More than 125 different artisan cheeses to try and buy!

Award-winning Black River Cheese just one of many Canadian  producers at the biggest cheese show in Canada.

Award-winning Black River Cheese is just one of three dozen Canadian producers represented at the biggest cheese show in Canada. This year including Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

It’s not too late to purchase tickets online for the third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival! Save money and skip the line at the entrance by placing your order here today: http://cheesefestival.ca/tickets/

Here’s the long list of exhibitors who’ll be ready tickle your palate on June 1-2–in only nine days! It certainly is a long list, thus, you might consider buying a two-day pass.

CHEESE:

  • Plaisirs Gourmets
  • Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent
  • Fromagerie du Presbytère
  • Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues
  • Fromagerie La Station
  • Fromagerie Médard
  • Fromagerie Nouvelle France
  • Le Fromage au Village
  • Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde
  • Best Baa Dairy
  • Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
  • ARS Foods
  • Black River Cheese
  • Millbank Cheese
  • Mariposa Dairy
  • Maple Dale Cheese
  • Five Brothers Artisan Cheese
  • Ontario Water Buffalo Company
  • Monforte Dairy
  • Woolwich Dairy
  • Empire Cheese
  • Upper Canada Cheese
  • Primeridge Pure
  • Quality Cheese
  • Glen Echo Fine Foods
  • Cows Creamery
  • Crossroad Farms
  • Jensen Cheese
  • Natural Pastures
  • Salt Spring Island Cheese
  • Back Forty Artisan Cheese
  • Farm House Natural Cheese
  • Mountainoak Cheese
  • Glengarry Fine Cheese
  • County Cheese Company
  • Knoydart Farm
  • Cheesemaker Showcase
  • Making Cheese At Home
  • UrbanSteading DIY Cheese

ARTISAN FOODS:

  • Agrarian Cheese Market and Speakeasy
  • East & Main Bistro/Pomodoro
  • Sarafino
  • From These Roots
  • Prince Edward County Lavender
  • Manning Canning
  • Mysty’s Distributing
  • Perth Pepper and Pestle
  • Evelyn’s Crackers
  • Cook’s Gourmet
  • Hot Mamas Foods
  • Yummy Cookies
  • La Natura Fine Foods
  • Nossa Cucina
  • Henderson Farms
  • Premier Fine Foods
  • Seed to Sausage
  • Queen of the Kitchen Artisan Chocolate Truffles
  • Artisan Edibles
  • Angelo Bean
  • Prince Edward County Fare
  • Country Girl Cooks
  • Haliburton Forest
  • Just Wing It
  • The Salty Don
  • Really Horrible Enterprises
  • Hood Wood
  • Aunt Lulu’s Country Kitchen
  • Epicure Selections
  • Snell House Foods
  • Crazy Corn
  • Major Craig’s Chutney
  • Olivia Chocolatiers
  • Pina Verde Dessert Factory
  • Heavenly Honey
  • Foodie Pages
  • Mrs. McGarrigle’s Fine Food Shop

FINE WINE:

  • Redtail Vineyard
  • Lacey Estates Vineyard & Winery
  • Huff Estates Winery
  • Waupoos Winery
  • Sandbanks Estate Winery
  • Casa-Dea Estates Winery
  • The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery
  • Exultet Estates
  • Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard
  • Keint-he Winery and Vineyards
  • Stanners Vineyard
  • Harwood Estates Vineyard & Winery
  • Closson Chase Vineyard
  • Rosehall Run Vineyards
  • Palatine Hills Estate Winery
  • Black Prince Winery
  • Lighthall Vineyards
  • Lang Vineyards
  • Long Dog Vineyards & Winery
  • Savvy Sip & Shop

CRAFT BEER:

  • Mill Street Brewery
  • Creemore Springs Brewery
  • Granville Island
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing
  • Church-Key Brewing

CIDER:

  • County Cider

FOOD COURT:

  • Flatbread Pizza
  • Cheesewerks

OTHER:

  • From Farm to Table Experience
  • Ontario Agri-Food Education
  • 4H Prince Edward County
  • Ontario Water Buffalo (Yvette)
  • Milky Way Farms (lambs)
  • 4H Livestock or John Nyman
  • Prince Edward County Museums
  • Slow Food Prince Edward County
  • Ontario Wine Society
  • Farmtown Park
  • Taste the County
  • Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory

More than 125 different cheeses and so much more to sample and purchase!

PLUS: Cheese Tours, Cooking with Cheese, Tutored Tastings, Wine & Dine & Cheese,  and Cheese + Beer = Cheers!

For all the info, visit: http://cheesefestival.ca/

Bypass the line at the entrance and save money by placing your order today: http://cheesefestival.ca/tickets/

Admission for one adult to the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair on Saturday or Sunday, June 1 or 2, where cheesemakers and producers of artisan foods will offer their products for sampling and purchase. Fine wines, craft beer and crisp cider will also be available for tasting and ordering for home delivery within a week. Seminars in All You need Is Cheese annex. Special presentations every hour. Dairy farm open all day. Admission includes 10 tasting tickets, glass for sampling wine, beer and cider, access to all vendors and exhibitors, cheese seminars, special presentations and dairy farm. Free parking. Rush seating for seminars and presentations. Advance price $40+HST. Regular price at door $45+HST. Two-day pass only $55+HST.

See you real soon!

Cheese lovers love the County as Festival venue

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Cheese lovers have expressed strong support for Prince Edward County as the ideal venue for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

  • In a January survey, 96% of attendees at the 2012 event said they would return to Picton for another Cheese Festival, while 90% of those who have never attended, said they would attend in the future.
  • Meanwhile, only 50% would attend a Cheese Festival in Toronto, 35% in Ottawa, and 28% in Montreal.

“Needless to say, there is no change in our commitment to produce Canada’s only annual celebration of artisan cheese in an appealing small-town, out-in-the-country setting that has been the Festival’s home since its inception,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, event founder and director.

The third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival will take place June 1-2 in Crystal Palace on the Prince Edward Fairgrounds in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario. Cheese tours and a cooking class will be offered on Friday, May 31.

Earlybird ticket sales are under way at at www.cheesefestival.ca.

Prince Edward County is an appealing destination for cheese and food lovers for many reasons,” says Kolesnikovs. “The awesome array of wineries is a huge draw. The range of artisan food producers is quite impressive for such a small region.

“Soon, the County will again be a significant force in artisan cheesemaking. Award-winning Fifth Town Artisan Cheese will resume production later this year under new ownership, and a newcomer, County Cheese Company, aims to start production this summer. Of course, Black River Cheese has been in business in the County since 1901.”

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is a multi-faceted, two-day event that annually attracts thousands of consumers to meet, learn, taste and buy the best in artisan cheese and fine foods and sample fine wine, craft beer and crisp cider. Dairy Farmers of Canada is the lead sponsor, presenting seminars throughout the day in the All You Need Is Cheese® Annex.

The Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair features a Dairy Farm display for the enjoyment of young and old. Also on the program are Tutored Tastings where experts offer guidance on a variety of cheese topics.

The Cheese Festival also features a special Saturday evening social functions. Winners of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix are on the menu as the cheese course at Gastronomy on the Farm with Jamie Kennedy.

Last year, close to 100 exhibitors and vendors and more than 3,000 consumers made the event the largest cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast. One-third of the participating cheese producers come from Québec.

THE GREAT CANADIAN CHEESE FESTIVAL

Calling all cheese lovers to Prince Edward County!

That's the slogan of Dairy Farmers of Canada, Diamond Sponsor of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Historic Crystal Palace and the Picton Fairgrounds all around it will make for quite a mouth-watering scene on June 4-5.

That’s when the first-ever Great Canadian Cheese Festival takes place, bringing together the country’s leading cheesemakers from coast-to-coast so cheese lovers can meet to learn, talk, taste and buy the best in artisan, farmstead and specialty cheese—and sample fine wine, craft beer, cider and artisanal foods.

The two-day Festival features:

On Saturday, June 4, a keynote presentation to kick off proceedings, a full day of cheese-tasting seminars, pairing cheese with wine, beer and cider, a buffet lunch and, in the evening, outstanding chefs using cheese to create tasting dishes for the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala.

Think cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen, cheese educator Julia Rogers and sommelier Andrew Laliberté among the tasting presenters. Think Jamie Kennedy, Michael Blackie and Anthony Rose among the renowned chefs.

On Sunday, June 5, a Cheese Fair & Artisan Food Market featuring more than 30 Canadian cheesemakers, more than 100 artisan and farmstead cheeses to sample and purchase, winemakers and craft brewers offering tastings, too, plus a host of artisan food producers, with a tutored tasting of Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners, a cheesemaking demonstration and whey more.

Think Fromagerie du Presbytère from Québec, Glengarry Fine Cheese from Ontario and Cows Creamery from P.E.I. among the represented cheesemakers from across Canada. Think Harwood Estate Vineyards and Wineries among the wineries, Mill Street Brewery among the craft brewers, and Major Craig’s Chutney among the artisan food producers.

Plus: A six-hour, guided tour of local cheese plants and dairy farms on Friday or Saturday.

Bonus: On Friday, the Festival eve, cheese-themed dinners at County restaurants such as Angéline’s Restaurant & Inn featuring acclaimed chef Michael Potters.

The bad news is the Festival is still almost three months away. The good news is earlybird ticket sales have started—which means money saved on admission can be spent on cheese!

For cheese lovers, culinary tourists and foodies, come the first weekend in June, all roads will lead to Picton in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario’s fastest growing culinary destination.

Crystal Palace was built in 1890 on the Picton Fairgrounds in Picton, in the heart of Ontario's Prince Edward County.

Getting to know Vermont cheese

We’re in Vermont for the sold-out Vermont Cheesemakers Festival which takes place today. Yesterday, we took a guided tour to three farmstead cheese producers—and tasted our first Vermont cheese. The tour was conducted by the personable Chris Howell of Vermont Farm Tours.

First stop: Crawford Family Farm, the home of Vermont Ayr Farmstead Cheese.

Sherry Crawford in the cheese cave at Crawford Family Farm.

Second  stop: Dancing Cow Farm, home of four cheeses named after four dances.

Karen Getz with her newest cheese, a light blue called Lindy Hop.

Third stop: Twig Farm, home of farmstead goat milk cheese.

Michael Lee with Dot, one of his Alpine goats.

What is so striking about these three cheesemakers is how small they are, how devoted they are to farming, what care they give to their animals, the handling of the milk and the making of excellent cheese, and, especially, how hard they work.

More, later.

The joy of working over lunch—with Canadian cheese

Jamie Kennedy's take on poutine at Gilead Cafe.

Planning is well under way for the first Great Canadian Cheese Festival in 2011. That often means lunch meetings which, happily, means cheese on the table.

I had a chance to meet with Canadian cheese maven Kathy Guidi over lunch at Jamie Kennedy’s Gilead Cafe recently. What a treat it was to talk to Kathy—what with her decades of experience in Canadian cheese—and to enjoy one of Chef’s unique poutines: perfect frites with a healthy dollop of sauce bolognaise laced with Monforte Dairy’s Toscano cheese. I could have easily ordered a second serving but we had decided on a cheese plate for dessert, so I had to hold myself in check.

The cheese plate featured:

Le Rassembleu, an organic farmstead blue cheese from Fromagiers de la Table Ronde in the Laurentides region of Quebec. It has a lively creamy flavour, with the aroma of hay. The producers are fourth-generation cheesemakers.

Mouton Rouge, on the other hand, pleases the nose with a fresh and grassy aroma. A raw sheep-milk cheese created by Ewenity Dairy Co-operative in Southwestern Ontario, it has a lovely buttery taste that plays against the nutty reddish rind.

Grey Owl, a pasteurized goat-milk chèvre from Fromagerie la Detour in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, near the New Brunswick border, looks and tastes outstanding, from its snowy white interior to riper regions to the black ash exterior.

Le Bleu d’Élizabeth, Pied-de-Vent and Louis d'Or at the home office.

A working lunch in the home office with festival co-ordinator Kip Jacques isn’t half bad either when the cheese plate features:

Pied-de-Vent, from the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is an an all-time favorite of mine. Smelly, creamy and tasty, Pied-de-Vent is my idea of a great cheese. Despite what some cheesemongers may tell you, it is available in Ontario.

Louis d’Or, a flavourful, complex Gruyere-like washed-rind cheese is made with the raw milk of the cheesemaker’s own Holstein and Jersey cows at Fromagerie du Presbytère in Central Quebec. Quite possibly, it’s Canada’s best “Swiss cheese.”

Le Bleu d’Élizabeth comes from the same Fromagerie du Presbytère and is an outstanding example of a Quebec blue. No, it’s defintely not named after Queen Elizabeth but rather Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick. The creamery occupies a former rectory in the village.

There is one other cheese plate in my notes from another working lunch but it was so disappointing that the proper thing to do would be to return to the name restaurant for another tasting before naming names.

One name I’d like to mention is Ezra’s Pound, a fair-trade coffee shop on Toronto’s Dupont Street. I’m so glad Andy Shay, a man of many talents when it comes to cheese, suggested we meet there as the croissants are to die for.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Have we mentioned that Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, loves his cheese?

St. Albert cow won’t have to mooove

Statue of cow can remain on roof of Cheddar Et Cetera—for now.

A bovine brouhaha has erupted in Ottawa over a Holstein statue on the roof of a cheese shop owned by St. Albert Cheese Co-operative. For now, the life-size cow can stay atop Cheddar Et Cetera in the east-end suburb of Orleans.

Ottawa’s bylaw inspectors had demanded the bogus bovine be put out to pasture on grounds that it contravenes a city regulation banning rooftop advertising. Not to be cowed, store manager Jacques Leury quickly collected the signatures of more than 2,000 customers on a petition.

City councillor Bob Monette then came to Bossy’s defence and orchestrated a stay of execution until the city planning staff can review the bylaw on signage. A report is not expected until late in 2010.

St. Albert Cheese Co-op has been making cheese since 1894. It produces cheddars and specialty cheeses and hosts the annual Festival de la Curd which last year attracted  40,000 people. This year, the festival takes place August 18-22 in St. Albert east of Ottawa.

Cheese overload at California’s artisan festival

Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery arranges the array of cheeses to be sampled at the seminar she and Sue Conley presented.

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? At California’s Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend, the answer, happily, was a resounding yes.

Over a period of five and a half hours, I tasted 24 excellent cheeses and sampled 14 wonderful wines, the best the Golden State has to offer. But by then it was still only 3:30 in the afternoon—and there was an eight-course feast still to come!

My only choice was a nap, and a long walk through the wetlands south of the Sheraton Sonoma in Petaluma, about an hour north of San Francisco, venue for the fourth annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival.

I came to the festival in search of ideas for the first Great Canadian Cheese Festival that Cheese Lover Productions will produce in June 2011. (The formal announcement will be made this June.)

All along I’ve known that a successful cheese festival would be a mix of educational seminars, entertaining speakers, social events and a vendor marketplace–with lots of great cheese, wine, beer and food to sample. Here in Petaluma I’ve seen all the ingredients at play in a first-class event. For an event promoter, it’s been downright inspirational.

Getting to meet the icons of California cheemaking, Peggy Smith and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery, was simply icing on the cheesecake.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca.

Cooks, Curds & Cuvées was the grand finale of a day featuring too much of a good thing. Click on the image for a clearer view of the menu.