Cheese lovers in your life will appreciate a holiday gift of tickets to the 2015 Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
We will send you a personalized gift certificate for the ticket recipient, upon receipt of your ticket order. The certificate will be a PDF that you can forward by e-mail or print for giving in person with the gift tickets. If you prefer, we can e-mail, on your behalf, holiday greetings to the recipient with the gift tickets.
Tickets are $50 plus HST each. Admission includes 10 tasting tickets, glass for sampling wine, beer and cider, access to more than 125 exhibitors and vendors, cheese seminars and dairy farm, and an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases. Rush seating for seminars and presentations. FREE parking.
Don’t drive? Don’t want to drive? Here’s the solution:
CULINARY ADVENTURE COMPANY — TORONTO
Join a guided bus tour from Toronto to the Cheese Festival with tastings at two wineries, gourmet lunch and Grab & Go Breakfast at CHEESEWERKS. Click for more info.
SAVVY COMPANY BUS TRIP – OTTAWA AND KINGSTON PICK-UPS
Enjoy a roundtrip coach package with Savvy Company leaving from Ottawa with pick-ups in Kingston. After an afternoon at the Cheese Festival, you will tour the back roads of Prince Edward County to visit 2 wineries, then back to the Crystal Palace for a fun dinner at the all-new Makers+Mongers BBQ. Click here for tickets and more info.
For cheese lovers interested in an extra day of cheese-learning and cheese-tasting, a second itinerary has been added to the guided cheese tours offered on the Friday before the third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
The new Quinte Cheese Tour will visit two award-winning cheese producers, Empire Cheese and Maple Dale Cheese, with a lunch stop and tour of Ontario Water Buffalo Company, a pioneering water-buffalo dairy farm. A craft brewery, Church-Key Brewing, and a chocolate maker are also on the itinerary.
The popular County Cheese Tour continues, with stops at Black River Cheese, in operation since 1901, and the new County Cheese Company where cheesemaking will start this summer. Fifth Town Artisan Cheese will be added, if it has re-opened by May 31.
The third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, in Crystal Palace on the Prince Edward Fairgrounds in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County in Ontario’s Bay of Quinte Region. Cheese tours and a class on cooking with artisan cheese are offered on Friday, May 31.
The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is a multi-faceted event that annually attracts thousands of consumers to meet, learn, taste and buy the best in artisan cheese and fine foods and sample fine wine, craft beer and crisp cider.
Last year, close to 100 exhibitors and vendors and more than 3,000 consumers made the event the biggest cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast. One-third of the participating cheese producers come from Québec, the leading artisan cheese region in Canada.
Cheese lovers have expressed strong support for Prince Edward County as the ideal venue for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
In a January survey, 96% of attendees at the 2012 event said they would return to Picton for another Cheese Festival, while 90% of those who have never attended, said they would attend in the future.
Meanwhile, only 50% would attend a Cheese Festival in Toronto, 35% in Ottawa, and 28% in Montreal.
“Needless to say, there is no change in our commitment to produce Canada’s only annual celebration of artisan cheese in an appealing small-town, out-in-the-country setting that has been the Festival’s home since its inception,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, event founder and director.
The third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival will take place June 1-2 in Crystal Palace on the Prince Edward Fairgrounds in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario. Cheese tours and a cooking class will be offered on Friday, May 31.
“Prince Edward County is an appealing destination for cheese and food lovers for many reasons,” says Kolesnikovs. “The awesome array of wineries is a huge draw. The range of artisan food producers is quite impressive for such a small region.
“Soon, the County will again be a significant force in artisan cheesemaking. Award-winning Fifth Town Artisan Cheese will resume production later this year under new ownership, and a newcomer, County Cheese Company, aims to start production this summer. Of course, Black River Cheese has been in business in the County since 1901.”
The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is a multi-faceted, two-day event that annually attracts thousands of consumers to meet, learn, taste and buy the best in artisan cheese and fine foods and sample fine wine, craft beer and crisp cider. Dairy Farmers of Canada is the lead sponsor, presenting seminars throughout the day in the All You Need Is Cheese® Annex.
Last year, close to 100 exhibitors and vendors and more than 3,000 consumers made the event the largest cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast. One-third of the participating cheese producers come from Québec.
If you sailed to Iles de la Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you could visit Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent. On the west coast, you could call at Salt Spring Island in the Strait of Georgia and visit Salt Spring Island Cheese. But you’d have to hike or cab to get to the cheese.
In Ontario, you can step off the boat and in less that one minute be inside the County Cheese Company to taste and purchase artisan cheese. Which is what we did this afternoon while on a boating holiday around Prince Edward County.
One-month-old County Cheese Company is based in Waupoos Marina just down the road from County Cider Company and Waupoos Estate Winery.
A Canadian filmmaker turned cheese entrepreneur, John Thomson, opened a retail store adjacent to the Blue Moose Café in the marina on the Civic Holiday weekend. By the spring of 2013, Thomson plans to be producing sheep’s milk cheese in the Old Waupoos Canning Factory building on the marina property.
Thomson isn’t exactly a newcomer to cheese. He started KendalVale Cheese about a year ago. He transports Ontario sheep’s milk to Quebec where it’s turned into fine cheese at La Moutonnière, an established award-winning fromagerie operated by Lucille Giroux and Alastair Mackenzie in the village of Sainte-Hélène-de-Chester.
The KendalVale cheeses—Magie de Ganaraska, Commanda, Voyageur and Champlain—have quickly become favorites with cheese lovers in Ontario and chefs such as Jamie Kennedy. Thomson has set up his own distribution system and also represents the award-winning cheeses of La Moutonnière such as Bleu de La Moutonnière, Fleurs des Monts and Sein d’Hélène.
By boat or other means, Waupoos is about to become a must-stop on any visit to Prince Edward County.
Black River Cheese Company, which has been producing cheddar in the County since 1901, is a short distance from Waupoos. There is a small dock at the rear of the plant on Black River but we’re not certain it can be reached by anything but a small boat. We’ll have a report on that in a few days.
—Georgs Kolesnikovs, aboard the power yacht At Last!
* PELA CFDC is a community-based, not-for-profit corporation whose objective is to encourage local entrepreneurship and economic development. PELA CFDC specializes in providing business loans, grants, and training.
There is nothing like drinking maple syrup with your dinner—in a beer, that is.
Barley Days Brewery in Prince Edward County specializes in crafting seasonal beers for residents to enjoy with festivities. With spring’s arrival, the sap begins to flow and Barley Days offers customers a Sugar Shack Ale, brewed with maple syrup from nearby Fosterholm Farm.
Judging by the reaction from customers on the brewery’s Facebook page, the season-specific beers are a huge hit. Stocks of the Sugar Shack Ale sold quickly at the annual Maple in the County event and the brewery has almost sold out its entire 2011 batch.
The company also offers a Yuletide beer made with County cherries, a harvest ale made with local wheat, a dark ale, a Loyalist summer ale and a May bock for consumers who still desire a craft beer once the maple syrup has dried up.
Founded by Christopher and Norah Rogers, Barley Days offers local residents, tourists and LCBOs with a great-buy local option. Supported by sales driver Donna Sauvé and brewmaster Alex Nichols, the local business have created a winning recipe for success.
Situated at an old dairy farmhouse outside Picton, Barley Days has based its label and brewing on historical roots. In the 19th century, barley and hops were the cash crops of the County. The American demand for these ingredients was high and the settlers catered to the demand. Barley Days celebrates these boom years by reaching back to the days when barley enabled the County to flourish. With the recent winery expansions, the County is once again reliving the Barley Days.
As a craft brewery, Barley Days uses local, high-quality ingredients to cut down on shipping costs; yet, this allows the brewery to offer their seasonal, one-of-a-kind brews.
The brewery continues the local theme by using paintings by the famous artist, Manly MacDonald. Four different bottles use MacDonald’s paintings, which were famous for their depictions of area landscapes.
When MacDonald’s images cannot be used for bottles, Barley Days employs local artists, such as Aidan Haley, whose work adorns the bottle of the 2011 Sugar Shack Ale. Each year the brewery showcases these local talents when the various seasonal beers arrive in stores.
BARLEY DAYS BREWS
Wind and Sail Dark Ale 5% alc./vol: A dark, heavy ale based upon a nutty and chocOlate flavour is a nice addition to a hot winter meal. Availability: Year-Round
Harvest Gold Pale Ale 4.8% alc./vol: A golden, light ale spiced with apple and peach. Availability: Year-Round
Loyalist Lager 4.5% alc./vol: A smooth, easy-to-drink lager that is perfect for the hot summer days. Availability: Summer
Yuletide Cherry Porter 5.5% alc./vol: An unfiltered, cherry red porter that is a perfect supplement with turkey and cranberries. Availability: Winter
Working Man’s Stout 4.5% alc./vol: A heavy, roasted flavour is a perfect way to reward a hard worker. Availability: Winter-Spring
Sugar Shack Ale 5.5% alc./vol: The famous County treat is the strongest brew by Barley Days and goes well with pancakes or any spring treats. Availability: Spring
The beer is available on tap at nearby Waring House (same proprietors) which offers tourists and locals a chance to taste the seasonal beers along with a meal.Consumers can also find the brew at many Quinte area LCBOs, although selection may be limited to the year-round brews.
Troy Stewart, a recent graduate of the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College looking for a career in PR, maintains a blog called PR with Troy. He likes his cheese and he likes his beer.
Black River Cheese Company is one of the oldest cheesemaking operations in Eastern Ontario. In fact, it will celebrate it’s 110th birthday on June 4-5 while The Great Canadian Cheese Festival takes place nearby.
Black River Cheese is one of four stops on the Cheese Tour taking place on June 3, the day before the Festival.
When it was started in 1901 by a group of local farmers, it was one of 60 cheesemakers operating in Prince Edward County. Now, it is one of only two, joined by newcomer Fifth Town Artisan Cheese in 2008.
The fact that Black River Cheese has been around for so long means they are clearly doing something right, yet the other 59 cheesemakers who have since vanished prove that this isn’t always an easy business. In 2001, shortly after celebrating their 100th anniversary, an electrical fire devastated the historic facility. In the spirit of Black River Cheese Company’s resilient founders, the 6,000-square-foot creamery was rebuilt, and opened again for business just one year later.
Situated on the banks of Black Creek near the village of Milford, a stop at Black River Cheese is a popular destination for visitors to the area. The location is stunning, the river teeming with birds and wildlife, but it’s really the cheese that makes the crowds come calling. And the ice cream!
Black River Cheese is still a small co-operative, controlled by local farmers and dedicated to preserving a tradition of making superior cheese. They pride themselves on old-world craftsmanship, producing 100% natural cheeses with no artificial ingredients. Rennet-free and naturally aged, Black River Cheese only uses locally produced milk, opts for vegetable dyes, and never uses modified milk ingredients (MMI).
Black River’s cheesemaker is Brad Reid, a second-generation cheesemaker. County-born, he’s been at the company for six years, and in 2010 landed Black River a 3rd place prize at the British Empire Cheese Show with its Mild Cheddar. Reid is currently developing a few new recipes, so keep a lookout for some new cheeses that he’s keeping secret for now.
In the meantime, Black River has an excellent selection of cheeses to choose from:
Maple Cheddar – produced with real Maple syrup and sugar from local Fosterholm farm
Fresh – newly pressed and squeaky
Marble – a blend of pasteurized cheddar and mozzarella
Mozzarella – a washed style of American mozzarella
Mozzarrella specialties – Dill, Garlic, Horseradish, Hot Pepper, Jalapeno, Monterey Jack, Onion & Parsley, Salsa, Pepper Jack (Monterey Jack with chili peppers)
Cheddar – available in coloured or white, made in traditional ways, it gets sharper as it ages
Mild and medium cheddars — finalists in the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix
Old Cheddar – aged 1 to 6 years
Curd – coloured, white or garlic, and makes a popular snack for visitors.
Lucky for me, Black River Cheese is just a short drive from my home, so I stopped in and tried a few samples. The Maple Cheddar has a golden hue and is crumbly, rich and sweet. It’s no surprise that this unique variety is one of their top-sellers, especially in an area so renowned for maple syrup production. The Six-Year-Old Cheddar I tried was ivory in colour, and was hard and crumbly. It had an intense bite and a slight crunch to it. One of the other best-selling cheeses is the Marble Cheddar. With its typical mottled colouring, it was firm and chewy with a mild tanginess.
In 2000, Dan Sullivan, his partner, Lynn Sullivan, and their brother-in-law Cam Reston, purchased a 150-acre farm in Hillier, Ontario, in the heart of what was then just the beginning of the Prince Edward County wine region.
The vineyard was planted in 2001, first harvest followed three years later, and in 2006, Rosehall Run Vineyards, named for the nearby hamlet of Rosehall, opened to the public with its first offerings. Since then, accolades and awards have followed, and Rosehall Run has become widely known—as much for its fine artisan wines as for the efforts of the Sullivans to raise the profile of the wine and local food communities.
Dan Sullivan is the vineyard manager, viticulturalist and winemaker, overseeing every facet of Rosehall Run’s operations.
Prior to founding Rosehall Run, Dan spent 15 years honing his craft as a home winemaker, being named Grand Master Winemaker by the provincial association. Since that time he has certainly upped his game, now producing 6,000 cases a year, yet he still maintains a hands-on approach to managing the vineyard. He monitors the weather and its effects and uses gentle, environmentally-sound grape farming techniques to extract optimum results from the unique Prince Edward County terroir, which is clay soil on a limestone base.
Planting of the vineyard began in 2001, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay occupying the majority of the 23 acres now in production. In addition to using their estate grapes, fruit is also sourced from other Prince Edward County and Niagara region vineyards.
Rosehall Run’s wine is produced on-site in stainless steel tanks and aged in French, Hungarian and some Canadian oak. With a range of award-winning wines to sample, complimentary tours and a new tasting room in the works, Rosehall Run is definitely worth a visit on any County wine tour. Here are tasting notes on three of the most popular vintages.
2008 Sullyzwicker White: With a bright straw colour, the Sullyzwicker White is a satisfying blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Musqué, Ehrenfelser, Pinto Gris and Muscat Ottonel. It is a light-bodied, summery blend with floral notes and a mineral finish.
2007 Cold Creek Cabernet Franc: Aged in French oak, this wine has an abundant bouquet, and tantalizes the palate with rich tones of smoky blackberry and a long, dry finish.
2008 Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard: Creamy and sweet, this Chardonnay is produced exclusively from estate grapes. It has a rich nose and pleasing aspects of vanilla and ripe peach.
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – a full-bodied wine made from Niagara grapes
2007 Cold Creek Cabernet Franc – made exclusively from County grapes, it was Gold Medal Winner at Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 2011
2007 Cuvée County Cabernet Franc – an easy-to-drink, casual wine, perfect for every day
2008 Cuvée County Gamay – made from 100% County grapes, this was Rosehall Run’s first Gamay
2008 Cuvée County Pinot Noir – a robust Pinot, it was a Gold Medal winner at ArteVino 2010
2007 Pinot Noir Jamie Kennedy – a collaborative creation with renowned chef Jamie Kennedy; 2007 was a superb year for reds
2008 Pinot Noir Rosehall Vineyard – made from estate grapes, it was a Gold Medal winner at ArteVino 2010
2008 Sullyzwicker Red – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Syrah
2006 Chardonnay – oak barrel fermented for 10 months
2007 Chardonnay Jamie Kennedy – another collaborative creation with Chef Jamie Kennedy, sourced exclusively from estate grapes
2009 Chardonnay Musqué – this unoaked estate wine was Rosehall Run’s first Musqué
2008 Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard – barrel fermented and aged sur lie for eleven months, it was a Gold Medal winner at Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 2011
2009 Chardonnay Sur Lie – lightly oaked, this wine contains both Prince Edward County and Niagara region fruit
2007 Cuvée County Chardonnay – contains 25% Chardonnay Musqué
2008 Cuvée County Chardonnay – Gold Medal winner at ArteVino 2010
2008 Fieldstone Vineyard Riesling – a dry wine with fruit sourced from a neighbouring vineyard
2008 Sullyzwicker White – a custom blend of six Prince Edward County grapes
Sullyzwicker Rosé – a blend of Gamay (90%) and Pinot Noir (10%)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNSf-6GRyrs?rel=0&w=480&h=300]Making maple syrup at Honey Wagon Farms in Prince Edward County.
Days get longer, ice and snow begin to melt, maple syrup starts to run. It must be spring in Canada!
This weekend, you can enjoy one of the oldest agricultural traditions in Canada at the 10th annual Maple in the County Festival in Prince Edward County, Ontario’s newest wine region and fastest-growing culinary destination. Cheese is part of the celebration.
At Black River Cheese, you’ll be able to sample Black River Maple Cheddar and maple ice cream. At Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, the new County Quark—flavoured with maple and natural—and delicious Maple Chevre Tarts will tempt you.
Presented by The Waring House and the Prince Edward County Maple Syrup Producers, Maple in the County was named a Top 100 Festival by Festivals & Events Ontario. Featuring 40 local businesses and organizations, it is a program jam-packed with activities for young and old with trips to sugar bushes, farms, wineries, restaurants and shops across the area on Saturday, March 26, and Sunday, March 27.
Every year, more than 8,000 visitors and locals enjoy a trip to one of our sugar bushes to experience everything from lip-smacking pancake breakfasts, sugar shack demonstrations, sugar bush tours, taffy on snow, maple kettle corn, wagon rides, lumberjack shows, baby animals or an antique tractor display. When your belly is full, head out to the wineries and breweries to try some maple-inspired wine, or Barley Days Brewery’s new Sugar Shack Ale, using Fosterholm Farms maple syrup.
Kick up your heels and bring your sweetie to the Sugar Shack Soirée for a beavertail in Waring Hall on Saturday night and enjoy the sounds of The Reasons. Join indie song writing duo The Family Creative Workshop on Friday night and hear storytelling and song writing at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Take the whole family to a special performance and workshop for children on “music building” at the Bloomfield United Church with David and Kimberly Maracle from the Tyendinaga Reserve.
The 10th anniversary Maple in the County Family Event will be taking place on Saturday at the Wellington Arena hall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Join old-time performers Sheesham and Lotus in an interactive performance and workshop, hear live music from Andy Forgie and Jeannette Arsenault, and be amazed at the papier mache building, stilt walking and puppet show from Small Pond Arts. Make maple-themed crafts with Spark Box studio, and enjoy a celebratory free 10th anniversary cupcake from Just Sweets Retro Bakery.
A full list of activities, events and locations can be found at the Maple in the County website, www.mapleinthecounty.ca, by calling 613-393-2796 or in the brochure and map available at any one of the Maple in the County participating locations.