Petra Cooper’s leap of faith into cheesemaking is being rewarded with much critical acclaim. Her Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, since it started operations in July 2008 in Prince Edward County, has won more awards than any other artisanal or homestead cheesemaker in Ontario, possibly in all Canada.
On the heels of Fifth Town’s Isabella being named Grand Champion Goat Cheese at the 2009 Royal Winter Fair Cheese Competition came news last week that Cape Vessey was named Grand Champion of the British Empire Cheese Competition.
What’s remakable is that in being named Grand Champion a goat-milk cheese beat cow-milk cheeses from many of Canada’s leading cheese producers. Kudos to Stephanie Diamant, the veteran cheesemaker at Fifth Town.
Additionally, Fifth Town took home first-places in Artisan Sheep Milk Cheese with Bonnie & Floyd, in Artisan Goat Milk Cheese with Petal Luna, in Sheep Milk Cheese with Wishing Tree and in Goat Milk Cheese with Cape Vessey. As a result of those four wins, Fifth Town also was presented with the overall award in goat and sheep milk cheesemaking.
Not a bad haul for someone who gave up a career as a high-powered book publishing executive a few years ago to put her all into cheese.
The Reserve Champion at the annual British Empire judging event in Belleville, Ontario, was Raclette du Village made by La Fromagerie 1860 du Village, a division of the giant Saputo conglomerate.
Here are all British Empire winners in specialty cheeses:
Artisan Goat Milk Cheese: Petal Luna, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Artisan Sheep Milk Cheese: Bonnie & Floyd, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Goat Milk Cheese: Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Sheep Milk Cheese: Wishing Tree, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Hard Cheese: Romano Wheel, Saputo
Firm Cheese: Fontina Prestigio, Agropur
Swiss Cheese: L’Artisan, Agropur
Fresh Cheese: Ricotta, International Cheese
Soft Rind Cheese: Roubine de Noyan, CDA Fromagerie
Smear Ripened Cheese: Le Formier, Alexis De Portneuf
Flavoured Soft Cheese: Red Wine Cold Pack, Maple Dale Cheese
Flavoured Firm Cheese: Double Smoked Cheddar, Parmalat
Blue Veined Cheese: Caronzola, Alexis De Portneuf
American Style: Monterey Jack, Bothwell Cheese
Pasta Filata: Bocconcini, International Cheese
Process Cheese: Smoked Gouda, Saputo
Reserve Champion: Raclette du Village, La Fromagerie 1860 Du Village
Grand Champion: Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
British Empire Cheese Competition features judging in six categories of cheddar. The two big winners were:
Reserve Champion: Pine River Cheese
Grand Champion: Amalgamated Dairies
These are best cheeses as selected by experts in the dairy industry. I wonder who the winners would be if cheese lovers like you and me had our say?