For the second year in a row, Bleu d’Élizabeth made by Fromagerie du Presbytère has won the coveted gold medal in the Caseus Québec Fine Cheese Competition, the annual judging of cow-, goat- and sheep-milk cheeses produced by Québec cheesemakers.
For its repeat performance, Bleu d’Élizabeth was also honored with the Caseus Emeritus award.
For the Morin brothers—Jean is the cheesemaker, Dominic manages the fourth-generation dairy farm—the awards just keep on coming. Earlier this year, Bleu d’Élizabeth won two medals in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, for best blue and best organic cheese. Two years, ago Élizabeth was named runner-up in the prestigious American Cheese Society competition.
What’s the secret to their success? Happy cows is Jean Morin’s stock answer, but he adds: “Every morning I start the day by asking myself what I can do better today than yesterday.”
That drive for perfection shows in Bleu d’Élizabeth, so soft, rich and creamy, with lovely grey-greenish veins, with understated saltiness, and a distinct earthy aroma.
The Caseus awards were presented yesterday in the National Assembly in Québec City by Agriculture Minister Francois Gendron. More than 40 producers entered 165 cheeses in 24 categories of competition.
The Caseus silver medal went to Mont Jacob, a washed-rind cheese made by Fromagerie Blackburn, while the bronze was awarded to Pionnier, a firm cheese made with a blend of cow and sheep milk in a collaboration between Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère and Marie-Chantal Houde of Fromagerie Nouvelle France.
A new Caseus medal honoring excellence in aged cheese went to the 24-month Alfred Le Fermier made by Fromagerie La Station.
For the winners in all Caseus categories, please click here.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the lead sponsor for the Caseus competition. The Institute of Food Technology, Campus Saint-Hyacinthe, manages the judging.
This year for the first time the jury included a judge from Ontario, Vanessa Simmons of Ottawa, cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and presenter of guided tastings at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
For information about the availability of all winners except Mont Jacob, contact Plaisirs Gourmets. For information on Mont Jacob, contact Fromages CDA.