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.

 

Cheesemobile heads to Gaspésie this summer

Our elegant cheesemobile, aka Buick Verano Turbo, at Mt. Revelstoke in B.C.

Our elegant cheesemobile, aka a Buick Verano Turbo, at Mt. Revelstoke in B.C.

Another successful Great Canadian Cheese Festival is behind us and it’s time to start planning another road trip—in search of cheese and other delights.

 Last summer, an elegant Buick Verano Turbo served as the cheesemobile as we hunted for the best in cheese in British Columbia and researched venues for a future Great Canadian Cheese Festival West.

This summer, the general plan is to head into Québec and eventually circumnavigate iconic Gaspésie to satiate our second love—fresh seafood. Of course, a visit to the region’s sole cheesemaker, Fromagerie du Littoral, will be on the itinerary.

Here’s the travel plan that’s taking shape:

  • Initial destination: Ste Elisabeth de Warwick two hours east of Montreal.
  • Festival Des Fromagers Artisans du Québec held this year at Fromagerie du Presybytère. The annual festival travels from cheesemaker to cheesemaker and attracts upwards of 10,000 cheese enthusiasts.
  • Visit Fromagerie Abbaye deSaint-Benoît-du-Lac and Fromage de La Station in Eastern Townships.
  • Fromagerie FX Pichet in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade. home of Le Baluchon, the Canadian Cheese of the Year.
  • Grand tour of Gaspésie, some 1,200 km in all, searching for the freshest seafood and other culinary delights during 10 days along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River and into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Breathtaking panoramas and tasty maritime cuisine await.
  • Fromagerie le Détour in Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, home of Magie de Madawaska, a wonderful soft cheese worth driving many days for.
  • Overnight visit to Isle aux Grues in the middle of the St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City from whence comes Riopelle, one of Canada’s iconic cheeses, named after Jean-Paul Riopelle, a larger-than-life painter and sculptor who spent his summers on Isle aux Grues and died there.
  • Return home to Ontario with coolers full of goodies.

More, as it develops.

If you have recommendations for must-make-stops along the proposed route, we’d love to hear them. Click here to e-mail CheeseLover.ca.

Canadians produce 30 of the best cheeses in the Americas

bufala400

Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario, which won the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix with its cow’s milk Ricotta, won the category of fresh unripened cheese made from sheep or mixed milk with its Bella Casara Buffalo Ricotta.

Canadian cheesemakers won 30 ribbons in the 2013 American Cheese Society Judging & Competition in Madison, Wisconsin, in early August, competing against 1,794 cheeses submitted by 257 producers in the Americas—the largest competition in the history of the ACS.

Twenty-three of the 30 ribbons were won by 10 Québec cheesemakers, four being first-place ribbons, two for Agropur Fine Cheese and one each for Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, represented by Fromages CDA, and La Moutonnière.

Two Ontario producers, Mariposa Dairy, represented by Finica Food Specialties, and Quality Cheese, won first-place ribbons as well.

Best of Show was won by Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont with the Winnimere, an extraordinary take on the French mountain classic Vachering Mont d’Or. Made with raw milk from the farm’s Ayrshire cows, Winnimere is wrapped in cambium cut from the spruce trees on the farm and washed in a beer from a neighbouring brewery. It’s available only January through June.

2013-Winner-Low-Res

Here are the Canadian winners:

OPEN CATEGORY – FRESH UNRIPENED CHEESES – MADE FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR MIXED MILKS

1st    Quality Cheese, Ontario
Buffalo Ricotta Bella Casara

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Chèvre des Neiges plain

BRIE – MADE FROM COW’S MILK

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Brie Normandie

CAMEMBERT – MADE FROM COW’S MILK

1st    Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Camembert l’Extra

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Camembert Vaudreuil

TRIPLE CRÈME – SOFT RIPENED/CREAM ADDED – ALL MILKS

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Chevalier Triple Creme

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Saint-Honoré

OPEN CATEGORY – SOFT-RIPENED CHEESES – MADE FROM COW’S MILK

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Rondoux Double Crème

OPEN CATEGORY – SOFT-RIPENED CHEESES – MADE FROM GOAT’S MILK

3rd    Upper Canada Cheese, Ontario
Nanny Noire

EMMENTAL-STYLE WITH EYE FORMATION (SWISS, BABY SWISS, BLOCKS, WHEELS) – MADE FROM COW’S MILK

1st    Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Oka l’Artisan

3rd    Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Fromages CDA), Québec
Le Frère Jacques

OPEN CATEGORY – AMERICAN MADE/INTERNATIONAL STYLE – MADE FROM GOAT’S MILK

3rd    Fromagerie Bergeron, Québec
Patte Blanche

FRESH MOZZARELLA – 8 OZ. OR MORE (BALLS OR SHAPES) – ALL MILKS

2nd   Quality Cheese, Ontario
Bella Casara Fior de Latte

3rd    Quality Cheese, Ontario
Fresh Mozzarella Zerto

FETA – MADE FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR MIXED MILKS

 2nd   La Moutonniere, Québec
Feta

FAT FREE AND LOW FAT CHEESES

2nd   Fromagerie Le Détour, Québec
La Dame du Lac

LIGHT/LITE AND REDUCED FAT CHEESES

1st    Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA), Québec 
L’Empereur Léger 

FRESH UNRIPENED CHEESE WITH FLAVOR ADDED – ALL MILKS

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Chèvre des Neiges Fig and Orange

INTERNATIONAL-STYLE WITH FLAVOR ADDED – ALL MILKS

2nd   Fromagerie Bergeron, Québec
Le Coureur des bois

HAVARTI WITH FLAVOR ADDED – ALL MILKS

2nd   Agropur Fine Cheese, Québec
Havarti Jalapeno

REDUCED FAT CHEESE WITH FLAVOR ADDED – ALL MILKS

2nd   Woolwich Dairy, Ontario
Woolwich Dairy Fresh Chèvre – Big Kick Herb & Garlic

SMOKED CHEDDARS – ALL MILKS

2nd   COWS CREAMERY, Prince Edward Island
Applewood Smoked Cheddar

FRESH RINDLESS GOAT’S MILK CHEESE AGED 0 TO 30 DAYS (BLACK ASH COATING PERMITTED)

3rd    Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties), Ontario
Celebrity International Goat Cheese Original

SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE AGED OVER 60 DAYS

1st    Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties), Ontario
Tania

3rd    Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Québec
Zacharie Cloutier

YOGURTS – PLAIN WITH NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS –MADE FROM COW’S MILK

3rd    Beurrerie du Patrimoine, Québec
Plain Yogourt

BUTTER WITH OR WITHOUT CULTURES – MADE FROM GOAT’S, SHEEP’S OR MIXED MILKS

1st    La Moutonniere, Québec
Ewes Butter

OPEN CATEGORY – WASHED RIND CHEESES – MADE FROM COW’S MILK

2nd   La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage (Saputo), Québec
Vacherin

3rd    La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo), Québec
Le Reflet de Portneuf

OPEN CATEGORY – WASHED RIND CHEESES – MADE FROM GOAT’S MILK

2nd   Fromagerie Le Détour, Québec
Sentinelle

Congratulations to all Canadian winners! They are shown below in alphabetical order with a summary of their winnings which accounted for 30 ribbons.

Agropur Fine Cheese
First-place  – 2
Second-place  – 5

Beurrerie du Patrimoine
Third-place  – 1

Cows Creamery
Second-place  – 1

Mariposa Dairty (Finica Food Specialties)
First-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Fromages CDA)

Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Bergeron
Second-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA)
First-place  – 1

Fromagerie Le Détour
Second-place  – 2

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
Third-place  – 1

La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage (Saputo)
Second-place  – 1

La Maison Alexis de Portneuf (Saputo)
Third-place  – 4

La Moutonniere
First-place  – 1
Second-place  – 1

Quality Cheese
First-place  – 1
Second-place  – 1
Third-place  – 1

Upper Canada Cheese
Third-place  – 1

Woolwich Dairy
Second-place  – 1

The 2014 American Cheese Society Judging & Competition will be held in Sacramento, California.

Cheese fuels passion to organize a better Festival

Here are the cheeseheads who work behind the scenes to make The Great Canadian Cheese Festival happen. From the left, Lin Chong, registration co-ordinator, Jackie Armet, cheese co-ordinator, Becky Lamb, volunteer co-ordinator, Terry Chong, operations manager, Karin Desveaux, executive director, Peta Shelton, Prince Edward County liaison officer, Ivy Knight, cheese gala co-ordinator, and Rebecca Crosgrey, event co-ordinator and assistant to Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder and director.

When they worked up an appetite during a recent planning session, here’s the cheese they dove into for lunch:

Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese: Hard and Semi-Hard, two impressive cheeses, the first like a Gruyere, the second like a Gouda, produced by Shep Ysselstein, a young chessemaker, in southwestern Ontario.

Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser: Tomme du Haut-Richelieu, a lovely washed-rind, goat-milk cheese from one of Quebec’s artisan-cheese pioneers.

Brillat-Savarin: A luscious triple-cream Brie with a truffle from France was devoured with much smacking of the lips.

Fromagerie Le Détour: The distinctive Grey Owl—with its dark ash rind—is sweet, tangy and creamy, a terrific example of the high standard of goat-milk-cheese production in Quebec.

Fromagerie de l’Abbaye Saint-Benoît: Bleu Bénédictin, a Canadian classic made under the supervision of Benedictine monks in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Époisses Berthaut: An extraordinary washed-rind cow’s milk cheese with a natural red tint from Burgundy in France is too powerful for some, worshiped by others. Ours came to us courtesy of Glen Echo Fine Foods.

Fan mail, comments and ideas will reach the Festival event staff via cheeseheads @ cheeselover.ca.

Quebec cheesemakers score at World Cheese Awards

Cornish Blue: Judged the best cheese in the world in 2010.

Four artisan cheesemakers from Quebec as well as Canadian cheese giants Saputo and Agropur medalled in the World Cheese Awards last week, the largest cheese competition on the planet. Hosted at the BBC Good Food Show in the U.K., 201 judges from 19 different countries judged 2,629 cheeses from 29 countries. Louis Aird of Saputo was the sole Canadian judge.

Louis Aird of Saputo: Judge at the World Cheese Awards.

Cornish Blue brought the World Champion Cheese title back to the U.K., being the first British cheese honoured in more than a decade. Here are the Canadian winners, starting with the four Quebec artisan cheesemakers entered by their distributor, Fromages CDA:

 

Le Moutier

Hard goats’ milk cheese plain
Gold medal: Le Moutier ~ Fromagerie de L’Abbaye St Benoit

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Silver Medal: La Mont Jacob ~ Fromagerie Blackburn

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Bronze medal: Guillaume Tell ~ Fromagerie Féodal

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal
Bronze medal: Soeur Angéle ~ Fromagerie Kaiser

 

La Sauvagine

Rind washed cheese not in any other class
Super Gold medal: La Sauvagine ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Brie made from pasteurized milk
Silver medal: Cendré de Lune ~ Saputo/duVillage 1860

All other new cheeses. Open to any new cheese first marketed after 01/10/09
Bronze medal: Tentation de Laurier ~ Saputo

White mold ripened soft or unpressed cows’ milk cheese with savoury additives
Bronze medal: Lady Laurier d’Arthabaska ~ Saputo/du Village 1860

Soft goats’ milk cheese plain – mold-ripened
Bronze medal: Le Cendrillon ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Brie made from pasteurized milk
Bronze medal: Saint-Honoré ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf

Blue vein cheese any variety, uncut, natural rind
Bronze medal: Bleubry ~ Saputo/Alexis de Portneuf


 

Camembert L'Extra

Camembert made from pasteurized milk
Gold medal: Camembert l’Extra ~ Agropur

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal
Silver medal: Vaudreuil mi-vache/mi-chêvre ~ Agropur

New Cheese – hard or semi-hard. Open to any new cheese first marketed after 01/10/09
Silver medal: Rivière Rouge ~Agropur

Ricotta
Bronze medal: Ricotta Prestigio ~ Agropur

For a list of U.S. winners, visit Cheesemonger’s Weblog.

The World Cheese Awards has been bringing together buyers and sellers from the dairy industry worldwide for 20 years. The BBC Good Food Show is the biggest and most cosmopolitan cheese festival ever staged in the U.K.,, with almost 100,000 consumers tasting cheese after the international panel of experts completed their judging.

—Rebecca Crosgrey

Rebecca Crosgrey is Event Co-Ordinator at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. She patrols the Web for cheese news for CheeseLover.ca.

Canadian cheeses winners in largest U.S. competition

Big winners at ACS: Alastair MacKenzie and Lucille Giroux of La Moutonnière of Ste-Hélène de Chester, Quebec.

Eighteen Canadian cheeses were honoured at this year’s American Cheese Society Judging and Competition held in Seattle on the weekend. It’s the largest cheese competition in the Americas with 225 producers from 34 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico delivering a record 1,462 cheeses and cultured dairy products for judging.

Fifteen of the winners are Quebec cheeses, two are British Columbia (Kootenay Alpine Cheese), and one is Ontario (Fifth Town Artisan Cheese). La Moutonnière won four times, the most wins for a single cheesemaker from Canada.

SOFT RIPENED CHEESES

Open Category, made from sheep’s or mixed milks

1st – Soeur Angele
Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
Quebec

Triple Crème – soft ripened/cream added

2nd – Brie Le Trappeur Triple Crème
Damafro
Quebec

Cheesemaker Simon Hamel at work in the make room of Fromagerie Éco-Délices in Plessisville, Québec.

AMERICAN ORIGINALS

Oka

2nd – Douanier
Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
Quebec

3rd – Mamirolle
Eco Delices
Quebec

AMERICAN MADE/INTERNATIONAL STYLE

Open Category, made from cow’s milk

2nd – Raclette Nature
Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
Quebec

Emmental-style made from cow’s milk with eye formation

2nd – Frere Jacques
Fromagerie Abbaye St-Benoit
Quebec

3rd – Mont-Gleason
La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
Quebec

BLUE MOLD CHEESES

Blue-veined made from cow’s milk with a rind or external coating

3rd – Benedictin
Fromagerie Abbaye St-Benoit
Quebec

Blue-veined made from sheep’s milk or mixed milk with a rind or external coating

1st – Bleu de La Moutonnière
La Moutonnière
Quebec

FETA CHEESES

Feta made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

2nd – Feta Naturel
La Moutonnière
Quebec

For Wayne and Denise Harris, Kootenay Alpine Cheese is family operation—from soil management to the finished award-winning product—with daughters Nadine and Erin. Photo by Imageobcura Nelson BC.

FARMSTEAD CHEESES

Open Category cow’s milk cheeses, hard

2nd – Alpindon
Kootenay Alpine Cheese
British Columbia

2nd – Nostrala
Kootenay Alpine Cheese
British Columbia

Open Category sheep’s milk and mixed milk

2nd – Fleur des Monts
La Moutonnière
Quebec

FRESH SHEEP’S MILK CHEESES

Open to all shapes and styles of rindless, unaged, fresh sheep’s milk cheeses

3rd – Cabanon
La Moutonnière
Quebec

WASHED RIND CHEESES

Open Category made from cow’s milk

2nd – Magie de Madawaska
Fromagerie Le Détour
Quebec

3rd – Guillaume Tell
Domaine Feodal
Quebec

3rd – Cantonnier
La Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
Quebec

Open Category made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

3rd – Bonnie and Floyd
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Ontario

Stephanie Diamant is the veteran cheesemaker at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Unlike other cheese competitions, where cheeses are graded down for technical defects, the American Cheese Society’s goal is to give positive recognition to those cheeses that are of the highest quality in their aesthetic evaluation (i.e. flavor, aroma, and texture), as well as their technical evaluation. As a result, the highest quality cheeses are those that the Society feels deserve the recognition of an American Cheese Society award, based on a minimum number of points awarded (totaling 100 points possible) for First, Second, or Third Place. In categories, or subcategories, where the minimum number of points is not earned, no awards are given.