Maple Dale Extra Old Cheddar double champion at The Royal

Here’s how to access all 2020 cheese and butter competition results at The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience, a new, free platform loaded with features and videos:

  1. Visit www.royalfair.org/virtual
  2. Register on your first visit
  3. Select the ‘Exhibit Hall’ tab
  4. Go to ‘Champions Showcase’ Booth
    • Click the left picture tab for complete listing of results.
    • Winner profiles are found under the document tab on that same page.
    • Competition day videos are listed under videos.

A delicious extra old cheddar made by Maple Dale Cheese in Plainfield, Ontario, was declared a champion twice over in the 2020 Canadian Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Maple Dale’s Naturally Aged Extra Old Cheddar was named Grand Champion Cheddar. It also scored Ontario Champion Cheddar honours in the oldest cheese competition in Canada that dates back 98 years to 1922 when the Fair was first held at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Grand Champion Cheddar and Ontario Champion Cheddar

In this Covid-19 era, The Royal hosted the only cheese judging and competition in Canada and one of the few such contests in the world this year.

Judging took place on September 24 with six expert judges sampling and evaluating the 164 cheese and butter entries submitted by producers across Canada. The results were announced this morning at The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a special new digital platform at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual that replaces the in-person fair this year.

Click here for all results in the Cheddar Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Variety Cheese—Cow Milk

A nicely balanced Cumin Aged Gouda made by Mountainoak Cheese in New Hamburg, Ontario, was named Grand Champion Variety Cheese-Cow Milk.

Click here for all results in the Variety Cheese—Cow Milk Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep. Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk

A wonderful Artisan Chevre made by Cross Wind Farm in Keene, Ontario, was named Grand Champion in the Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk Section of the competition.

Click here for all results in the Variety Cheese—Goat, Sheep, Water Buffalo & Mixed Milk Section of the competition.

Grand Champion Butter

Butter has been an integral part of the Cheese & Butter Competition at The Royal since the first fair 98 years ago. Since the 2019 competition, ghee has been included.

Organic Unsalted Butter made by Gay Lea Foods Co-operative was named Grand Champion in the Butter and Ghee Section of the competition.

Click here for all results in the Butter and Ghee Section of the competition.

READ MORE:

Be sure to visit The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience on a special new digital platform at http://www.royalfair.org/virtual that replaces the in-person fair this year. The site is loaded with features and videos.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, Canada’s most popular blog about fromage, served as co-host with Katie Brown of the virtual competition in the video above.

Avonlea: Rich and robust with a lovely hint of Spud Island

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar was named Canadian Cheese of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar’s recipe comes from the Orkney Islands, north of mainland Scotland, with the cheese made in the style of traditional English cheddars by Cows Creamery of Prince Edward Island.

Scott Linkletter, who started Cows Inc. in 1983 by famously making ice cream, was visiting the Orkneys with his wife 15 years ago when they were so taken by the local cheese that he cajoled a Scottish cheesemaker into sharing the recipe. The recipe became the foundation for the Cows signature cheese, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, introduced in 2006. Ten years later, Avonlea was named Cheese of the Year at the Canadian Cheese Awards.

While developing the recipe for the clothbound cheddar, Linkletter and head cheesemaker Armand Bernard created a second cheese, PEI Cheddar. Other cheddars, such as Appletree Smoked, followed.

How Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar is made by Cows Creamery in Prince Edward Island under the guidance of head cheesemaker Armand Bernard.

Milk of Holstein cows from small local farms in the rolling hills of Prince Edward Island is gently heated—but not pasteurized—to allow beneficial microbes to thrive and give depth of character and flavour. The salt air and iron-rich soil of Prince Edward Island combine to add flavour and quality to the cheddar.

Cows makes Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar in 10 kilograms wheels, and ages it for 12 to 16 months at 10–12 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity.

The multi-award-winning cheese gets the “clothbound” name from traditional cheddar-making technique of wrapping it in cheese cloth, a method that originated in Somerset, England. The town of Cheddar, where cheddar cheese gets its name from is in Somerset.

The name Avonlea comes from link between Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables. As Scott Linkletter explained to Sue Riedl of The Globe and Mail: “We thought that was a great name because of the connection with Anne of Green Gables. At the time of Anne, this is the way cheese would have been made.”

COWS Ice Cream has been a family tradition on Prince Edward Island since 1983. From a small kiosk on the famous Cavendish Boardwalk, the COWS brand now has seven locations across PEI, two in Nova Scotia, two in British Columbia and one each in Alberta, Ontario and Beijing, China. The COWS brand has expanded over the years with cheese and butter lines, as well as the popular COWS-themed merchandise.

Cheesemaker Armand Bernard pulls a sample from a wheel of Avonlea to monitor the aging process.

The Linkletter family has also invested in Raspberry Point Oysters with oysters being shipped across Canada, USA, Japan and Denmark. The oyster line started as a bit of a hobby for Scott Linkletter, who used to harvest oysters with his father near his summer home on New London Bay.

But the man is a serial entrepreneur, if there ever was one, as he also has launched Anne of Green Gables Chocolates, BOOMburger and Moo Moo BBQ Grilled Cheesery, among other ventures.

How does Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar taste? Among Canadian cheddars, quite unique, truly exceptional.

The flavours and aroma are rich and robust, fruity and nutty, with a hint of baked potatoes, as befits a cheese made on Canada’s spud island, Prince Edward Island. The texture is firm, slightly crumbly as the cheese ages beyond 12 months.

It’s an outstanding Canadian cheese, perfect for cheese boards and snacking. Stick a wedge in your glove compartment for your next road trip.

Check with your favourite cheese shop for availability or order online for convenient and safe home delivery:

You can order boxed selections of cheese and butter direct from Cows Creamery in Charlottetown by clicking here.

You can also order Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar via Amazon.ca.

Enjoy!

—Georgs

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

We love the smell and the taste of ooey gooey

When it comes to cooking with cheese, I’m total devoted to recipes that call for melted cheese. There is nothing quite like the smell and the taste of ooey gooey.

Which brings us to making my soon-to-be famous (with tongue in cheek) Three-Cheese Toastie.

The recipe was inspired by a cheese vendor in Borough Market in London, England, called Kappacasein. I learned about it during chat at a farmer’s market at Brickworks several years ago which led me to a mouth-watering video on YouTube.

We love to showcase fabulous Canadian cheese when we cook, especially for family and friends.

My Three-Cheese Toastie is all about showcasing Canadian artisan cheese. The recipe I developed—by delicious trial and error—originally called for a blend of three artisan cheeses, two from Ontario, one from Quebec.

The main ingredient is cheddar. I tried others but always came back to cheddar.

Empire Cheese & Butter, in Campbellford, Ontario, northwest of Belleville, started making cheese in 1876. It’s now owned by a group of dairy farmers and still dedicated to traditional handcrafted cheesemaking.

In case you didn’t know, cheddaring started in the village of Cheddar in southwest England in the 12th century. Yes, 12th century!

We use the 2-year cheddar made at Empire. Older cheddars have less moisture and aren’t as good for grilled cheese.

Two cheeses have supporting roles in our original recipe: Mountainoak Gouda and Louis d’Or.

Mountainoak Gouda

Adam van Bergejik and his wife, Hannie, emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1996. Sons and a daughter are involved in the dairy farm and cheese business.

Louis d’Or

The Morin family are sixth generation dairy farmers. Across the street, in a former Roman Catholic rectory, is the fromagerie that Jean Morin founded in 2005. Since then, Morin was has won more awards than any other cheesemaker in Québec.

A Three-Cheese Toastie served with potato chips. It cries out for a light lager or a dry bubbly wine.

Let’s get started!

Shred the cheese immediately after removing from fridge. If you let it come up to room temperature, you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Other ingredients:

  • Red onion
  • White onion (NOT cooking onion)
  • Garlic
  • Leek.

Chopped fairly fine and mixed thoroughly into cheese blend. In equal parts. Tailor to your taste.

Quantities are easy to remember:

To make 10 sandwiches, you’ll need 1 kilo or 1,000 grams of cheese mixture. If only 5 sandwiches, which we’re doing, 500 grams of cheese mixture and 50 grams of onion/leek/garlic.

We’re shooting for about 100 grams of cheese per sammie. Equal cheese and bread for best results.

Mix well.

Other ingredients:

  • Optional: Black Forest Ham, 2 slices, folded, per Sammie, approx 25 g per slice;
  • Chopped chives, a pinch.
  • Bread, at least one day old so it toasts nicely.
The lovely crumb of home-baked white bread, thanks to Mrs. K., ideal for grilling cheese sammies.

We started out using Stonemill Bakehouse Bavarian Sourdough Light Rye, for that rustic look and flavour, but in recent times have come to prefer a plain white bread baked at home.

For speed and efficiency when making 100 or more toasties at our local farmers market, we used butter-flavored PAM with excellent results.

At home, we use either unsalted butter or mayo, slathered on the outside of both slices of bread. As the years slide by, we may be developing a preference for the mayo option, mainly because it produces such a nice even brown.

If you’re adding ham, to make what is called a Croque Monsieur, smear a small amount of mustard on the ham. To make a Croque Madame, top with a fried egg, sunny side up.

Usually, we’ll just use a non-stick frying pan, using a second pan or skillet to press down the toasties as they toast away. When we have more time, or guests, we’ll use our Cuisinart Griddler.

Yikes! We let the cheese warm up to room temperature and didn’t have sufficient heat on the grill.

Medium heat works well. About 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until cheese melts and bread toasts. Serve while hot, cutting each sandwich on the diagonal to expose more of the ooey gooey. We start eating with our eyes, after all

We’ll usually serve the toasties with a handful of potato chips or a small tomato or gherkins or all of the above.

In the toasties that you see in the video and photos, we went with cheese we had on hand:

The bread we used was house-baked white bread, not sourdough as incorrectly mentioned in the video.

In any event, enjoy!

Let us know how you like our toastie recipe with a comment below. If you’re new to CheeseLover.ca, sign up for email updates in the upper right of the home page.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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

We demonstrate how make Cheesy Melts cheese toasties on the CNE Celebrity Chef Stage.

 

Discovering Quebec cheese one wedge at a time

Flashback Friday: It’s amazing how many favourites of 2010 are still popular choices today. This post first appeared in November 2010.

It is hard to imagine someone with a greater enthusiasm for cheese and its appreciation than Vanessa Simmons.  “I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like,” she insists, and I believe her. I met Vanessa on a Monday night in Ottawa as she led a cheese-tasting class presented by Savvy Company titled the Great Canadian Cheese Discovery. Held at Thyme and Again Food Shop, the class focused on Quebec artisan cheeses.

Vanessa is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, whose passion for cheese first developed when she made her own feta during a cooking class. She says she was amazed that it seemed to take just “magic, faith and some TLC” in order to produce a great-tasting cheese. She was hooked.

Vanessa is now working toward her Cheese Education Guild certificate with Canadian cheese maven and author Kathy Guidi. Once a week, Vanessa leaves work early and drives five hours from Ottawa down Highway 401 in order to attend the cheese appreciation course in Toronto.

“My brother jokes I either need a boyfriend or a dog, because I spend way too much time with cheese,” Vanessa says with a laugh.

But Vanessa’s great enthusiasm for cheese makes for a tasting course that is both educational and inspired. She led her 18 guests through a selection of seven Quebec cheeses, all of which paired with two Ontario wines: Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musque and Niagara Teaching College Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.

We began our sampling with Le Joupon Frivole from Fromagerie Les Folie Bergeres in St-Sixte, a soft, rich surfaced-ripened sheep’s milk cheese.  It was fresh tasting and had a thick texture, forming a paste that coated the mouth. The milk used for Le Jupon Frivole is thermalized, a process commonly used in Quebec. Unlike the high heat of pasteurization, thermalization uses lower heat over a longer period of time. It is therefore gentler on the milk, and helps maintain its original flavours.

Our second cheese of the evening was Foin D’Odeur, produced by La Moutonniere in Sainte-Helene-de-Chester. When it was presented to us, this ripe cheese was melting all over the plate.  Foin D’Odeur is a bloomy rind sheep’s milk cheese. It had grassy, natural flavours, while the rind tasted mushroomy.

Nearly every cheese we tasted that night was packaged in a beautiful, hand-designed label, as Vanessa pointed out to the group. The unique labelling reflects the grassroots nature of Quebec cheesemaking. The labels serve as an indication of where the cheeses comes from, and speak to the personal attention they receive from their makers.

Our next sample was a knockout little cheese, and one of my two favourites from the evening’s selection. Le Pizy from Fromagerie La Suisse Normandie in Saint-Roch-de-L’Achigan comes in a tiny wheel, but packs a rich, buttery taste with a bit of a tang. A winner at Quebec’s Selection Caseus awards this year, this cow’s milk cheese is a standout.

Sein d’Helene with cheesemaker Lucille Giroux.

We then moved to the most playful cheese of the evening, Sein d’Helene from La Moutonniere. Literally “Helen’s breast,” this cheese is sold in a cone-shaped package, both to reflect its cheeky name and the mountainous region from where it hails. The cheese mixes sheep and cow’s milk; it is a fresh, earthy tasting cheese with a bit of acidity.

Our next selection was a goat’s milk cheese from Fromagerie La Petite Heidi in Saint-Rose-du-Nord called Tomme Le Rosee de Saguenay. The cheese presented barn aromas and had a sweet, tangy taste. It is dry and crumbly in texture with a yellow-coloured rind.

Next up was the second of my two favourites from the evening: Hercule de Charlevoix from Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-St-Paul. The cheese is named for a legendary local figure, Jean-Baptiste Grenon, dubbed “Hercules of the North”.  According to local lore, when Grenon was captured by the English in the 1700s and hung, he fought so hard and so long, the English were so impressed they released him from the gallows. The cheese certainly exhibits some of that same strength with its powerful flavours. A thermalized cow’s milk cheese, it tastes of earth and nuts, with a rind that tastes of chocolate.

Our final cheese of the evening was the only bleu on our plate: Bleu Moutonniere from La Moutonniere dairy.  Vanessa has nicknamed this blue-veined sheep’s milk cheese “the converter” for its ability to change the minds of staunch anti-bleu cheese tasters. My neighbour at the table was one of these self-professed bleu haters, so I eagerly awaited her reaction to this cheese.  Bleu Moutonniere was a big performer at this summer’s American Cheese Society awards, claiming first prize in the “blue-veined sheep’s milk with rind” category. The cheese is smooth and creamy, with bright coloured blue veins snaking throughout the wheel. It is salty and earthy, and quite inoffensive for a bleu cheese. Bleu Moutonniere managed to live up to its name at the table, as my neighbour declared “this is the only bleu cheese I’ve ever been able to stomach!”

As the evening wound down, I finished up my wine, and mingled a bit with the crowd of satisfied cheese students. Finally, I made my way over to bid goodnight to Vanessa. Like a true cheese enthusiast, she was standing by the cheese table, making sure none of the evening’s offerings went to waste.

—Phoebe Powell

Phoebe Powell, CheeseLover.ca’s roving reporter, is currently based in Ottawa. Her last post was about pairing artisan cheese with craft beer.

Louis d’Or 3 Ans: Taste the difference affinage makes

Cheesemaker Jean Morin with award-winning Louis d’Or at Fromagerie du Presbytère.

Except when it affects us humans, aging can be a wonderful thing. It’s what transforms shlock into fine wine, it’s what turns a good cheese into a great cheese.

In cheesemaking, the process of maturing cheese is called affinage. It usually occurs in a cellar or climate-controlled room where temperature and humidity are carefully managed.

But Jean Morin took the concept further: First, he bought the village church. Then, he turned it into a state-of-the-art space for aging Louis d’Or and other cheese.

He paid $1 to purchase the Roman Catholic church in Sainte Elizabeth de Warwick, Québec, in 2015, across the street from the family dairy farm, Ferme Louis d’Or, and then poured $1 million into the conversion for affinage.

The church is adjacent to the former rectory which Morin purchased in 2005 to start up Fromagerie du Presbytère. (Presbytère is the French word for rectory.) Cheesemaking takes place in the former rectory which also houses fromagerie offices. The expansive new retail store is just down the street.

Pat, the Swiss-made robot, lifts, brushes and rotates 40-kilo wheels of Louis d’Or. Photo courtesy of https://www.gastrotraveling.com/

The former church can house up to 3,000 wheels of Louis d’Or. They are looked after by Pat, the name given to a $300,000 Swiss-made robot that lifts, brushes and rotates the 40-kilo wheels of cheese. Since the aging space is more than five meters high, the robot not only ensures uniformity but also protects employees from the hazards of doing it manually.

You can watch Pat in action in this video produced by the Ottawa Citizen:

“Even by using new cutting-edge technologies, we will never make concessions on the quality and authenticity of our artisan cheeses,” says Jean Morin. “We are and will remain artisans. We always take the same care to prepare each cheese using milk from our family farm.”

The robot may be cutting edge, the temperature and humidity controls state of the art, but the vat in the fromagerie make room has roots in Neolithic times around 9,000 B.C. The vat is made in France with copper, an element with thermal conductivity 20 times more efficient than stainless steel.

Many of the classic European cheese, such as Gruyère, Comté, Emmentaler and Parmigiano Reggiano, are made in copper vats. In fact, AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) regulationas require it. As far as we know, Fromagerie du Presbytère is the only Canadian cheesemaker using a copper vat.

After 36 months in affinage, protein crystals provide Louis d’Or with delightful crunchies.

The net result of all of the above is a truly outstanding cheese, one that has won many awards for Jean Morin and his équipe at Fromagerie du Presbytère, including Cheese of the Year at the most recent Canadian Cheese Awards.

Here’s what Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons of Ottawa, a friend of ours in cheese, has to say about Louis d’Or:

Made in monster-sized 40-kilogram wheels, this washed-rind raw cow milk cheese is cooked, pressed and aged from 9 to 24 months with extra care taken during the ripening process. Resulting is a smooth, rich-textured paste encased in an antique gold, amber-colored rind. Aromas range from butter to onion and ripe pineapple. A complex mix of sweet, salty and dominant nutty, meaty flavors finish with a tingle at the back of the palate that lingers thanks to raw milk.

Age Louis d’Or another 12 months and all that aroma and flavour only elevate the taste experience to a sublime degree. It’s rich and creamy, with floral notes and hints of nuttiness, a wonderful example of Canadian cheese at its finest.

If your favourite cheese shop doesn’t carry Louis d’Or, order it online for home delivery in Ontario and Québec.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca and founder and director of Canadian Cheese Awards/Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens, the biggest cheese judging and competition in the land.

A Canadian cheese plate fit for heads of state

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Originally posted on June 28, 2010

Le Belle de Jersey made by Les Bergeries du Fjord.

Thank goodness the G20 madness in Toronto is over. The politicians have departed, the hooligans are in jail, the barricades are coming down. As far as we can see, the only bright note was the promotional opportunity for Canadian cheese.

The main meal for the assembled world leaders in the Royal York Hotel began with an appetizer of fresh Atlantic seafood followed by custom-aged filet mignon from the Spring Creek Ranch in Alberta.

Blue Juliette ~ Salt Spring Island Cheese

They then sampled a selection of four Canadian cheeses: Blue Juliette from Salt Spring Island Cheese in British Columbia, a Toscano from Ontario’s Monforte Dairy, and two Quebec artisan offerings—Le Belle de Jersey from Les Bergeries du Fjord and La Fleurmier from Laiterie Charlevoix.

(No snide remarks, please, about the preponderance of soft “girly” cheeses at this alpha-male feast.)

Each course was paired with red and white Canadian wines, and the food will be served on white bone Villeroy & Boch china. A dessert buffet featured Nanaimo bars and the work of two Toronto chocolatiers.

Julia Rogers of Cheese Culture, a leading expert on Canadian cheeses, and foreign fromage, too, was delighted for the cheese producers involved:

“Bravo to the creative Canadian cheesemakers who’ve managed to score some face-time with the world’s leaders. The selection features delicate, surface-ripened Fleurmier, from Québec’s dairy mecca: the Charlevoix region. Belle de Jersey highlights the rich milk of English Channel Island cows—a rare breed in Canada—in a supple, Reblochon-esque washed rind. B.C.’s contribution comes from David Wood, whose Salt Spring Island cheeses are appreciated across the country. Blue Juliette is a petite, pillowy round with earthy, mineral flavours and a steely blue-grey complexion. Rounding out the plate, and giving it some muscle, is Monforte Dairy’s Toscano, a firm and forthright sheep milk offering that despite its Ontario origin, expresses Central Italian caccio di pecora typicity.”

La Fleurmier ~ Laiterie Charlevoix

Here are links to more information about the G20 cheese plate:

Le Fleurmier
Laiterie Charlevoix
Baie-St-Paul, Charlevoix region of Quebec

Le Belle de Jersey
Les Bergeries du Fjord
La Baie, Saguenay region of Québec

Blue Juliette
Salt Spring Island Cheese
Salt Spring Island, Gulf Islands region of British Columbia

Toscano
Monforte Dairy
Stratford, Southwestern Ontario

Toscano ~ Monforte Dairy

At CheeseLover.ca, we’ve enjoyed Le Fermier and Toscano in the past, but now, thanks to the G20, we have Le Belle de Jersey and Blue Juliette on our shopping list.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca.

Adoray: Silky smooth, creamy and loaded with umami

Adoray: Just enjoy it with a spoon, but be sure to first give it at least two hours at room temperature.

Silky smooth and creamy, with loads of umami, that’s Adoray, a soft cheese with a mixed rind, wrapped with spruce bark.

What’s umami, you ask? Umami comes from the Japanese word for delicious, umai. Umami translates roughly to “deliciousness” and often stands in for “savory” or “meaty.”

It was only 30 years ago that umami was recognized as a distinct taste, one of the five basic tastes, the others being sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. It was only in 2006 that University of Miami neuroscientists were able to locate the taste-bud receptors for umami, validating the existence of the fifth taste.

Scientifically speaking, umami refers to the taste of glutamate. Glutamate, or glutamic acid, is a common amino acid in vegetable and animal proteins—and cheese.

L’Adoray is made with pasteurized cow’s milk by Fromagerie Montebello located on the Québec side of the Ottawa River one hour east of Ottawa.

Unique among Canadian cheeses.

The cheese dairy was established in 2011 following the meeting of two men, Alain Boyer and Guy Boucher. Having worked as a cheesemaker in the past, Boyer dreamed of owning his own cheesemaking business. Understanding that such a project would be difficult to bring to fruition on his own, he was fortunate to meet Guy Boucher, an accountant by training, who dreamed of owning his own business. Boucher took on the financial aspects of the enterprise while Boyer looked after cheesemaking.

Fromagerie Montebello officially opened its doors in June 2011. Located in the former Louis-Joseph Papineau seigneurie, Fromagerie Montebello makes fine cheeses in a nod to the famous 18th century politician.

Cheesemaker Alain Boyer, co-founder of Fromagerie Montebello.

L’Adoray has an orangey rind and an ivory-coloured, supple and creamy paste. Strapped with spruce bark, it features lactic, woodsy aromas and slightly spicy flavours of butter, wood and straw.

The cheese was introduced to the public upon the Fromagerie’s fifth anniversary in 2016. It’s named for the grandfather and father of Cheesemaker Alain Boyer: Adorice and Raymond.

The silky result is a wonderful mouth-feel packed with umami flavours. One could easily over-indulge.

Nathalie Schofield, who works with me at Canadian Cheese Awards as liaison with cheesemakers in Québec—and who adores Adoray, recommends pairing it with a Riesling or a sweeter white like a Gewürztraminer or Viognier.

This style of cheese, wrapped with spruce bark, has its roots in Europe, the classic example being Vacherin Mont d’Or.

It’s difficult to miss Fromagerie Montebello as you enter the village of the same name one hour east of Ottawa.

L’Adoray has a rustic rind, pinkish in colour. The small, 160-gram wheel has a beautiful ivory paste with a silky sheen. Soft and gooey. Medium nose, with a savoury forest-like aroma. There is a hint of spicy damp hay on the palate, there is a taste of bacon in the rind. The cheese literally melts on the tongue, with much smacking of the lips long afterward.

A unique Canadian cheese, generally available in stores and shops, distributed by Aux Terroirs.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman and founder of Canadian Cheese Awards and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

 

Curated artisan cheese box for home delivery

Aux Terroirs will deliver a box of seven curated cheeses to your home in Ontario or Quebec for $80 all up.
Are you thinking about ordering cheese online for home delivery for the first time?
We can attest it’s an excellent way to get your fromage fix in these Covid Times. Check out the growing list of Canadian cheese producers, distributors and retailers offering home delivery on the Cheese Lover Shop Online page.

Aux Terroirs, a leading Quebec-based distributor of fine cheese, charcuterie and other gourmet foods, has put together a #stayathome box of Canadian artisan cheese curated by Erin Harris, chef, cheesemonger and now author widely known as The Cheese Poet.

The Cheese Poet Box includes one piece each with tasting notes of seven outstanding cheeses:

Le Fleurmier: A soft cheese with a bloomy rind produced by Laiterie Charlevoix, it has a rich and velvety texture and a fruity, nutty flavour.

Le 1608: A hard cheese from Laiterie Charlevoix made with the milk of the Canadienne breed of cows, a breed unique to Canada that first arrived with French settlers between 1608 and 1670. Smooth, unctuous, melt-in-your-mouth deep yellow paste, delicate yet complex buttery flavour.

La Moutonnière Feta: A marinated sheep-milk feta made by Fromagerie la Moutonnière, it presents a very white paste that is creamy yet crumbly. It features fresh milk aromas with finely spiced lactic and tangy flavours.

Azimut: An aged goat cheese, a tomme, made by Fromagerie Lait Grand Cru. The flavour of this firm cheese has a hint of fleeting sweetness, more pronounced buttery notes and a nuttiness that lingers longer in the mouth.

Cow’s Creamery 2-year Cheddar: The pride of Prince Edward Island, this all-natural cheddar features a smooth texture, rich flavour and tangy bite. A gold medal winner in the World Championship Cheese Contest

L’Adoray: Made by Fromagerie Montebello, it features an orangey rind and an ivory-coloured, supple and creamy paste. Strapped with spruce bark, it features lactic, woodsy aromas and slightly spicy flavours of butter, wood and straw.

Urban Blue: Made with Nova Scotia cow’s milk, the double cream Urban Blue delivers mushroomy, umami flavours without being pungent or salty. Inspired by Gorgonzola, Urban Blue is an approachable, versatile cheese with a tasty natural rind made by Blue Harbour Cheese near Halifax.

Shipping and applicable taxes are included in the $80 price. Available for home delivery in Ontario and Quebec. Click here to order.

Potato, bacon and cheese: What’s there not to like?

Here we go, our first attempt to make La Tartiflette Gourmande following a Chef Club video recipe, with the help of Sarmite and Maris Vitols, friends in cheese.

Instead of Reblochon, the French classic, we used an outstanding Canadian cheese,  Origine de Charlevoix made by Laiterie Charlevoix in Québec.

Our tartiflette turned out rich and delicious!

Origine de Charlevoix is made by Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul one hour northeast of Quebec City, using milk from Canadienne breed cows. In taste and texture, the cheese is similar to Reblochon, the French classic.

Ours was sourced by Country Cheese Company in Ajax, Ontario.

Origine de Charlevoix was named Best Mixed Rind Cheese in the most recent Canadian Cheese Awards.

Pan-fry Yukon Gold potatoes with red onion until the spuds have softened. Then dress with parsley.

Sarmite Vitols makes sure the potatoes are just right.

Time to layer the baking pan with bacon.

The bed of bacon is ready. We use Dry Cured Bacon from Seed to Sausage.

Two wheels of Origine de Charlevoix cut in half. We resist the temptation to start nibbling on the aromatic cheese.

That’s two vital food groups looked after.

Now comes the third important food group: potatoes.

Potatoes surround the cheese on a bed of bacon. The mere words sound delicious!

Now we add the secret ingredient: crème fraiche.

More potatoes finish the prep before we head for the oven for 20+ minutes at 400F to 425F.

Voila!

Rich and delicious, a feast fit for a queen. With a green salad featuring fresh mango and avocado drizzled with a poppy-seed vinaigrette.

For libation, the in-house sommelier selected a lovely pinot gris from Acrobat Wine in Oregon. Thanks, Moe!

Zesty and buttery, the hostess-baked lemon tart was the perfect ending to a fine lunch. Thanks, Sam!

Here’s the Chef Club inspiration:
https://youtu.be/4x4_uj5hlg4

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • Parsley
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Red onion
  • Bacon slices
  • Origine de Charlevoix
  • Crème fraîche

In future, we will cut the bacon strips so they can be served more easily, and we won’t overdo the crème fraiche as it makes the dish wet.

Disclaimer: The tartiflette bake shown above took place prior to Covid Times.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman of Canadian Cheese Awards and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. He’s hardly ever met a cheese he didn’t like.

Old Growler Gouda: Well worth the drive to Nova Scotia

Old Growler: Complex and delicious, like nutty browned butter layered with caramel.

We love the way Willem van den Hoek writes about the Gouda he and his wife Maja have been making for 40 years on their farm overlooking the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia:

When our cheese reaches the ripe old age of a year or so, its textures have become rather short (the cheese crumbles or breaks when cut) and developed a pleasant, crunchy feel (from crystals that start to form) in the mouth.

The flavours have greatly intensified and words like intense, piquant or sharp, come to mind, but also fresh and clean. That’s when we start to refer to our cheese as Growlers (old, very old, really very old)

They are real dynamite when served sliced, on crackers, fresh bread (white or whole wheat) or steamed breads, like black pumpernickel, or grated on dishes like pastas and pizza.

And as they continue to age they eventually compare to a Parmesan­—hard, brittle, intense, great for grating.

By that time, in two to five years, we call it Hammer and Chisel cheese.

The Old Growler Gouda that we purchased last August while visiting That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm has definitely matured into Hammer and Chisel Cheese! Our wheel was made on March 22, 2018, two years and one month ago. It is indeed hard as a well-aged Parmigiano, with its pale gold paste dotted with crunchy, white lactate crystals.

Willem van den Hoek on a sign welcoming visitors to That Dutchman Cheese Farm.

When it comes to flavour, think complex and delicious, imagine nutty browned butter layered with caramel. The finish lingers ever so nicely . . .

The distinctive shape comes from the traditional Dutch gouda mould, or form, known as Kadova. Milk from neighbouring farms is heat-treated rather than pasteurized, thereby keeping some of the original flavours of the milk.

The rind is a classic, buttery yellow and coated in Plasticoat that protects the cheese while aging, but allows it to breathe, a vital aspect for maturing a natural-rind cheese.

Over four decades of cheesemaking, Willem and Maja have won many awards, including Best Canadian Gouda in 2016 for Old Growler and Best Canadian Gouda in 2014 for Mild Gouda. Then there is Willem’s extraordinary blue cheese, Dragon’s Breath, but that’s another story.

These days, daughter Margaretha and her husband play a greater role at That Duchman’s Cheese Farm but Willem is rarely absent from the make room when cheese is being made.

Margaretha van den Hoek in one of several aging rooms on the farm.

We mentioned Bay of Fundy earlier as a way of locating the farm but it actually overlooks Cobequid Bay west of Truro, Nova Scotia, east of Bay of Fundy itself.

It’s a must-stop for anyone visiting Nova Scotia. If you live outside the province, it’s the only way to purchase van den Hoek cheeses. Blame archaic Canadian laws governing inter-provincial trade. That Dutchman is too small to afford the cost of federal licensing and distribution.

The cheese shop on the farm is huge, displaying all the cheese made by the van den Hoek family, other artisan cheesemakers around the region, and many other tasty items. One wall is a viewing window into the make room.

Animal and Nature Park is not to be missed at That Dutchman Cheese Farm.

If you visit That Dutchman, be sure to allow a couple of hours to stroll around the animal and nature park complete with Scottish Highland cattle, emus, donkeys, pigs, and lovely gardens.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman of Canadian Cheese Awards and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. He’s hardly ever met a cheese he didn’t like.

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