Boursin: Creamy, garlicky, tasty—and versatile

My love affair with Boursin started maybe 40 years ago, when it was still an imported delicacy from France, so creamy and so garlicky. Now made in Canada, and even though manufactured on an industrial scale, the garlic and herb Boursin is very similar to what I recall enjoying so many years ago.

Which is to say the love affair continues.

It’s easy to understand why beguiling Boursin may well be the most popular flavoured soft cheese in the world, now sold in some three dozen countries.

Boursin was developed by French cheesemaker Francois Boursin in 1957 in Normandy. He was inspired by a traditional fromage frais dish in which dinner guests use bowls of fine herbs to season their own cheese.

A major newspaper in France reported incorrectly that Boursin’s cheese was flavoured with garlic. It was actually a competing cheesemaker who had introduced the garlic cheese. The newspaper article generated such interest and demand for garlic Boursin that the cheesemaker spent two years developing a garlic-flavoured cheese—which was introduced in 1963 to quickly become a household name across France.

Not only was Boursin an excellent cheesemaker, he had marketing smarts. In 1968, Boursin made history as the first cheese featured in a TV ad campaign. It featured famous French comedian Jacques Duby cast in the role of the first “Boursinophile,” a cheese lover unable to resist the alluring taste of Boursin whatever time of day or night. Waking in the middle of the night, he rushes to the fridge in his pyjamas yelling for Boursin over and over again.

You may recall seeing Boursin commercials on Canadian TV, for example:

More than 50 years later, Boursin now is available in seven flavours, with garlic and herbs being the most popular. The original recipe has changed little:

Pasteurized cow milk and cream, culture, garlic, salt, fresh and frozen parsley, white pepper, and fresh and frozen chives.

Since 2011, Boursin has been made in Canada in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, by Agropur, the Canadian dairy co-operative, for Bel Cheese Canada , the Canadian arm of Bel Group, the France-based multinational. Agropur also produces Bel’s other popular cheeses, The Laughing Cow and Mini Baby Bel.

Boursin is sometimes dubbed a Gournay cheese, Gournay being the name of the region in Normandy where Boursin was first made. The cheesemaker used the name when he was first asked to classify the cheese for customs purposes

Why is Boursin so popular?

  • The taste is irresistible, especially if you like garlic.
  • The small 150-gram wheels looks perfect.
  • The flavour balance between creamy and savoury is just right.
  • That slightly granular mouthfeel has one smacking lips. The finish lingers nicely.
  • The price point, as Boursin is so widely available including at discounters like Costco and Walmart, is affordable and appealing.

And it is such a versatile cheese. Great for snacks, wonderful for appetizers, excellent for cooking, just the thing for a picnic, as the slogan says, “Bread. Wine. Boursin.”

We keep Boursin in the cheese fridge, pretty well year round. Recently, we cooked with it, making a truly delicious stuffed chicken breast.

We seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and stuffed the breast with Boursin, sautéed spinach and a dusting of Parmigiano. Baked at 375F for 30 minutes. Served with a garden salad.

We also transformed leftover mushrooms into lovely appetizers: Sautée mushroom stems and spinach, then add Boursin and mix until creamy. Stuff the mushroom caps and top with Parm. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Although Boursin is so readily available and affordable, one of these Covid Days we’re going to try making it at home, following this simple recipe:

We’ll let you knows how it turns out. If you have made it at home, let us know in comments below.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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

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.

Cheese recommendations to enhance the holidays

Looking for last-minute ideas for delicious cheese to give as special gifts during the holidays—or to create an appealing cheese board?

Here are recommendations from the cheese lovers who work behind the scenes to make the Canadian Cheese Awards, the biggest cheese competition and judging in the country, happen every two years.

Awards Co-ordinator Jackie Armet picks Laliberté “because it is simply delicious. It has so many rich qualities for a soft bloomy rind cheese. Delicate but bold in flavour with a lovely creamy finish and always the first to go on a cheese board.”

Laliberté is made by Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick, Québec, by Cheesemaker Jean Morin and his équipe.

Awards Registrar Heather Robertson goes with Vacherin Mont d’ Or from Switzerland: “It’s a Christmas tradition! Pair it with some bubbly and fresh bread and you are ready for hibernation.”

Vacherin Mont d’Or is a seasonal cheese of Switzerland that delivers an amazing explosion of aroma and taste.

Nathalie Rollet Schofield, who serves as liaison with cheese producers in Québec, selects La Madelaine made by Fromagerie Nouvelle France.

“La Madelaine is an easy to love cheese. Rich and creamy, its mild taste will appeal to many. The unusual shape makes it readily identifiable. Made from sheep’s milk, it has a smooth and alluring taste.”

La Madelaine made by Fromagerie Nouvelle France of Racine, Québec, where Marie-Chantal Houde is cheesemaker.

Cheese Ambassador Roxanne Renwick has been sampling cheese at Eataly Toronto, the luxury Italian food hall that recently opened in Yorkville.

She recommends Northern Italy’s La Tur: “A lush rich cream dream with a three-dimensional complexity of the cow, sheep, goat milk mix. Sweet grass and funky tang. A heavenly cloud of a cheese that transports me every time I have it.”

Click here to read more about La Tur.

Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder and chair of Canadian Cheese Awards, is currently enamored with some of the finest examples of made-in-Ontario cheese.

—Waltzing Matilda, Monforte Dairy, Stratford, Ontario:

As Cheesemaker Ruth Khlasen puts it, “This Water Buffalo Camembert will make you decide where your loyalties to the name Matilda lay. Tom Waits’ gravelly rasp, or a patriotic love of Australia? For an elegant dinner party, choose the Waltzing Matilda with a delicate layer of ash under its bloomy rind.”

Pair it with a drizzle of honey to elevate the taste experience a notch.

—Abondance, Monforte Dairy, Stratford, Ontario:

Another delicious cheese from Ruth Khlasen, this one made with Ontario water buffalo milk. It offers a strong aroma and distinct, complex flavours. You might catch a hint of hazelnut as the cheese melts in your mouth.

We conclude with two seasonal stunners from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, Ontario.

—Handeck Reserve and 5 Brothers Reserve:

Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese is a small artisan cheese dairy nestled within the rolling hills of Gunn’s Hill Road in Oxford County in Southwestern Ontario. The cheeses produced at Gunn’s Hill are truly unique, although you can taste the Swiss influence from techniques and recipes Cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein learned while making cheese in the Swiss Alps. Handeck is a handcrafted, washed-rind cow’s milk cheese that is produced using the same methods as a typical Swiss mountain-style cheese. Handeck Reserve is delicately aged for 36 months on cedar planks, adding robust quality to the cheese. It is a drier hard cheese with rich and complex flavours and nutty overtones. Available only at Christmas.

If your cheesemonger doesn’t carry Handeck Reserve, go with 5 Brothers Reserve. It doesn’t quite have the heft of Handeck but is delicious just the same.

Thea: Stunning bandaged sheep cheddar from Mariposa Dairy

Award-wining Thea Bandaged Sheep Cheddar made at Mariposa Dairy.

The voicemail was brief and to the point: “Georgs, you must come and sample the new cheese from Pieter.”

The caller was Tammy Miller at Country Cheese in Ajax, my neighbourhood cheesemonger in Durham outside Toronto. I stopped by a few days later, and right away sent an email to Pieter van Oudenaren at Mariposa Dairy in Lindsay, Ontario:

“Wow, Pieter, Thea is a stunner! Tell me more so I can spread the word to Canadian cheese lovers.”

To the point, Thea is an outstanding bandaged cheddar made with Ontario sheep’s milk by the Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve division of Mariposa Dairy where Pieter has had a hand in developing aged cheese like Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar and Tania Toscano Sheep Cheese over the last nine years.

Hand-crafted in small batches using premium sheep’s milk from Miklin Farms near Georgina, Thea Bandaged Cheddar is made in the old world way by wrapping the cheddar wheel with cheesecloth which helps to age the cheese and preserve the flavour.

Cheesemaker Pieter van Oudenaren with young wheels of Thea in the aging room.

Aged nine months in a humidity-controlled aging room, the cheese yields a woody and buttery aroma, a sharp nutty profile with subtle caramel undertones. It has the sought after crystallization of a well-aged cheddar with a firm but creamy texture.

As Roxanne Renwick, a cheese specialist in Toronto, puts it: “Thea is rich and creamy yet full of tyrosine crystals. Sweet, salty and slightly tangy.”

The name Thea (along with the names Luuk, Taavi and Zander of truckles made at Mariposa Dairy) is a common Dutch name. It reflects the Dutch heritage of the VandenBerg family, Mariposa founders and owners, and the Dutch reputation for great cheese.

Cheesemaker Pieter van Oudenaren was born and raised in Bobcaygeon, a short drive from Lindsay. His parents emigrated from the Netherlands in the 1950s. The family name comes from Oudenaarde, a Flemish city in Belgium. Pieter’s father, Harry van Oudenaren, who is turning 95 this month, owned and operated an auto repair garage in Bobcaygeon for many years. Pieter took over the business and operated it for 27 years before the cheesemaking bug took hold nine years ago.

Since then, it has been one award after another for Lenberg Farms cheeses, including Grand Champion honours for Thea at this week’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

“What’s your secret in making such fabulous cheese?” we asked Pieter.

“A secret is a secret. In the words of Monty Python, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’ I have been blessed with a great company and owners to work for and with. Good components, co-workers, a wife that supports and prompts me, and consultants that have helped me along the way to help me to tweak the recipes.”

Pieter describes himself as a learner: In recent years, he’s learned to sail a boat, drive a horse and carriage, and make maple syrup, in addition to making award-winning cheese.

He and his wife, Grace, who is executive secretary at Mariposa, have two daughters.

The Thompson family in the milking barn at Miklin Farms in Georgina.

Miklin Farms in Georgina is owned by Mike and Linda Thompson and operated with their children, Anna, Laura and Joe. The Thompsons have been farming sheep for 29 years. They currently have 1,000 breeding/milking ewes, milking 500 at a time year round. The breed of sheep is Rideau crossed with East Friesian.

Anna Thompson holds a lamb in her arms at Miklin Farms.

Thea is hand-made in relatively small quantities and thus is in limited distribution. Here are cheese retailers in Ontario that carry Thea:

Ask your cheesemonger to order Thea if she doesn’t carry it.

Distributors are Finica Food Specialties, Fromages CDA, Glen Echo Fine Foods, La Ferme Black River and Worldwide Specialty Foods.

Cheesemaker Jean Morin strikes gold again at Caseus

Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère, always joking, always winning.

Jean Morin has been the winningest cheesemaker in Sélection Caseus, the prestigious annual competition for Québec cheese producers, for the past decade.

Fromagerie du Prebystère won Caseus Gold with Bleu d’Élizabeth in 2018, 2013 and 2009, with Louis d’Or in 2012 and 2010, with Taliah in 2016, and with Pionnier, in collaboration with Fromagerie Nouvelle France, in 2017.

This year he struck gold again with Religieuse, a marvelous washed-rind cheese ideally suited for raclette or just plain eating.

Here are winners in the top six categories announced last night in a ceremony in Quebec City:

CASEUS GOLD

CASEUS SILVER

CASEUS BRONZE

BEST AGED CHEESE

BEST RAW MILK CHEESE

BEST ORGANIC CHEESE

La Tommette de Chèvre made by L’Atelier Fromagerie is distributed by Aux Terroirs. The other five big winners are distributed by Plaisirs Gourmets.

Zacharie Cloutier, the wonderful sheep’s milk cheese made by Marie Chantal Houde, won Caseus Gold in 2014 and 2011.

Click here for 2019 Caseus winners in all categories: https://www.caseus.ca/laureats

Taste and buy the best in Canadian cheese at Night Market

Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market will be a veritable showcase for the best in Canadian cheese. Among the 150 artisan and farmstead cheeses to sample and purchase on June 6 will be the three most recent winners of Canadian Cheese of the Year honours at Canadian Cheese Awards/Les Concours des fromages fins canadien:

Baluchon: 2014 Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Le Baluchon, Fromagerie Baluchon, Québec, 2014 Cheese of the Year

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar: 2016 Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery, Prince Edward Island, 2016 Cheese of the Year

Louis d’Or: 2018 Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Louis d’Or, Fromagerie du Presbytère, Québec, 2018 Cheese of the Year.

 

Here’s the list of cheese producers who have confirmed to date. More are expected by show time on June 6.

Cows Creamery

Fromages CDA

   Fromage au Village

   Fromagerie Baluchon

   Fromagerie de L’Abbaye Saint-Benoît

   Fromagerie Domaine Féodal

   Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule

   Fromagerie du Terroir de Bellechasse

   Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser

   Fromagerie La vache à Maillotte

   Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

   Fromagerie Le Détour

   Fromagerie Rang 9

Fromage au Village

Fromagerie du Presbytère

Plaisirs Gourmets

   Fromagiers de la Table Ronde

   Fromagerie de l’Ile-aux-Grues

   Fromagerie Médard

   Fromagerie Nouvelle France

   Fromagerie Suisse Normande

   Fromagerie La Station de Compton

Aux Terroirs

   Laiterie Charlevoix

Blyth Farm Cheese

Ferrante Cheese

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Fromagerie Kapuskoise

Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese

Mariposa Dairy

   Lenberg Farms

Monforte Dairy

Mountainoak Cheese

Stonetown Artisan Cheese

Thornloe Cheese

   Sabana Canada

Quality Cheese

   Bella Casara

   Albert’s Leap

 

Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market is a unique sampling show where consumers can taste and buy cheese, charcuterie, chocolate, roasted nuts, shortbread, olive oil, drunken jams, gourmet butter, ginger tonic, chutney, and small-batch wine and craft beer and cider, and spirits, and much more. 19+

Tickets are still available for Session 1 (12 noon to 3 pm) and Session 2 (3:30 to 6:30 pm). Session 3 (7 to 10 pm) has SOLD OUT.

It’s all happening at historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall at 125 The Esplanade in downtown Toronto.

Information and tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/canadas-artisan-cheese-night-market-2019-tickets-56463973264?ref=ebtnebtckt

Let a fanatic and a poet deepen your passion for cheese

WARNING: Her passion for cheese is contagious!

Vanessa Simmons is crazy about cheese. The Toronto Star described her as being “openly fanatical about artisan cheese.”

She’ll demonstrate her passion during a Tutored Tasting on how best to pair artisan cheese with craft beer at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market. It’s much more of a natural pairing than, say, wine and cheese.

Read more here: http://www.cheeseawards.ca/night-market-tutored-tastings/

Thousands follow The Cheese Poet on Instagram

Chef and Cheesemonger Erin Harris.

 

Learn to appreciate cheese, don’t just eat it! All you need to know about buying, storing and presenting cheese—and enjoying it to the max.

Your tutor will be Chef and Cheesemonger Erin Harris. Erin is a Red Seal Chef turned Cheese Specialist and Culture Magazine contributor with a huge following of curd nerds on Instagram @thecheesepoet.

Read more here: http://www.cheeseawards.ca/night-market-tutored-tastings/

Cheese experts to inform and entertain you

They’re informative, they’re entertaining—and you get to taste the very best in Canadian cheese at Artisan Cheese Night Market Tutored Tastings.

Each presentation features six to eight fabulous Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses, selected artisan condiments, plus offerings of Ontario wine, craft beer or cider, all from Artisan Cheese Night Market vendors and exhibitors.

The two topics run concurrently from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., so pick the one topic that appeals to you most. Admission is $45 per person, 19+.

ORDER YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/canadas-artisan-cheese-night-market-2019-tickets-56463973264

Le Pizy: Truly outstanding Québec farmstead cheese

Le Pizy: Outstanding farmstead cheese from Fromagerie La Suisse Normande.

We’ll go for months without Pizy, and then, when we taste it again, we fall in love all over again.

There is no question Le Pizy, created by Cheesemaker Fabienne Mathieu at Fromagerie La Suisse Normande in St.-Roch-de-L’Achigan, Québec, is one of Canada’s best farmstead cheeses. When it comes to aroma, flavour and texture, Pizy is simply outstanding, and pretty in appearance, too.

We were first introduced to Pizy while spending too much money on cheese one afternoon years ago at Marché Jean Talon in Montréal in the company of Vanessa Simmons, arguably Canada’s leading cheese sommelier.

Try and buy Le Pizy at the upcoming Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto.

Vanessa’s tasting notes tell all:

Pizy has and remains one of my favourite top 10 Canadian cheeses, for sure. It’s even better if you keep it past the best-before date on the package by at least a week or two or more.

The cheese has more yeasty notes when it’s young which develops into more of a mushroomy, slightly nutty flavour as it ages. It’s very pretty, with the most delicate hue of champagne.

This small, soft, surface-ripened pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is fashioned after the Swiss Tomme Vaudoise, due to its shape (small wheel) and size (only ½-inch thick). Le Pizy has a thick bloomy ivory rind, with a rich, dense, paste coloring between ivory and pearl. Experience big milky, fresh field mushroom aromas and a fresh lactic taste with a sweet tang when it’s young, softening out as it ages.

The hand-crafted cheese produced at Fromagerie La Suisse Normande represents the marriage of two cultures, Swiss and French. Cheesemaker Fabienne Mathieu comes from Switzerland, husband Frédérick Guitel who manages the farm comes from Normandy in France.

Their resulting cow, goat and sheep’s milk products are a marriage made in heaven. Cheeses are made from animals raised on the farm, in true “fermier” (farmstead) fashion.

Meet the Suisse Normande family, left to right : Fabienne (mother), Magaly, Bénédicte (both daughters work at the fromagerie), Freddy (father) and Thibaut (son who works at the farm).

Of their five children, three want to ensure the continuity of their parents’ work: Bénédicte and Magaly at the fromagerie and Thibault on the farm.

The fromagerie began its activities in 1995 on the farm 50 kilometres north of Montréal.

Fromagerie La Suisse Normande will be represented by Plaisirs Gourmets at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market on June 6 in historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall in Toronto.

  • Fromagerie website: https://www.lasuissenormande.com/?lang=en_US
  • Distributor website: http://fromagesduquebec.qc.ca/en
  • Night Market information and tickets: http://www.cheeseawards.ca/night-market/

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

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

Artisan Cheese Night Market returns to Toronto on June 6

TICKETS ARE SELLING QUICKLY, SO DON’T DELAY ORDERING YOURS!

Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market is a unique sampling show where you try before you buy, located in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market Complex, one day only, Thursday, June 6.

  • Try and buy the best artisan and farmstead cheeses in Canada
  • Meet cheesemakers from coast to coast
  • Try and buy artisan foods, charcuterie, chocolate and more
  • Sample Ontario wine, craft beer and cider, and spirits
  • Purchase and enjoy tasty eats from specialty food vendors
  • Live entertainment will keep the celebration going all night long.

Order your tickets right away as the event is sure to sell out!

To avoid overcrowding, the Night Market runs in three three-hour sessions, 12 noon to 3:00 p.m., 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Strictly 19+.

Admission to the Early-Bird Session 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. is $30.00 per person. Regular admission is $40.00 per person for Session 2 or Session 3. Click on the Eventbrite button to begin your order.

Eventbrite - Canada's Artisan Cheese Night Market 2019

 

 

Many of Quebec’s outstanding cheesemakers will be represented at this year’s Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto, appearing under the Amour & Tradition umbrella of Fromages CDA, a leading distributor of fine cheeses.

Your ticket covers sampling of award-winning Canadian cheese, charcuterie, chocolate,  artisan foods, olive oil, plus Ontario wine, craft beer and cider, and spirits. That’s correct, sampling is included in the price of admission. PLUS: Also included is an insulated souvenir tote bag for your purchases.

Order tickets in advance online, avoid having to line up to buy a ticket at the event and quickly access all the deliciousness via the Night Market’s Express Entrance.

Click here for information on attending as a group, having more fun and saving money!

Stonetown Artisan Cheese of St. Mary’s, Ontario, will be sampling and selling its many delicious cheeses inspired by centuries of cheesemaking in Switzerland.

HOW TO GET TO ST. LAWRENCE MARKET

For the Artisan Cheese Night Market, historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall at 125 The Esplanade will transform into a celebration of the best in Canadian cheese and other deliciousness.

Using public transit to get to St. Lawrence Market is a snap. Union Station, with GO, Via Rail and TTC subway stops, is an 11-minute walk. The Yonge subway stop at King is a 12-minute walk. The Market is mere minutes from TTC streetcar stops at Jarvis on the King and Queen lines. There also is a Jarvis bus that stops steps from the Market.

Taxi and Uber will get you there even quicker.

If you’re coming by car, designate a driver for a safe trip home as there will sampling of alcoholic beverages at the Night Market, if you’re so inclined. There will also be a cash bar.

In its debut in 2018, Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market was a sell-out success—and a huge hit with cheese lovers.

If you’re driving, best place to park is the Green P parking garage with entrances at south end of Church Street and south end of Market Street:

Carpark 43 ~ St. Lawrence Garage ~ 2 Church Street
Also enter from Market Street just south of St. Lawrence Market
Rate: $2.50 / Half Hour
Capacity: 2,008 spaces (Yes, 2,008!)
Payment Options: Auto Express Pay Stations, Credit Card at Entry & Exit, Customer Assistance Booth
Accepted Forms of Payment: Bills, Coins, Charge (Visa / Mastercard / American Express Only)

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

Available at all price levels within walking distance of St. Lawrence Market.

WHO WE ARE

Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market is produced by Cheese Lover Productions Inc. which also produces Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. In 2018, Artisan Cheese Night Market was first held in conjunction with Canadian Cheese Awards. Given the enthusiastic response from cheese lovers, the Night Market returns in 2019 as a stand-alone event.

Eventbrite - Canada's Artisan Cheese Night Market 2019

 

Best Bites: Ten most memorable Canadian cheeses of 2018

It’s time to bring the curtain down on another year and to recall the memorable Canadian cheese tasted during 2018—with the help of friends in fromage.

Plus an outstanding butter, one of several grass-fed butters that have appeared on the market this year.

Vanessa Simmons, cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and Savvy Cool Curds, the first artisan cheese-of-the-month club featuring hard-to-come-by cheese made across Canada, selected five very different cheeses:

Hatley Road – Fromagerie La Station, Compton, Québec

Hatley has been showing beautifully in 2018 on cheeseboards as a rich, full flavour washed-rind cheese made with organic farmstead milk. A blend of milky, fruity and nutty flavours balanced with salt. As far as award winners go, it’s not hard to see why!

Fleuron – Fromagerie de la Table Ronde, Sainte-Sophie, Québec

A natural, rustic, salt and pepper looking rind covers this elegant, tall column-shaped organic cow’s milk blue cheese. Inside hides a soft, often oozy, pale ivory paste with slate-grey veining, concentrated closer to the centre of the cheese. Earthy, woody and fungal aromas blend nicely with vegetal, creamy and slight salty flavours, making it the perfect mid-range blue for tasting pleasure.

Figaro – Glengarry Fine Cheese, Lancaster, Ontario

Ever since I started in the Canadian cheese industry, Figaro has made and remained on my Top 10 list.  Yeasty and rich, lactic, full of creamy, tangy flavour, it’s always a crowd-pleaser, disappearing in minutes!

Cranberry Chèvre – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario 

Cranberry Chèvre is nothing short of “wow” as a perfect blend of both sweet and savoury flavours where fruity goodness meets tarty tang rounded off by the mild spicy hint of cinnamon. As a final step in making the cheese, plump cranberries are hand-rolled onto the fresh chèvre logs to ensure full coverage and less damage to the fruit—guaranteeing a gorgeous display for your holiday cheese board.

Maggie’s Cheese Ball – Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, Saint-Sixte, Québec

This holiday treasure is only available locally, and seasonally at Christmas time—made with love by Maggie Paradis. A blend of her local cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses, it’s a savoury sensation rolled in crushed pecans, rich and velvety in texture and sharp with a mild onion flavour.

Here are two picks from Jackie Armet, cheese co-ordinator at Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival:

Grey Owl – Fromagerie Le Détour, Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Québec

At every meeting of the Awards and Cheese Festival organizing committee, I’m asked to bring a selection of Canadian cheeses for us to graze on while planning our cheese events. One cheese that stopped the discussion was Grey Owl. It was in perfect condition, with its beautiful contrast in paste and rind, and a dazzling flavour of lemon and tang in your month. It took us 20 minutes to get back to our meeting. It is cheese that always starts a conversation.

Mountainoak Farmstead 2-year Aged Gouda – Mountainoak Cheese, New Hamburg, Ontario

Everyone needs a go-to cheese. With a texture like parmesan, the subtle crunch, quality milk and consistency, you can’t help snacking on this cheese. Well done, Mountainoak!

For Janice Beaton of Janice Beaton Cheese Partners, there is only a single highlight:

Big Momma – Monforte Dairy, Stratford, Ontario

Hands down for me this year’s Best Bite was Big Momma, from Ruth Khlasen and Monforte Dairy. It blew me away. Perhaps I had the good fortune of tasting from a sublime piece—lucky me! The combination of pillowy, creamy smooth texture and the outstanding flavour of water buffalo milk, it t was all sweetness and light. With a good measure of enduring flavour underpinning the whole experience: gently lactic and subtly earthy. Wowza! It’s been a while since I’ve been transported when cheese hits my palate. Big Momma took me there!

Whenever we visit La Belle Province, we seek out outstanding cheese that we cannot find in Ontario, fromage that is provincially licensed and thus not available outside Québec. At Yannick Fromagerie, in the Vieux Limoilou neighbourhood of Québec City, Nathalie Filion, introduced us to one such cheese:

Kénogami – Fromagerie Lehmann, Hébertville, Québec

Kénogami, a soft washed-rind beauty made by Fromagerie Lehmann with thermized milk from Brown Swiss cows in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. It presents a wonderful soft, herbal aroma and tastes of cream, butter and nut.

The Lehmann family is very conscientious about the care they provide both to their animals and to their pasture. The farm uses no GMOs, no pesticides and no chemical fertilizer. They rely on a variety of wild plants to feed the small herd in the summer and in the winter they feed them hay and grain produced on the farm.

Curé-Hébert – Fromagerie l’Autre Versant, Hébertville, Québec

There is something special about the climate and the soil in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region as the final outstanding cheese of the 2018 Top 10 comes from a fromagerie a few kilometres from Fromagerie Lehmann.

Curé-Hébert is semi-soft, washed-rind farm cheese made with raw milk drawn from the Fromagerie l’Autre Versant’s herd of Ayrshire cows. Its orange-brown rind is partially covered by a fluffy white coat. Curé-Hébert features a mild aroma of cream, butter, mushroom and a hint of sweetness (honey or caramel). It tastes very slightly rustic and sweet.

Andy Shay, a long-time friend in fromage who recently moved from Sobeys Ontario to oversee cheese and charcuterie at Jan K Overweel Ltd., threw us a curve, albeit a welcome one:

Can-Dairy founders Mitch Yurkiw and Drew McIver.

Actually, mine is not cheese, but butter, and a tiny amount of cheese. Emerald Grasslands sets a new benchmark in the fast-growing Canadian butter category. Clarksburg-based Can-Dairy founders Mitch Yurkiw and Drew McIver are trying to make the world a better place, one delicious pat of butter at a time!

They contract milk only with Jersey cow farmers, known for their extra thick and yellow cream. But these are not just ordinary Jersey cows, they are certified grass fed on regenerative (sustainable) organic farms. With this amazing milk, Emerald Grasslands churns, a more gentle process on the fat structure, the butter and produces 84% MF butter—perfect for baking pastries.  For their salted version they sourced hand-harvested sea salt from Vancouver Island Salt Company, near Courtenay, British Columbia.

The result of all this care in sourcing and production is a mind-blowing, super-creamy butter that is rich and with floral notes, a rusticity of cows and just the right hint of salt. Truly. the way to make the most of an artisan crusty bread.  We rarely have a chance to taste the wonders of Echire or Isigny St. Mere, but now, maybe that is OK.

Rich and Drew are next using some of their milk for making Cheddar. I had the chance to taste an early prototype and as a guy who buys Iles aux Grues 2-year cheddar by the 40 lb block, I can tell you we should all hope to see this cheese in a store one day soon!

—Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheese-head-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is the founder of Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.