We learn 11 cheeses may be too much of a good thing

Flashback Friday: Post first published on March 7, 2010

Five cheese courses are lined up, awaiting our guests.

There’s nothing quite like spending an evening nibbling on cheese and sipping wine with good friends. We invited two couples to join us for a five-course tasting menu. Here’s how it went down:

First course/Introductions

Riopelle de l’Isle:

One of the great cheeses of Canada, it’s made from raw cow’s milk on a small island— Île-aux-Grues—in the middle of the St. Lawrence River about 40 miles down-river from Quebec City. Riopelle de l’Île is named after Quebec’s most famous painter, Jean-Paul Riopelle, who lived on the island for two decades until his death in 2002.

Artwork by Riopelle himself.

He lent his name to the cheese, and provided the artwork that adorns the packaging, on the condition that one dollar for each wheel sold by Fromageries Île-aux-Grues would be donated to the island youth foundation.

A soft triple-cream cheese with a bloomy rind, Riopelle melts in your mouth and has a wonderful taste of hazelnut, mushroom, a hint of butter and a pinch of salt.

Bonnie & Floyd and me:

I’m so proud of “my” cheese because the two times I’ve shared it, guests have said it was their favorite. This is the Bonnie & Floyd that I was given in November after spending a day learning how cheese is made at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese in Prince Edward County.

Despite my difficulties in finding a spot in our apartment building to age the cheese at the right temperature and the right humidity, my Bonnie & Floyd turned out to be a real treat. Just like the cheese aged at Fifth Town, mine has a smooth paste with complex yet mild mineral flavours. Barely salty near the rind, and somewhat nutty, it provides almost sweet lactic flavours near the centre.

When I first cut into the wheel, I couldn’t believe how fresh and milky it tasted, a testament to how well the ewes who gave the milk are treated, and the speed with which the milk moves from farm to cheesemaker.

Second course/Warming up

Baked Woolrich Chevrai:

My sister gave us a lovely baking dish for Christmas together with a small log of Woolrich Dairy goat cheese and assorted herbs. After 20 minutes in the oven at 350F, it was a striking addition to the assortment of flavours on our menu.

It was nearing its best-before date, so was well aged, and most of our guests laced it with honey. With a Parisian-style baguette, it was a light and tangy treat.

Third course/Cheddar chowdown

Kraft Cracker Barrel vs 5-year Wilton vs 6-year Black River:

We had purchased the Kraft “aged cheddar” as it was on sale at a ridiculously low price at Wal-Mart but had not yet found a way to eat it; thus, my bright idea of blind-tasting the factory-made cheddar against two artisan cheddars.

It was no contest. Even sitting on the board, it was obvious which was the Kraft, but we proceeded with the blind-tasting anyway as it provided an entertaining twist to the proceedings.

The five-year Wilton is a very nice cheddar. Perhaps because it has rested in our refrigerator for four months, we could spot the occasional crystal developing.

For our tastebuds, the six-year Black River was the clear winner, so tangy and complex, so crumbly that after our guests departed, I made a snack of cleaning up the bamboo board.

Fourth course/From the grill

Guernsey Girl:

Guernsey Girl is a delightful new cheese that is unique to Canada and deserves its own blog entry (which will come after we have another chance to try frying the cheese. Yes, this cheese is fried or grilled before it is served).

It’s an outstanding creation of Upper Canada Cheese using the rich milk provided by a herd of Guernsey cows on the Comfort family farm near Jordan, a Niagara Peninsula village.

Fifth course/Getting serious

Époisses Berthaut:

When we think of a rich and powerful cheese at our house, we think Époisses Berthaut from Burgundy in France. It’s a washed-rind unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a natural red tint and its own rich and penetrating aroma.

It’s described as an iconic cheese in tasting notes published by Provincial Fine Foods: “Époisses is powerfully scented, soft-to-runny, and can sometimes deter people with its frank, leathery, animal aromas. Once past the lips, Époisses is spicy, earthy, salty and rich, but not nearly as potent as one might expect.”

Cabrales:

The king of blues.

When Cabrales, the great blue of Spain, is well-aged, it is fully potent—on the verge of overpowering the faint of heart. Our Cabrales was like that, even with a chutney or honey or fig jam, so ripe and so intense.

I had told Geoff, a longtime cheesemonger at Chris’s Cheesemongers in St. Lawrence Market, that we wanted a strongh finish to our evening—and did he deliver! Geoff carved our wedge from a wheel that was obviously fully ripe. Heck, half the piece was dark blue!

Our guests, who were as satiated was we were by evening’s end, barely tasted the Cabrales. Meaning Significant Other and I, over the coming week, must find ways to savour the strongest cheese we’ve ever tasted—or it will simply become too powerful, even for strong cheese lovers like us.

Chris’s Cheesemongers, $7.34 per 100 grams.

Dessert

There was a loud groan from our full guests when we presented one additional variation on the evening’s cheese theme—cannoli—but six of the little suckers were devoured within minutes.

Wines

For starters, Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut and an excellent Pillitteri Gewurtzraminer Reisling. Then, Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir and a delightful Conundrum California White Wine (blend). Concluding with Casa dos Vinhos Madeira and a knockout Cockfighter’s Ghost Shiraz that was a match for our Cabrales.

With plenty of San Benedetto carbonated mineral water to stave off dehydration.

Sides

Red pepper jelly, Latvian chutney, Kalamata olives, Ontario honey and fig jam from France. Green grapes and strawberries. Honey dates, dried apricots and walnuts. Kashi crackers, multi-grain flatbreads and plain crackers. Parisian-style baguette and a multi-grain baguette.

We also offered tomato slices drizzled with Spanish olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar and topped with a fresh basil leaf which worked exceptionally well to counter the buttery richness of Guernsey Girl.

Unexpected guests

One couple brought us two additions to our menu:

Le 1608

Le 1608 is a relatively new creation of Laiterie Charlevoix. A semi-firm, washed rind cheese, Le 1608 uses milk from Canadienne cows whose ancestors were brought to Canada from France starting in 1608. Most of these hardy animals are unique to the Charlevoix region of Quebec.

As Sue Riedl wrote in The Globe and Mail about a year ago, “Le 1608 develops a pale orange exterior that is washed with brine while ripening. Developing a full, barny aroma, the paste tastes nutty at the rind and has a complex, fruity flavour that emerges from its melt-in-the mouth texture. The pleasant tang of the long finish clinches this cheese’s spot as a new Canadian favourite.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Saint Agur

An outstanding blue.

What a mouth-watering, medium-strong, creamy blue cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk in Auvergne, France!

Saint Agur was the perfect counter-point to our Cabrales. Kind of like a softer and finer Roquefort and, due to its double-cream nature, easy to spread on a plain cracker. (The next day, it tasted even better, leaving an almond-like impression.)

Footnotes

In retrospect, 11 cheeses over five courses were too much of a good thing. Four courses of maybe eight or nine cheeses would have been just fine.

The experts usually say allow for 400 grams of cheese per person when serving cheese as a meal. We provided 485 grams per person. When all was said and done, close to 400 grams were consumed on average per person.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca.

Best Bites: The Most Memorable Cheese of 2020

A wheel of Louis d’Or is no lightweight! It weighs in at 40 kilos or close to 90 pounds.

I was first introduced to Louis d’Or when, during a visit to Fromagerie du Presbytère some 10 years ago, Cheesemaker Jean Morin (at left in photo) handed me a wheel.

“Have some cheese, Georgs,” he said, with a chuckle.

I almost sank to my knees!

Louis d’Or is made in 40 kilogram wheels. That translates to close to 90 pounds of cheese, not the easiest thing to manhandle.

Jean 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.

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

The past decade has proven him right. Louis d’Or has become widely known and praised for its fine, complex flavours. It’s one delicious cheese!

Award-winning Louis d’Or made by Fromagerie du Presbytère.

Louis d’Or has been recognized as a world-class cheese. It has won the prestigious Caseus competition in Québec and the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. At the most recent Canadian Cheese Awards, it was crowned Canadian Cheese of the Year

This past year I’ve had the good fortune of enjoying Louis d’Or—after nine months of aging, after 18 months and two years, and even after three years. It only gets better with more time spent in the former Roman Catholic church in the village of Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick that Jean Morin has converted into a state of the art space for affinage.

The church sits across the street from the family dairy farm, Ferme Louis d’Or, and is adjacent to the former rectory which Morin purchased in 2005 to start up Fromagerie du Presbytère. (Presbytère is the French word for rectory.) Cheesemaking takes place in the former rectory which also houses fromagerie offices. The expansive new retail store is just down the street.

Cecilia Smith of Cheese by Cecilia in Uxbridge, Ontario, gets to taste a lot of cheese over any 12-month period. In the culinary arts program at George Brown College in Toronto, Cecilia has taught classes leading to the Professional Fromager certificate since 2014 as well as cheese appreciation and cheese pairing courses. She herself received the Professional Fromager Certificate from George Brown eight years ago and has worked as a fromager at Monforte Dairy and The Passionate Cook’s Essentials in Uxbridge

Earlier this year she was a judge at the 2020 cheese and butter competition held by Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. On Sundays during the summer months, Cecilia operates a market stall at the Uxbridge Farmer’s Market where she features Ontario’s best artisan cheeses.

Mason’s Delight made by River’s Edge Goat Dairy in Southwestern Ontario.

“My most memorable cheese this year was Mason’s Delight from River’s Edge Goat Dairy,” Cecilia told me. “The marble interior is stunningly beautiful, the cheese sweet and tangy with a lovely umami finish.”

Mason’s Delight is a bloomy rind (think Brie or Camembert) goat cheese that has layers of vegetable ash running throughout. A rectangular cuboid shaped cheese that makes it simple to slice into eye catching slices. Vegetable ash not only looks amazing in cheese, it also balances the natural acidity of the cheese. Some people have said that this makes the cheese easier for them to digest.

In 1999, Katie Normet and her family purchased an abused and abandoned piece of land near Arthur, Ontario. After six years of building and land improvement, River’s Edge Goat Dairy was established in 2005.

Today, goals of the farm are to continue to improve the land, educate the public about food and farming, preserve Ontario farmland and, of course, to make the best cheese possible.

It’s been a blast to have Jackie Armet working with me from the very beginning of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival and then the Canadian Cheese Awards, as Cheese Co-ordinator in charge of all things cheese.

Alfred Le Fermier made by Fromagerie La Station in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

Her most memorable cheese of 2020 has been Alfred Le Fermier which she considers a staple, like cheddar.

“It’s woodsy, with hazelnut flavours and a flowery finish. It can be used in any recipe that calls for cheese. But I do prefer most cheese straight up on a cheese board. That‘s the best way to enjoy it.”

Alfred Le Fermier is made with organic raw milk from Holstein cows at Fromagerie La Station on the Bolduc family farm in the Eastern Townships of Québec. It’s a firm, cooked pressed cheese with a washed rind.

The cheese proudly carries the name of the family’s great grandfather, Alfred Bolduc. Alfred Le Fermier symbolizes a family tradition whose mission is to cultivate the soil, live on it and hand it down to future generations in even better condition.

Saint Agur made in the Auvergne region of central France.

There is one imported cheese in the roundup this year: Saint Agur, a blue made with pasteurized cow’s milk in the mountainous Auvergne region of central France. Says Jackie:

“If you are not a fan of blue cheese, this is the gateway of blue cheese to get you there. With such a smooth creamy texture and a subtle spicy flavour, it will tempt you to try it again. Just add a glass of Port and you have a match made in heaven.”

A highlight of the cheese year for me personally  was meeting, via social media, a young cheesemaker in Saskatchewan and getting to taste his cheese.

Kevin Petty was visiting Sion, Switzerland, for a friend’s wedding a few years ago when he was first inspired to get into cheese after being exposed to some of the best artisan cheesemakers in the world. Since then, he has learned from cheesemakers across Canada including Brother Albéric from the trappist monastery near Holland, Manitoba. He tells his own story in this brief video:

Kevin calls his cheese Caerphilly-style because “I started with a Caerphilly recipe but then I’ve changed it quite a bit over two years to make it my own.”

“The cheese is made with raw cow’s milk, mostly Holstein. It’s aged on spruce boards for a few weeks and then vac-sealed. I started with a caerphilly recipe but I’ve made little changes over a couple years, just trial and error, trying to make something with a nice texture and taste. I kind of went where it was leading me without much of a plan.”

Caerphilly-style cheese made by Kevin Petty at Saskatoon Spruce.

At Saskatoon Spruce, Kevin currently produces his original Caerphilly-style cheese as well as an applewood smoked version and a seasonal stout version

My first impression: It’s tasty cheese. The Saskatchewan take on the Welsh take on cheddar.

The 5-month version certainly has more depth of flavour and character than the younger cheeses I tasted. Wonder what it would be like at 9 months and older?

We also asked Kelsie Parsons about his best cheese memories of 2020. He’s in charge of cheese and deli at Sobeys stores across Canada and served as a judge at the 2020 cheese and butter competition held by Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Here’s what he had to say:

“My best bites of 2020 were not about specific cheeses but rather moments shared with others, such a rarity this past year. I reminisce of enjoying cheese during a euchre game with neighbours mid-March (pre-lockdown), and on a summer hike with friends (there were 0 active cases in our county at the time). The flavours of a well-crafted cheese shine so much brighter when enjoyed during special moments with others.

“Wishing all a year of health and happiness, and, when it’s safe to do so, a chance to re-connect with friends and family over some lovingly produced Canadian cheese.”

Which is a very nice way to conclude our annual round-up of memorable cheese moments of the year just ending.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, founded Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Home delivery: Safe and convenient way to shop for cheese in Covid Times

Winner’s Basket from award-winning Fromagerie du Presbytère.

Canadian cheese producers, distributors and retailers who offer home delivery are standing by online for your order.

Click here to see who will deliver what.

The selection is wide-ranging and mouth-watering.

Take, for example, the award-winning cheeses that Fromagerie du Presbytère in Québec has assembled in a Winner’s Basket for $29.95: Louis d’Or, Religieuse, Laliberté and Bleu d’Élizabeth, plus a cranberry-guinea fowl treat from Faisanderie St-Albert. Order three baskets to give as gifts and one for yourself and the fromagerie will cover the cost of shipping.

Click here to reach the fromagerie’s online boutique.

From Prince Edward Island, the Over the Moon Box from Cows Creamery contains three pieces of Cheddar, Avonlea Clothbound, Extra Old and Appletree Smoked, two pieces of butter, Sea Salted and Cultured, Cheddar Pop, freshly baked COWS Butter Biscuits, Receiver Butter Crackers, Prince Edward Island Honey, Avonlea Preserves, COW CHIPS, and COWS Caramel Corn. $125 with shipping included.

Stonetown Artisan Cheese in Ontario offers a Charcuterie Box for $58 that contains four 170-gram wedges of cheese, including Grand Trunk and Wildwood, German salami and crackers. Free shipping with every purchase of $100 or more.

If you’re able and willing to shop in person, visit our directory of cheese shops across Canada by clicking here.

Finally, a Canadian cheese calendar for Advent!

It’s about time!

So good to see Progressive Dairy Canada magazine produce an Advent calendar featuring Canadian cheese.

Really good to see excellent representation of cheesemakers from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland although we will quibble that many outstanding Québec cheeses are missing. Maybe next year we’ll have to develop an Advent calendar of our own.

But, for now, kudos to Progressive Dairy Canada!

Maple Dale Extra Old Cheddar double champion at The Royal

Here’s how to access all 2020 cheese and butter competition results at The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience, a new, free platform loaded with features and videos:

  1. Visit www.royalfair.org/virtual
  2. Register on your first visit
  3. Select the ‘Exhibit Hall’ tab
  4. Go to ‘Champions Showcase’ Booth
    • Click the left picture tab for complete listing of results.
    • Winner profiles are found under the document tab on that same page.
    • Competition day videos are listed under videos.

A delicious extra old cheddar made by Maple Dale Cheese in Plainfield, Ontario, was declared a champion twice over in the 2020 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Maple Dale’s Naturally Aged Extra Old Cheddar was named Grand Champion Cheddar. It also scored Ontario Champion Cheddar honours in the oldest cheese competition in Canada that dates back 98 years to 1922 when the Fair was first held at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Grand Champion Cheddar and Ontario Champion Cheddar

In this Covid-19 era, The Royal hosted the only cheese judging and competition in Canada and one of the few such contests in the world this year.

Judging took place on September 24 with six expert judges sampling and evaluating the 164 cheese and butter entries submitted by producers across Canada. The results were announced this morning at The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a special new digital platform at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual that replaces the in-person fair this year.

Click here for all results in the Cheddar Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Variety Cheese—Cow Milk

A nicely balanced Cumin Aged Gouda made by Mountainoak Cheese in New Hamburg, Ontario, was named Grand Champion Variety Cheese-Cow Milk.

Click here for all results in the Variety Cheese—Cow Milk Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep. Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk

A wonderful Artisan Chevre made by Cross Wind Farm in Keene, Ontario, was named Grand Champion in the Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk Section of the competition.

Click here for all results in the Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Butter

Butter has been an integral part of the Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal since the first fair 98 years ago. Since the 2019 competition, ghee has been included.

Organic Unsalted Butter made by Gay Lea Foods Co-operative was named Grand Champion in the Butter and Ghee Section of the competition.

Click here for all results in the Butter and Ghee Section of the competition.

READ MORE:

Be sure to visit The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a special new digital platform at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual that replaces the in-person fair this year. The site is loaded with features and videos.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, Canada’s most popular blog about fromage, served as co-host with Katie Brown of the virtual competition in the video above.

Avonlea: Rich and robust with a lovely hint of Spud Island

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar was named Canadian Cheese of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar’s recipe comes from the Orkney Islands, north of mainland Scotland, with the cheese made in the style of traditional English cheddars by Cows Creamery of Prince Edward Island.

Scott Linkletter, who started Cows Inc. in 1983 by famously making ice cream, was visiting the Orkneys with his wife 15 years ago when they were so taken by the local cheese that he cajoled a Scottish cheesemaker into sharing the recipe. The recipe became the foundation for the Cows signature cheese, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, introduced in 2006. Ten years later, Avonlea was named Cheese of the Year at the Canadian Cheese Awards.

While developing the recipe for the clothbound cheddar, Linkletter and head cheesemaker Armand Bernard created a second cheese, PEI Cheddar. Other cheddars, such as Appletree Smoked, followed.

How Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar is made by Cows Creamery in Prince Edward Island under the guidance of head cheesemaker Armand Bernard.

Milk of Holstein cows from small local farms in the rolling hills of Prince Edward Island is gently heated—but not pasteurized—to allow beneficial microbes to thrive and give depth of character and flavour. The salt air and iron-rich soil of Prince Edward Island combine to add flavour and quality to the cheddar.

Cows makes Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar in 10 kilograms wheels, and ages it for 12 to 16 months at 10–12 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity.

The multi-award-winning cheese gets the “clothbound” name from traditional cheddar-making technique of wrapping it in cheese cloth, a method that originated in Somerset, England. The town of Cheddar, where cheddar cheese gets its name from is in Somerset.

The name Avonlea comes from link between Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables. As Scott Linkletter explained to Sue Riedl of The Globe and Mail: “We thought that was a great name because of the connection with Anne of Green Gables. At the time of Anne, this is the way cheese would have been made.”

COWS Ice Cream has been a family tradition on Prince Edward Island since 1983. From a small kiosk on the famous Cavendish Boardwalk, the COWS brand now has seven locations across PEI, two in Nova Scotia, two in British Columbia and one each in Alberta, Ontario and Beijing, China. The COWS brand has expanded over the years with cheese and butter lines, as well as the popular COWS-themed merchandise.

Cheesemaker Armand Bernard pulls a sample from a wheel of Avonlea to monitor the aging process.

The Linkletter family has also invested in Raspberry Point Oysters with oysters being shipped across Canada, USA, Japan and Denmark. The oyster line started as a bit of a hobby for Scott Linkletter, who used to harvest oysters with his father near his summer home on New London Bay.

But the man is a serial entrepreneur, if there ever was one, as he also has launched Anne of Green Gables Chocolates, BOOMburger and Moo Moo BBQ Grilled Cheesery, among other ventures.

How does Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar taste? Among Canadian cheddars, quite unique, truly exceptional.

The flavours and aroma are rich and robust, fruity and nutty, with a hint of baked potatoes, as befits a cheese made on Canada’s spud island, Prince Edward Island. The texture is firm, slightly crumbly as the cheese ages beyond 12 months.

It’s an outstanding Canadian cheese, perfect for cheese boards and snacking. Stick a wedge in your glove compartment for your next road trip.

Check with your favourite cheese shop for availability or order online for convenient and safe home delivery:

You can order boxed selections of cheese and butter direct from Cows Creamery in Charlottetown by clicking here.

You can also order Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar via Amazon.ca.

Enjoy!

—Georgs

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

We love the smell and the taste of ooey gooey

When it comes to cooking with cheese, I’m total devoted to recipes that call for melted cheese. There is nothing quite like the smell and the taste of ooey gooey.

Which brings us to making my soon-to-be famous (with tongue in cheek) Three-Cheese Toastie.

The recipe was inspired by a cheese vendor in Borough Market in London, England, called Kappacasein. I learned about it during chat at a farmer’s market at Brickworks several years ago which led me to a mouth-watering video on YouTube.

We love to showcase fabulous Canadian cheese when we cook, especially for family and friends.

My Three-Cheese Toastie is all about showcasing Canadian artisan cheese. The recipe I developed—by delicious trial and error—originally called for a blend of three artisan cheeses, two from Ontario, one from Quebec.

The main ingredient is cheddar. I tried others but always came back to cheddar.

Empire Cheese & Butter, in Campbellford, Ontario, northwest of Belleville, started making cheese in 1876. It’s now owned by a group of dairy farmers and still dedicated to traditional handcrafted cheesemaking.

In case you didn’t know, cheddaring started in the village of Cheddar in southwest England in the 12th century. Yes, 12th century!

We use the 2-year cheddar made at Empire. Older cheddars have less moisture and aren’t as good for grilled cheese.

Two cheeses have supporting roles in our original recipe: Mountainoak Gouda and Louis d’Or.

Mountainoak Gouda

Adam van Bergejik and his wife, Hannie, emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1996. Sons and a daughter are involved in the dairy farm and cheese business.

Louis d’Or

The Morin family are sixth generation dairy farmers. Across the street, in a former Roman Catholic rectory, is the fromagerie that Jean Morin founded in 2005. Since then, Morin was has won more awards than any other cheesemaker in Québec.

A Three-Cheese Toastie served with potato chips. It cries out for a light lager or a dry bubbly wine.

Let’s get started!

Shred the cheese immediately after removing from fridge. If you let it come up to room temperature, you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Other ingredients:

  • Red onion
  • White onion (NOT cooking onion)
  • Garlic
  • Leek.

Chopped fairly fine and mixed thoroughly into cheese blend. In equal parts. Tailor to your taste.

Quantities are easy to remember:

To make 10 sandwiches, you’ll need 1 kilo or 1,000 grams of cheese mixture. If only 5 sandwiches, which we’re doing, 500 grams of cheese mixture and 50 grams of onion/leek/garlic.

We’re shooting for about 100 grams of cheese per sammie. Equal cheese and bread for best results.

Mix well.

Other ingredients:

  • Optional: Black Forest Ham, 2 slices, folded, per Sammie, approx 25 g per slice;
  • Chopped chives, a pinch.
  • Bread, at least one day old so it toasts nicely.
The lovely crumb of home-baked white bread, thanks to Mrs. K., ideal for grilling cheese sammies.

We started out using Stonemill Bakehouse Bavarian Sourdough Light Rye, for that rustic look and flavour, but in recent times have come to prefer a plain white bread baked at home.

For speed and efficiency when making 100 or more toasties at our local farmers market, we used butter-flavored PAM with excellent results.

At home, we use either unsalted butter or mayo, slathered on the outside of both slices of bread. As the years slide by, we may be developing a preference for the mayo option, mainly because it produces such a nice even brown.

If you’re adding ham, to make what is called a Croque Monsieur, smear a small amount of mustard on the ham. To make a Croque Madame, top with a fried egg, sunny side up.

Usually, we’ll just use a non-stick frying pan, using a second pan or skillet to press down the toasties as they toast away. When we have more time, or guests, we’ll use our Cuisinart Griddler.

Yikes! We let the cheese warm up to room temperature and didn’t have sufficient heat on the grill.

Medium heat works well. About 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until cheese melts and bread toasts. Serve while hot, cutting each sandwich on the diagonal to expose more of the ooey gooey. We start eating with our eyes, after all

We’ll usually serve the toasties with a handful of potato chips or a small tomato or gherkins or all of the above.

In the toasties that you see in the video and photos, we went with cheese we had on hand:

The bread we used was house-baked white bread, not sourdough as incorrectly mentioned in the video.

In any event, enjoy!

Let us know how you like our toastie recipe with a comment below. If you’re new to CheeseLover.ca, sign up for email updates in the upper right of the home page.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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

We demonstrate how make Cheesy Melts cheese toasties on the CNE Celebrity Chef Stage.

 

Cheese and butter finalists for 2020 named by The Royal

NEWS RELEASE

Cheese and butter from across Canada have been sampled and evaluated, scores have been tabulated and, now, the finalists in the 2020 Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair can be announced.

A jury of expert judges sampled and scored the 164 entries received from producers in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta on the basis of appearance, aroma, flavour and texture, with flavour being the key element.

Here are the finalists in the Cheddar Cheese Section which attracted 35 entries:

Mild Cheddar – up to 3 months

Medium Cheddar – 4 to 9 months

Extra Old Cheddar – 12 to 24 months

  • COWS CREAMERY Aged 1 Year Cheddar Cheese
  • COWS Inc.
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • COWS CREAMERY Extra Old Cheddar
  • COWS Inc.
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Maple Dale Naturally Aged Old Cheddar Cheese
  • Maple Dale Cheese
  • Plainfield, Ontario

Aged Cheddar – 2 years and older

  • Balderson 3 Year Old Cheddar
  • Lactalis Canada
  • Winchester, Ontario
  • COWS CREAMERY Aged 2 Years Cheddar Cheese
  • COWS Inc.
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Maple Dale Naturally Aged Extra Old Cheddar Cheese
  • Maple Dale Cheese
  • Plainfield, Ontario

Cheddar – goat, sheep, water buffalo

Here are the finalists in the Variety Cheese (Cow milk) Section which attracted 72 entries:

Fresh Unripened Cheese – Natural

Fresh Pasta Filata

Cheese with Grilling Properties

Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind

Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind – Triple Crème

  • Albert’s Leap Bel Haven Triple Crème Brie Cheese
  • Quality Cheese
  • Woodbridge, Ontario

Soft Cheese – Mixed or Washed Rind

Semi-soft Interior Ripened

Semi-Soft Surface Ripened

Firm and Hard – Interior Ripened

Firm and Hard – Surface Ripened

Brine Cured

Blue Cheese

Flavoured Cheese (except smoked)

Flavoured Cheese (except smoked) with added particulate

Flavoured Cheese – Smoked

Here are the finalists in the Variety Cheese (Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo and Mixed Milk) Section which attracted 30 entries:=

Fresh Unripened Cheese – Natural

Fresh Unripened Cheese – Flavoured

  • Celebrity Blueberry Vanilla Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • Mariposa Dairy
  • Lindsay, Ontario
  • Celebrity Garlic & Herb Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • Mariposa Dairy
  • Lindsay, Ontario
  • Italian Garlic Blend Artisan Chèvre
  • Cross Wind Farm
  • Keene, Ontario

Pasta Filata (fresh and ripened)

Soft Bloomy Rind

  • Albert’s Leap Bishop Matre Goat Brie
  • Quality Cheese
  • Woodbridge, Ontario

Interior Ripened (except cheddars)

Surface Ripened (washed, natural or brushed rinds)

Flavoured Cheese

Here are the finalists in the Butter and Ghee Section which attracted 27 entries:

Butter Unsalted

Butter Salted

Butter Cultured

  • Lactantia My Country Unsalted Cultured Butter
  • Parmalat Canada
  • Victoriaville, Quebec

Butter Grass Fed or Organic (salted or unsalted)

Butter (flavoured with fruit, vegetable or relish) minimum 75% milk fat

Ghee (natural or flavoured)

Winners in each class and the grand champions—the best of the best—will be announced November 10-14 during The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a new, completely free digital platform accessible by all 24-7. Free registration is required and now is open at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual

Finalists are listed alphabetically by product name in each class. Please note that there was a minimum score to place 1st, 2nd and 3rd. In some cases, if you do not see three finalists, it was either the minimum score was not reached or there were not enough entries.

About The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair:

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. Now in its 98th year, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has gone digital and will run November 10-14 at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual

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