Canadian cheesemakers won 30 ribbons in the 2013 American Cheese Society Judging & Competition in Madison, Wisconsin, in early August, competing against 1,794 cheeses submitted by 257 producers in the Americas—the largest competition in the history of the ACS.
Twenty-three of the 30 ribbons were won by 10 Québec cheesemakers, four being first-place ribbons, two for Agropur Fine Cheese and one each for Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, represented by Fromages CDA, and La Moutonnière.
Two Ontario producers, Mariposa Dairy, represented by Finica Food Specialties, and Quality Cheese, won first-place ribbons as well.
Best of Show was won by Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont with the Winnimere, an extraordinary take on the French mountain classic Vachering Mont d’Or. Made with raw milk from the farm’s Ayrshire cows, Winnimere is wrapped in cambium cut from the spruce trees on the farm and washed in a beer from a neighbouring brewery. It’s available only January through June.
Here are the Canadian winners:
OPEN CATEGORY – FRESH UNRIPENED CHEESES – MADE FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR MIXED MILKS
I enjoy eating cheese from around the world but my passion is for fromages fins, artisan cheese made in Canada. When I hear someone praising an imported cheese to high heaven, my immediate reaction is: What do Canadian cheesemakers produce that is just as tasty, if not superior?
A wedge of Riopelle reveals a creamy and incredibly smooth centre beneath a thin, bloomy rind. Leaving an exquisite hint of butter, it is absolutely enchanting.
Jean-Paul Riopelle, the world-renowned painter who spent the last years of his life on l’Île-aux-Grues, gave his name and the image of one of his best-known paintings to the cheese. In return, part of the profits financially help students of the island who wish to attend high school or university.
If there were no Riopelle to be had, I’d select a another Québec beauty, this one created by Jean Morin at Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick, Québec:
Laliberté, a triple-cream cheese made with whole organic cow’s milk from the family dairy farm across the road from the creamery. It’s such a rich dairy delight!
Given the critical and commercial success of Riopelle over the last decade, Canadian producers of cheese on an industrial scale now also offer triple-creams:
The factory cheeses are OK, if you can get past the modified milk ingredients used in their manufacture, but the artisanal producers who use pure milk are the ones who deserve and need the support of Canadian cheese lovers.
Especially with recent rumblings from Ottawa that Canada’s producers of artisan cheeses may face greater challenges in the future. A report in the Ottawa Citizen indicates the Canadian government and European Union are close to a deal that would see a substantial increase in exports of European dairy products—mainly cheese—to Canada in exchange for greater access to European customers for Canadian beef, pork and canola.
Despite multiple entries from large cheese producers such as Saputo and Agropur, Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario, collected the most first-place ribbons—four in all—with Zerto Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Borgonzola and Burrata.
Perhaps as an indication of things to come, a new artisan cheesemaker, Primeridge Pure of Markdale, Ontario, won a second and a third with Grey Rush, a creamy dessert cheese.
The Grand Champion, Aged Lankaaster, is matured to a minimum of 10 months. Margaret Peters-Morris tells CheeseLover.ca. The cheese entered in the competition was made in June, 2010, therefore, it was 16 months mature.
Aged Lankaaster is a firm cheese, traditional rind, characteristic gouda “eyes” present, paste is dark, laden with crystals, with lovely butterscotch, pineapple and lactic notes, the veteran cheesemakers says. This cheese lingers in one’s mouth and is very suitable to use as cheese to make any “gratin” in culinary preparations.
Here are the top three in the variety class of the annual competition:
Canadian cheesemakers did remarkably well at the 2011 American Cheese Society Conference and Competition in Montreal this week, winning close to one-quarter of ribbons up for grabs. Best of all, Mariposa Dairy with Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar and Fromagerie du Presbytère with Louis d’Or won Best of Show honors.
D. AMERICAN MADE / INTERNATIONAL STYLE
Cheeses modeled after or based on recipes for established European or other international types or styles – Beaufort, Abondance, Gruyère, Juustoleipa, Caerphilly, English Territorials, Leyden, Butterkäse, Monastery styles, etc.
3rd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, MA
Cabot Unsalted Butter
S. CHEESE SPREADS
Spreads produced by grinding and mixing, without the aid of heat and/or emulsifying salts, one or more natural cheeses
SA: Open Category made from all milks – Spreads with flavors using a base with moisture higher than 44%
3rd Appleton Creamery, ME
Chevre Wrapped in Brandied Grape Leaf
V. WASHED RIND CHEESES
Cheeses with a rind or crust washed in salted brine, whey, beer, wine, other alcohol, or grape lees that exhibit an obvious, smeared or sticky rind and/or crust – Limburger, Pont l’Evêque, Chimay, Raclette, Swiss Appenzeller or Vignerons-style, etc.
Four artisan cheesemakers from Quebec as well as Canadian cheese giants Saputo and Agropur medalled in the World Cheese Awards last week, the largest cheese competition on the planet. Hosted at the BBC Good Food Show in the U.K., 201 judges from 19 different countries judged 2,629 cheeses from 29 countries. Louis Aird of Saputo was the sole Canadian judge.
Cornish Blue brought the World Champion Cheese title back to the U.K., being the first British cheese honoured in more than a decade. Here are the Canadian winners, starting with the four Quebec artisan cheesemakers entered by their distributor, Fromages CDA:
The World Cheese Awards has been bringing together buyers and sellers from the dairy industry worldwide for 20 years. The BBC Good Food Show is the biggest and most cosmopolitan cheese festival ever staged in the U.K.,, with almost 100,000 consumers tasting cheese after the international panel of experts completed their judging.
Rebecca Crosgrey is Event Co-Ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. She patrols the Web for cheese news for CheeseLover.ca.
Eighteen Canadian cheeses were honoured at this year’s American Cheese Society Judging and Competition held in Seattle on the weekend. It’s the largest cheese competition in the Americas with 225 producers from 34 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico delivering a record 1,462 cheeses and cultured dairy products for judging.
Fifteen of the winners are Quebec cheeses, two are British Columbia (Kootenay Alpine Cheese), and one is Ontario (Fifth Town Artisan Cheese). La Moutonnière won four times, the most wins for a single cheesemaker from Canada.
Unlike other cheese competitions, where cheeses are graded down for technical defects, the American Cheese Society’s goal is to give positive recognition to those cheeses that are of the highest quality in their aesthetic evaluation (i.e. flavor, aroma, and texture), as well as their technical evaluation. As a result, the highest quality cheeses are those that the Society feels deserve the recognition of an American Cheese Society award, based on a minimum number of points awarded (totaling 100 points possible) for First, Second, or Third Place. In categories, or subcategories, where the minimum number of points is not earned, no awards are given.