QC14 #buickdrive: Searching for seafood around Gaspé—and cheese, of course

Fresh, sweet, succulent, our first lobster in Gaspésie at Capitaine Homard in Sainte Flavie.

Fresh, sweet, succulent, our first lobster in Gaspésie at Capitaine Homard in Sainte Flavie. Click image for larger view.

It was everything we wanted and more. Poissonnerie after poissonnerie all the way around Gaspésie made hunting for fresh, local seafood a snap. See below for what we enjoyed over 14 days and 2,945 kilometres in a Buick Enclave on QC14 #buickdrive.

Of course, cheese was not ignored. We visited five fromageries, three within Gaspé borders (first three shown), two just outside the region:

Sights and eats as captured in Facebook photo albums:

Kamouraska:

  • Lobster roll
  • Shrimp with salad
  • Poached salmon with salad

St. Flavie:

  • Lobster steamed with garlic butter
  • Clams (fried calamari style)
  • Fish trio: poached salmon, trout and cod with fries and coleslaw

St. Anne des Monts:

  • Cod and shrimp over wild rice
  • Scallops with avocado/tomato salsa
  • Seafood risotto: shrimp, scallops, mussels and lobster

Percé:

  • Scallops with bacon
  • Poutine with lobster
  • Fish soup

Forillon National Park:

  • Shrimp with salad
  • Crab claws two ways: in shell and ready to eat
  • Crab cakes
  • Crab mousse
  • Smoked trout with country bread
  • Poutine with shrimps

Carleton sur Mer:

  • Scallops with bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon, turbot and cod bon bons
  • Mussels from Chaleur Bay
  • Smoked trout
Our Buick Enclave is shown crossing a covered bridge near the end of our Gaspé #buickdrive.

Our Buick Enclave is shown crossing a covered bridge near the end of our Gaspé #buickdrive. Click image for larger view.

Earlier Facebook photo albums:

QC14: Festival des Fromagers Artisans du Québec

Some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts made the pilgrimage to Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick.

Some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts made the pilgrimage to Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick, population 374.

We begin our three-week tour of Québec with Festival des Fromagers Artisans du Québec, the annual celebration of fromages fins organized by the association of artisan-cheese producers. This year, the two-day festival was held at Fromagerie du Presbytere in the village of Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick two hours east of Montréal.

With the support of Mayor Luc Le Blanc, Presbytere’s owner, Jean Morin, was able to convert the main street of the village into a cheese fair that attracted some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts. Morin’s cheese plant and shop—located in a former rectory (presbytere)—sits across the street from Ferme Louis d’Or, the dairy farm his family has operated for four generations.

A tiny bakery turns out wonderful breads adjacent to the cheese plant. Morin also invited local producers—a charcuterie specialist, a winemaker and a craft brewery—to complement the cheese available for tasting and purchase.

The annual festival rotates from one member producer to another. Next year’s venue will be announced soon.

Facebook photo albums:

 

Cheese-rolling madness returns to Whistler

cheese_rolling_6

Dairy Farmers of Canada will host one of Canada’s most unique events again this summer when the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival takes place August 16 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in Whistler, British Columbia. In its seventh year, the festival features cheese rolling races, costume contests and other fun activities for the whole family.

An 11-pound wheel of Courtenay Cheddar cheese, produced by British Columbia cheesemaker Natural Pastures, will roll down a hill and enthusiastic and ambitious cheese lovers will chase after it. The first contestant to make it down the hill wins. The winners get to take home the giant, coveted wheel of delicious Canadian cheese and a Whistler season ski pass for two.

“Cheese-loving Canadians and visitors from all over the world eagerly await the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival year-after-year and Dairy Farmers of Canada is thrilled to bring it back again,” says Sandra Da Silva of Dairy Farmers of Canada.  “With all the many activities the festival has to offer, it’s a great event for the entire family and a fantastic way to shine a spotlight on Canadian cheese.”

The race course will be set up in Whistler’s Upper Village on Blackcomb Mountain. Free round trip transportation to the Blackcomb Mountain Base 2 parking lot via Excalibur Gondola in Whistler village is available for everyone.  Anyone over 19 years of age can participate and contestants can register on site on August 16at 11:00 am. The downhill event will consist of seven men’s and four women’s races. The winner from each round will compete in the finals. For the kids, there will also be uphill races categorized by age.

A costume contest will be held again this year. All race participants are invited to wear costumes for the chance to win a $500 gift voucher from Marketplace IGA. Prior to each race heat, the official cheese roller will award costumed contestants a ribbon. After all the race heats, all ribbon-awarded costumed contestants will gather at the base of the course, where a panel of judges will select their top five favourite costumes, which will then be judged by the crowd. Team costumes will be judged as one participating unit, not individually. The contestant or team that receives the most applause will be selected as the costume contest winner(s).

Participants, families and spectators can take in a host of other fun things at the festival, including activities for children, free cheese seminars and a Cheese Market full of delicious samples of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk. Visitors will also be able to buy cheeses from different Canadian provinces. Vancouver native and Breakfast Television host, Riaz Meghji, will emcee the event again.

In addition to the numerous pre-promotion events in Whistler village a few days before the event, Dairy Farmers of Canada partnered with Sobey’s nationally and Marketplace IGA in British Columbia for in-store promotions and a contest. Visit any Sobey’s store in the Maritimes, Ontario and the Prairies until July 20, as well as Marketplace IGA in British Columbia until July 13, for a chance to win a trip for two to the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival.

To learn more about the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival and to view videos and photos from past festivals, visit www.canadiancheeserolling.ca.

Cheesemobile heads to Gaspésie this summer

Our elegant cheesemobile, aka Buick Verano Turbo, at Mt. Revelstoke in B.C.

Our elegant cheesemobile, aka a Buick Verano Turbo, at Mt. Revelstoke in B.C.

Another successful Great Canadian Cheese Festival is behind us and it’s time to start planning another road trip—in search of cheese and other delights.

 Last summer, an elegant Buick Verano Turbo served as the cheesemobile as we hunted for the best in cheese in British Columbia and researched venues for a future Great Canadian Cheese Festival West.

This summer, the general plan is to head into Québec and eventually circumnavigate iconic Gaspésie to satiate our second love—fresh seafood. Of course, a visit to the region’s sole cheesemaker, Fromagerie du Littoral, will be on the itinerary.

Here’s the travel plan that’s taking shape:

  • Initial destination: Ste Elisabeth de Warwick two hours east of Montreal.
  • Festival Des Fromagers Artisans du Québec held this year at Fromagerie du Presybytère. The annual festival travels from cheesemaker to cheesemaker and attracts upwards of 10,000 cheese enthusiasts.
  • Visit Fromagerie Abbaye deSaint-Benoît-du-Lac and Fromage de La Station in Eastern Townships.
  • Fromagerie FX Pichet in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade. home of Le Baluchon, the Canadian Cheese of the Year.
  • Grand tour of Gaspésie, some 1,200 km in all, searching for the freshest seafood and other culinary delights during 10 days along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River and into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Breathtaking panoramas and tasty maritime cuisine await.
  • Fromagerie le Détour in Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, home of Magie de Madawaska, a wonderful soft cheese worth driving many days for.
  • Overnight visit to Isle aux Grues in the middle of the St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City from whence comes Riopelle, one of Canada’s iconic cheeses, named after Jean-Paul Riopelle, a larger-than-life painter and sculptor who spent his summers on Isle aux Grues and died there.
  • Return home to Ontario with coolers full of goodies.

More, as it develops.

If you have recommendations for must-make-stops along the proposed route, we’d love to hear them. Click here to e-mail CheeseLover.ca.

Gunn’s Hill Shep Ysselstein claims $100,000 Grand Prize

Shep and Colleen Ysselstein of Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, Ontario.

Shep and Colleen Ysselstein of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, Ontario.

MONTREAL, June 18, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ – The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) yesterday announced that Canadian voters have chosen the turning point project Cheese Champs, submitted by Shep Ysselstein, owner of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario, as the winner of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 Grand Prize.

Shep’s project involves the construction of a 2,000 square-foot, climate-controlled curing and aging extension to his current building that would allow him to double his annual production of cheese to 60,000 kilograms. His business needs to invest in this expansion to keep up with high consumer demand for his premium cheeses from grocery chains and specialty food shops across the province.

“Winning the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest means a lot to our business and to the local dairy economy,” says Shep. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing public support and I want to thank everyone who voted for us. I also want to thank BDC for creating a contest that inspires entrepreneurs to take a hard look at their businesses and come up with concrete projects that will drive new growth.”

“I congratulate Shep on winning the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “His business illustrates how an entrepreneurial vision can create real opportunities for any industry, anywhere in Canada. Gunn’s Hill is more than a cheese plant; it’s a rural enterprise that creates jobs and economic activity and drives a small community forward.”

“We plan to use the $100,000 Grand Prize to accelerate the growth of our business,” says Shep. “The new curing and aging rooms will allow us to double our workforce, meet demand for our current products, and create new premium aged cheeses that will further boost our revenue. We also hope this boost will put us on track for a future national expansion, so we can start selling our products across Canada.”

The contest runner-up, who will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC, is the project Bee Wrapped, submitted by Toni Desrosiers, owner of Abeego Designs, Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia.

About the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35. For the first time in 2014, a national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that was combined with the public vote. The national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 30% of each project’s final ranking and the public vote accounted for the remaining 70% of the ranking. Online voting in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest took place between May 29 and June 12 at www.bdc.ca/yea.

About the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finalists
Nine projects competed for Canada’s votes in the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.  Each finalist described, via a video submission, a turning point their company had reached as well as their solution to achieve future growth and success:

  • Bee Wrapped, Toni Desrosiers, 34, Abeego Designs, Inc., Victoria, British Columbia
  • Waste with Purpose, Devin Goss, 29, BluPlanet Recycling Inc., Calgary, Alberta
  • Building Boom, Nathan Wilhelm, 30, Wilhelm Construction Services Inc., Estevan, Saskatchewan
  • Compost Kings, Dale Overton, 34, Overton Environmental Enterprises Inc. (OEE), Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Cheese Champs, Shep Ysselstein, 31, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Woodstock, Ontario
  • Room with a View, Louis-Philippe Noel, 34, Innvue, Quebec City, Quebec
  • Clear Waters, Pat Whalen, 33, LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • Brighter Smiles, Paula MacPherson, 31, Southgate Dentistry, Bedford South, Nova Scotia
  • Northern Exposure, Nicole Redvers, 32, Gaia Integrative Clinic, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Biggest cheese show in Canada is this weekend!

sunshineThe weather outlook for the fourth annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival could not be better: Sunny skies with temps in the mid-20s.

Skip the line-up at the entrance and save 20% by purchasing tickets online in advance.

Don’t drive? Don’t want to drive? Here’s the solution:

CULINARY ADVENTURE COMPANY — TORONTO
Join a guided bus tour from Toronto to the Cheese Festival with tastings at two wineries, gourmet lunch and Grab & Go Breakfast at CHEESEWERKS. Click for more info.

SAVVY COMPANY BUS TRIP – OTTAWA AND KINGSTON PICK-UPS
Enjoy a roundtrip coach package with Savvy Company leaving from Ottawa with pick-ups in Kingston. After an afternoon at the Cheese Festival, you will tour the back roads of Prince Edward County to visit 2 wineries, then back to the Crystal Palace for a fun dinner at the all-new Makers+Mongers BBQ. Click here for tickets and more info.

Le Baluchon named Canadian Cheese of the Year

Marie-Claude Harvey, Fromagerie FX Pichet, flanked by Georgs Kolesnikovs, chairman, Canadian Cheese Awards, Gurth Pretty, Loblaw Companies, Marquee Sponsor, and Dr. Arthur Hill, Chief Judge, Canadian Cheese Awards.

Marie-Claude Harvey, Fromagerie FX Pichet, flanked by Georgs Kolesnikovs, chairman, Canadian Cheese Awards, Gurth Pretty, Loblaw Companies, Marquee Sponsor, and Dr. Arthur Hill, University of Guelph, who served as Chief Judge, Canadian Cheese Awards.

Winners in the inaugural Canadian Cheese Awards/Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens were announced during an Awards Ceremony, Reception and Tasting Gala on April 7 at St. Lawrence Market North in Toronto.

The new and independent competition, with Loblaw Companies as Marquee Sponsor, has immediately become the biggest cheese competition in Canada with 76 producers from Newfoundland to British Columbia submitting 291 cheeses for judging.

Le Baluchon, an exquisite semi-soft cheese made with organic raw milk, was named Canadian Cheese of the Year, Best Semi-Soft Cheese and Best Organic Cheese. Marie-Claude Harvey, co-owner of Fromagerie FX Pichet in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec, and her cheese will be in the spotlight at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 7-8.

Le Baluchon: Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Le Baluchon: Canadian Cheese of the Year.

CHEESE OF THE YEAR/FROMAGE D’EXCEPTION

Le Baluchon
Fromagerie FX Pichet
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec

BEST FRESH CHEESE

Bella Casara Mascarpone
Quality Cheese
Vaughan, Ontario

BEST SEMI-SOFT CHEESE

Le Baluchon
Fromagerie FX Pichet
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec

BEST FETA/CHEESE IN BRINE

Goat Milk Feta
Crystal Springs Cheese
Lethbridge County, Alberta

BEST FIRM CHEESE

Eweda Cru
Best Baa Dairy
Fergus, Ontario

BEST FIRM CHEESE WITH HOLES

Louis d’Or
Fromagerie du Presbytère
Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Warwick, Québec

BEST WASHED RIND CHEESE

La Meule des Champs
Fromagerie Éco-Délices
Plessisville, Québec

BEST MIXED RIND CHEESE

Rang des îles
Fromagerie Médard
Saint-Gédéon, Québec

BEST SOFT CHEESE/BLOOMY RIND CHEESE

Magie de Madawaska
Fromagerie Le Détour
Temiscouata Sur Le Lac, Québec

BEST FLAVOURED CHEESE

Raclette de Compton au Poivre
Fromagerie La Station
Compton, Québec

BEST SMOKED CHEESE

Natural Smoked Gouda
Sylvan Star Cheese
Red Deer, Alberta

BEST MILD/MEDIUM CHEDDAR
(aged up to 9 months)

Cheddar Île-aux-grues
Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues
L’Isle-aux-Grues, Québec

BEST OLD CHEDDAR
(aged from 9 months to 1 year)

COWS CREAMERY Extra Old Cheddar
COWS CREAMERY
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

BEST AGED CHEDDAR
(aged 1 to 3 years)

Farm House Traditional Clothbound Cheddar
The Farm House Natural Cheeses
Agassiz, British Columbia

BEST AGED CHEDDAR
(aged 4 years and more)

Agropur Grand Cheddar 5 ans
Agropur
Saint-Hubert, Québec

BEST GOUDA CHEESE

Golden Blyth
Blyth Farm Cheese
Blyth, Ontario

BEST BLUE CHEESE

Dragon’s Breath Blue
That Dutchman’s Farm
Upper Economy, Nova Scotia

BEST COW’S MILK CHEESE

Bella Casara Mascarpone
Quality Cheese
Vaughan, Ontario

BEST GOAT’S MILK CHEESE

Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar
Mariposa Dairy
Lindsay, Ontario

BEST SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE

Lenberg Farms Reserve by Celebrity Tania Sheep Cheese
Mariposa Dairy
Lindsay, Ontario

BEST WATER BUFFALO CHEESE

Buffalo Paneer
Natural Pastures Cheese
Courtenay, British Columbia

BEST BLENDED-MILK CHEESE

Le Verdict d’Alexina
Fromagerie Le Détour
Temiscouata Sur Le Lac, Québec

BEST FARMSTEAD CHEESE

Plain Soft Goat Cheese
Noble Meadows Farm
Nobleford, Alberta

BEST ORGANIC CHEEESE

Le Baluchon
Fromagerie FX Pichet
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec

BEST RAW-MILK CHEESE

Louis d’Or
Fromagerie du Presbytère
Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Warwick, Québec

BEST NEW CHEESE

Fontina Fumé
Fromagerie de l’Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac
Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec

BEST BRITISH COLUMBIA CHEESE

Farm House Traditional Clothbound Cheddar
The Farm House Natural Cheeses
Agassiz, British Columbia

BEST ALBERTA CHEESE

Natural Smoked Gouda
Sylvan Star Cheese
Red Deer, Alberta

BEST ONTARIO CHEESE

Bella Casara Mascarpone
Quality Cheese
Vaughan, Ontario

BEST QUEBEC CHEESE

Louis d’Or
Fromagerie du Presbytère
Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Warwick, Québec

BEST ATLANTIC CANADA CHEESE

COWS CREAMERY Extra Old Cheddar
COWS CREAMERY
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The new and independent competition, with Loblaw Companies as Marquee Sponsor, has immediately become the biggest cheese competition in Canada with 76 producers from Newfoundland to British Columbia submitting 291 cheeses for judging. Appropriately, the competition reached its climax at the venue National Geographic has called the world’s best food market.

Chief Judge Art Hill and the 10 expert judges who evaluated and scored 291 cheese submitted in the inaugural competition.

Chief Judge Art Hill and 10 expert judges evaluated and scored 291 cheese submitted in the inaugural judging and competition.

Judging took place at University of Guelph, Department of Food Science headed by Dr. Arthur Hill, Chair and Professor in Food Science and an internationally recognized authority in cheese technology.

It is the first cheese competition in Canada open to all milks used in cheesemaking—cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo—with only pure natural cheese accepted for judging. That means with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients.

The Canadian Cheese Awards is sponsored by Loblaw Companies and Dairy Farmers of Canada, La Ferme Black River Game Farm, Plaisirs Gourmets, Palatine Hills Estate Winery, The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery, Mill St. Brewery, ACE Bakery, Seed to Sausage and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, with historic St. Lawrence Market the venue sponsor.

The Official Cheesemongers of the Awards are the cheese shops of St. Lawrence Market: Chris’ Cheesemongers, Olympic Cheese Mart and Scheffler’s Delicatessen & Cheese.

As a service to the cheese industry and as a guide for consumers, Canadian Cheese Awards is produced by The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada that is held annually in June in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, in Bay of Quinte Region near Belleville. Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder and director of the Cheese Festival, serves as Awards Chairman.

Photo albums;

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