First Great Canadian Cheese Festival a huge success

Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, welcomed more than 2,000 cheese lovers to the inaugural event.

More than 2,000 cheese lovers enjoyed the first-ever Great Canadian Cheese Festival last weekend, assuring the event will become an annual fixture on the Canadian cheese calendar.

Total attendance was an amazing 2,246, with the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair drawing 1,607 cheese fans from as far as New Zealand. (OK, the Kiwis were visiting family in Ottawa.) The Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala, with close to 400 guests, was a sell-out. The Cheese-Tasting Seminars were at capacity. The Cheese Tours sold out two weeks earlier.

Many exhibitors reported selling more cheese during the five-hour Fair than in any other five hours in their experience. One Quebec prominent cheesemaker reserved booth space for the next 10 years. All eight chefs asked to be invited back for the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala.

June 1-3 are the dates for 2012, again at historic Crystal Palace in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario’s fastest-growing culinary destination and Canada’s newest VQA wine region.

More than 100 artisan cheeses were available for tasting and purchase, including the cheddars of Black River Cheese.
Fromagerie du Presbytère was one of 14 cheese producers from Québec represented.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese was one of the 10 Ontario cheesemakers at the Festival.
County wineries, such as The Grange of Prince Edward, and Ontario craft breweries offered tastings.
The ambiance of historic Cystal Palace and the surrounding grounds was perfect for a Cheese Fair.
Cheese, wine, beer and artisanal food: recipe for a great day in the country.
Good eats and good companions, who could ask for more?
Dairy Farmers of Canada presented winners of the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in a guided tasting led by Debbie Levy.
The tasting plate of Grand Prix winners.
Henderson Farms was among the artisanal food producers at the Sunday Fair.
Slow Food the County dispensed recipes and information.
Andrew Laliberté offers a taste of Fifth Town Artisan Cheese.
Anything this golden must be Jersey du Fjord!
Huff Estates Winery pours a sample for tasting.
What or who has the rapt attention of these children and one parent?
Petra Kassun-Mutch and Stephanie Diamant (at left) demonstrating how cheese is made and offering children (and adults) tips on how to taste cheese.
Another treat for children as well as adults was the visit by Big Momma from Ontario Water Buffalo Company.
Big Momma brought along a four-week-old baby but all he wanted to do was nap.
Waupoos Estates Winery was the first winery established in Prince Edward County.
Volunteers such as this tasting-ticket seller were key to the smooth running of the Festival.
A full day of Cheese-Tasting Seminars on Saturday preceded the Cheese Fair on Sunday.
Stephanie Skinner represented Culture, Official Magazine of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
A cooler bag for hauling home purchased cheese was included in the price of advance tickets.
Everyone wanted a souvenir snapshot with our Cheese-Head-in-Chief. Here he is with the staff of Culinarium in Toronto.

All photos courtesy of, the home page for residents of Prince Edward County.

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