For cheese lovers, all roads lead to Picton on June 3-4

Informative Cheese Seminars are included in the price of admission at #TGCCF.

Top 10 reasons why you won’t want to miss the seventh annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, on June 3-4, 2017.

  1. More than 500 foods and beverages for sampling and purchase, including 200 artisan and farmstead cheeses.
  2. Chance to meet Canada’s outstanding cheesemakers face-to-face, including many from Québec.
  3. Informative Cheese Seminars on a variety of topics.
  4. Express access to more than 100 exhibitors and vendors, including specialty foods, small-batch wine, craft beer, craft cider and—NEW!—spirits.
  5. SWAG! An insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases and a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+).
  6. Local VQA wines and cider available for purchase by bottle or case (19+).
  7. Dairy Farm, with animals and displays, including the sweetest water buffalo you’ll ever meet.
  8. Food Court, featuring—NEW!— J.K. Fries and Braised-Beef Poutine from Jamie Kennedy Kitchens.
  9. Live music by Starpainters trio in the Prince Edward County Pavilion.
  10. Ample FREE parking.

More than 5,000 cheese lovers are expected to attend, sampling and purchasing close to 200 different cheeses made by artisan producers from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It’s the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada, indeed, in North America, with an estimated 500 foods and beverages in total on offer.

Meet Canada’s best cheesemakers, including Armand Bernard of Cows Creamery in P.E.I., at Canada’s biggest cheese show.

Cheesemakers, specialty food producers, small-batch wineries, craft breweries and cideries, and other exhibitors and vendors have reserved 100+ booths making the event at the Picton Fairgrounds one of the biggest artisan food markets in Ontario.


  • Super Saturday (June 3) or Super Sunday (June 4): All attractions listed above PLUS EXTRAS such as informative Cheese Seminars, an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases, a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+), live music and more. Super Ticket $50 plus tax per day.
  • BEST BUY: Weekend VIP Pass (June 3 and 4): Admission Saturday and Sunday with VIP access at 10 a.m., one hour before show opens to public. PLUS reserved seating at informative Cheese Seminars. Includes all attractions listed above PLUS EXTRAS such as Cheese Seminars, an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases, a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+), live music and more. Weekend VIP Pass $75 plus tax.

Tickets can be ordered online in advance at or purchased at the door.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is the only place where you can taste and buy 200 different Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses—plus specialty foods galore.

The Festival’s main attraction, the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair, is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4. Families are welcome. Children 15 and younger FREE when accompanied by an adult. Special pricing for groups of 10+.

There is so much to do at the Cheese Festival—and in must-visit Prince Edward County—that you’ll want to make a weekend of it. Check out featured accommodations in Prince Edward County, Belleville and Kingston at

The Festival also offers special events like Gastronomy on the Farm with Jamie Kennedy, Cooking with Cheese Class with Cynthia Peters and a Quinte Cheese Tour. For additional information, visit For assistance, email or telephone 1.866.865.2628.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the generous support of Celebrate Ontario. Prince Edward County is Gold Sponsor, Bay of Quinte Region is Principal Partner and Stonemill Bakehouse is Official Bread Supplier.

Picton Fairgrounds is located in the heart of Prince Edward County, south of Belleville in Bay of Quinte Region. One hour from Kingston, two hours from Toronto, three hours from Ottawa and New York State, and less than four hours from Montreal.

June 3-4, 2017, Picton, Ontario


Cheesemaking technology rescheduled to June 8-12

A student in the Cheesemaking Technology course at University of Guelph learns how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.
A student in the Cheesemaking Technology course at University of Guelph learns how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.

Here’s your chance to get real cheese smarts.

The University of Guelph has been offering some version of its cheesemaking course since 1893, though its present professor, Art Hill, began teaching his Cheesemaking Technology Short Course with the Food Sciences department in 1986.

The  acclaimed course—designed for artisan and commercial cheesemakers, cheese hobbyists, and government and sales personnel who work with cheesemakers—focuses on the science and technology of cheesemaking. Students attend lectures and apply the principles learned in a cheesemaking laboratory.

“The focus is on understanding the manufacturing principles of technological families of cheese, rather than becoming expert in the manufacture of particular cheese varieties,” says Professor Hill. The program is offered annually in the spring and runs for five days. The next course offering runs from June 8-12, 2015. Those interested can visit the course website.


Canadian Cheese Guide updated by Kathy Guidi

613UiaJ5qjLKathy Guidi, a leading authority on Canadian cheese, has written an updated edition of her Canadian Cheese: A Pocket Guide published in 2010. Here’s the official announcement on Canadian Cheese: A Guide by the publisher, Firefly Books.

The variety and quality of Canadian cheeses has never been so high nor has it been so popular. New handcrafted cheeses continue to emerge to critical acclaim, winning international awards. At the 2013 Global Cheese Awards in England, an aged Lankaaster by Glengarry Cheesemaking in the small town of Lancaster, Ontario, was declared “Supreme Global Champion.” As Huffington Post put it, “Canada, it’s time to celebrate cheese in a big way.”

This completely revised and updated edition of a cheese lover’s classic does just that. Canadian Cheese: A Guide is a comprehensive reference to some of the newest, best and most popular of Canadian cheeses. New and updated sections, content and photographs include:

  • concise tasting notes for 225 artisan cheeses from coast to coast
  • what’s on your cheese board—Canadian cheese professionals share their favorites
  • wine and beer pairing suggestions
  • tasting notes for Old World cheeses that have influenced New World Canadian styles
  • cheese ladder of appreciation suggestions: if you like this cheese… try this one
  • how to taste cheese like a pro
  • author and cheesemaker anecdotes
  • useful information on buying and serving cheese.

The author shares her insights on such popular cheese topics as raw milk cheese, discerning quality, whether to eat the rind (or not), cheesemaking and ingredients.

Canadian Cheese: A Guide promises to add excitement to readers’ appetites for cheese. It helps make sense of the many cheeses available at grocery stores, cheese boutiques and fromageries, and helps to break the pattern of buying the same, familiar cheese.

Author Kathy Guidi.
Author Kathy Guidi.

Professionally renowned for her work in furthering artisan and specialty cheese in the U.S. and Canada, Kathy Guidi founded the first full curriculum cheese appreciation school in North America and is a founding member of the Cheese Professional Certification Program run by American Cheese Society. Consultant to numerous cheese producers, trade organizations and consulates during a 40-year career, Kathy continues to influence and lead the domestic and international cheese world through her in-depth training  and interactive cheese tasting programs.

The new book is available via and at book and cheese stores across Canada. For bulk purchases and wholesale discount information, contact Firefly Books.

The “first full curriculum cheese appreciation school in North America” refers to Cheese Education Guild now operated by Lisa McAlpine and Marla Krisko in Toronto.



Monforte to start cheese school with Premier’s Award

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Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy was honoured with the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne this week for implementing a Community Shared Agriculture micro-financing model to raise capital to build a new plant in Stratford, Ontario. The award comes with a cash prize of $75,000.

“I am so thrilled and so honoured.” Klahsen said in accepting the award. “We want to take that award and we want to give it back. So what we intend to do with the money is to set up a cheesemaking school here at Monforte and that’ll start in February next spring. Because what we really need in the industry is education and depth and understanding of regulations so that we can do safe, wonderful products that are as good as Europe. And so a school becomes so important.

“The school becomes the coolest thing that we can do and I’m so excited about the potential of that. And the potential for what that can do to Ontario as far as just making really, really good cheese . . .

In 2008, when rent at Monforte Dairy’s location skyrocketed, the artisanal cheesemaker faced the challenge of securing enough money to build a new facility. So Monforte turned to its biggest believers—its customers.

It sold shares in denominations of $200, $500 and $1,000, redeemable in cheese. While many farmers have turned to community-supported agriculture to finance their operations, this is the first time the model had been attempted by an Ontario food processor. Monforte customers came through, purchasing nearly 900 shares totaling more than $400,000. The money helped pay for one-and-a-half acre of land in Stratford and a new, purpose-built environmentally sustainable cheesemaking plant.

This year, Monforte is on target to reach $2 million in sales, with the help of cheese aficionados determined to keep their favourite producer in business.

If you ask Ruth Klahsen, how she got into making cheese, she’ll tell you, in that self-deprecating way she has: “I’m just an old broad who had a mid-life crisis!”

Click here to read more.

Monforte Dairy’s Ruth Klahsen and Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Cheese appreciation: A great gift idea for Christmas

Cheese Education Guild: Learn by tasting the best in cheese.
Cheese Education Guild: Learn by tasting the best in cheese.

Here’s a great gift idea for the budding caseophile in your life—even if the caseophile happens to be you yourself.

A class in Cheese Appreciation will be offered by the Cheese Education Guild, on Wednesday evenings during January-February at Cheesewerks in Toronto.

In the course of 24 hours over eight Wednesdays, you’ll receive a thorough introduction to cheese and cheese enjoyment:

  • How to sense a cheese*
  • Words to describe cheese*
  • Cheese through the ages
  • Basic cheese and wine pairing*
  • Old and New World varieties
  • Developing a Cheese Vocabulary
  • Categories of cheese*
  • Handling and storage (general)*
  • Milk and ingredient terms
  • Processes in cheese-making*
  • Blue, goat and pasta filata cheeses*
  • Cheese ingredients*
  • Types of milk*
  • What makes a cheese superior

* Indicates tasting will be included in the presentation.

The cost of the eight-week course is $575 + HST which covers the class, cheese for tasting, workshop materials, testing and Certificate of Achievement. The class is limited to 30 persons. The first class is January 9, 2013, at Cheesewerks,  56 Bathurst Street, Toronto.

Mario Krisko (left) and Lisa McAlpine of Cheese Education Guild.
Mario Krisko (left) and Lisa McAlpine of Cheese Education Guild.

Your instructors are Lisa McAlpine and Maria Krisko who took over the Cheese Education Guild after founder Kathy Guidi retired to the U.S. Virgin Islands two years ago.

Canadian_Cheese_GuideThe Cheese Education Guild is the oldest cheese school dedicated to cheese appreciation in Canada. It was founded in 2005 by Guidi when she launched Artisan Cheese Marketing as a cheese public relations, education and marketing company designed to meet the education needs of the growing North American cheese industry.

Through a series of three Cheese Appreciation courses, students explore and compare hundreds of cheeses so that they can experience the artistry in a truly great cheese and understand the challenges facing cheesemakers. The January-February course is Cheese Appreciation, Level 1.

Click here for more information on the Cheese Education Guild and its offerings.

Click here for information on Canadian Cheese: A Pocket Guide authored by Kathy Guidi, a must-have, must-read for any cheese lover.

You’re becoming a true caseophile when . . . Part 2

Vacherin Mont d'Or: The true meaning of Christmas?
Vacherin Mont d’Or: The true meaning of Christmas?

By Perry Manti

You know you’re becoming a true caseophile when . . .

. . . on your next vacation to London, you plan on ditching your wife at the British Museum while you check Neal’s Yard Dairy.

. . . your Grade Four students are more familiar with Avonlea Cheddar than with Anne of Green Gables.

. . . your students can’t find Istanbul on a map, but they know exactly where Epoisses comes from.

. . . at staff meetings, your teaching colleagues are far more interested in the cheese boards you bring than what the Principal has to say.

. . . if given a choice between a kilogram of Beaufort and a date with Halle Barry, you’d definitely go for the cheese.

. . . for you, the true meaning of Christmas involves Vacherin Mont d’Or.

. . . on Christmas morning, your spouse has to explain to you that buttons of Crottin de Chavignol do not make good stocking stuffers.

. . . the screen saver on your computer is a picture of a cheese cart.

. . . you realize that 90% of the time, the person working behind the cheese counter knows less about cheese than you do.

. . .  you suffered serious emotional trauma when Fifth Town shut down production.

Perry Manti, a teacher by profession, was in the first graduating class of the Professional Fromager program at George Brown College in Toronto. His first humorous essay on the meaning of being a caseophile appeared on last week.

You’re becoming a true caseophile when . . .

When we asked Perry Manti for photo, he said he was camera-shy and instead sent along this image of a Monforte Toscano wheel that he is aging at home. See below for details on the affinage.
When we asked Perry Manti for photo, he said he was camera-shy and instead sent along this image of a Monforte Toscano that he aged at home. See below for affinage details.


You know you’re becoming a true caseophile when . . .

. . . your parents start asking what kind of cheese you want for your birthday.

. . . the GPS unit in your car is programmed to always lead you to the cheese shop.

. . . you stub your toe and angrily yell “Idiazabal!”

. . . you wish Chanel would finally come out with a fragrance that smells like Brie de Meaux.

. . . you fantasize about Kraft going bankrupt.

. . . your spouse, based on what you often mumble in your sleep, suspects you’re having a torrid affair with some Italian hussy named “Taleggio.”

. . . you enjoy holding your socks to your nose because it reminds you of Limburger.

. . . you seriously wonder what cheddar from giraffe’s milk might taste like.

. . . you have to say to your wife “Oh, that bra! Sorry dear, I thought you were asking about the Slow Food Movement. Try looking in the clothes drier.”

. . . you proudly refer to yourself and fellow pecorino aficionados as “pecorheads.”

. . . your spouse puts her foot down and simply refuses to allow you to convert the entire basement of your home into a cheese cave.

. . . you sincerely hope Louis Pasteur is burning in Hell.

. . . you have a reoccurring erotic dream involving a goat and a tub full of warm curds.

. . . your colleagues are beginning to believe you’ve joined some bizarre cult that worships Thunder Oak Gouda.

. . . you believe Saturday is the best day of the week because you get to taste cheese at George Brown College.

. . . your vision of Hell includes the image of Ronald McDonald pushing a cheese cart.

. . . your expectant wife unequivocally rejects your idea of naming the child “Pliny the Elder.”

. . . your spouse catches you on the Internet, in the middle of the night, ogling pictures of Montgomery Cheddar.

. . . you book off sick at work so you can surreptitiously attend a local cheese convention.

. . . you mumble “Mildly lactic on the attack, a little barny, notes of citrus, lingering nuttiness on the finish.” Then, you open your eyes to discover the Baskin-Robbins staff behind the counter staring at you in utter disbelief.

. . . you stop going to church and begin turning to your cheesemonger for spiritual advice.

. . . you dream about living in a house shaped like a Valencay.

. . . you have a nightmare about a large piece of Cabrales biting you back.

. . . you embrace your spouse and tenderly whisper, “Je t’aime ma petite Chabichou du Poitou.”

. . . you dream of one day seeing Max McCalman on Dancing with the Stars.

Perry Manti, a teacher by profession, was in the first graduating class of the Professional Fromager program at George Brown College in Toronto. The Toscano in the photo above was two to three months old when he purchased it at Monforte Dairy: “I rubbed it every week with Kalamata olive oil. I aged it in my cantina for an additional three months. The rind became soft and edible. The paste became somewhat darker than a typical Toscano and developed a fruity aroma.”

Perry presented the aged cheese to Monforte where it became the inspiration for  Athena: “Quite frankly, I thought their final version was better than mine. It turned out well for them, as they sold out.”

Learn cheesemaking at Monforte with Ruth Khlasen

Ruth Khlasen, owner and lead cheesemaker at Monforte Dairy.

Monforte Dairy in Stratford, Ontario, will become a cheese school for eight weeks in February and March with eight students studying and practicing the fine art of artisan cheesemaking.

Ruth Klahsen, Monforte’s owner and lead cheesemaker (photo above), will share the curriculum with Neville McNaughton and Evelyn McManus.

McNaughton, widely known in the cheese business as Doctor Cheese, owns and operates CheezSorce in St. Louis,, Missouri, a consulting and training firm. His experience in cheese goes back 35 years to his native New Zealand. He has many clients in Canada.

McManus has a PhD in Organic Chemistry, a diploma from Stratford Chef School and is chef instructor at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

The cheesemaking program is limited to eight students. To enroll, email Ruth Khlasen or telephone 1.877.437.5553.

Neville McNaughton of CheezSorce aka Doctor Cheese.