Best Bites: Twelve outstanding cheeses of 2014

We lower the curtain on 2014 with Vanessa Simmons, respected cheese sommelier at Savvy Company in Ottawa, recalling the 12 Canadian cheeses that made the year memorable for her palate. Check out her tasting notes and make up your shopping list for the next visit to a cheese shop.

Glengarry-Celtic-Blue

  • Celtic Blue Reserve: Glengarry Fine Cheese
  • Even more robust, buttery than the Celtic Blue we know and love from Glengarry Fine Cheese.

wedge-clothcheddarXXlf1

  • Taliah: Taliah
  • New-on-the-scene earthy ewe’s milk clothbound cheddar from Québec.

lindsay-cheddar-1

  • Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar: Mariposa Dairy
  • Continues to wow year after year. Tangy, fruity, yet clean.

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  • Bonnechere 2 year: Back Forty Artisan Cheese
  • One-of-a-kind and very rare to find aged. Packs a punch of flavour with awesome bite on the finish.

magie

  • Magie De Madawaska: Fromagerie le Détour
  • Runny, lucious, creamy, buttery, nutty and ooey-gooey good when perfectly à point (fully ripened).

Canadian Cheese Awards

  •  Bella Casara Mascarpone: Quality Cheese
  • Rich, and oh so sinful, with flavors of butter, cream and a hint of sweet dulce de leche (to quote myself!). Eat right from the spoon.

burrata

  • Quality Cheese Hand-Pulled Burrata: Quality Cheese
  • Heaven. Pure indulgence. Need I say more?

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  •  Sylvan Star Natural Smoked Gouda: Sylvan Star Cheese Farm
  • Surprising! Hints of bacon, maple and smoke, with an overlay of butter and nut rounding out its smooth and supple texture.

ma-maniere

madelaine

plaisirs-gourmets-pont-blanc

  • Pont Blanc: Au Grés des Champs
  • Texture of soft ice cream sandwich with flavours and aromas of fresh sweet milk and grass that lingers and lingers.

laliberte

See also:

Aged Lankaaster crowned Grand Champion at the Royal

Aged Lankaaster created by Margaret Peters-Morris of Glengarry Fine Cheese is the 2011 Grand Champion in its class at the Royal Winter Fair.

Aged Lankaaster was named Grand Champion in the variety cheese competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week, continuing a streak of awards won by Eastern Ontario’s Glengarry Fine Cheese.

Cendre de Lune made by Quebec cheesemaker La Fromagerie du Village 1860 was named Reserve Champion.

Despite multiple entries from large cheese producers such as Saputo and Agropur, Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario, collected the most first-place ribbons—four in all—with Zerto Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Borgonzola and Burrata.

Perhaps as an indication of things to come, a new artisan cheesemaker, Primeridge Pure of Markdale, Ontario, won a second and a third with Grey Rush, a creamy dessert cheese.

The Grand Champion, Aged Lankaaster, is matured to a minimum of 10 months. Margaret Peters-Morris tells CheeseLover.ca. The cheese entered in the competition was made in June, 2010, therefore, it was 16 months mature.

Aged Lankaaster is a firm cheese, traditional rind, characteristic gouda “eyes” present,  paste is dark, laden with crystals, with lovely butterscotch, pineapple and lactic notes, the veteran cheesemakers says. This cheese lingers in one’s mouth and is very suitable to use as cheese to make any “gratin” in culinary preparations.

Here are the top three in the variety class of the annual competition:

Hard Parmesan, Grana, Romano, etc

  1. Lankaaster – Aged,  Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Quinte Crest, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Baby Parmesan, Silani

Pasta, Filata Mozzarella, Provolone, Scarmorze, etc

  1. Zerto Fresh Mozzarella, Quality Cheese
  2. Fior de latte, Quality Cheese
  3. Tre Stelle Fiordi Latte, Arla Foods

Firm Brick, Colby, etc

  1. Monterey Jack, Parmalat
  2. Anco Creamy Havarti, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Colby, Ivanhoe

Interior Ripened Edam, Gouda, Asiago

  1. North Heaven,  Thornloe Cheese
  2. Riviere Rouge, Agropur Fine Cheese

Surface Ripened Fontina, Oka, Munster, St. Paulin

  1. La Sauvagine, Alexis de Portneuf
  2. Cantolait, Fromagerie St Guillaume
  3. Oka Raclette, Agropur Fine Cheese

Mold Ripened Brie, Camembert

  1. Cendre de Lune, La Fromagerie du Village 1860
  2. Rondoux Triple Creme, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Camembert L’Extra, Agropur Fine Cheese

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  2. Grey Rush,  Primeridge Pure
  3. Anco plain, Agropur Fine Cheese

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Delicreme Five Peppers, Agropur Fine Cheese
  2. Delicreme Herbs and Garlic, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Grey Rush – Herb Blend, Primeridge Pure

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Borgonzola, Quality Cheese
  2. Castello Gorgonzola Cheese, Arla Foods
  3. La Roche Noire, Alexis de Portneuf

Swiss Ementhal Cheese

  1. Swiss Cheese, Fromagerie St Guillaume
  2. Oka L’Artisan, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Swiss Cheese, Farmers Dairy

Flavoured Cheese

  1. Oka Mushrooms, Agropur Fine Cheese
  2. Lankaaster Cumin Flavoured, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  3. Chevalier Fine Herbs, Agropur Fine Cheese

Open Class

  1. Burrata, Quality Cheese
  2. La Tentation de Laurier, La Fromagerie du Village 1860
  3. Allegro Camembert 16%, Agropur Fine Cheese

Any Cheese made with Sheep’s Milk

  1. Wishing Tree, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Bonnie & Floyd, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Mouton Rouge, Best Baa Dairy

Feta

  1. Feta in Brine, Black Diamond
  2. Tre Stella Feta, Arla Foods
  3. Anco Feta, Agropur Fine Cheese

Cendre de Lune by La Fromagerie du Village 1860 was named Reserve Champion in the variety cheese class.

Judges in the variety class: 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.

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