QC14: Festival des Fromagers Artisans du Québec

Some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts made the pilgrimage to Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick.

Some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts made the pilgrimage to Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick, population 374.

We begin our three-week tour of Québec with Festival des Fromagers Artisans du Québec, the annual celebration of fromages fins organized by the association of artisan-cheese producers. This year, the two-day festival was held at Fromagerie du Presbytere in the village of Sainte-Elisabeth-de-Warwick two hours east of Montréal.

With the support of Mayor Luc Le Blanc, Presbytere’s owner, Jean Morin, was able to convert the main street of the village into a cheese fair that attracted some 10,000 cheese enthusiasts. Morin’s cheese plant and shop—located in a former rectory (presbytere)—sits across the street from Ferme Louis d’Or, the dairy farm his family has operated for four generations.

A tiny bakery turns out wonderful breads adjacent to the cheese plant. Morin also invited local producers—a charcuterie specialist, a winemaker and a craft brewery—to complement the cheese available for tasting and purchase.

The annual festival rotates from one member producer to another. Next year’s venue will be announced soon.

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Cheese-rolling madness returns to Whistler

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Dairy Farmers of Canada will host one of Canada’s most unique events again this summer when the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival takes place August 16 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in Whistler, British Columbia. In its seventh year, the festival features cheese rolling races, costume contests and other fun activities for the whole family.

An 11-pound wheel of Courtenay Cheddar cheese, produced by British Columbia cheesemaker Natural Pastures, will roll down a hill and enthusiastic and ambitious cheese lovers will chase after it. The first contestant to make it down the hill wins. The winners get to take home the giant, coveted wheel of delicious Canadian cheese and a Whistler season ski pass for two.

“Cheese-loving Canadians and visitors from all over the world eagerly await the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival year-after-year and Dairy Farmers of Canada is thrilled to bring it back again,” says Sandra Da Silva of Dairy Farmers of Canada.  “With all the many activities the festival has to offer, it’s a great event for the entire family and a fantastic way to shine a spotlight on Canadian cheese.”

The race course will be set up in Whistler’s Upper Village on Blackcomb Mountain. Free round trip transportation to the Blackcomb Mountain Base 2 parking lot via Excalibur Gondola in Whistler village is available for everyone.  Anyone over 19 years of age can participate and contestants can register on site on August 16at 11:00 am. The downhill event will consist of seven men’s and four women’s races. The winner from each round will compete in the finals. For the kids, there will also be uphill races categorized by age.

A costume contest will be held again this year. All race participants are invited to wear costumes for the chance to win a $500 gift voucher from Marketplace IGA. Prior to each race heat, the official cheese roller will award costumed contestants a ribbon. After all the race heats, all ribbon-awarded costumed contestants will gather at the base of the course, where a panel of judges will select their top five favourite costumes, which will then be judged by the crowd. Team costumes will be judged as one participating unit, not individually. The contestant or team that receives the most applause will be selected as the costume contest winner(s).

Participants, families and spectators can take in a host of other fun things at the festival, including activities for children, free cheese seminars and a Cheese Market full of delicious samples of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk. Visitors will also be able to buy cheeses from different Canadian provinces. Vancouver native and Breakfast Television host, Riaz Meghji, will emcee the event again.

In addition to the numerous pre-promotion events in Whistler village a few days before the event, Dairy Farmers of Canada partnered with Sobey’s nationally and Marketplace IGA in British Columbia for in-store promotions and a contest. Visit any Sobey’s store in the Maritimes, Ontario and the Prairies until July 20, as well as Marketplace IGA in British Columbia until July 13, for a chance to win a trip for two to the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival.

To learn more about the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival and to view videos and photos from past festivals, visit www.canadiancheeserolling.ca.