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
Mature Cheddar 12-24 Months
Medium Cheddar 6-8 Months
Mild Cheddar 2-4 Months
Extra Mild Cheddar 1-2 Months
Marble Cheddar Any Age
Stilton-Shape Cheddar, coloured or white, made from ordinary Cheddar curd
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.