Cheese education tops list of our most popular posts

Professor Art Hill shows students at University of Guelph how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.

A student at University of Guelph learns how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.

Cheese smarts: Get what you need for a career in cheese was the CheeseLover.ca post garnering the most views during 2012. Thing is the post was written in June 2010 and needs updating, so we better get to it. Two other older posts rounded out the top three, so we better get cracking on new material that’s compelling.

In 2012, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive to 190 posts. There were 64 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 22 MB. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was February 12 with 1,115 views. The most popular post that day was Aged Lankaaster crowned Grand Champion at the Royal.

In all, CheeseLover.ca had 39,000 views in 2012.

Help us plan future Cheese Festivals by taking a quick poll

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Here’s your chance to win TWO FREE TICKETS to the 2013 Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

We’re busy planning for the third annual Festival and would love your input in three areas:

1) Imported cheese at the Cheese Festival

2) Toronto and/or Ottawa as a venue instead of Picton

3) Montréal as venue for a new cheese event.

Click here to start the brief survey.

For every 25 completed surveys submitted by January 31, we will award two FREE tickets valued at $80 to the Festival’s Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair. Winners in the draw will be notified in February.

Thank you for your input!

KISS works for Newfoundland cheesemaker Adam Blanchard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, you don’t need a million dollars to start making artisan cheese commercially. The proof is in the photo which shows how Adam Blanchard does it at Five Brothers Artisan Cheese, Newfoundland’s only artisanal cheese company. As Kelsie Parsons discovered:

Adam doesn’t have an expensive pasteurizer, a huge vat or other impressive equipment. His production facility consists of a commercial kitchen where he makes cheese in stock pots on the stove top and he cuts the curds with a fillet knife. He ages his cheeses in reworked refrigerators. Five Brothers produces mozzarella, queso fresco, cheddar, brie and the occasional blue.

Kelsie crossed Canada last summer visiting cheesemakers to gather material for an upcoming book on the Canadian artisan cheese scene. He’s a guest blogger at Cheese and Toast maintained by Sue Riedl. Click here for Kelsie’s take on new Canadian cheesemakers to watch. His post is the source of the photo and anecdote published here with thanks.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese back in business?

Breaking news that we have not yet been able to confirm:

On the blog Cheese and Toast, Sue Riedl writes that Kelsie Parsons has learned Fifth Town Artisan Cheese has a new owner, employees have started work today and cheese will be made again later this year.

More, as it develops.

Dreams of warm milk and melting cheese

The photo of Four Cheese Potato Gratin that caught my eye at Evenin Shenanigans.

The photo of Four Cheese Potato Gratin that caught my eye at Evil Shenanigans.

I kid you not. A week after I made Four Cheese Potato Gratin as a side for a holiday dinner, I dreamt of the wonderful aroma of four cheeses melting in warm milk. Even now, when I close my eyes and inhale, it’s as if I were standing in front of the open oven.

There is no better smell to warm the heart on a winter day.

I picked the recipe described by Kelly Jaggers in her blog Evil Shenanigans because of the mouth-watering photos she published. That’s her gratin above. Mine appears below.

The Four Cheese Potato Gratin as it came out of my oven.

The Four Cheese Potato Gratin as it came out of my oven.

I pretty well followed Kelly’s recipe–Click here for the recipe and more photos–except for the cheese:

The only thing I’d do different the next time is add a pinch of salt and pepper between layers and use more cheese than the recipe suggests, say, four cups total instead of three.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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

Give me Riopelle or Laliberté or give me death!

Riopelle de l'Isle: A world-class triple-cream made in Canada.

Riopelle de l’Isle: A world-class triple-cream—made in Canada.

I enjoy eating cheese from around the world but my passion is for fromages fins, artisan cheese made in Canada. When I hear someone praising an imported cheese to high heaven, my immediate reaction is: What do Canadian cheesemakers produce that is just as tasty, if not superior?

Chateau de Bourgogne, a classic triplecrème made in France, was recently selected by Kelsie Parsons, a guest blogger at Cheese & Toast, as the one cheese he wanted to savour if the world were to end.

Call me chauvinistic, but I’d rather go with Riopelle de l’Isle, the first triple-cream artisanal cheese produced in Canada. It was launched in 2001 by Société Coopérative Agricole de l’Île-aux-Grues, located on an island in the St. Lawrence River northeast of Québec City, and quickly became a huge success.

A wedge of Riopelle reveals a creamy and incredibly smooth centre beneath a thin, bloomy rind. Leaving an exquisite hint of butter, it is absolutely enchanting.

Named for Jean-Pierre Riopelle, a world-renowned Canadian artist.

Named for Jean-Paul Riopelle, a world-renowned Canadian artist.

Jean-Paul Riopelle, the world-renowned painter who spent the last years of his life on l’Île-aux-Grues, gave his name and the image of one of his best-known paintings to the cheese. In return, part of the profits financially help students of the island who wish to attend high school or university.

Laliberté: a triple-cream created by award-winning chessemaker Jean Morin.

Laliberté: a triple-cream created by award-winning chessemaker Jean Morin.

If there were no Riopelle to be had, I’d select a another Québec beauty, this one created by Jean Morin at Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick, Québec:

Laliberté, a triple-cream cheese made with whole organic cow’s milk from the family dairy farm across the road from the creamery. It’s such a rich dairy delight!

Given the critical and commercial success of Riopelle over the last decade, Canadian producers of cheese on an industrial scale now also offer triple-creams:

The factory cheeses are OK, if you can get past the modified milk ingredients used in their manufacture, but the artisanal producers who use pure milk are the ones who deserve and need the support of Canadian cheese lovers.

Especially with recent rumblings from Ottawa that Canada’s producers of artisan cheeses may face greater challenges in the future. A report in the Ottawa Citizen indicates the Canadian government and European Union are close to a deal that would see a substantial increase in exports of European dairy products—mainly cheese—to Canada in exchange for greater access to European customers for Canadian beef, pork and canola.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

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