Christmas greetings from cheesemakers and cheesemongers

We’ve seen more than one Christmas cheese greetings, and received a few, too, but these five make our Best of 2013 list:

Guernsey Girl at Upper Canada Cheese.
The artisan cheeses distributed by Plaisirs Gourmets.
Ooops! We’ve misplaced name of cheesemonger who created this cheese tree.
From Fromagerie Hamel in Montréal.
L'équipe à la Fromagerie La Station de Compton.
L’équipe à la Fromagerie La Station de Compton.

Canadians produce 30 of the best cheeses in the Americas

Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario, which won the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix with its cow’s milk Ricotta, won the category of fresh unripened cheese made from sheep or mixed milk with its Bella Casara Buffalo Ricotta.

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:


1st    Quality Cheese, Ontario
Buffalo Ricotta Bella Casara

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Chèvre des Neiges plain


2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Brie Normandie


1st    Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Camembert l’Extra

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Camembert Vaudreuil


2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Chevalier Triple Creme

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec


2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Rondoux Double Crème


3rd    Upper Canada Cheese, Ontario
Nanny Noire


1st    Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Oka l’Artisan

3rd    Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Fromages CDA), Québec
Le Frère Jacques


3rd    Fromagerie Bergeron, Québec
Patte Blanche


2nd   Quality Cheese, Ontario
Bella Casara Fior de Latte

3rd    Quality Cheese, Ontario
Fresh Mozzarella Zerto


 2nd   La Moutonniere, Québec


2nd   Fromagerie Le Détour, Québec
La Dame du Lac


1st    Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA), Québec 
L’Empereur Léger 


3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Chèvre des Neiges Fig and Orange


2nd   Fromagerie Bergeron, Québec
Le Coureur des bois


2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Havarti Jalapeno


2nd   Woolwich Dairy, Ontario
Woolwich Dairy Fresh Chèvre – Big Kick Herb & Garlic


2nd   COWS CREAMERY, Prince Edward Island
Applewood Smoked Cheddar


3rd    Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties), Ontario
Celebrity International Goat Cheese Original


1st    Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties), Ontario

3rd    Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Québec
Zacharie Cloutier


3rd    Beurrerie du Patrimoine, Québec
Plain Yogourt


1st    La Moutonniere, Québec
Ewes Butter


2nd   La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage (Saputo), Québec

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Le Reflet de Portneuf


2nd   Fromagerie Le Détour, Québec

Congratulations to all Canadian winners! They are shown below in alphabetical order with a summary of their winnings which accounted for 30 ribbons.

Agropur Fine Cheese
First-place  – 2
Second-place  – 5

Beurrerie du Patrimoine
Third-place  – 1

Cows Creamery
Second-place  – 1

Mariposa Dairty (Finica Food Specialties)
First-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Fromages CDA)

Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Bergeron
Second-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA)
First-place  – 1

Fromagerie Le Détour
Second-place  – 2

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
Third-place  – 1

La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage (Saputo)
Second-place  – 1

La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo)
Third-place  – 4

La Moutonniere
First-place  – 1
Second-place  – 1

Quality Cheese
First-place  – 1
Second-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Upper Canada Cheese
Third-place  – 1

Woolwich Dairy
Second-place  – 1

The 2014 American Cheese Society Judging & Competition will be held in Sacramento, California.

2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off

Chef Jason Bangerter, executive chef at O&B Canteen and Luma in Toronto, is the Master of the Melt after winning the 2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off. (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC))

Jason Bangerter, executive chef, O&B Canteen and Luma restaurants in Toronto, won the coveted cheese grater trophy for his Niagara Gold Crunch at the 2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Jason Bangerter- Niagara Gold Crunch
Niagara Gold Crunch was judged the best grilled-cheese sandwich of 2012 in Canada.

The winning creation was reminiscent of a gourmet grilled ham and cheese, but the chef used shaved prosciutto and baby arugula as a filling between layers of that wonderful Niagara Gold, spread with a thyme, garlic and black pepper mayo and served with pickled grapes. Chef Bangerter wooed the judges’ sense of smell by completing the grilling by sautéing it in a little extra butter, thyme and garlic. Upper Canada’s cheesemaker was on hand to cheer him on.

From L to R, Chefs Michael Howell, Liana Robberecht, Ned Bell, and Jason Bangerter are all smiles after competing in the 2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off in Toronto. (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC))

The competing chefs hailed from four provinces of Canada: Ned Bell, executive chef, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia; Liana Robberecht, executive chef, Calgary Petroleum Club, Calgary, Alberta; Jason Bangerter, executive chef, O&B Canteen & Luma, Toronto, Ontario; and Michael Howell, chef and owner, Tempestous Culinary, Nova Scotia.

Each chef  prepared two different sandwiches to present to the judges. Bangerter’s other entry was a sweet grilled cheese, filled with strawberries, raspberry liqueur, and layered with basil and Canadian Mascarpone. Served with a lavender milk to drink.

Left to right, Chef Bangerter and Chef Bell, with Judge Kevin Durkee.

The judges were Canadian food writers Sue Riedl, Rita DeMontis and Elizabeth Baird, and Kevin Durkee proprietor of CHEESEWERKS restaurant in Toronto.

The competition was fierce, with Chef Robberecht (left) paired with Chef Howell in the first round of the cook-off.

Chef Howell defended his 2011 title with an Apulia Panini and a Crabby Dipper pictured below, made with Canadian Cream Cheese and smoked Canadian Gouda.

Chef Howells Crabby Dipper.
Chef Howell’s Crabby Dipper.

Chef Robberecht’s entries were The Cherry Bomb made with candied cherry tomatoes and rich Triple Cream Brie and thick sizzling bacon, and the Stampede Centennial with Alberta BBQ beef pulled short ribs complemented by Canadian Provolone and Blue cheese.

Chef Bell used local B.C. cheeses such as Island Brie and Courtenay Cheddar served with a homemade fruit chutney in his The Simple and he went from simple to sweet in his entry Ned Bell Pepper Sweet & Spicy  with B.C. Pacific Pepper Spicy Verdelait and Cheddar Red Hot Pepper surrounding tomatoes in the centre.

For recipes and more click here.

—Rebecca Crosgrey is logistics boss of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival


Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar best goat-milk cheese at Royal

Grand Champion honours at the Royal Fair are the latest recognition for Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar, shown here at the American Cheese Society competition where it was named Best in Show, Runner-up.

Two new goat-milk cheeses—one barely out of the vat—took top honours in the goat-cheese competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week.

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar was named Grand Champion about a year after it was introduced by Mariposa Dairy of Lindsay, Ontario—and began winning awards, including Best of Show, Runner-up, at the American Cheese Society.

Camelot, a new goat-milk cheese introduced by Upper Canada Cheese of Jordan, Ontario, only a few months ago, was named Reserve Champion and its other new cheese, Nanny Noire, placed second in mold-ripened class.

Mariposa Dairy dominated the goat-milk cheese competition, winning or placing in five categories.

Upper Canada’s goat cheeses are made only with milk from a rare herd of Lamancha goats pastured at Gord and Melanie Wood’s Idyllwood Farms near Keene, Ontario, and cared for by the entire Wood family. Says Lauren Petryna, head cheesemaker:
“This fresh, pure milk is then transformed into Camelot and Nanny Noire. Camelot ages for two months in our cellars, while camembert-style Nanny is rolled in ash, allowed to develop its bloomy rind and is ready to be enjoyed within weeks.”

Here are the top three in the mixed-milk class of the annual competition at the Royal:

All New Innovations Mixed Milk Cheese

  1. Buffalo Mozzarella, Quality Cheese
  2. Buffallo Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  3. Doucerel, Agropur Fine Cheese

Here are the top three cheeses in each category of the goat-milk competition:

Firm Cheddar, Mozzarella, Caprano

  1. Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Mornington Heritage Old Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Mornington Heritage Marble, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative

Interior Ripened Gouda, Friulano, Manchego, Havarti, Feta

  1. Woolwich Dairy Goats Milk Feta, Woolwich Dairy
  2. Feta, Rivers Edge Goat Dairy
  3. Feta, Glengarry Fine Cheese

Surface Ripened Oka-style, St. Paulin, Tilsit, Mimstes

  1. Camelot, Upper Canada Cheese
  2. Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Mold Ripened Brie, Camembert, tre Fratello, L’Extra Goat, La Brie,Triple Cream Brie

  1. Nettles Gone Wild, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Nanny Noir, Upper Canada Cheese
  3. Triple Creme Brie, Woolwich Dairy

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese Cream Cheese, Ghage, Quark, Ricotta

  1. Capriny, Alexis de Portneuf
  2. Chevre Original Cup, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Chevrai Original, Woolwich Dairy

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Herb+Garlic, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Mediterranean, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Fig, Mariposa Dairy

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Blue Goat Sliced, Nasonville Dairy

Flavoured Cheese Smoked, Jalepeno

  1. Mornington Ultimate Smoked Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  2. Mornington Ultimate Cranberry Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Charlton hot pepper, Thornloe Cheese
Camelot by Upper Canada Cheese Company was named Reserve Champion in the goat-cheese class.

Judges: Thierry Martin and Jean‐Jacques Turgeon

Sponsors: Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Canadian Cheese Society, Cargill, Central Ontario Cheese Makers, Parmalat, Jersey Canada, Continental Ingredients Canada, Ecolab, Empire Cheese.

The 89th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs until Sunday at Exhibition Place, Toronto.

To be posted tomorrow: results in the cheddar competition at the Royal.

Canadian winners at American Cheese Society

Lori Legacey, cheesemaker at Mariposa Dairy, has a sniff of a 19-kilo wheel of Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar which was named first runner-up in Best of Show at the American Cheese Society competition. Photo by Lisa Gervais/The Lindsay Post.

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.


Rogue Creamery, OR
Rogue River Blue


Mariposa Dairy, ON
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar

Carr Valley Cheese, WI
Cave Aged Marisa


Fromagerie Du Presbytère, QC
Louis d’Or

Louis d'Or, created by Jean Morin at Fromagerie Du Presbytère (photo), was named second runner-up in Best of Show at the annual ACS competition held in Canada for the first time.


White surface mold ripened cheeses – Brie, Camembert, Coulommiers, etc.

BA: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Rondoux Double Crème

2nd Domaine Feodal, QC

3rd Domaine Feodal, QC
Cendre des Priés

BB: Brie made from cow’s milk

1st Brazos Valley Cheese, TX

2nd Brazos Valley Cheese, TX

3rd La Maison Alexis de Portneuf, QC
Brie de Portneuf Double Crème

BC: Camembert made from cow’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Camembert Fermier

3rd Alemar Cheese Company, MN
Bent River Camembert – Style Cheese

3rd Upper Canada Cheese, ON
Comfort Cream

BG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Fromagerie Le Détour, QC
Grey Owl

2nd Damafro, QC
La Bûchette

3rd Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, CO
Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy Camembert

BS: Open Category made from sheep’s or mixed milks

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Le Soeur Angele

2nd Les Bergeries du Fjord, QC
Le Blanche du Fjord

2nd Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, NY
Hudson Valley Camembert Square

3rd Marin French Cheese Co, CA
Melange Brie

BF: Flavor Added – spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits, etc.

1st Marin French Cheese Co, CA
Peppercorn Brie – Garlic

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Chevalier Fines Herbs

3rd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Brie with Herbs

BT: Triple Crème – soft ripened / cream added – all milks

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Rondoux Triple Crème

2nd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Brie Triple Créme

3rd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Chevalier Triple Crème

CC: Original Recipe / Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, CA
Point Reyes Toma

2nd Cowgirl Creamery, CA
Mt. Tam

3rd Les Fromages de l’île d’Orléans, QC
Le Paillasson de l’isle d’Orléans

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.

DD: Dutch style – all milks (Gouda, Edam etc.)

1st Glengarry Fine Cheese, ON
Lankaaster Aged

2nd Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, CA

3rd Edelweiss Creamery, WI
Gouda Cellar Aged Grass Based

3rd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Edam Ball

DC: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese Co., TX
Birdville Reserve

2nd Monforte Dairy, ON

3rd Hahn’s End, ME
Petit Poulet

3rd Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Reserve BellaVitano Gold

DE: Emmental style made from cow’s milk with eye formation (Swiss, Baby Swiss, Blocks, Wheels etc.)

1st No Award Given

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
OKA L’Artisan

3rd Farmers Cooperative Dairy, NL
Farmers Swiss

DG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Tomme Haut Richelieu

2nd Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Sainte Genevieve

2nd Consider Bardwell Farm, VT

3rd Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, CO
Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy Queso De Mano

DS: Open Category made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Caso Bolo Mellage

2nd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON

2nd Tumalo Farms, OR

3rd Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Limited Edition Pastorale Blend

All Cheddars – all milks

EA: Aged Cheddar, all milks (aged between 12 and 24 months)

1st Milton Creamery LLC, IA
Prairie Breeze

2nd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Premium Goat Cheddar, 12 to 24 months

3rd Kraft Foods, WI
Aged Extra Sharp Cheddar

EG: Cheddar from goat’s milk, aged less than 12 months

1st Central Coast Creamery, CA
Goat Cheddar

2nd Meyenberg Goat Milk Products, CA
Meyenberg Valley Goat Cheddar

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Premium Goat Cheddar, <12 months

3rd Mt. Sterling Co-Op Creamery, WI
Sterling Reserve / Raw Goat Milk Cave Aged Cheddar

EX: Mature Cheddar aged between 25 and 48 months

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Agropur Grand Cheddar aged 3 years

2nd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Four Year Flagship

3rd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, VT
Cabot Vintage Choice Cheddar

3rd Tillamook County Creamery Association, OR
Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

EE: Mature Cheddar aged longer than 48 months

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Agropur Grand Cheddar aged 5 years

2nd DCI Cheese Company, WI
Black Diamond 5 Year Cheddar

3rd Fromagerie Perron, QC

EW: Cheddar wrapped in cloth, linen, aged up to 12 months

1st Cows Creamery, PEI
Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Aged Up To 12 Months

2nd Bleu Mont Dairy, WI
Bandaged Cheddar – Wrapped and Aged up to 12 Months

3rd Avalanche Cheese Co., CO
Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar

3rd Brazos Valley Cheese, TX

EB: Cheddar wrapped in cloth, linen, aged over 12 months

1st Mariposa Dairy, ON
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar

2nd Bleu Mont Dairy, WI
Bandaged Cheddar – Wrapped and Aged Over 12 Months

3rd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Flagship Reserve


All cheeses ripened with Roqueforti or Glaucum Penicillium (Excluded: Colorless Mycelia)
FK: Blue-veined made from cow’s milk with a rind or external coating

1st Rogue Creamery, OR
Rogue River Blue

2nd Spring Day Creamery, ME
Spring Day Blues

3rd Glengarry Fine Cheese, ON
Celtic Blue

FM: Blue-veined made from sheep’s or mixed milk with a rind or external coating

1st La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour, QC
Le Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix

2nd La Moutonniere, QC
Bleu La Moutonnière

3rd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ
Crema De Blue

Excluded: Mascarpone and Ricotta
HP: Pasta Filata types – Provolone, Caciocavallo – all milks

1st Saputo Dairy Products, QC

2nd Sorrento Lactalis, ID
Whole Milk Low Moisture Pasta Filata

3rd BelGioioso Cheese Inc., WI
Sharp Provolone Mandarino

HY: Fresh Mozzarella – 8 oz. or more (Balls or Shapes) – all milks

1st BelGioioso Cheese Inc., WI
Fresh Mozzarella Thermoform

2nd Calabro Cheese, CT
Fior Di Latte

2nd Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, CA
Fresh Mozzarella

3rd International Cheese, ON
Santa Lucia Buffalo Mozzarella


IC: Feta made from cow’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Karoun Dairies Inc., CA
Basket Feta

3rd Parmalat Canada, ON
Black Diamond Feta

IG: Feta made from goat’s milk

1st Karoun Dairies Inc., CA
Basket Goat Feta

2nd Shepherds Dairy Products, UT
Fine Feta-Plain

3rd Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek, BC

3rd Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
Vermont Feta

3rd Willow Moon Farm, VT

IS: Feta made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Farmstead Feta

2nd La Moutonniere, QC

3rd Meadowood Farms, NY
Meadowood Farms Sheep’s Milk Feta

IF: Flavor added – spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits – all milks

1st Klondike Cheese Co., WI
Tomato & Basil Feta

2nd Neighborly Farms of Vermont, VT
Organic Pepper Feta

3rd Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek, BC
Cranberry Caprabella

3rd La Moutonniere, QC
Feta with Herbs

JL: Fat Free and Low Fat cheeses

1st No Award Given

2nd Fromagerie Le Détour, QC
La Dame du Lac

3rd Fromagerie Bergeron, QC
6% Pourcent

JR: Light/Lite and Reduced Fat cheeses

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Empereur Light

2nd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, VT
Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar

3rd Tillamook County Creamery Association, OR
Tillamook Reduced Fat Monterey Jack

Entries are limited to cheeses not included in categories with “Flavor Added” subcategories

KC: Cheeses flavored with all peppers (chipotle, jalapeno, chili, etc.) – all milks

1st No Award Given

2nd Damafro, QC
Les Bouchées Saveur Mexicaine

3rd Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin, WI
Brun-uusto with Jalapeno

KP: Cheeses flavored with crushed or whole peppercorns or savory spices – all milks

1st Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano

2nd Fromagerie Bergeron, QC
Coureur des Bois

3rd Formaggio Italian Cheese Specialties, LLC, NY
Prosciutto Roll

KH: Flavor Added Havarti – spices, herbs, seasonings, fruits – all milks

1st No Award Given

2nd Klondike Cheese Co., WI
Dill Havarti

3rd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Havarti Jalapeno

3rd Edelweiss Creamery, WI
Onion Havarti

LD: Smoked Cheddars

1st Parmalat Canada, ON
Balderson Double Smoked Cheddar

2nd Gold Creek Farms, UT
Smoked Cheddar

3rd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Smoked Flagship

Limited to cheeses and fermented milk products made with milk from herds on the farm where the cheeses are produced

MA: Open Category for all milks – Soft (Aged up to 60 days – over 50% moisture)

1st Doe Run Dairy, PA

2nd Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs, QC
Le Pont-Blanc

3rd Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC, WI
Petit Frere Reserve

ME: Open Category cow’s milk cheeses – Hard (Aged over 60 days – Less than 39% moisture)

1st Fromagerie Du Presbytère, QC
Louis d’Or

2nd Farms For City Kids Foundation, VT

3rd Shatto Milk Company, MO

MG: Open Category Goat’s Milk Cheeses aged over 60 days

1st Tumalo Farms, OR

2nd Chèvrerie Fruit d’une Passion, QC
Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers

2nd Yellow Springs Farm LLC, PA

3rd Capriole, IN
Mont St. Francis

MF: Open Category for all Cheeses with Flavorings Added – all milks

1st Ruggles Hill Creamery, MA
Lea’s Great Meadow

2nd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ
Pepato Shepherd

3rd Coach Farm, NY
Coach Farm Fresh Goat Cheese Log with Dill

3rd Fromagerie La Station, QC
Raclette de Compton au Poivre

NO: Fresh Goat Rindless (black ash coating permitted, extruded or in containers, cups, tubs, cryovac)

1st Laura Chenel’s Chevre, CA
Laura Chenel’s

2nd Montchevre-Betin, INC., WI
Crumbled Goat Cheese

3rd Mariposa Dairy, ON
Celebrity International Goat Cheese Original

3rd Woolwich Dairy, ON
Woolwich Dairy Chevrai Original

NP: Flavor Added – Peppers / Spice

1st Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Coeur de la Crème Three Pepper

2nd Mariposa Dairy, ON
Celebrity International Chevre Pesto

3rd Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Coeur de la Crème Garlic and Chives

Open to all shapes and styles of rindless, unaged, fresh sheep’s milk cheeses

OO: Open Category

1st Les Fromages du Verger, QC
Le Louché

2nd La Moutonniere, QC

3rd Shepherd’s Way Farms, MN
Shepherd’s Hope Original

Entries include cheeses marinated in oil, vinegar, wine, etc.

PG: Open Category made from goat’s milk marinated in liquids and ingredients

1st Laura Chenel’s Chevre, CA
Laura Chenel’s Cabecou

2nd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Goat Cheese Balls in Herb and Oil 100g

3rd Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Sweet Vanilla Cardona

Limited to Yogurt, Crème Fraiche, Kefir, Labne, etc.

QG: Cultured products made from goat’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Traditional Plain Kefir

3rd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Goat Milk Kefir 500ML

QY: Yogurts, Plain – made from cow’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st No Award Given

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Lactose Free Lowfat Plain Yogurt

3rd Beurrerie du Patrimoine, QC
Plain Cow Yogurt

QD: Yogurts, Plain – made from goat’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st Sierra Nevada Cheese, CA
Capretta Goat Yogurt Rich & Creamy, Plain

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Plain Yogurt

3rd Beurrerie du Patrimoine, QC
Plain Goat Yogurt

3rd Coach Farm, NY
Coach Farm Goat Milk Yogurt, Plain

QE: Yogurts, Plain – made from sheep’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st Best Baa Dairy, ON
Sheepmilk Yogourt

2nd La Moutonniere, QC

3rd Appleton Creamery, ME

3rd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ

Whey Butter, Salted Butter, Sweet Butter, Cultured Butter, etc.

RC: Salted Butter made from cow’s milk with or without cultures

1st Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, QC
L’Ancêtre Organic Salted Butter

2nd Parmalat Canada, ON
Lactantia Salted Butter

3rd Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
Vermont Cultured Butter – lightly salted

RO: Unsalted Butter made from cow’s milk with or without cultures

1st No Award Given

2nd CROPP Cooperative/ Organic Valley, WI
Organic European Style Cultured Butter

2nd Parmalat Canada, ON
Lactantia Unsalted Butter

3rd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, MA
Cabot Unsalted Butter


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%

1st Kraft Foods, NY
Garden Vegetable Spread

2nd Kraft Foods, NY
Spinach Artichoke Spread

3rd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Probiotic Goat Cheese Spread 280G

Caciotta, Romano, Manchego, Table Cheeses, etc.

TO: Open Category

1st Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Cave Aged Marisa

2nd Fromagerie Nouvelle France, QC
Zacharie Cloutier

2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Ocooch Reserve

3rd Lark’s Meadow Farms, ID
Dulcinea Extra Reserve

Taupinière, Rinded Log and Pyramid Types, etc.

UG: Open Category

1st LaClare Farms Specialties LLC, WI

2nd Chèvrerie du Buckland, QC
Tomme du Maréchal

3rd Appleton Creamery, ME
Chevre Wrapped in Brandied Grape Leaf

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.

VC: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st La fromagerie 1860 DuVillage, QC
La Tentation de Laurier

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Rose Haus

3rd Upper Canada Cheese, ON
Niagara Gold

VG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Fleur de la Vallee

2nd Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
River Bend Goat

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Cape Vessey

VS: Open Category made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour, QC
La Tomme d’Elles

2nd Best Baa Dairy, ON
Mouton Rouge

2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI

3rd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Meadow Melody

Elisabeth Bzikot of Best Baa Dairy receives a first-place ribbon for her Sheepmilk Yogurt while Lucille Giroux of La Moutonniere waits for a second-place ribbon for Royogourt.

Congratulations to all Canadian winners! They are shown below in alphabetical order with a summary of their winnings which accounted for 22.5 percent of ribbons awarded.

Agropur Fine Cheese
First-place ribbons – 4
Second-place ribbons – 3
Third-place ribbons – 2

Best Baa Dairy
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1

Beurrerie du Patrimoine
Third-place ribbons – 2

Chèvrerie du Buckland
Second-place ribbons – 1

Chèvrerie Fruit d’une Passion
Second-place ribbons – 1

Cows Creamery
First-place ribbons – 1

Second-place ribbons – 2

Domaine Feodal
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Farmers Cooperative Dairy
Third-place ribbons – 1

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Second-place ribbons – 2
Third-place ribbons – 3

Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs
Second-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Bergeron
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Du Presbytère
Best of Show – 3rd place
First-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
First-place ribbons – 3

Fromagerie L’Ancêtre
First-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie La Station
Third-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Le Détour
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
Second-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Perron
Third-place ribbons – 1

Glengarry Fine Cheese
First-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek
Third-place ribbons – 2

Happy Days Dairies
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 2

International Cheese
Third-place ribbons – 1

La fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
First-place ribbons – 1

La Maison Alexis de Portneuf
Third-place ribbons – 1

La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour
First-place ribbons – 2

La Moutonniere
Second-place ribbons – 4
Third-place ribbons – 1

Les Bergeries du Fjord
Second-place ribbons – 1

Les Fromages de l’île d’Orléans
Third-place ribbons – 1

Les Fromages du Verger
First-place ribbons – 1

Mariposa Dairy
Best of Show – 2rd place
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Monforte Dairy
Second-place ribbons – 1

Parmalat Canada
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 2
Third-place ribbons – 1

Rogue Creamery
Best of Show

Saputo Dairy Products
First-place ribbons – 1

Upper Canada Cheese
Third-place ribbons – 2

Woolwich Dairy
Third-place ribbons – 1

For additional photos from ACS 2011 in Montreal, click here.

Upper Canada Cheese: The new Guernsey Shore

The Guernsey girls of Upper Canada Cheese on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Forget about Jersey.  It’s really all about Guernsey, and these Guernsey Girls are taking it from farm to table.

On the fair-weather shores of Lake Ontario, there lives a Guernsey herd of cows. These girls delight in their surroundings—basking in the lakefront sun, fresh air and fertile soil of land protected by Ontario’s Greenbelt at St. Anns, nestled in the bountiful Twenty Valley. Their blissful disposition on the family owned Comfort Farm assists in producing celebrated, uniquely golden-shaded, flavourful milk with distinct, local characteristics: ideal for premium cheesemaking.

It must be true, happy cows make superior milk.

And that makes Upper Canada Cheese Company’s founding partner Wayne Philbrick very happy as well. His creamery has committed since 2005 to using the exceptional Guernsey milk from this herd of about one hundred, one of only a half-dozen Guernsey herds in Canada, relying on their rich milk to create his select, artisanal cheeses: Comfort Cream and Niagara Gold.

After growing up in the Niagara Peninsula on a family-run fruit farm, Philbrick experimented with tandem passions for wine- and cheese-making, eventually getting hooked on the craft cheeses of Quebec during trips to the region. In developing the “first generation” of his two top-sellers, he chose Guernsey milk for the truly special features it afforded: enriched health benefits, quality, colour and, of course, creamy taste.

The breed originally hails from the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, but its adaptable temperament and unparalleled characteristics make it a clear winner for boundless gourmet-cheese production.  Guernsey milk contains 12% more protein, 30% more cream, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium than the average Holstein milk.  Along with its uncommonly high yield of beta carotene, a great source of vitamin A which has been recently touted to help reduce the risk of certain cancers, the milk also has 5% butterfat and a notable 3.7 % protein content.

Working closely with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Upper Canada Cheese has a rare arrangement with the DFO to deliver their Guernsey milk first in the morning before the truck picks up any other milk; allowing only the purest, freshest ingredients available to merge with the talents of their cheesemakers. The creamery also retains a license and the exclusive rights to create products using this particular local herd. Building these relationships required the ongoing persistence, perseverance and patience of Philbrick to ensure their specialty cheeses would always uphold an extraordinary and unique profile.

Upper Canada Cheese is located in Jordan Station, Ontario.

Now, in the first new Niagara creamery in generations, Upper Canada Cheese Company handcrafts and ages premium artisanal cheeses on-site at their Jordan Station location which also houses a cheese boutique that caters to the “culinary enthusiast.”  Together with selected gourmet products, the epicurean store integrates Upper Canada’s make room and cellaring facility into a traditional train station building design; suggesting a historic return to the time-honored craft of cheesemaking itself.

“Each day, fresh, pure Guernsey cow milk is transformed into cheeses of uncommon taste and texture, revealing a subtle range of flavours influenced by the seasons, forage and feed,” Philbrick says. “Then, our cheeses are ideally aged in our own cellars until they’re ready for you.  This is the whole food, farm to table idea; a minimum of food processing intervention to produce the purest cheeses possible.”

So, while this Guernsey herd might not “gym, tan and laundry” exactly like their counterparts on the shores of Jersey, these girls are thankfully proving to be a lot more tasteful.


Comfort Cream – A camembert-style soft, white bloomy rind cheese with a silky, creamy, golden interior. Rich flavours of fresh truffles prevail with an intense, buttery palate and a long, tangy finish. This delicate and luscious artisanal cheese is hand-salted, hand-turned and hand-wrapped. Comfort Cream is stored in temperature and humidity-controlled cellars for at least four weeks before sale, with an additional few weeks of aging seeing the cheese ripen and mature in flavour, texture and colour.

Niagara Gold – An Oka-style, semi-soft, washed rind cheese fashioned after recipes developed by the Trappist monks of the Loire Valley. This is a cheese with nutty, earthy overtones and mellow, buttery flavours. A luscious cheese that is delicately mild and sweet when young and gains pungency and piquant qualities with age. The rind may be eaten or trimmed depending on your taste. It is sold after five months of careful aging in cellars and, under good conditions, it ages well for months and continues to develop unique flavours over time.

Also available:

Guernsey Girl Grilling Cheese, Guernsey Curds and Guernsey Gold Ricotta Cheese


If you can’t drop by, check out the Where To Buy page, or order by phone or email.

Wayne Philbrick, Founding Partner, Vivian Szebeny, Managing Partner
4159 Jordan Road, Jordan Station, ON  L0R 1S0
Telephone 905.562.9730

Upper Canada Cheese Company will be a featured cheesemaker at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival taking place June 4-5 at Crystal Palace in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario’s hot new wine region and fastest-growing culinary destination.

—Christine Darragh

Based in the Garden City of St. Catharines, Ontario, freelance writer Christine Darragh specializes in food and wine and other attractions of the Niagara Peninsula.

Say artisan cheese, say craft beer, please!

Craft beer and artisan cheese: A pairing made in grain.

When I think of cheese pairings, my mind immediately goes to wine: the two are a classic combination. Apparently, mine is not the only brain that works this way. At a beer and cheese tasting held at Black Creek Pioneer Village, one attendee admitted, “I never would have thought to pair beer with cheese”. Though it may be a less-obvious pairing, under the expert guidance of Julia Rogers, I learned cheese and beer can complement one another beautifully.

“Cheese and wine is such a known pairing, it has become a single word, cheeseandwine,” Julia said. “But I am more nervous when pairing cheese with wine. Cheese and beer work together every time.”

Julia explained that cheese and beer make sense together because they share a common origin: beer is made from grain (usually barley), and grain is one of the main foods consumed by dairy animals. This common source can be detected when tasting both cheeses and beers.

But being in a historical replica village, we, the tasters, had to go through a lesson on the history of beer in Canada before we got to test Rogers’s theories.

Black Creek Pioneer Village is set in the 1860s, and so our lesson focused on the state of the beer industry at that time. Many of the big-name Canadian brews lining liquor store shelves today got their start in the 19th century, including Labatt’s, Alexander Keith’s, and Sleeman’s.

These early brewers were part of the upper echelons of Canadian society, dabbling in politics, banking, and business, and they helped to build much of the country’s infrastructure at that time, including schools, churches, and banks. As my tasting companion remarked with awe, “Canada was built on beer.”

Black Creek Brewery: Crafting beer the way Canadians did in the 1860s.

Black Creek Pioneer Village opened its own traditional brewery in June 2009. The beers are made as they would have been in the mid-nineteenth century. They are not carbonated, and are served at room temperature directly from the oak barrels in which they are aged. We sampled three of Black Creek’s beers: a brown ale, a porter ale, and an India Pale Ale.

Though initially I was repulsed by the warm, flat beer, my tastebuds gradually became accustomed to the style, and I grew to appreciate the simplicity of the traditional brews and the purity of their taste. The porter ale, a dark beer with notes of coffee and chocolate, was my favourite of Black Creek’s offerings.

After finishing our samples, we were finally introduced to the evening’s cheese selection. Rogers had come with five pairings: four Ontario cheeses matched with Ontario craft beers, and one Quebec cheese and beer pairing.

Julia explained there are different ways of creating a pairing. You can pair by the ‘weight’ of the two (such as a heavy-tasting beer with a strong cheese), by common flavours and aromas, or by regional and historical commonalities.

The first pairing was a Stracchino from Quality Cheese matched with Mill Street Brewery’s Lemon Tea Ale.  The two worked nicely together, as the bread flavours present in the wheat beer paired well with the yeasty, tangy Italian-style cheese.

Our second selection included Niagara Gold, a Guernsey cow milk tome made by Upper Canada Cheese Company, and Black Oak Saison Ale. As the name would suggest, Saison is a seasonal beer, brewed at the close of the traditional brewing season, in March. It’s a refreshing beer with flavours of citrus and spice. The Niagara Gold, a savoury, buttery cheese, paired well with it, muting some of the stronger spice notes in the beer.

We then reached the Quebec pairing of Chevre Noir, a goat’s milk cheddar, with Rose d’Hibiscus, a flavoured wheat beer crafted by the Dieu du Ciel microbrewery. The attractive rose-coloured beer is sweet on the nose but has an acidic taste which comes from the hibiscus flowers added during the brewing process. The pairing was suggested by the brewer himself, and the man clearly knows his cheese as well as his beer. The tangy Chevre Noir was powerful enough to stand up to the strong-flavoured brew.

Tasting companion: In truth, my brother Mike.

My tasting companion’s favourite pairing was the fourth, Jensen Cheese’s 3-year cheddar with Railway City Brewery’s Dead Elephant India Pale Ale. It was a bold pairing; the 6.8 % ale had strong flavours of grapefruit and hops that were complemented by the zesty, creamy cheddar. My tasting companion had nothing but praise for the pair, and he wondered aloud where he could buy each.

The final match was my favourite: Ewenity Dairy’s Brebette sheep’s milk cheese and Black Creek’s own porter ale. The fresh-tasting, bloomy rind cheese had a velvety texture. Rogers served it with a homemade fig and dark chocolate jam. The porter paired perfectly with the cheese and the sweet spread. Beer often pairs better with desserts and sweets than wine, further proof of the beverage’s versatility.

As the evening wound down, the last of the cheese was eaten while Julia chatted with her students. Meanwhile, my tasting companion, never one to be shy, requested a second glass of the Railway City IPA, and as he savoured his brew, he vowed to create his own pairings at home.

—Phoebe Powell

Phoebe Powell, a roving reporter for, last wrote about a Canadian grilled-cheese throw-down.

Ontario fetish: Sampling cheese and sipping wine

Spending an evening tasting and discussing Ontario artisan cheeses under the guidance of a passionate professional is a wonderfully indulgent experience. Adding expertly paired VQA Ontario wines to the mix only serves to increase the decadence of the experience.

Sherinne Quartermaine talks wine at Culinarium.

Culinarium hosted an evening of wine and cheese tasting last week that adhered to the Toronto gourmet food shop’s mantra “All Ontario, all the time.” Kathleen Mackintosh, founder of Culinarium, chose the evening’s cheeses, and she guided the eight eager students in attendance through the process of cheese tasting.

The Wine Rack provided the VQA wines, and Sherinne Quartermaine, the store’s manager, selected a variety of Ontario wines to pair with Kathleen’s four cheese choices. Both Kathleen and Sherinne gave their students general guidelines for tasting cheese and wine, but ultimately, they agreed tasting is a personal experience. They encouraged everyone to approach tasting in whatever way worked for them.

We started each pairing by tasting the cheese on its own, then the wine on its own. We discussed the flavours and characteristics of each, and then we tasted the cheese and wine together. First, we had a bite of the cheese followed by a sip of the wine, and we noted the ways in which the flavours changed, became more apparent, or were lost with the pairing. We then reversed the steps, tasting the wine first and then the cheese.

The first cheese we sampled was a sheep’s milk cheese produced by Fifth Town Artisan Cheese in Prince Edward County near Picton, Ontario. The cheese, Lemon Fetish, was a firm, dry, feta-style cheese with citrus flavours.

Lemon Fetish was paired with Strut Sauvignon Blanc. When the cheese was sampled first, followed by the wine, the sauvignon blanc mellowed out the strong citrus flavours in the cheese, while the saltiness of Lemon Fetish made the Strut wine taste sweeter.

Kathleen Mackintosh talks cheese.

The tasting group as a whole agreed that when the approach was reversed, and the wine was followed by the cheese, the subtleties of the wine were lost to the strong flavours of the cheese. This was the case for most of the combinations sampled that evening, with the exception of the second pairing, which featured a bold Inniskillin Two Vineyards Merlot. The merlot was paired with a sharp 5-year cheddar produced by Maple Dale Cheese. The two paired nicely as neither overpowered the other.

During the evening’s tasting, the passion of both Kathleen and Sherinne for the craft of Ontario’s cheese and wine producers became apparent. Kathleen explained the human quality of artisan cheesemaking, describing it as a “hand-touched” and “human-tended” craft that required patience and care on the part of the cheesemaker.

Kathleen insisted this handcraft deserved the respect of the taster.

She argued that a taster should never ignore the rind of a cheese. As the only part of the cheese the maker can really affect, Kathleen believes we should taste the rind of every cheese we buy, out of respect for the cheesemaker.

We all gamely tried the rind of the Comfort Cream Camembert made by Upper Canada Cheese in the Niagara Peninsula. The bloomy rind added another dimension to the nutty flavours of this cheese. It was paired with a Jackson Triggs Reserve Cuvee Close, and they worked well together. The cheese made the wine taste creamier and sweeter.

Sherinne told the group of tasters the price of a wine is often a reflection of the care a grape receives. For that reason, she explained, ice wines are often pricier than other varieties. She described the labour of ice-wine making, in which pickers hand pick the frozen grapes in the middle of the night, in temperatures below minus 8 degrees Celsius.

In the case of Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine, the hard work certainly paid off. The 2006 vintage we sampled is a multiple gold medal winner, and an older vintage of Inniskillin’s Vidal ice wine was served to President Barack Obama at his Nobel Peace Prize Dinner.

The ice wine was paired with Glengarry Fine Cheese’s Celtic Blue. The two paired nicely. While on its own, the ice wine was a bit syrupy and sweet for my liking (with a sugar code of 24), when paired with the sharp, tangy blue, I appreciated the sweetness of the ice wine.

Fifth Town's Lemon Fetish.

When our four pairings had all gone down, and our taste buds were thoroughly satisfied, the night began to wind down. My tasting companion and I lingered in the store a bit longer, admiring the cheese selection. We finally took advantage of the 10 per cent discount offered to the guests, and picked up Fifth Town’s Lemon Fetish.

Perhaps we will be inspired to experiment with some wine pairings of our own.

—Phoebe Powell

A journalism graduate and budding turophile, Phoebe Powell last wrote for about Monforte Dairy morphing into an art gallery.

Say cheese, in five courses

Five cheese courses are lined up, awaiting our guests.

There’s nothing quite like spending an evening nibbling on cheese and sipping wine with good friends. We invited two couples to join us for a five-course tasting menu last night. Here’s how it went down:

First course/Introductions

Riopelle de l’Isle:

One of the great cheeses of Canada, it’s made from raw cow’s milk on a small island— Île-aux-Grues—in the middle of the St. Lawrence River about 40 miles down-river from Quebec City. Riopelle de l’Île is named after Quebec’s most famous painter, Jean-Paul Riopelle, who lived on the island for two decades until his death in 2002.

Artwork by Riopelle himself.

He lent his name to the cheese, and provided the artwork that adorns the packaging, on the condition that one dollar for each wheel sold by Fromageries Île-aux-Grues would be donated to the island youth foundation.

A soft triple-cream cheese with a bloomy rind, Riopelle melts in your mouth and has a wonderful taste of hazelnut, mushroom, a hint of butter and a pinch of salt.

Bonnie & Floyd and me:

I’m so proud of “my” cheese because the two times I’ve shared it, guests have said it was their favorite. This is the Bonnie & Floyd that I was given in November after spending a day learning how cheese is made at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese in Prince Edward County.

Despite my difficulties in finding a spot in our apartment building to age the cheese at the right temperature and the right humidity, my Bonnie & Floyd turned out to be a real treat. Just like the cheese aged at Fifth Town, mine has a smooth paste with complex yet mild mineral flavours. Barely salty near the rind, and somewhat nutty, it provides almost sweet lactic flavours near the centre.

When I first cut into the wheel, I couldn’t believe how fresh and milky it tasted, a testament to how well the ewes who gave the milk are treated, and the speed with which the milk moves from farm to cheesemaker.

Second course/Warming up

Baked Woolrich Chevrai:

My sister gave us a lovely baking dish for Christmas together with a small log of Woolrich Dairy goat cheese and assorted herbs. After 20 minutes in the oven at 350F, it was a striking addition to the assortment of flavours on our menu.

It was nearing its best-before date, so was well aged, and most of our guests laced it with honey. With a Parisian-style baguette, it was a light and tangy treat.

Third course/Cheddar chowdown

Kraft Cracker Barrel vs 5-year Wilton vs 6-year Black River:

We had purchased the Kraft “aged cheddar” as it was on sale at a ridiculously low price at Wal-Mart but had not yet found a way to eat it; thus, my bright idea of blind-tasting the factory-made cheddar against two artisan cheddars.

It was no contest. Even sitting on the board, it was obvious which was the Kraft, but we proceeded with the blind-tasting anyway as it provided an entertaining twist to the proceedings.

The five-year Wilton is a very nice cheddar. Perhaps because it has rested in our refrigerator for four months, we could spot the occasional crystal developing.

For our tastebuds, the six-year Black River was the clear winner, so tangy and complex, so crumbly that after our guests departed, I made a snack of cleaning up the bamboo board.

Fourth course/From the grill

Guernsey Girl:

Guernsey Girl is a delightful new cheese that is unique to Canada and deserves its own blog entry (which will come after we have another chance to try frying the cheese. Yes, this cheese is fried or grilled before it is served).

It’s an outstanding creation of Upper Canada Cheese using the rich milk provided by a herd of Guernsey cows on the Comfort family farm near Jordan, a Niagara Peninsula village.

Fifth course/Getting serious

Époisses Berthaut:

When we think of a rich and powerful cheese at our house, we think Époisses Berthaut from Burgundy in France. It’s a washed-rind unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a natural red tint and its own rich and penetrating aroma.

It’s described as an iconic cheese in tasting notes published by Provincial Fine Foods: “Époisses is powerfully scented, soft-to-runny, and can sometimes deter people with its frank, leathery, animal aromas. Once past the lips, Époisses is spicy, earthy, salty and rich, but not nearly as potent as one might expect.”


The king of blues.

When Cabrales, the great blue of Spain, is well-aged, it is fully potent—on the verge of overpowering the faint of heart. Our Cabrales was like that, even with a chutney or honey or fig jam, so ripe and so intense.

I had told Geoff, a longtime cheesemonger at Chris’s Cheesemongers in St. Lawrence Market, that we wanted a strongh finish to our evening—and did he deliver! Geoff carved our wedge from a wheel that was obviously fully ripe. Heck, half the piece was dark blue!

Our guests, who were as satiated was we were by evening’s end, barely tasted the Cabrales. Meaning Significant Other and I, over the coming week, must find ways to savour the strongest cheese we’ve ever tasted—or it will simply become too powerful, even for strong cheese lovers like us.

Chris’s Cheesemongers, $7.34 per 100 grams.


There was a loud groan from our full guests when we presented one additional variation on the evening’s cheese theme—cannoli—but six of the little suckers were devoured within minutes.


For starters, Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut and an excellent Pillitteri Gewurtzraminer Reisling. Then, Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir and a delightful Conundrum California White Wine (blend). Concluding with Casa dos Vinhos Madeira and a knockout Cockfighter’s Ghost Shiraz that was a match for our Cabrales.

With plenty of San Benedetto carbonated mineral water to stave off dehydration.


Red pepper jelly, Latvian chutney, Kalamata olives, Ontario honey and fig jam from France. Green grapes and strawberries. Honey dates, dried apricots and walnuts. Kashi crackers, multi-grain flatbreads and plain crackers. Parisian-style baguette and a multi-grain baguette.

We also offered tomato slices drizzled with Spanish olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar and topped with a fresh basil leaf which worked exceptionally well to counter the buttery richness of Guernsey Girl.

Unexpected guests

One couple brought us two additions to our menu:

Le 1608

Le 1608 is a relatively new creation of Laiterie Charlevoix. A semi-firm, washed rind cheese, Le 1608 uses milk from Canadienne cows whose ancestors were brought to Canada from France starting in 1608. Most of these hardy animals are unique to the Charlevoix region of Quebec.

As Sue Riedl wrote in The Globe and Mail about a year ago, “Le 1608 develops a pale orange exterior that is washed with brine while ripening. Developing a full, barny aroma, the paste tastes nutty at the rind and has a complex, fruity flavour that emerges from its melt-in-the mouth texture. The pleasant tang of the long finish clinches this cheese’s spot as a new Canadian favourite.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Saint Agur

An outstanding blue.

What a mouth-watering, medium-strong, creamy blue cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk in Auvergne, France!

Saint Agur was the perfect counter-point to our Cabrales. Kind of like a softer and finer Roquefort and, due to its double-cream nature, easy to spread on a plain cracker. (The next day, it tasted even better, leaving an almond-like impression.)


In retrospect, 11 cheeses over five courses were too much of a good thing. Four courses of maybe eight or nine cheeses would have been just fine.

The experts usually say allow for 400 grams of cheese per person when serving cheese as a meal. We provided 485 grams per person. When all was said and done, close to 400 grams were consumed on average per person.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at