The meaning of sustainable food and other cheese news

Healthy grass is the first link in the sustainable-food chain.

Cheese makes news every day. That’s why we’ve started collecting links to the most interesting news reports of the week on a special page under the News tab at the top of the blog. Check it whenever you visit CheeseLover.ca.

Ontario’s Fifth Town Artisan Cheese and the meaning of sustainable food

How to can cheese and butter

Subway to start tessellating cheese

Finger Lakes Cheese Trail to hold open house

Look elsewhere for goaty gratification: Quebec’s Champagnole aged goat cheese has a refined finish

Major League Eating star eats 13 lb of Poutine in Toronto

U.S. cheese supplies at 26-year high

Cheese or dessert first?

Fake cheese that’ll make vegans swoon

Kraft hopes to encourage adults to revert to a childhood favorite

Ag & non-Ag groups urge Wisconsin to veto raw milk bill

Poutine: Quebec’s accidental delicacy becomes global haute cuisine

Have cheese, will travel—a very long way

Cheese-powered fuel cells: The whey to greener electricity

Enjoy the ultimate entertainer: Boursin Cheese

Medieval Swiss town of Gruyères offers plenty to sample

Cheesesteak Pretzel makes official debut

How to give your grilled cheese a gourmet twist

First attempt at making mozzarella cheese at home

Food companies sign up for the war on salt

Want cheese with that?

Try pairing vintage champagne with cheese

Canadian Swiss cheese made the Old Order Amish way

Millbank Cheese started operations in 1908 in the old foundry building in the village of Millbank in Southwestern Ontario.

Caseus Helveticus—Swiss cheese to me and you—was first mentioned in recorded history by Pliny, the first century Roman historian. Doubtless, it was more like cottage cheese than what we’re familiar with in modern times. The type of Swiss cheese we eat today first appeared in the 15th century when the technique of using rennet to firm up cheese was introduced.

In the 17th century, the Amish religion was founded in Switzerland. By the 18th century, the first Amish arrived in Ontario, bringing with them the old ways—including making cheese.

And that‘s how, three centuries later, I’m enjoying a chunk of mild and creamy Swiss made by Millbank Cheese Factory, but there is a twist in the history.

Millbank Cheese and Cold Storage in the village of Millbank in Southwestern Ontario was founded in 1908 by Old Order Amish dairy farmers. Over the years, Millbank Cheese grew and grew. By the 1980s, it employed 35 full-time employees and sold $12 million worth of cheese and butter annually. Then started a revolving door of owners: First, Schneiders, then Ault Foods, and finally Parmalat—which shut down production in 1999 but kept the retail store open.

Millbank’s pioneering past flowered again when 90 traditional farm families purchased the factory from Parmalat in 2003 and again began to make cheese the Old Order Amish way. Today, Millbank manufactures goat, sheep and cow-milk products.

And so it came to pass that when I walked into The Art of Cheese in the Beaches area of Toronto, owner Bill Miller suggested I try Millbank’s organic, unpasteurized Swiss cheese.

“This Swiss is very creamy,” Bill said. “When warmed up, it has a slight tangy bite. The real difference, though, is in the after-taste. In mass-produced Swiss, you get a metallic taste—some would say tinny—from the chemical residue that comes from the use of additives to speed up the maturing process.” As Swiss is such a light-tasting cheese, there is nowhere for the additive residue to hide.

The cream content level of the Millbank Swiss is 33% milk fat, which is high, yet that’s what makes this a rich Swiss and an excellent snack.

Bill suggested I try it in scalloped potato as the cheese helps bring out other flavours without dominating. Alas, my chunk was long gone by supper time.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca. He grew up eating Swiss, Havarti and Limburger, and a Latvian cheese called Janu siers.

Leslieville Cheese Market expands to Flesherton

Michael Simpson at Leslieville Cheese Market West. Click on image for a larger view.

Leslieville Cheese Market, with two locations in Toronto, is opening a third store in Flesherton, right on the main route to Georgian Bay cottage country.

“There is a bit of a food movement happening slowly in and around Flesherton,” says co-owner Michael Simpson. “It’s not an organized thing. People from Toronto who vacation in the area have brought with them a demand for excellence.”

Leslieville Cheese Market North will open June 1 at 10 Sydenham Street in Flesherton, right beside The Bakery, a popular stop on Highway 10.

“The Bakery in Flesherton is known far and wide,” says Michael. “We previously have had a great relationship with them. That makes us all the more happy that our market will be situated right beside them and their fantastic aromas.”

Leslieville Cheese Market North will be managed by co-owner Gary Ikona.

Leslieville Cheese Market East at 891 Queen Street East at Logan opened on June 16, 2006. Leslieville Cheese Market West at 541 Queen Street West at Augusta opened May 15, 2009.

In addition a huge selection of Canadian and imported cheeses, Leslieville carries chacuterie and other fine foods, and hosts the popular Night School for Cheese Fans with Julia Rogers and Beer School with Cheese Fans with Sam Corbeil.

Bobby Flay learns to make goat cheese and other news

Cheese makes news every day. That’s why we’ve started collecting links to the most interesting news reports of the day on a special page under the News tab at the top of the blog. Check it whenever you visit CheeseLover.ca.

Bobby Flay learns to make goat cheese

Cheese found to improve immune response of elderly

Local Food Plus launches Buy-To-Vote campaign

Cheese that’s a laughing matter

Sue Riedl on Le Tomme Haut-Richelieu

All about crottin de chèvre sur toast

Art, wine, cheese: Alternatives to stock investing

Cheese and the cycle of Jewish life

If cheese is milk’s leap towards immortality, what does that make processed cheese?

Kraft Foods showcases new products

Why Americans can’t be more French when it comes to cheese

Wisconsin remains No. 1 in U.S. cheese production

Petra Cooper left upper levels of publishing world for cheese

Seattle has its own cheese festival

Financing a business with cheese?

CME to launch cheese futures

Monetary boost for Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Cheese and heritage, a unique university diploma

Land O’Lakes closing cheese plant in California

Making garlic bread with three cheeses

American cheese grows up in Vermont

Sue Riedl on Bella Casara Buffalo Mozzarella

Benedictine spirituality and the making of cheese

A retailer’s rant about local and slow-food movements

Cheesemakers organize co-operative in Michigan

Cheese rheology and texture

Ontario cheese taste trail

Simmering on a back burner at CheeseLover.ca is a dream to create and promote an Ontario cheese taste trail. Quebec has such a taste trail.  Why not Ontario?

We see Cheese Lover’s Guide to Ontario as a periodical publication and an interactive website. Of course funding—from commercial sponsors and government grants—will be a key ingredient that takes time to develop.

There are 50 cheesemakers in Ontario today. (We include historic Forfar Dairy in Portland which has ceased production but still has cheddar for sale.)

Here’s where to find Ontario cheesemakers:

Not all cheesemakers are open to the public or have on-site stores, so it’s wise to telephone ahead.

If you do visit an Ontario cheesemaker, we’d like to hear from you to start collecting experiences and impressions—and tasting notes—for Cheese Lover’s Guide to Ontario.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Bill Miller of The Art of Cheese for pointing out that we were missing Millbank Cheese founded in 1908 and now again owned and operated by the Old Order Amish of Ontario.

Beer pairs with cheese better than wine

Cheese and wine expert Julia Rogers, left, enjoys an informal beer tasting with chef and sommelier Tonia Wilson.

Julia Rogers loves beer.

In her latest newsletter, the cheese and wine expert declares beer is a better partner for cheese than wine. This from a lady who spent the last five years earning an internationally recognized Diploma in Wines and Spirits from Wine & Spirit Education Trust in England, the world’s leading provider of wine education.

Julia says beer is best because it works with cheese on four levels:

  • Physiological – It serves as a counterpoint to salt in cheese and “scrubs” fat and protein off the tongue;
  • Sensory – The primary tastes and aromatic features of beer and cheese are highly compatible;
  • Intellectual and spiritual – Beer and cheese are among the primal foods of the human race. Enjoying them returns us to ancient roots.

Put simply, pairing beer with cheese makes for a stellar match. In her newsletter, Julia goes on to suggest 10 pairings. The one that caught my eye—seeing how I like my beer dark and my cheese strong—was Trois Mousquetaires Imperial Baltic Porter and Ciel de Charlevoix, both from La Belle Province. (Another reason to look forward to June and a planned excursion to Montreal and Warwick.)

You can read Wedge, Julia’s free newsletter, in its entirety, check out back issues and subscribe at her site, CheeseCulture.ca, where there’s a whole section of beer and cheese tasting notes.

On June 17, Julia will pair with brewmaster Sam Corbeil to present a tasting class entitled Patio Season Beer, Wine and Cheese at Leslieville Cheese Market in Toronto. She also has something planned on heritage beer and cheese at Black Creek Pioneer Village with details still being worked out.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, who has been known to enjoy a dark ale or three, is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca.