Outstanding cheese bites of 2010

Deservedly, Vacherin Mont d'Or sits front and center at a cheese tasting also featuring Fritz Kaiser's Miranda, a seven-year-old Empire Cheddar and Celtic Blue from Glengarry Fine Cheese.

There’s nothing quite as exciting as tasting an outstanding cheese for the first time: Whoa! What aroma! What flavour! What texture! Where have you been all my life?

We bring the curtain down on 2010 with friends in fromage recalling the memorable cheeses that crossed their palates this year.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery:
Lots of typical aged Cheddar flavour with sweet and spicy notes. Very firm and dry.
—Art Hill, professor, Dairy Science and Cheese Technology, University of Guelph

Louis d’Or, Fromagerie du Presbytère:
An 18-month-old, 40kg organic raw milk pressed cheese that won the Gold Medal at 2010 Quebec Caseus Awards. Federally licensed.
Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater, often called the godfather of the Québec artisan cheese movement

Brebichon, Les Fromages du Verger:
A young 350g farmstead sheep milk cheese made with apple juice added to the curd and washed with apple juice from their own orchard. First prize in washed rind cheese category at 2010 Quebec Caseus Awards. Provincially licensed.
Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater, often called the godfather of the Québec artisan cheese movement

Jersey Blue, Städtlichäsi Lichtensteig:
A 100% Jersey cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland made by Willi Schmid. So beautiful you almost don’t want to eat it, just gaze at it. But, mamma mia, when it gets into your mouth! What a cheese, WHAT a cheese! —Russell Gammon, Executive Secretary, Jersey Canada

Cone de Port Aubry and Vacherin de Savoie, Maison Mons – Fromager Affineur:
Two treasures from maître affineur Hervé Mons.
—Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

Le Foin d’Odeur, La Moutonniere:
Soft surface-ripened sheep’s milk, sweet, mushroomy and herbacious. When ripe, like licking buttered popcorn from your fingertips!
—Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Monforte Dairy Cottage Cheese:
Georgous small cream colour curds that play on your tongue like caviar and are so fresh they sqeek lightly on your teeth.
Andy Shay, Cheese Consultant

At CheeseLover.ca, the most memorable moment in cheese of 2010 came when we first tasted Vacherin Mont d’Or, a singular seasonal cheese of Switzerland that delivers an amazing explosion of aroma and taste—so rich, so gooey.

Other taste hits:

Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser:
Cheesemaker Fritz Kaiser, who kick-started the Quebec artisanal cheese movement in the 1980s, says Miranda is one of the many cheeses he produces that he’s most proud of. That says a lot, when one considers he makes Le Douanier, Port Royal, Raclette, La Soeur Angele, Le Saint Paulin, among others. We especially liked the rustic flavours of Miranda.

Celtic Blue, Glengarry Fine Cheese, and Bleu d’Elizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère: Two very different blue cheeses that demonstrate how far blues made in Canada have come since the days Roquefort ruled. Three cheers for Blue Canada!

Empire Cheddar, 7-year, Empire Butter & Cheese:
There are so many fine older cheddars made in Canada, but Empire’s oldest offering stands out in memories of cheese tasted during 2010.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-head-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, wonders what outstanding cheeses he’ll encounter in the New Year.

A Very Dairy Christmas to one and all!

Canadian James Kraft churned out a giant, and other cheese news

 

Canadian James Kraft founded the second largest food conglomerate in the world.

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.

Canadian James Kraft churned out a cheese giant

Agropur to make Boursin cheeses in Canada

Far Flung Foods: Cheesemonger to Windsor

A cheesy ad campaign in Portugal

Kraft launches an eBook to promote its Philadelphia cream cheese

An ode to Alberta cheese

Kraft strengthens Mac & Cheese brand with unified packaging

Madame Fromage: Monastic Cheese Board Redux

Natural Pastures Cheese in B.C. gets a loan from Ottawa

Springbank Cheese stars in Taste of Alberta

The secret to great fudge is . . . Kaft Velveeta?

Feds help New Brunswick dairy farmers explore specialty cheese

Brits introduce Blue Brew made with Stilton whey

Sue Riedl: Become a chairman of the (cheese) board

Video: Making mozzarella on an industrial scale

How an ex-policeman became a cheese man

U.S. cheesemakers may face more onerous safety regulations

Eating cheese helps combat dental problems

Video: How to build the perfect cheese board

Asian demand for cream cheese skyrockets

Grilled cheese: Slices of childhood, melted and mobile

Shrimp and grilled-cheese sandwiches make great gourmet fare for Grey Cup

Best cheeses of the “British Empire” in 2010

Lori Legacey, cheesemaker at Mariposa Dairy, has a sniff of a 19-kilo wheel of cheddar. The dairy's Lindsay Bandage Cheddar beat out 40 other goat-milk cheeses in the British Empire Cheese Competition. Photo by Lisa Gervais/The Lindsay Post.

Here are the results of the cheese competition at the 83rd annual British Empire Cheese Show organized by Central Ontario Cheesemakers Association:

The Alexis De Portneuf division of cheese giant Saputo was crowned Grand Champion.

Quebec cheesemaker Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte was named Reserve Champion.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, an artisan cheesemaker  in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, was honoured with the Finica Food Specialties Award.

In the cheddar class, Parmalat Canada was recognized as Grand Champion. Reserve Champion honours went to Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues.

Glengarry Fine Cheese, after an excellent showing at Royal Winter Fair, picked up several more awards at British Empire, as reported in Eastern Ontario AgriNews.

Here are the top three in each class of the competition:

ARTISAN

Goat Milk Cheese

  1. Lindsay Bandage Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties)
  2. Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Operetta, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Sheep Milk Cheese

  1. Bonnie and Floyd, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Toscano, Monforte Dairy
  3. Wishing Tree, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

SPECIALTY CLASS

Hard Cheese Type

  1. Glengarry Fen, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Lankaaster Aged, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  3. Romano, St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative

Firm Cheese Type

  1. Lankaaster Medium, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Nouvelle France, Agropur
  3. Fondue Prestigio, Agropur

Swiss Cheese Type

  1. Artisan, Agropur
  2. Swiss, Fromagerie Lemaire
  3. Mont Gleason, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Semi-Firm Cheese Type

  1. Raclette du Village, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  2. Le Cabouron, Fromagerie Blackburn (Fromages CDA)
  3. Le Cendre, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Fresh Cheese Type

  1. Mascarpone, Arla Foods
  2. Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  3. Prestigio Ricotta, Agropur

Soft Rind Cheese Type

  1. St. Honoré, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  2. Triple Crème du Village, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  3. Cendre de Lune, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Smear Ripened Type

  1. Mamirolle, Fromagerie Eco Delices (Fromages CDA)
  2. Mont Jacob, Fromagerie Blackburn (Fromages CDA)
  3. Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA)

Flavoured Soft Type

  1. Lady Laurier d’Arthabaska, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  2. Raclette Oka, Agropur
  3. Chevalier Tomato Basil, Agropur

Flavoured Firm Type

  1. Lankaaster Chive, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Smoked Cheddar, Parmalat Canada
  3. Lankaaster Cumin, Glengarry Fine Cheese

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Celtic Blue, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. La Roche Noire, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  3. Bleubry, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf

American Style Type

  1. Brick, St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative
  2. Monterey Jack, Bothwell Cheese
  3. American Mozzarella, Parmalat Canada

Pasta Filata Type

  1. Bocconcini, International Cheese
  2. Burrata, Quality Cheese
  3. Fresh Mozzarella, Quality Cheese

Goat Milk Cheese

  1. Le Paillot de Chevre, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  2. Rondoux Chevre, Agropur
  3. Chevrita, Agropur

Sheep Milk Cheese

  1. Allegretto, Fromagerie La Vache a Maillotte
  2. Bedda Fedda, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Blossom, Monforte Dairy

Process Cheese

  1. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada
  2. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada
  3. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada

CHEDDAR

Mild White or Coloured Cheddar – Less than 2 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Empire Cheese & Butter Coop
  3. Black River Cheese

Medium White Cheddar – 3 to 6 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues
  3. Amalgamated Dairies

Medium Coloured Cheddar – 3 to 6 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Bothwell Cheese
  3. Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op

Marbled Cheddar – any age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Bothwell Cheese
  2. Empire Cheese & Butter Co-Op
  3. St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative

Mature Cheddar – 12 to 15 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. St. Albert Cheese
  3. Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues

Extra Mature Cheddar – 24 to 36 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Maple Dale Cheese
  3. St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative

Even at Au Pied de Cochon, we seek out cheese

We are in Quebec for the cheese, but who can resist at least one meal at Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal?

Have no fear, there is cheese in this petite poutine! Delicious cheese curds from La Fromagerie Champêtre are buried in the potatoes fried in duck fat and smothered with calamari and a black squid-ink gravy.

Let's see, how shall I have my foie gras today? Let's start with a buckwheat pancake, add slices of potato, bacon, aged L'Île-aux-Grues Cheddar, eggs scrambled in a maple-syrup reduction, and the foie gras. Voilà, that's Plogue à Champlain at Au Pied De Cochon!

As Sarah Jane, our helpful waitress explained, plogue is a buckwheat pancake, made without eggs and butter and fried on one side only, popular in northwest New Brunswick. The maple syrup comes from the Chef’s own Cabane à Sucre aka Sugar Shack.

The Champlain in the name of the dish is not the early explorer of Quebec, rather it refers to Champlain Charest of La Bistro Champlain, famed promoter of fine wine in La Belle Province.

As hyperlinks don’t show in captions, here are links to La Fromagerie Champêtre and Fromages L’Île-aux-Grues.

Today, we’re off to Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser to meet the man who launched the artisanal cheese revolution in Quebec.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-head-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a foie gras he didn’t like.

Quebec cheesemakers score at World Cheese Awards

Cornish Blue: Judged the best cheese in the world in 2010.

Four artisan cheesemakers from Quebec as well as Canadian cheese giants Saputo and Agropur medalled in the World Cheese Awards last week, the largest cheese competition on the planet. Hosted at the BBC Good Food Show in the U.K., 201 judges from 19 different countries judged 2,629 cheeses from 29 countries. Louis Aird of Saputo was the sole Canadian judge.

Louis Aird of Saputo: Judge at the World Cheese Awards.

Cornish Blue brought the World Champion Cheese title back to the U.K., being the first British cheese honoured in more than a decade. Here are the Canadian winners, starting with the four Quebec artisan cheesemakers entered by their distributor, Fromages CDA:

 

Le Moutier

Hard goats’ milk cheese plain
Gold medal: Le Moutier ~ Fromagerie de L’Abbaye St Benoit

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Silver Medal: La Mont Jacob ~ Fromagerie Blackburn

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Bronze medal: Guillaume Tell ~ Fromagerie Féodal

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal
Bronze medal: Soeur Angéle ~ Fromagerie Kaiser

 

La Sauvagine

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Super Gold medal: La Sauvagine ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Brie made from pasteurized milk
Silver medal: Cendré de Lune ~ Saputo/duVillage 1860

All other new cheeses. Open to any new cheese first marketed after 01/10/09
Bronze medal: Tentation de Laurier ~ Saputo

White mold ripened soft or unpressed cows’ milk cheese with savoury additives
Bronze medal: Lady Laurier d’Arthabaska ~ Saputo/du Village 1860

Soft goats’ milk cheese plain – mold-ripened
Bronze medal: Le Cendrillon ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Brie made from pasteurized milk
Bronze medal: Saint-Honoré ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Blue vein cheese any variety, uncut, natural rind
Bronze medal: Bleubry ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf


 

Camembert L'Extra

Camembert made from pasteurized milk
Gold medal: Camembert l’Extra ~ Agropur

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal
Silver medal: Vaudreuil mi-vache/mi-chêvre ~ Agropur

New Cheese – hard or semi-hard. Open to any new cheese first marketed after 01/10/09
Silver medal: Rivière Rouge ~Agropur

Ricotta
Bronze medal: Ricotta Prestigio ~ Agropur

For a list of U.S. winners, visit Cheesemonger’s Weblog.

The World Cheese Awards has been bringing together buyers and sellers from the dairy industry worldwide for 20 years. The BBC Good Food Show is the biggest and most cosmopolitan cheese festival ever staged in the U.K.,, with almost 100,000 consumers tasting cheese after the international panel of experts completed their judging.

—Rebecca Crosgrey

Rebecca Crosgrey is Event Co-Ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. She patrols the Web for cheese news for CheeseLover.ca.