elizabeth de Warwick, a tiny village two hours east of Montréal. His children represent the fifth generation: Thomas, Charles, Alexis and Èva. A daughter-in-law, Stephanie, manages the retail store. Meet the Morin family and take a tour of the farm and fromagerie in the video:

Fromagerie du Presbytère dates back to 2005 when Jean Morin purchased the former Roman Catholic rectory across the street from the family dairy farm. (Presbytère is the French word for rectory.)

When we first visited in 2010, Jean Morin had just started making Louis d’Or, inspired by what he saw and learned from old-world cheesemakers in the Jura Mountains that straddle the border between France and Switzerland, the home of renowned Comté cheese as well as Morbier, Emmental, Mont-d’or, Gex Blue and Vacherin du Haut-Doub.

He told us he had high hopes Louis d’Or would become equally famous in Québec and Canada. “It has the right taste,” he assured us.

The past decade has proven him right. Louis d’Or has become widely known and praised for its fine, complex flavours.

Jean Morin: Fourth generation dairy farmer and award-winning cheesemaker.

In 2015, Jean Morin paid $1 to purchase the Roman Catholic church in Sainte Elizabeth de Warwick, across the street from the farm and adjacent to the rectory turned fromagerie, then poured $1 million into conversion for affinage.

The former church can house up to 3,000 wheels of Louis d’Or. They are looked after by Pat, the name given to a $300,000 Swiss-made robot that lifts, brushes and rotates the 40-kilo wheels of cheese weekly. Since the aging space is more than five meters high, the robot not only ensures uniformity but also protects employees from the hazards of manually handling wheels of cheese that weigh 40 kilos or close to 90 pounds.

Louis d’Or cheese gets its name from Ferme Louis d’Or where 140 milking cows produce the milk used to make it and other cheeses. The name of the cheese also refers to the French currency of the same name used under the reign of Louis XIII in 1640.

The longer Louis d’Or is aged the more all that aroma and flavour only elevate the taste experience to a sublime degree. It’s rich and creamy, with floral notes and hints of nuttiness, a wonderful example of Canadian cheese at its finest.

If your favourite cheese shop doesn’t carry Louis d’Or, order it online for home delivery in Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick.

In the 2022 Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal, there were 195 entries submitted by producers across Canada. Judging took place June 10. Complete results are posted at https://www.assistexpo.ca/results/rawf/5/

Also see:

Support for the competition was provided by the Presenting Partner, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, which has made over $30,000 in prize money available, as well as Metro which supports the competition and presents the Champions Showcase during The Fair.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair celebrates 100 years of world-class equine and agricultural excellence on November 4-13, 2022, at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.

The Royal draws more than 300,000 visitors to Toronto annually to see thousands of unique entries from elite Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors, more than 4,500 large and small animals, shows, activities, shopping, dining and—of course—The Royal Horse Show.

Come and experience The Royal, there’s truly something for the entire family. Click here for information and tickets.

Cows Creamery cheddar crowned Grand Champion at The Royal

Armand Bernard, lead cheesemaker at Cows Creamery in Charlottetown, P.E.I. since 2006.

Cows Creamery has done it again.

The Extra Old Cheddar made by the P.E.I. cheese producer was honoured as Grand Champion Cheddar in the 2022 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario at the 100th Anniversary Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The victory in the oldest and biggest cheese and butter competition in Canada represents the latest in a long list of awards garnered by a remarkable cheddar whose recipe hails from the Orkney Islands north of mainland Scotland.

In 2004, Cows Creamery owner Scott Linkletter visited the Orkney Islands where his family has roots. He fell in love with the taste of the local cheese and returned with a recipe for traditional English cheddar and a dream to make cheese with local milk in P.E.I.

Linkletter enlisted the help of Armand Bernard, who had already been working at Cows as an ice-cream maker for 10 years, meaning Bernard was no stranger to transforming P.E.I. milk into something extraordinary.

Cows Creamery introduced Extra Old Cheddar to the world in 2006.

They developed Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar and the wonderful aged cheddar that in 2014 was selected as the World’s Best Aged Cheddar and last week at The Royal as Canada’s best cheddar—for, it seems, the umpteenth time.

The recipe for all cheddars made by Cows Creamery is essentially the same—except for the aging process and length of time in affinage.

Bernard, the lead cheesemaker at Cows since 2006, is known for his meticulous attention to detail. Andrea White, wholesale manager at Cows, says his consistency is part of the reason Cows Creamery products are a cut above the rest: “Armand leads a team of professionals that never waiver on the quality and precision of their work. Every day is different; from cloth-binding fresh wheels of cheddar, to flipping and vacuuming the cheeses as they age in their caves, ensuring uniformity in their aging—consistency is always part of the job”.

Bernard believes high-quality P.E.I. milk plays a key role in their success. Cows Creamery works with a local dairy co-op that supports 160 small, family-run farms on the island. The average herd size is a mere 65 Holstein cattle and care is taken by each farmer to maintain clean farming practices. Throughout the year, the cows graze on clay- and iron-rich pasture and eat a mixed diet of hay, grain, and silage. Sea salt and minerals are naturally occurring in the environment, too, which gives the cheeses unique earthy notes.

No point on the island is more than 30 kilometres or so from the sea.

The Extra Old Cheddar is aged for at least 18 months. It’s made with vegetable rennet, all natural, with no colour added. The cheese is made with unpasteurized milk: The milk is gently heated, which preserves the micro-organisms and enzymes in raw milk that give cheddar its characteristic flavour.

Like wine, cheese has a terroir, says Bernard. “The area it’s produced in—whether it’s the nutrients in the soil or the air the cows breathe—has certain things that can’t be replicated. On the island, we’re surrounded by water. We have the red soil. I don’t believe I could take the same recipe to central or western Canada and create the same product.”

For Cows Creamery, Bernard says, the trick to making “absolutely delicious” cheese is the aging process.

“The real flavour comes with time as the cheese ages,” he says. “Some cheese will get sharper, ours becomes more flavourful, with more depth of character.”

Bernard grew up on a small farm near Tignish, about 150 kilometres northwest of Charlottetown where Cows Creamery is based.

“We were a small farm, milked 24 cows. I had six brothers and sisters. It was all hands on deck. We had chores in the barn before we went to school and helped with the milking at night. Summers were spent at home working the fields. It was an awesome way to grow up.”

Did your family make anything with the milk?

“No, but we drank two gallons a day when everybody was home. It was delicious. In the summertime, you’d have the cream rise to the top, and you’d have it on strawberry shortcake. I got to know milk well.”

Culture magazine, the leading publication about cheese in the English-speaking world, had this to say about the taste of Cows Creamery Extra Old Cheddar:

“Although on first glance the texture of this cheese is semi-firm and crumbly, on the palate it’s unexpectedly creamy and smooth, melting in the mouth. Its great taste hits you immediately, with a notable tang and sourness that interplays with a mild sharpness. An initial hint of sweetness can be detected, as well as rich, full toasted nut and buttery cashew aromas and notes of pineapple, chive and sweet cream.”

Cows Creamery is based at 12 Milky Way in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

COWS Ice Cream has been a family tradition on Prince Edward Island since 1983. From a small kiosk on the famous Cavendish Boardwalk in Charlottetown, the COWS brand now has seven locations across P.E.I, four in Nova Scotia, and one each is Whistler, Banff, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Quebec City and Beijing, China. The COWS brand has expanded over the years with cheese and butter lines, as well as the popular COWS-themed merchandise.

Raspberry Point Oyster Co. is a sister company shipping choice oysters throughout Canada, U.S.A., Europe and Asia. The company started as a bit of a hobby for Scott Linkletter and his father who harvested oysters near the family summer home in New London Bay.

But the man is a serial entrepreneur, if there ever was one. Other sister companies include Anne of Green Gables ChocolatesBOOMburger and Moo Moo BBQ Grilled Cheesery, among other ventures.

In the 2022 Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal, there were 195 entries submitted by producers across Canada. Judging took place June 10. Complete results are posted at https://www.assistexpo.ca/results/rawf/5/

Support for the competition was provided by the Presenting Partner, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, which has made over $30,000 in prize money available, as well as Metro which supports the competition and presents the Champions Showcase during The Fair.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair celebrates 100 years of world-class equine and agricultural excellence on November 4-13, 2022, at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.

The Royal draws more than 300,000 visitors to Toronto annually to see thousands of unique entries from elite Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors, more than 4,500 large and small animals, shows, activities, shopping, dining and—of course—The Royal Horse Show.

Come and experience The Royal, there’s truly something for the entire family. Click here for information and tickets.

 

 

 

 

Fromagerie du Presbytère twice champion at Royal Cheese & Butter Competition

Cheesemaker Jean Morin with award-winning Louis d’Or at Fromagerie du Presbytère.

Cheesemaker Jean Morin and his équipe at Fromagerie du Presbytère in Ste-Elizabeth-de-Warwick, Québec, dominated the 2022 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario at the 100th anniversary Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Louis d’Or 18 mois and Treizième Apôtre were crowned Grand Champions in two sections of the competition, in Cow Milk and in Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo and Mixed Milk, respectively. Additionally, four cheeses from Presbytère were named class champions.

Quite the haul in the oldest and biggest cheese and butter competition in Canada with 195 entries submitted by producers across the land. Judging took place June 10. The Fair runs November 4-13 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Cows Creamery Extra Old Cheddar was named Grand Champion Cheddar.

Gay Lea Grass-Fed Salted Butter was crowned Grand Champion Butter.

More than $33,000 in prize money was provided by Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the Presenting Partner. The Champions Showcase at The Fair is presented by Metro.

Complete results are posted at https://www.assistexpo.ca/results/rawf/5/

Here are the 2022 Grand Champions and class winners:

Cows Creamery Extra Old Cheddar: Grand Champion Cheddar.

CHEDDAR CHEESE

  • Grand Champion, any milk
  • Cows Creamery Extra Old Cheddar
  • Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
  • Cheesemaker Armand Bernard
  • Silver Trier Award, cow milk cheddars
  • Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
  • Cheesemaker Armand Bernard
  • Mild Cheddar, up to 3 months
  • L’Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar
  • Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Bécancour, Québec
  • Medium Cheddar, 4 to 9 months
  • L’Ancêtre Organic Medium Cheddar
  • Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Bécancour, Québec
  • Aged Cheddar, 2 years or older
  • Perron Millésimé 2015 Vintage
  • Fromagerie Perron, Saint Prime, Québec
Louis d’Or 18 mois: Grand Champion in the cow milk section.

COW MILK CHEESE

Treizieme Apotre: Grand Champion in the goat-sheep-water-buffalo-mixed milk section.

GOAT, SHEEP, WATER BUFFALO & MIXED MILK CHEESE

  • Grand Champion
  • Treizième Apôtre
  • Fromagerie du Presbytère, Ste-Elizabeth-de-Warwick, Québec
  • Cheesemaker Jean Morin
  •  
  • Fresh Unripened Cheese, Flavoured
  • Beet Horseradish Chevre
  • Cross Wind Farm, Keene, Ontario
  • Cheesemaker Cindy Hope
  • Pasta Filata
  • Bella Casara Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Quality Cheese, Vaughan, Ontario
  • Soft Bloomy Rind
  • Le Sabot de Blanchette
  • Fromagerie La Suisse Normande, St-Roch-Ouest, Québec
  • Cheesemaker Fabienne Mathieu
  • Interior Ripened
  • Blyth’s Eweda
  • Blyth Farm Cheese, Blyth, Ontario
  • Cheesemaker Paul Van Dorp
  • Surface Ripened
  • Treizième Apôtre
  • Fromagerie du Presbytère, Ste-Elizabeth-de-Warwick, Québec
  • Cheesemaker Jean Morin
  • Feta or Feta Style, Natural
  • River’s Edge Feta
  • River’s Edge Goat Dairy, Arthur, Ontario
  • Cheesemaker Katie Normet
  • Feta or Feta Style, Flavoured
  • Sundried Tomato & Basil Feta
  • Cross Wind Farm, Keene, Ontario
  • Cheesemaker Cindy Hope
  • Cheese with Grilling Properties
  • Grillou Fines Herbes
  • Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
  • Cheesemaker Marie-Chantal Houde
  • Open Class
  • Le Verdict d’Alexina
  • Fromagerie Le Détour, Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Québec
  • Cheesemaker Mario Quirion
Gay Lea Grass-Fed Salted Butter: Grand Champion Butter.

BUTTER

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair celebrates 100 years of world-class equine and agricultural excellence on November 4-13, 2022.

Since its inception in November 1922, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has become the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.

The Royal draws more than 300,000 visitors to Toronto annually to see thousands of unique entries from elite Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors, more than 4,500 large and small animals, shows, activities, shopping, dining and—of course—The Royal Horse Show.

Come and experience The Royal, there’s truly something for the entire family. Click here for information and tickets.

 

$33,000 in prize money at oldest cheese competition in Canada

Attention, Canadian cheesemakers!

Entries are open for the 2022 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario at the 100th anniversary Royal Agricultural Winter Fair with more than $33,000 in prize money provided by Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

It’s the oldest cheese and butter competition in Canada dating back 100 years to 1922 when the Fair was first held at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Entry deadline is June 1. Judging for the competition takes place June 10 with winners announced soon after.

The competition is open to Canadian cheese made with all milks—cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo and mixed—by producers in all provinces.

Click to read and download the 2022 competition book with rules and regulations in English.

Cliquez pour lire et télécharger le livret du concours 2022 avec le réglementation en français.

Judges for the prestigious competition are selected on the basis of their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of cheese. The Jury is evenly divided between judges strong on technical aspects of cheese and those strong on aesthetics.

Technical Judges: Art Hill, Kelsie Parsons, Barry Reid, Cecilia Smith,  Heather Thelwell.

Aesthetic Judges: André Derrick, Erin Harris, Andrew Moulton, Martin Raymond, Sue Riedl.

Judging Facilitator: Connie Smith. Competition Superintendents: Debbie Levy and Lisa McAlpine.

Presenting Sponsor of the Cheese & Butter Competition: Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Evaluation of cheese will be based on the following:

  • Aroma
  • Flavours
  • Texture and Body
  • Appearance and Rind Development
    (if rind is appropriate to the cheese)

In the 2021 competition, the Grand Champions were:

Grand Champion in Cow Milk: Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Noyan, Quebec, Cheesemaker Fritz Kaiser;

Grand Champion in Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo and mixed milk: Fuoco, Fromagerie Fuoco, St. Lin Laurentides, Québec, Cheesemaker Jason Fuoco;

Grand Champion Cheddar and Ontario Champion Cheddar: Balderson Medium Cheddar, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario;

Grand Champion Butter: Lactantia Cultured Salted Butter, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair celebrates 100 years of world class Equine and Agricultural excellence on November 4-13, 2022.

Since its inception in November 1922, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has become the world’s largest combined agricultural and equestrian show.

The Royal draws more than 300,000 visitors to Toronto annually to see thousands of unique entries from elite Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors, more than 4,500 large and small animals, shows, activities, shopping, dining and—of course—The Royal Horse Show.

Come and experience The Royal, there’s truly something for the entire family. Click here for information and tickets.

 

Much cheese and good eats on a cross-Canada road trip

We’re planning a road trip across Canada, from our home near Toronto to the Canadian Rockies and home again. We’ll be on the road for almost two months, covering close to 8,000 km, camping most of the time—and eating well.

Our primary destination will be the Rockies in all their early fall splendor. We are so looking forward to taking in incredible scenery such as Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park captured above by Scott Kranz @scott_kranz on Instagram.

Cheese stops are on the itinerary, and food stops, too. Here’s the beginning of our list:

WESTBOUND

EASTBOUND

If you have a suggestion or recommendation, please leave it in comments below.

If you’re planning to visit the Rockies, be sure to check out Travel Alberta, an excellent resource for all things Alberta.

Read more about our plans and the itinerary at our new website On the Road, Across the Sea on Substack. Come along for the ride by subscribing to our newsletter on the Substack page. It’s free.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever. Follow him on YouTube at Strictly Cheese.

Cheesemaking Technology offered online in April

Professor Art Hill (right) will present his acclaimed cheesemaking technology course online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The popular Cheese Making Technology short course that Professor Art Hill has conducted annually since 1986 at University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, will be presented online this year on April 11 to May 2.
The course—designed for artisan and commercial cheesemakers, cheese hobbyists, and government and sales personnel who work with cheesemakers—focuses on the science and technology of cheesemaking.

“The focus is on understanding the manufacturing principles of technological families of cheese, rather than becoming expert in the manufacture of particular cheese varieties,” says Professor Hill.

Each participant will receive a cheesemaking kit with sufficient tools to make cheese in their home kitchen as part of the course.

For more information and registration: https://courses.opened.uoguelph.ca/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=21521597

The University of Guelph has been offering some version of its cheesemaking course since 1893. It’s the second oldest dairy school in Canada.

Professor Art Hill of University of Guelph.

When it comes to dairy and cheese, Art Hill is a man of many talents but his specialty is cheese technology. Over the years, his respected cheesemaking offerings have attracted national and international participants. When time permits from his duties as Professor, Dr. Hill influences government and industry policies on issues such as milk pricing, safety of cheese curds and raw-milk cheese, import of dairy ingredients, and cheese composition standards. He also serves as Chief Judge and head of the Jury responsible for evaluating and scoring cheese at Canadian Cheese Awards, the biggest cheese competition in Canada.

Click here for information about the comprehensive six-course Cheese Maker Certificate offered by University of Guelph.

 

 

 

Best Bites: The most memorable cheese of 2021

For raclette, pick Tête à Papineau for its ooey gooey meltiness, says Vanessa Simmons.

We bring the curtain down on 2021 with the help of friends in fromage recalling the most memorable cheeses that crossed their palates during the past 12 months. We add our favourites, too.

Check out the tasting notes and make up your shopping list for the next visit to a cheese shop or, better yet, right to the cheesemaker.

Let’s begin with cheese educator and sommelier Vanessa Simmons, our BF in fromage:

Tête à Papineau for raclette.

My most memorable cheese taste for 2021 was one that brought back a sense of normalcy from years past where I hosted a raclette tasting for a group of scuba diving friends to celebrate an amazing diving season and introduce them to this one-of-a-kind experience. It’s the special moments in time that make memories, and these days, we need to take advantage of those where and as we can. I’ve always found delicious Canadian cheese to be the perfect choice to play a starring role in raclette. I picked Tête à Papineau for it’s ooey gooey meltiness, low oil residue, development of “la religieuse” crusty rind and awesome toasted flavor that brings an umami taste to elevate sweet, salty and pickled accompaniments. 

Tête à Papineau is a semi-soft washed-rind pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Fromagerie Montebello in Québec. Aged for about 60 days, under a thin golden apricot grainy rind its taste profile is a pleasant find. Aromas of sweet cream mix with flavours of butter, cream, and mild nut and then graduate to more prominent toasted nut over time and with heat, making it the perfect melting cheese to spotlight in raclette.

For Debbie Levy, cheese educator and a key player in the organization of the Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the cheese experience of the year was delivered by Bois de Grandmont from Fromagerie Médard in the Saguenay-Lac Saint Jean region of Québec.

Bois-de-Grandmont made by Fromagerie Médard.

With its wood band and rustic appearance Bois de Grandmont from Fromagerie Médard was a clear winner for me. The spruce bark imparts a delightful woodsy note. That, combined with the soft buttery paste, left me wanting more!

Cheesemaker Rose-Alice Boivin-Côté represents the sixth generation of the Côté family farming the 100 acres of land granted by authorities in the 19th century to mothers and fathers of 12 or more living children. The objective: clear the forest and develop the region.

Ferme Domaine de la Rivière is located in Saint-Gédéon and now also features a bakery. For cheese production, only milk from a herd of 100 Brown Swiss cows is used.

Jackie Armet is a longtime friend in cheese who has worked with me as cheese co-ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival and then the Canadian Cheese Awards. In between Covid lockdowns, she has had a chance to visit cheese producers in Québec.

One thing that is quite apparent is that having cheese right from the farm or producer is different then buying it from cheese shops, even having it weeks later at home.

Her two favourites of 2021:

Ashen Bell or Cloche Cendré .

Ashen Bell or Cloche Cendré is a pasteurised goat milk cheese in a pyramid format made by Fromagerie du Vieux Saint-François in Laval near Montréal. Lovely smooth flavour without the sour usually associated with goat’s milk. Vegetable ash coats the rind. Delicious to have anytime during the day and extra special with a fresh bagel. The fromagerie is not federally licensed so its cheese is only sold in Québec where it is well known and considered a staple.

Fou-du-Roy.

The name Fou du Roy from medieval times evokes a jester whose profession was to entertain the king and lords. Fromagiers de la Table Ronde is located in the Laurentians of Québec. Holstein cows produce the milk for this washed-rind, organic, farmstead cheese. Aged 60 days, it takes on flavours of butter, peanut and hay, with the sandy textured rind adding another dimension.

Our own “Wow!” moment in cheese came on a road trip across Northern Ontario when we visited Nickel City Cheese in Chelmsford, 25 minutes northwest of Sudbury, and ordered deep-fried cheese curds at the Poutinerie stand operated by the son of Nicole Paquin, Nickel City’s owner.

Deep-fried cheese curds at Nickel City Cheese in Chelmsford just northwest of Sudbury.

The deep-fried curds were outstanding. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, ooey gooey on the inside. Without a doubt the tastiest fried curds ever!

It doesn’t hurt that the poutine stand is steps from the cheese plant where the curds are made fresh several times each week. Close to 20 different types of curds are available at Nickel City.

That road trip across Northern Ontario delivered two other memorable moments in cheese:

Mattagami made by Fromagerie Kapuskoise.

—At Fromagerie Kapuskoise in Kapuskasing we discovered that Cheesemaker François Nadeau  has made huge strides in developing French-inspired cheeses in a few short years. We were especially taken by Mattagami, a cow’s milk cheese aged two years, named for a river near the fromagerie and inspired by Cantal, one of the oldest cheeses on the planet. Mattagami presents a rich and creamy texture. When aged over a year, it starts to crystalize, further enhancing the flavour of the cheese. Mattagami pairs well with red wine or dry white wines, and can be used to replace Cheddar in recipes.

Cheesemaker Walter Schep at Thunder Oak Cheese Farm.

Thunder Oak Cheese Farm outside of Thunder Bay was the first producer of Gouda cheese in Ontario, starting in 1955 after the Schep family arrived from the Netherlands. Today, Walter Schep, son of the founders, is the cheesemaker and does he work wonders with the creamy Dutch cheese! We were especially taken by the 4-year Thunder Oak. At that age, Gouda is no longer sweet and creamy but has developed intensity as it becomes harder. Now, it’s bold, sharp and caramelized, almost candy like. We love it!

Our final memorable cheese of 2021 we discovered only a few weeks ago when we started tasting our way through the Advent calendar featuring Québec cheese developed by Fromages CDA. Although we had enjoyed many of the award-winning cheeses produced by Fritz Kaiser in Noyan, Québec, over the years, we had never tasted Noyan, the first cheese he made way back in 1981 when he was a 23-year-old immigrant and about to become a pioneer in the artisan cheese movement in Quebec and, indeed, Canada.

Noyan, one of the first cheeses created by Fritz Kaiser 40 years ago.

Noyan has a smooth rind that is pinkish white to coppery orange in colour. The cow’s milk cheese has a cream coloured interior, and is both supple yet flexible. The aroma is reminiscent of fresh mushroom. The taste of milk and nuts becomes ever more robust with time.

Stay safe in the New Year, and enjoy Canadian artisan cheese as much as you can.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever. Follow him on YouTube at Strictly Cheese.

 

Punching above your weight at Royal cheese competition

Cheesemaker Jason Fuoco face-to-face with a water buffalo at Fromagerie Fuoco north of Montréal.

You know there is hope for the future of artisan cheesemaking in Canada when smaller cheesemakers punch well above their weight in a major competition such as the 2021 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Cheeemaker Cindy Hope of Cross Wind Farm at Keene, Ontario.

That was the torch held high by Jason Fuoco and Cindy Hope in the oldest cheese competition in Canada that dates back 99 years to 1922 when the Fair was first held at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Fuoco, the exquisite soft washed rind cheese that Jason Fuoco makes with the rich milk from his herd of 60 water buffalo in the Lanaudière region of Québec, was crowned Grand Champion in Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo and Mixed Milk Cheese.
Cindy Hope, who creates lovely goat’s milk cheese on the farm she and her husband, Kevin, run near Peterborough, Ontario, won two first-place ribbons with her signature Artisan Chèvres and another first with Maggie Smoked Gouda.
Jason started making cheese in 2012, Cindy a few years earlier.
Learn more here:
Perennial winner Margaret Morris and her team at Glengarry Fine Cheese of Lancaster, Ontario, brought home three first-place awards while Balderson Cheese of Winchester, Ontario, making cheddar since 1881, pretty well swept the cheddar category.
Miranda, made by Fritz Kaiser of Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, one of the earliest pioneers of artisan cheese in Québec and, indeed, Canada, was named Grand Champion among all cow-milk cheeses.
Here are all winners in the 2021 competition at The Royal:
COW MILK
Grand Champion
Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Noyan, Quebec, Cheesemaker Fritz Kaiser
Firm and Hard, Surface Ripened, Natural or Brushed Rind
Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Noyan, Quebec, Cheesemaker Fritz Kaiser
Fresh Unripened Cheese, Natural
St. John’s Fresh Cheese, Portuguese Cheese Co., Toronto, Cheesemaker Jaime Ortiz
Fresh Pasta Filata
Bella Casara Burrata, Quality Cheese, Vaughan, Ontario
Cheese with Grilling Properties, Natural or Flavoured
Braséo, Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte, La Sarre, Québec, Cheesemaker Éric Beauchamps
Soft Cheese, Mixed or Washed Rind
Figaro, Glengarry Fine Cheese, Lancaster, Ontario, Cheesemakers Margaret Morris, Billy McDonell, Connie De Melo
Semi-Soft, Interior Ripened
Mild Gouda, That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Economy, Nova Scotia
Semi-Soft, Surface Ripened
Fleur-en-Lait, Glengarry Fine Cheese, Lancaster, Ontario, Cheesemakers Margaret Morris, Billy McDonell, Connie De Melo
Firm and Hard, Interior Ripened
Gouda 2-Year, Mountainoak Cheese, New Hamburg, Ontario, Cheesemaker Adam Van Bergeijk
Feta or Feta Style
Light Feta, Krinos Foods Canada Ltd., Vaughan, Ontario, Cheesemaker Emmanouil Georgantelis
Blue Cheese
Celtic Blue Reserve, Glengarry Fine Cheese, Lancaster, Ontario, Cheesemakers Margaret Morris, Billy McDonell, Connie De Melo
Flavoured Cheese (except smoked)
Wild Nettle, Mountainoak Cheese, New Hamburg, Ontario, Cheesemaker Adam Van Bergeijk
Flavoured Cheese, Naturally Smoked
Bleu Fumé, Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec
GOAT, SHEEP, WATER BUFFALO & MIXED MILK
Grand Champion
Fuoco, Fromagerie Fuoco, St. Lin Laurentides, Québec, Cheesemaker Jason Fuoco
Surface Ripened
Fuoco, Fromagerie Fuoco, St. Lin Laurentides, Québec, Cheesemaker Jason Fuoco
Fresh Unripened Cheese, Natural
Artisan Chèvre Original, Cross Wind Farm, Keene, Ontario, Cheesemaker Cindy Hope
Fresh Unripened Cheese, Flavoured
Artisan Chèvre Cranberry Orange, Cross Wind Farm, Keene, Ontario, Cheesemaker Cindy Hope
Interior Ripened
Le Moutier, Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec
Flavoured Cheese
Maggie Smoked Gouda, Cross Wind Farm, Keene, Ontario, Cheesemaker Cindy Hope
CHEDDAR

Grand Champion Cheddar, Ontario Champion Cheddar, Silver Trier Award – Highest Aggregate Score
Balderson Medium Cheddar, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Medium Cheddar, 4 to 9 months
Balderson Medium Cheddar, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Mild Cheddar, up to 3 months
Balderson Mild Cheddar, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Old/Extra Old Cheddar, 9 to 24 months
Balderson Extra Old Cheddar, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Aged Cheddar, 2 years and older
Maple Dale 3-Year Cheddar, Maple Dale Cheese, Trenton, Ontario, Cheesemaker Cory Armstrong
BUTTER
Grand Champion
Lactantia Cultured Salted Butter, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Cultured, salted or unsalted
Lactantia Cultured Salted Butter, Lactalis Canada, Chesterville, Ontario
Grass Fed or Organic, Unsalted
Temiskaming Valley Gras Fed Unsalted Butter, Thornloe Cheese, Thornloe, Ontario
Grass Fed or Organic, Salted
Gay Lea Grass-Fed Salted Butter, Gay Lea Foods Cooperative, Mississauga, ON
For complete results, visit 2021 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Canadian cheese calendars for Advent

After years of only British cheese calendars available for the holidays, Canadians finally have an Advent calendar featuring Québec cheese.

Congratulations to Fromages CDA, the award-winning marketing agency led by Daniel Allard, for developing a tasting calendar for sale in Sobeys, IGA and Safeway stores—while supplies last.

Here’s how the 24-day cheese calendar works:
—Ideally, you’ll start tasting on December 1 and conclude on Christmas Eve.
—When you lift the perforated flap for each day, revealing a cheese sample, the name of the fromagerie and the cheese will be visible. In the photo, we have opened December 1 and 2, revealing Fromagerie le Fromage au Village/Coeur du village, and Fromagerie P’tit Plaisir/Lys de St-Gérard.
—With a small knife, pierce the plastic to uncover the cheese.
—Enjoy the treat and repeat the process again the next day.
In all, there are eight different cheeses in the package that retails for $39.95, a reasonable price for 650 grams of excellent artisan cheese. Each of the 24 pieces is 27 grams, a perfect amount for sampling.
The eight cheeses are:
Coeur du village, a cheddar made by Fromagerie le Fromage au Village in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Québec;
Lys de St-Gérard, semi-firm cheese, Fromagerie P’tit Plaisir, Eastern Townships;
Fontina, firm cheese, Fromagerie Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, Eastern Townships;
Meule des champs, firm cheese, Fromagerie Rang 9, Centre-du-Québec;
Noyan, semi-firm cheese, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Montérégie;
L’Ancêtre, organic cheddar, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Centre-du-Québec;
Fredondaine, firm cheese, Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte, Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
Le Désirable, cheddar flavoured with maple syrup, La Fromagerie du Terroir de Bellechasse, Chaudiere-Appalaches.
All of the above cheeses are made with cow’s milk. They are marketed under the Amour et Tradition banner by Fromages CDA and distributed across Canada.
If the Québec artisan cheese calendar has sold out where you shop, take the above list to your neighbourhood cheese shop and purchase the cheeses individually or have them ordered in for you.
Failing that, Progressive Dairy Canada has created Advent cheese calendars that you can download and print and then use as a guide for shopping and sampling:
Either way, enjoy plenty of excellent Canadian cheese as the holidays approach.
—Georgs Kolesnikovs
Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever. Follow him on YouTube at Strictly Cheese.
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