Laliberté: Best of the best in Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

Laliberté, an aromatic triple crème made by Fromagerie du Prebystere, is Grand Champion of the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Kudos to Jean Morin!

Laliberté, a fabulous triple crème made by Fromagerie du Presbytere, is Grand Champion of the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Kudos to Jean Morin!

He wore the same smiling-cow tie he wore at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, and, again, at the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix last night, Jean Morin was named Grand Champion—the best of the best in artisan cheesemaking in Canada.

This time the champion cheese is Laliberté, an aromatic triple crème that will blow your mind and palate. Last time the winning cheese was Louis d’Or, another extraordinary cheese made in a former Roman Catholic rectory—thus, the name Fromagerie du Presbytère—in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick two hours east of Montréal.

Jean Morin accepts the Grand Champion award at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix night, for the second time in four years.

Jean Morin accepts the Grand Champion award at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix night, for the second time in four years. Click on image for an enlarged view.

In a repeat of Morin’s then unprecedented awards sweep in 2011:

  • Laliberté was also named champion in the Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind category,
  • Louis d’Or was named champion in Swiss-Type Cheese,
  • Le Bleu d’Élizabeth was named champion in Blue Cheese.
Jean Morin dances a happy dance with Nancy Portelance of Plaisirs Gourmets as his associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard looks on.

Jean Morin dances a happy dance with Nancy Portelance of Plaisirs Gourmets as his associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard looks on. Click on image for an enlarged view,

Clearly, it was an unforgettable evening for Morin and associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard as the Gala of Champions unfolded at Liberty Grand in Toronto, scene of a lavish awards ceremony cum cheese-tasting organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada. DFC has sponsored of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix since launching the biennial competition in 1998 to celebrate the high quality and proud tradition of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian cow’s milk.

When asked what the secret is to making award-winning cheese, Morin, a fourth-generation dairy farmer, answers simply: “Good grass and no silage.”

His response last night echoes what he told CheeseLover.ca four years ago: “Happy, healthy cows. It all starts with the milk, and the care we show the cheese as we make it.”

A tie with smiling cows proves to be a lucky charm for Jean Morin—for the second time.

A tie with smiling cows proves to be a lucky charm for Jean Morin—for the second time. Click on image for an enlarged view.

Appropriately, smiling cows adorned the tie Morin wore to the 2011 awards presentation and last night, too.

Laliberté was selected as Grand Champion by a jury of Canadian food industry experts from 27 category winners. The Grand Champion and 27 category winners were chosen from a record-setting 268 cheese entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 81 finalists by the jury in February.

“From all the excellent cheeses the jury tasted, we found Laliberté to be the stand-out,” said Phil Bélanger, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury chairman. “This cheese truly distinguished itself in texture, taste and overall appearance. Its exquisite aromatic triple cream with its tender bloomy rind encases an unctuous well balanced flavour with hints of mushroom, pastures and root vegetables.”

Named after Alfred Laliberté, the famous sculptor born in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, the farmstead cheese took a year and a half to develop and is made with cow’s milk provided by a mix of naturally raised Jerseys and Holsteins.

Fromagerie du Presbytère cheeses are distributed by Plaisirs Gourmets and available in cheese shops across Canada.

Laliberté will the featured cheese and Jean Morin the guest of honour at the fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 6-7 in Picton, Ontario. Many of the Grand Prix winners will also be in the spotlight at what has become the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast.

Québec dominates Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

fromagerie-fritz-kaiser

Fritz Kaiser, a pioneer in artisan cheesemaking in Québec, was named champion in three categories at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.

Cheese producers in Québec, the birthplace of the artisan cheese movement in Canada 25 years ago ago, dominated the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix when winners were announced last night.

Fritz Kaiser, one of the pioneers in artisan cheesemaking in the 1980s, was named champion in three categories for cheese made by Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser:

  • Washed- or Mixed-Rind Semi-soft Cheese: Raclette
  • Flavoured Cheese with added non-particulate flavourings (except smoked cheese): Griffon Raclette
  • Flavoured Cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings: Pepper Raclette.

Fromage-AmourTradition_4coul-e1419193019649Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser is distributed across Canada by Fromages CDA under the Amour & Tradition banner. Fromages CDA, named for its founder and president Daniel Allard, will take over an entire wing at the upcoming Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, representing a total of 10 artisan producers from Québec, including the following Grand Prix champions and finalists:

Altogether, Québec cheese producers won 13 out of 27 categories in the Grand Prix plus the coveted Grand Champion.

Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère also won in three categories:

  • Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind: Laliberté
  • Swiss-Type Cheese: Louis d’Or
  • Blue Cheese: Le Bleu d’Élizabeth.

With Laliberté, Morin was honoured as Grand Champion—the best of the best in Canada.

Other category champions from Québec:

Jan Schalkwijk of Sylvan Star Cheese was set to sweep all gouda categories until . . .

Jan Schalkwijk of Sylvan Star Cheese was set to sweep all Gouda categories until . . .

. . . when along came Adam of Mountainoak Cheese to capture the Extra Old Gouda category.

. . . along came Adam van Bergeijk of Mountainoak Cheese to capture the Extra Old Gouda category.

The biggest winner outside of Quebec was Sylvan Star Cheese which won three categories:

  • Smoked Cheese: Gouda Smoked Natural Cheese, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Gouda (aged 1 to 6 months): Gouda Medium, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Aged Gouda: Gouda Aged, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB

Other category champions outside Québec:

It doesn't get more Canadian than this: Punjabi immigrants, Amarjit Singh and his wife,  make Mexican-style mozzarella named Oaxacxa at their Ontario creamery (Local Dairy Products) and become Canadian Grand Prix champions.

It doesn’t get more Canadian than this: Punjabi immigrants, Amarjit Singh and his wife, make Mexican-style mozzarella named Oaxacxa at their Ontario creamery (Local Dairy Products) and become Canadian Grand Prix champions.

The Gala of Champions unfolded at Liberty Grand in Toronto, scene of a lavish awards ceremony cum cheese-tasting organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada. DFC has sponsored of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix since launching the biennial competition in 1998 to celebrate the high quality and proud tradition of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian cow’s milk.

A jury of Canadian food industry experts selected from the Grand Champion and 27 category winners from a record-setting 268 cheese entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 81 finalists by the jury in February.

Laliberté will be the featured cheese and Jean Morin the guest of honour at the fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 6-7 in Picton, Ontario. Many of the Grand Prix winners will also be in the spotlight at what has become the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast.

The Farm House Natural Cheeses of Agassiz, British Columbia, in quite possibly the prettiest setting for a chesse dairy in Canada, was named Grand Prix champion in tw0 categories.

Farm House Natural Cheeses, in quite possibly the prettiest setting for a cheese dairy in Canada in Agassiz, British Columbia, was named Grand Prix champion in two categories.

How many Cheese Grand Prix finalists have you tasted?

canadian-cheese-grand-prix_halfpagewidthThe 81 finalists in the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix have been announced. The prestigious biennial competition sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada saw 268 cheeses submitted in 27 categories.

The winners will be announced April 22 at a Gala of Champions in Toronto.

Quebec, home to the majority of Canada’s cheese producers, dominates the list of 81 finalists with 31 cheeses. Naturally, some of the larger producers have the most finalists: Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, 7 finalists, Sylvan Star Cheese, 6, and Natural Pastures Cheese Company and Fromagerie du Presbytère, 5.

The competition, open to cheese made exclusively with Canadian cow’s milk, first started in 1998 to promote achievement and innovation in cheesemaking and to spotlight the quality of Canadian milk.

Here are the 2015 finalists:category 1 fresh ch#196C2DE

Fresh Cheese

category 2 fresh pa#196C2EAFresh Pasta Filata

category 3 cheese w#196C2E9Fresh Cheese with grilling properties

category 4 soft che#196C307Soft Cheese with bloomy rind

category 5 soft che#196C2F8Cream-enriched Soft Cheese with bloomy rind

category 6 semi-sof#196C2EFSemi-soft Cheese

category 7 soft wit#196C2F0Washed- or Mixed-Rind Soft Cheese

category 8 semi-sof#196C305Washed- or Mixed-Rind Semi-soft Cheese

category 9 firm che#196C2F2Washed- or Mixed-Rind Firm Cheese

category 10 firm in#196C2DBFirm Cheese (except Cheddar and Gouda)

category 11 swiss 1#196C2ECSwiss-type Cheese

category 12 mozzare#196C2FFMozzarella (Ball, Brick or Cylinder) or Pasta Filata

category 13 ripened#196C2FBBrine-ripened Cheese

category 14 gouda 1#196C302Gouda (aged 1 to 6 months)

category 16 gouda 9#196C308Aged Gouda

category 17 extra g#196C2F9Extra Aged Gouda

category 18 blue ch#196C2E7Blue Cheese

category 19 flavour#196C2E4Flavoured Cheese with added non-particulate flavourings (except smoked cheese)

category 20 smoked #196C313Smoked Cheese

category 21 flavour#196C2F5Flavoured Cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings

category 20 smoked #196C313Mild Cheddar (aged 3 months)

category 23 medium #196C2F6Medium Cheddar (aged 4 to 9 months)

category 24 cheddar#196C2F3Old Cheddar (aged from 9 months to a year)

category 25 cheddar#196C2FCAged Cheddar (1 to 3 years)

category 26 cheddar#196C304Aged Cheddar (more than 3 years)

category 27 fromage#196C2DDFarmhouse Cheese

category 28 fromage#196C301Organic Cheese

Typically, many of the finalists and winners are available for sampling and purchase at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, this year taking place June 6-7 at Picton Fairgrounds in the heart of Ontario’s Prince Edward County, just south of Belleville in Bay of Quinte Region, near spectacular Sandbanks Provincial Park.

 

Celebrate the holidays with Canadian cheese champions

A divine crab and Quality Cheese Ricotta mousse.

A divine crab and Quality Cheese Ricotta mousse.

Canadians looking for the perfect way to enhance meals and gift-giving this holiday season need look no further than Canadian cheese, known around the world for its high quality, versatility and great taste. To help create the perfect holiday experience, the elves at Dairy Farmers of Canada have just released more than 20 mouth-watering recipes featuring 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix category winners that are guaranteed to delight food-loving friends and family.

“These creative recipes will completely amaze your guests,” says Michael Howell, Executive Chef of Tempestuous Culinary in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. “The taste, quality and versatility of Canadian cheese know no bounds. These award winners lend themselves beautifully to holiday meals and really raise the bar for taste and pleasure.”

The innovative recipes, developed using 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix category winners from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and PEI, provide holiday hosts with a full range of dishes, including appetizers and main courses, as well as a delectable dessert. Recipes include:

  • Appetizer: Oven-roasted Latin Foods Queso Fresco cheese and apples
  • Appetizer: Crab and Quality Cheese Ricotta mousse
  • Appetizer: Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar pastry with sweet potato purée and roasted tomatoes
  • Main course: Gunn’s Hill Five Brothers cheese and butter-nutty pecan turkey
  • Main course: Asian baked salmon with Le Noble cheese
  • Dessert: Bleu D’Élizabeth cheese, dark chocolate and date bites

Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk also makes a great gift all on its own.

“For those times when you aren’t wearing the chef hat and are a guest at a dinner, a great ‘out-of-the-box’ gift idea for the host or hostess is to create a beautifully assembled basket of award-winning Canadian cheeses,” says chef Michael.  “With any luck, your hosts may feel generous and share the basket with you and the other guests.”

All the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix award winners, with tasting notes, are listed at AllYouNeedIsCheese.ca/GrandPrix. Keep in mind that when purchasing a variety of cheeses, a good sampler size is 150 grams for each wedge.

“You really can’t go wrong giving the gift of award-winning Canadian cheeses; we make some of the best cheeses in the world,” says chef Howell. “Just remember to buy a little extra for yourself since we all need a pleasurable treat during the holidays.”

For more information on the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners and for recipes, visit AllYouNeedIsCheese.ca/GrandPrix.

About the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix
Sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix began in 1998 to promote achievement and innovation in cheese making and to increase appreciation for fine quality Canadian cheese. All eligible cheeses must be produced in Canada, bear the 100% Canadian Milk symbol on their packaging and be available at retail.

The cheeses are judged by a jury of experts from across Canada who are recognized in each of their respective domain in the food industry. Canada has a wide variety of world-class cheese makers from coast-to-coast. It is part of DFC’s mission to promote the great cheeses produced in Canada. We have so many different types of cheeses – from Cheddar to soft cheese, Blue cheese and flavoured cheese! The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix helps consumers learn more about great Canadian cheeses available in their local grocery or cheese store.

About Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) strives to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future. DFC works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy producers and to promote quality Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk as part of a healthy balanced diet.

SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (Marketing)

Alberta’s Queso Fresco best cheese for grilling

Rafael Chavez, director of Fresk-O, looks over vats where his cheese is being made. Photo by Jason Franson, Edmonton Journal.

Rafael Chavez, director of Fresk-O, looks over vats where his cheese is being made. Photo by Jason Franson, Edmonton Journal.

Rafael Chavez of Fresk-O Cheese has quite the story to tell: From Venezuela to Calgary to start a new life, to three years later winning the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in the grilling cheese category with Queso Fresco. Click here to read the complete story by food writer Liane Faulder of the Edmonton Journal.

How does one grill cheese on a BBQ? Click here for a video.

In Ontario, Fresk-O Cheese is distributed by antoronto Fine Foods.

Winning smiles of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

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A proud Pauline Morin shares the joy of sons Jean, right front, and Dominic, left rear, and grandson Thomas as Fromagerie du Presbytere dominated the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix with three awards, Best Blue and Best Organic for Blue d’Elizabeth and Best Swiss-type Cheese for Louis d’Or 18 months.

Caption hgere

Jan Schalkwyk of Sylvan Star Cheese was honored twice for his Grizzly Gouda, for Best Farmstead and Best Gouda. His secret? Feed the cows well as quality milk makes quality cheese.

Andrea White

Andrea White with one of two awards for Cows Creamery. It won Best Flavoured Cheese with Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Best Aged Cheddar (1 to 3 years) with Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.

Arlla Foods won twice, with

Arlla Foods won twice, Best Mozzarella with Tre Stelle Mozzarella and Best Sewmi-Soft with Tre Stelle Feta.

Shep

Shep Ysselstein of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, a relative newcomer on the cheese scene, won Best Firm Cheese with Gunn’s Hill Five Brothers.

Wayne Lain

Wayne Lain of Maple Dale Cheese won Best Medium Cheddar (4 to 9 months) with its Medium Cheddar.

Robin Ferguson of Black River Cheese

Robin Ferguson of Black River Cheese won Best Aged Cheddar (more than 3 years) with 5-Year Aged Cheddar.

Our apologies for not being able to photograph every winner, but photos of all winning cheeses are posted here.

Quality Cheese Ricotta wins Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

Ricotta---Grand-Champion_sm

What shockeroo!

For the first time in the eight renditions of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, a fresh cheese was named Grand Champion, the first time an Ontario cheese was named the best cheese in Canada.

The history-making cheese is Ricotta made by Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario.

A jury of top Canadian food industry experts selected it from 19 impressive category winners in the Grand Prix.

Sponsored and hosted every two years by Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix celebrates the high quality, versatility and great taste of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian cow’s milk. The winners were announced tonight during a gala at the Hyatt Regency in Montreal.

“The Ricotta’s refined and balanced taste really stood out during the competition “, says Chef Danny St. Pierre, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury member. “This confirms that a fresh cheese can have as much depth as an aged cheese”.

Quality Cheese’s Ricotta is lauded for its creamy texture and milky aroma. Quality Cheese manufactures, distributes and retails Italian speciality cheeses and boasts a team representing four generations of cheesemaking.

Their products are so popular that fans flock to their Vaughan, Ontario, location to buy the cheese fresh.

The Grand Champion and 19 category winners were selected from a record 225 cheese entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 58 finalists by the jury in February.

“We are seeing an impressive variety of Canadian cheeses being developed to satisfy various culinary tastes and trends”, says Mr. St. Pierre. “It’s fascinating to see all the things we can do with these cheeses, be it topping a cracker with an aged Cheddar or using a fresh cheese to make a wild blueberry cheesecake. So take out your cooking aprons and discover the winners of the 8th Canadian Cheese Grand Prix!”

Indeed, Canada’s vibrant and unique cheesemaking craft has evolved to the point that new types of cheese are continually being added to the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. This year, two new categories were introduced: “Gouda’’ and “Fresh Cheese with Grilling Properties.”

Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Jury members tasted, touched and smelled each cheese, evaluating them for appearance, flavour, colour, texture and body, and salt content before determining the following winners.

The first time many of the winners will be available for tasting and purchase by the public in one place will be at the third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 1-2 in Picton in Ontario’s Prince Edward County.

Here are the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix category winners. Click on any image for a larger view.

Grizzly-Gouda_smFARMHOUSE CHEESE

Bleu-d'Elizabeth_smORGANIC CHEESE

Ricotta_smFRESH CHEESE

Queso-Fresco-Cheese_smFRESH CHEESE WITH GRILLING PROPERTIES

Le-Noble_smSOFT CHEESE WITH BLOOMY RIND

Tre-Stelle-Feta_smSEMI-SOFT CHEESE

Le-Mamirolle_smWASHED OR MIXED RIND CHEESE (SOFT, SEMI-SOFT AND FIRM)

Gunn's-Hill-Five-Brothers_smFIRM CHEESE

Grizzly-Gouda_smGOUDA

Bleu-d'Elizabeth_smSWISS-TYPE CHEESE

Tre-Stelle-Mozzarella-Cheese_smMOZZARELLA (BALL, BRICK OR CYLINDER)

  • Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese ~ Arla Foods, Ontario

Bleu-d'Elizabeth_smBLUE CHEESE (VARIOUS RINDS, WITH OR WITHOUT VEINING)

Applewood-Smoked-Cheddar_smFLAVOURED CHEESE WITH ADDED NON-PARTICULATE FLAVOURINGS

Raclette-de-Comton-au-Poivre_smFLAVOURED CHEESE WITH ADDED PARTICULATE SOLIDS AND FLAVOURINGS

L'Ancetre-Organic-Mild-Chedda_smrMILD CHEDDAR (AGED 3 MONTHS)

Maple-Dale-Medium-Cheddar_smMEDIUM CHEDDAR (AGED 4 TO 9 MONTHS)*

Fromagerie-Perron-1-Year-Aged-Cheddar-sm OLD CHEDDAR (AGED FROM 9 MONTHS TO A YEAR)

Avonlea-Clothbound-Cheddar_smAGED CHEDDAR (MORE THAN 1 YEAR UP TO 3 YEARS)

  • Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar ~ Cows Creamery, Prince Edward Island
 Black-River-5-Year-Aged-Cheddar_smAGED CHEDDAR (MORE THAN 3 YEARS)

Photos courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.