Video: What makes Roquefort Roquefort—in 1927 and today

It’s Video Wednesday and we are off to France and the village of Roquefort.

Thanks to Kate Harding at Culture magazine for this wonderful archival video that documents Roquefort-making back in the 1920s. Great for mustache aficionados, or anyone looking for a glimpse into cheesemaking’s past. Following the silent show, there’s a modern piece on how Papillon makes the King of Cheese today.

Sit back and enjoy! Better yet, watch the video while nibbling on a piece of Roquefort and sipping a port wine.

Great Wall of Cheese at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens

Artist's rendering of the cheese display at the new Loblaws flagship store.

An 18-feet-tall display of cheese will be one of the attractions at the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens when it opens to the public at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Here’s how Loblaws describes the display:

The Amazing Wall of Cheese. At a towering 18 feet, it’s quite a sight to see. We carry more than 400 varieties of cheese from around the globe; unique and exciting varieties that cheese lovers won’t be able to resist, including a sensational 100-pound wheel of Stilton – one of only 100 in the world – and the Canadian Grand Champion Louis d’Or. Featuring an extraordinary selection of cheeses available by the full wheel, half wheel or chunk and with a special focus on local Canadian products, our cheese specialists have created a special experience of scents, textures and tastes.

One of the architects of the towering display is Gurth Pretty, author of The Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal and Fine Cheese,  who recently joined Loblaws as Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese.

Loblaws is promoting the new flagship store under the legendary roof at 60 Carlton Street, Toronto, as the Food’s Greatest Stage. Here are more highlights as described by Loblaws:

The Artisan Oven. You won’t be able to resist ACE Bakery’s renowned artisan breads. They’re made from scratch every day using the simplest all-natural ingredients. To top it off, we’re introducing ACE’s back-to-basics rustic Italian Pugliese crusty bread and other varieties made in our stone-deck oven. As the first store to feature a complete ACE Artisan Bakery, it’s a bakery experience you won’t be able to resist.

Chocolate chiselled by the chunk. Our Patisserie is home to irresistible handcrafted chocolate lovingly made with all-natural ingredients. It features a mouth-watering selection of cakes and cupcakes made from scratch, not to mention, ice cream cakes, cheesecakes, donuts, muffins, chocolate pops and more. And, watch first hand as we chisel chocolate from a giant block, or as we dip fruit, pretzels and more into perfectly melted chocolate.

Extraordinary egg white omelettes. Nothing starts the day right like a nutritious egg white omelette made just how you like it, right before your eyes. Our anything-but-ordinary omelettes are made using five free-run egg whites and only our freshest ingredients from throughout the store. Choose from Mushroom Herb, Asparagus & Aged Chedder, Spinach Roasted Tomato & Feta, Western with Pancetta, or Three Cheese & Walnuts. Each is served with fresh tomato salsa. Come add some magic to your morning, with chef inspired daily specials.

Postscript the following day:

Click here for a photo of the great wall of cheese. It must be Canada’s tallest fridge. Here’s an overview and a report on the opening. Here is Sue Riedl’as take on the new flagship supermarket in the Loblaws chain.

Juliet Harbutt leads British cheese invasion at Sobeys

Sobeys supermarkets in Ontario have added an exclusive line of award-winning English artisan cheeses especially selected by Julia Harbutt to their already impressive cheese offerings.

They are Special Reserve Stilton, Special Reserve Shropshire Blue, Creamy Lancashire, Smoked Lyburn, Double Gloucester, and Red Leicester.

Juliet Harbutt

Juliet Harbutt is one of the world’s leading authorities on cheese, author of 11 cheese books, founder of the British Cheese Awards and a cheese consultant around the world.

Sobeys is hosting Juliet in Ontario for her first-ever public Canadian appearances next week. Cheese lovers are invited to join her for a guided tasting of her British cheese selection, Simply the Best, a personal collection of traditional and modern cheeses that reflect Britain’s rich culinary history. Here’s the schedule:

Kitchener
Monday, November 28, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Sobeys Ira Needles
235 Ira Needles Boulevard
Tickets $25 per person at 519-743-9491

Toronto
Tuesday, November 29, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The Cookbook Store
850 Yonge Street
Tickets $20 per person at 416-920-6220 or cookbook@ican.net

Ottawa
Wednesday, November 30, 6:00-7:15 p.m.
March Road Sobeys, Kanata
840 March Road
Tickets $25 per person, in person at service desk or at 613-599-8965

Ottawa
Wednesday, November 30, 7:30-8:45 p.m.
Stittsville Sobeys, Stittsville
6315 Hazeldean Road
Tickets $25 per person, in person at service desk or 613-836-7295

Andy Shay, widely known in cheese circles in Canada, is the cheese category manager at Sobeys Ontario.

Video: Sheep farming for cheese on the Saguenay

On this Video Wednesday at CheeseLover.ca, we visit Les Bergeries du Fjord to learn about the sheep’s-milk cheeses produced at La Baie on the Saguenay River in Québec.

Les Bergeries du Fjord, owned by Claude et Martin Gilbert et Josée Gauthier, started making cheese from the milk of Jersey cows in 2003, soon winning awards with Belle du Jersey and Jersey du Fjord. In 2006, they began production of sheep’s milk cheeses, soon also winning awards with Blanche du Fjord and Berger du Fjord. They use raw milk exclusively for all their cheeses.

Enjoy!

Pulled-pork parfait a fabulous find at Gourmet Expo

Giovanni Le Brasso shows a guest how easy it is to cut an 80-kilo wheel of Emmentaler at the Switzerland Cheese display at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in Toronto this week.

There are more wines to taste than is humanly possible in one evening and all kinds of fancy food to sample, but pulled pork was the clear winner in our hearts  and stomachs at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in Toronto this week. Not just any pulled pork but a perfect parfait served up at Hank Daddy’s Barbecue stand.

Pulled-Pork Parfait made by Hank Daddy's Barbecue, pictured with Hank's nephew Gordie.

Here are the ingredients: pulled pork, Hank Daddy’s Original Barbecue Sauce, mashed potatoes, more sauce, another layer of pork, sauce, potatoes, more pork and a topping of baked beans. Talk about an ultimate take on comfort food! No wonder Jennifer Bain raved about it in the Toronto Star after sampling the dish at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair last week.

For cheese lovers, there is a diverse selection of tastes to be had at the Gourmet Expo which runs till Sunday:

  • Cypress Grove Cheese from Northern California and Sobeys Ontario team up to present a divine plate of four goat cheeses made by Mary Keehn, one of the founders of the artisan-cheese movement in the U.S.
  • A delicious selection of classic and contemporary goat cheeses is available at the stand operated by Ontario Goat Cheese.
  • Devil’s Rock, a creamy blue cheese from Northern Ontario, and squeaky cheese curds are front and center at the Thornloe Cheese stand.
  • Major Craig’s Chutney is partering with two new artisan producers, Primeridge Pure and Seed to Sausage, to present a dynamite charcuterie platter.

Dairy Farmers of Canada is presenting winners of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in tasting seminars at the All You need Is Cheese stage.

Also participating in the Expo: Finica Food Specialties with Mariposa Dairy and other products,  Ivanhoe Cheese and Switzerland Cheese.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Agropur cheddars win Grand Champion and Reserve at Royal

Agropur's two-year Grand Cheddar was crowned Grand Champion.

Agropur, the giant co-operative owned by 3,459 dairy farmers in Canada, United States and Argentina, dominated the cheddar competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week. Agropur cheddars won or placed in six of seven categories with its two-year Grand Cheddar being crowned Grand Champion while the Reserve title went to its one-year Grand Cheddar.

Both cheddars are made at the Longueuil plant in the village of Bon Conseil near Drummondville, Quebec.

Aged cheddar is made with unpasteurized milk. The milk is lightly heated in a process called thermization, which preserves the microorganisms and enzymes in raw milk that give cheddar its characteristic flavor. To prevent pathogenic organisms from proliferating, this type of cheddar undergoes a minimum 60-day aging period from the start of production. The resulting cheese retains all its flavour characteristics and gives the cheddar its distinct flavour.

Here are the top three cheeses in each category of the cheddar competition. Unfortunately, the results provided by the Royal do not name the actual cheddar, only the location of the plant, which is not particularly useful for consumers.

Extra Mature Cheddar 24 Months or Longer

  1. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Longueuil, Agropur

Mature Cheddar 12-24 Months

  1. Grand Cheddar aged for 2 years, Agropur
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron

Medium Cheddar 6-8 Months

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron
  3. Madoc, Ivanhoe

Mild Cheddar 2-4 Months

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Winchester, Black Diamond
  3. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter

Extra Mild Cheddar 1-2 Months

  1. Winchester, Black Diamond
  2. Longueuil, Agropur
  3. Madoc, Ivanhoe

Marble Cheddar Any Age

  1. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Thornloe, Thornloe Cheese

Stilton-Shape Cheddar, coloured or white, made from ordinary Cheddar curd

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Plainield, Maple Dale Cheese
  3. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter

Blocks of cheddar await scrutiny by judges at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Judges in the variety class: Norm Matte and Gilles Sabourin.

Sponsors: Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Canadian Cheese Society, Cargill, Central Ontario Cheese Makers, Parmalat, Jersey Canada, Continental Ingredients Canada, Ecolab, Empire Cheese.

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar best goat-milk cheese at Royal

Grand Champion honours at the Royal Fair are the latest recognition for Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar, shown here at the American Cheese Society competition where it was named Best in Show, Runner-up.

Two new goat-milk cheeses—one barely out of the vat—took top honours in the goat-cheese competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week.

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar was named Grand Champion about a year after it was introduced by Mariposa Dairy of Lindsay, Ontario—and began winning awards, including Best of Show, Runner-up, at the American Cheese Society.

Camelot, a new goat-milk cheese introduced by Upper Canada Cheese of Jordan, Ontario, only a few months ago, was named Reserve Champion and its other new cheese, Nanny Noire, placed second in mold-ripened class.

Mariposa Dairy dominated the goat-milk cheese competition, winning or placing in five categories.

Upper Canada’s goat cheeses are made only with milk from a rare herd of Lamancha goats pastured at Gord and Melanie Wood’s Idyllwood Farms near Keene, Ontario, and cared for by the entire Wood family. Says Lauren Petryna, head cheesemaker:
“This fresh, pure milk is then transformed into Camelot and Nanny Noire. Camelot ages for two months in our cellars, while camembert-style Nanny is rolled in ash, allowed to develop its bloomy rind and is ready to be enjoyed within weeks.”

Here are the top three in the mixed-milk class of the annual competition at the Royal:

All New Innovations Mixed Milk Cheese

  1. Buffalo Mozzarella, Quality Cheese
  2. Buffallo Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  3. Doucerel, Agropur Fine Cheese

Here are the top three cheeses in each category of the goat-milk competition:

Firm Cheddar, Mozzarella, Caprano

  1. Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Mornington Heritage Old Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Mornington Heritage Marble, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative

Interior Ripened Gouda, Friulano, Manchego, Havarti, Feta

  1. Woolwich Dairy Goats Milk Feta, Woolwich Dairy
  2. Feta, Rivers Edge Goat Dairy
  3. Feta, Glengarry Fine Cheese

Surface Ripened Oka-style, St. Paulin, Tilsit, Mimstes

  1. Camelot, Upper Canada Cheese
  2. Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Mold Ripened Brie, Camembert, tre Fratello, L’Extra Goat, La Brie,Triple Cream Brie

  1. Nettles Gone Wild, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Nanny Noir, Upper Canada Cheese
  3. Triple Creme Brie, Woolwich Dairy

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese Cream Cheese, Ghage, Quark, Ricotta

  1. Capriny, Alexis de Portneuf
  2. Chevre Original Cup, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Chevrai Original, Woolwich Dairy

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Herb+Garlic, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Mediterranean, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Fig, Mariposa Dairy

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Blue Goat Sliced, Nasonville Dairy

Flavoured Cheese Smoked, Jalepeno

  1. Mornington Ultimate Smoked Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  2. Mornington Ultimate Cranberry Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Charlton hot pepper, Thornloe Cheese

Camelot by Upper Canada Cheese Company was named Reserve Champion in the goat-cheese class.

Judges: Thierry Martin and Jean‐Jacques Turgeon

Sponsors: Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Canadian Cheese Society, Cargill, Central Ontario Cheese Makers, Parmalat, Jersey Canada, Continental Ingredients Canada, Ecolab, Empire Cheese.

The 89th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs until Sunday at Exhibition Place, Toronto.

To be posted tomorrow: results in the cheddar competition at the Royal.