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

– 30 –

Canada’s oldest—and only—cheese competition under way at The Royal

Judging is about to begin for the 2020 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

In this year of COVID-19, the 2020 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the only such judging and competition in Canada and one of the few such contests in the world this year.

The cheese and butter competition hosted by The Royal is the oldest in Canada, dating back 98 years to 1922 when the Fair was first held at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Judging this year took place on September 24 with six expert judges sampling and evaluating the 164 cheese and butter entries submitted by producers across Canada.

Judging was live and in-person with masks on except when judges sampled cheese, with plenty of social distancing, temperatures taken at the entrance and hand-sanitizers everywhere.

Once scores have been tabulated and carefully checked, three finalists will be announced in each class.

Winners in each class—there are 33 in all—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.

The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience will be a unique opportunity to experience the very best in Canadian agriculture and food from your laptop, tablet, smart phone or desktop. The Cheese & Butter Competition will be one of several featured presentations at the virtual Fair. Click here for more information and to register.

Here’s the breakdown of entries received from producers in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta:

  • Cheddar 35 entries
  • Variety Cheese (Cow milk) 72 entries
  • Variety Cheese (Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo and Mixed Milk) 30 entries
  • Butter 21 entries
  • Ghee 6 entries.

The six judges work in pairs, one technical judge and one aesthetic judge. The technical judge starts with a score of 50 and deduct points for flaws and defects while the aesthetic judge starts with zero and awards points for outstanding characteristics and qualities to a maximum of 50. The two scores are added together to obtain the final score for each entry.

The elements under consideration are appearance, aroma, flavour and texture, with flavour being the key element.

Here are the expert judges for the 2020 competition:

Aesthetic Judge André Derrick.

André Derrick, aesthetic judge, is a master at food and drink synergy. He is a certified fromager, Prud’homme beer sommelier, accredited whisky ambassador and certified expert in the service and sale of scotch. He’s co-founder of the Frontier Whiskey Society. André’s lifelong love of learning has propelled him to sip, gulp and nibble at life from many international experiences, including stints at Fairmont Hotels, The BT Hotel Group, Club Med and Vineland Estates Winery. André graduated from the University of Waterloo with an honours combined degree in Recreation and Business. He also earned a graduate certificate in hospitality and tourism management from Niagara College. André is regional account manager for Krinos Foods Canada.

Aesthetic Judge Marla Krisko.

Marla Krisko, aesthetic judge, started her journey in cheese in 2005 when she discovered the Cheese Education Guild and began to study about cheese which quickly became a passion. As a “graduate fromager” she continued her studies, making cheese at the Three Shepherds Cheese School in Vermont and working at specialty food stores in Toronto and at events like The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. In 2012, with her partner, Lisa McAlpine, Marla bought Cheese Education Guild, the first school in Canada dedicated to cheese appreciation, from retiring founder Kathy Guidi. Since then, she has served as a judge for the Canadian Cheese Awards and The Royal’s Cheese and Butter Competition.

Aesthetic Judge Kelsie Parsons.

Kelsie Parsons, aesthetic judge, is Category Manager for Deli Cheese for the 450 Sobeys and Safeway stores across Canada. He is the chair of the American Cheese Society’s Certification Committee, which runs the Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) Exam and TASTE (sensory evaluation) Test. Kelsie has worked as a cheesemonger at farmers markets, specialty shops, and grocery stores. He is a Certified Cheese Professional, earned his Cheesemaking Certificate at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and has worked as a cheesemaker producing a variety of sheep and goat milk cheeses. He has visited more than 100 cheese companies during an epic cross-Canada road trip.

Technical Judge Barry Reid.

 

Barry Reid, one of the technical judges, was born into a cheesemaking family. His father was a cheesemaker for 30+ years, Barry was, too, for 15 years. For many years following, Barry was a full-time dairy inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency based out of Belleville Ontario. For the past 35 years, Barry has judged cheese competitions.

Technical Judge Cecilia Smith.

Cecilia Smith, a technical judge, is a professional fromager, certified as a Professional Fromager by George Brown College and the American Cheese Society. She teaches the Professional Fromager Certificate at George Brown College and the Cheese Sensory Evaluation course at Conestoga College. Based in Uxbridge, Ontario, Cecilia owns a retail company that sells Ontario artisan cheese. She has provided consulting services to many restaurants and cheese shops and has used her sensory evaluation skills to assist craft breweries and cidermakers.

Technical Judge Heather Thelwell.

Heather Thelwell, technical judge, says her curiosity and passion for cheese began 25 years ago while living up the hill from a Parmigiano-Reggiano aging facility in the Po River Valley in Northern Italy. Since then, she has worked as a cheesemaker in predominately small ruminant dairies in Ontario, a cheesemonger and a cheese educator. Her credentials include Certified Cheese Maker, University of Guelph, Technical Production of Cheese; University of Vermont, Artisan Cheese Maker Certificate; School of Artisan Food, Wellbeck, Nottinghamshire, in the U.K.

Behind the scenes at the competition, we find:

Lisa McAlpine is one of two Superintendents for the Cheese and Butter Competition. In 2012, Lisa purchased the Cheese Education Guild/Artisan Cheese Marketing from its retiring founder, Kathy Guidi. Since then, she has been involved in teaching cheese knowledge and appreciation classes to deli employees of large retail chains across Canada, to food professionals and enthusiasts and working for the dairy industry as a cheese consultant.

Debbie Levy is the other Superintendent of the Cheese and Butter Competition. She is a graduate of the Chef Training and Baking and Pastry Arts programs at George Brown College, the inaugural Cheese Education Guild class in 2006 and two certificate programs with Acadamie Opus Caseus in France. Since then, Debbie has worked with the dairy and cheese industry promoting fine Canadian cheese.

Roxanne Renwick is in her third year as Judging Facilitator for the Cheese and Butter Competition. She obtained her Professional Fromager Certificate at George Brown College and has spent the last 10 years in the food retail and cheese industry.

Lindsay Bebbington, Manager, Agriculture & Food at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, served as the entry registrar and lead tabulator of scores for the Cheese and Butter Competition.

A big shout out goes to Dairy Farmers of Ontario and Metro for helping make the 2020 Cheese and Butter Competition happen.

We’ll post information about the finalists in each of 33 classes in the competition as soon as it becomes available.

As noted earlier, winners in each class and the grand champions will be announced November 10-14 during The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a new, completely free digital platform accessible by all 24-7.

The Cheese & Butter Competition will be one of several featured presentations at the virtual Fair. Click here for more information and to register.

I was delighted to serve as co-host with Katie Brown when the judging was filmed. The result, including announcement winners and grand champions, will be part of digital presentations online during The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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