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:

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

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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.

Pilgrimage to a Canadian cheese lover’s Mecca

Vanessa and I stopped shopping for cheese and charcuterie at Marché Jean-Talon when we were left with nothing but coins in our pockets. Photo by SO.

When they want to pay homage to fromage, cheese lovers in Europe make a pilgrimage to France. In the U.S., the destination is Vermont or California. In Canada, there is only one choice: Québec.

Despite much progress in Ontario and British Columbia in the last decade, Québec remains Canada’s leading artisan-cheese region. With about half of Canada’s 180 cheese producers based in Québec, its leading role isn’t likely to end anytime soon.

For Canadian cheese lovers, the easiest way to find Mecca in Québec is to visit Marché Jean-Talon in Montréal. Which is what Significant Other and I did with a great friend in cheese, Vanessa Simmons, cheese sommelier at Savvy Company in Ottawa. We have many friends who love cheese, many friends who love food, but only in Vanessa do SO and I find an appetite for food, drink and adventure to match ours.

We warmed up for Marché Jean-Talon by visiting Complexe Desjardins in downtown Montreal to say hello to cheesemakers taking part in the annual La Fête des fromages d’ici. It was good to see so many producers represented by Plaisirs Gourmets at the show. SO and I sampled our way around for several hours and then caught up with Vanessa to compare notes and purchases. No surprise that our wallets were $150 lighter and bags similarly heavier.

What makes Marché Jean-Talon such a perfect Mecca for cheese lovers is that here one finds:

and across the lane:

Short of spending weeks driving from cheesemaker to cheesemaker around Québec, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Two hours and more than $350 later, here’s what we had in our cooler bags:

OUR HAUL

IN VANESSA’S COOLER

CHARCUTERIE

Smoked meat at Schwartz's, fatty and fabulous.

Smoked meat at Schwartz’s, fatty and fabulous. Photo by VS.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Vanessa forced us to accompany her to Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen for lunch of the most famous smoked meat in Canada. Oh, the agony!

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-cheef at CheeseLover.ca and director of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, lived in Montréal when Oka was still made Trappists at Oka. Way back then, his smoked-meat emporium of record was Bens De Luxe Delicatessen & Restaurant founded in 1908 by Latvian immigrants Ben and Fanny Kravitz.

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.

Canadian winners at American Cheese Society

Lori Legacey, cheesemaker at Mariposa Dairy, has a sniff of a 19-kilo wheel of Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar which was named first runner-up in Best of Show at the American Cheese Society competition. Photo by Lisa Gervais/The Lindsay Post.

Canadian cheesemakers did remarkably well at the 2011 American Cheese Society Conference and Competition in Montreal this week, winning close to one-quarter of ribbons up for grabs. Best of all, Mariposa Dairy with Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar and Fromagerie du Presbytère with Louis d’Or won Best of Show honors.

BEST OF SHOW

Rogue Creamery, OR
Rogue River Blue

BEST OF SHOW 2nd PLACE (TIE)

Mariposa Dairy, ON
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar

Carr Valley Cheese, WI
Cave Aged Marisa

BEST OF SHOW 3rd PLACE

Fromagerie Du Presbytère, QC
Louis d’Or

Louis d'Or, created by Jean Morin at Fromagerie Du Presbytère (photo), was named second runner-up in Best of Show at the annual ACS competition held in Canada for the first time.

HERE ARE ALL 69 CANADIAN RECIPIENTS OF RIBBONS BY CATEGORY

B. SOFT RIPENED CHEESES
White surface mold ripened cheeses – Brie, Camembert, Coulommiers, etc.

BA: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Rondoux Double Crème

2nd Domaine Feodal, QC
Inspire

3rd Domaine Feodal, QC
Cendre des Priés

BB: Brie made from cow’s milk

1st Brazos Valley Cheese, TX
Eden

2nd Brazos Valley Cheese, TX
Brie

3rd La Maison Alexis de Portneuf, QC
Brie de Portneuf Double Crème

BC: Camembert made from cow’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Camembert Fermier

3rd Alemar Cheese Company, MN
Bent River Camembert – Style Cheese

3rd Upper Canada Cheese, ON
Comfort Cream

BG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Fromagerie Le Détour, QC
Grey Owl

2nd Damafro, QC
La Bûchette

3rd Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, CO
Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy Camembert

BS: Open Category made from sheep’s or mixed milks

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Le Soeur Angele

2nd Les Bergeries du Fjord, QC
Le Blanche du Fjord

2nd Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, NY
Hudson Valley Camembert Square

3rd Marin French Cheese Co, CA
Melange Brie

BF: Flavor Added – spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits, etc.

1st Marin French Cheese Co, CA
Peppercorn Brie – Garlic

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Chevalier Fines Herbs

3rd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Brie with Herbs

BT: Triple Crème – soft ripened / cream added – all milks

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Rondoux Triple Crème

2nd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Brie Triple Créme

3rd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Chevalier Triple Crème

CC: Original Recipe / Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, CA
Point Reyes Toma

2nd Cowgirl Creamery, CA
Mt. Tam

3rd Les Fromages de l’île d’Orléans, QC
Le Paillasson de l’isle d’Orléans

D. AMERICAN MADE / INTERNATIONAL STYLE
Cheeses modeled after or based on recipes for established European or other international types or styles – Beaufort, Abondance, Gruyère, Juustoleipa, Caerphilly, English Territorials, Leyden, Butterkäse, Monastery styles, etc.

DD: Dutch style – all milks (Gouda, Edam etc.)

1st Glengarry Fine Cheese, ON
Lankaaster Aged

2nd Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, CA
Gouda

3rd Edelweiss Creamery, WI
Gouda Cellar Aged Grass Based

3rd Old Europe Cheese, Inc., MI
Edam Ball

DC: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese Co., TX
Birdville Reserve

2nd Monforte Dairy, ON
Abondance

3rd Hahn’s End, ME
Petit Poulet

3rd Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Reserve BellaVitano Gold

DE: Emmental style made from cow’s milk with eye formation (Swiss, Baby Swiss, Blocks, Wheels etc.)

1st No Award Given

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
OKA L’Artisan

3rd Farmers Cooperative Dairy, NL
Farmers Swiss

DG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Tomme Haut Richelieu

2nd Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Sainte Genevieve

2nd Consider Bardwell Farm, VT
Manchester

3rd Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, CO
Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy Queso De Mano

DS: Open Category made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Caso Bolo Mellage

2nd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Fellowship

2nd Tumalo Farms, OR
Rimrocker

3rd Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Limited Edition Pastorale Blend

E. CHEDDARS
All Cheddars – all milks

EA: Aged Cheddar, all milks (aged between 12 and 24 months)

1st Milton Creamery LLC, IA
Prairie Breeze

2nd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Premium Goat Cheddar, 12 to 24 months

3rd Kraft Foods, WI
Aged Extra Sharp Cheddar

EG: Cheddar from goat’s milk, aged less than 12 months

1st Central Coast Creamery, CA
Goat Cheddar

2nd Meyenberg Goat Milk Products, CA
Meyenberg Valley Goat Cheddar

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Premium Goat Cheddar, <12 months

3rd Mt. Sterling Co-Op Creamery, WI
Sterling Reserve / Raw Goat Milk Cave Aged Cheddar

EX: Mature Cheddar aged between 25 and 48 months

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Agropur Grand Cheddar aged 3 years

2nd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Four Year Flagship

3rd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, VT
Cabot Vintage Choice Cheddar

3rd Tillamook County Creamery Association, OR
Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

EE: Mature Cheddar aged longer than 48 months

1st Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Agropur Grand Cheddar aged 5 years

2nd DCI Cheese Company, WI
Black Diamond 5 Year Cheddar

3rd Fromagerie Perron, QC
Doyen

EW: Cheddar wrapped in cloth, linen, aged up to 12 months

1st Cows Creamery, PEI
Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar Aged Up To 12 Months

2nd Bleu Mont Dairy, WI
Bandaged Cheddar – Wrapped and Aged up to 12 Months

3rd Avalanche Cheese Co., CO
Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar

3rd Brazos Valley Cheese, TX
Cheddar

EB: Cheddar wrapped in cloth, linen, aged over 12 months

1st Mariposa Dairy, ON
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar

2nd Bleu Mont Dairy, WI
Bandaged Cheddar – Wrapped and Aged Over 12 Months

3rd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Flagship Reserve

F. BLUE MOLD CHEESES

All cheeses ripened with Roqueforti or Glaucum Penicillium (Excluded: Colorless Mycelia)
FK: Blue-veined made from cow’s milk with a rind or external coating

1st Rogue Creamery, OR
Rogue River Blue

2nd Spring Day Creamery, ME
Spring Day Blues

3rd Glengarry Fine Cheese, ON
Celtic Blue

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

1st La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour, QC
Le Bleu de Brebis de Charlevoix

2nd La Moutonniere, QC
Bleu La Moutonnière

3rd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ
Crema De Blue

H. ITALIAN TYPE CHEESES
Excluded: Mascarpone and Ricotta
HP: Pasta Filata types – Provolone, Caciocavallo – all milks

1st Saputo Dairy Products, QC
Provolone

2nd Sorrento Lactalis, ID
Whole Milk Low Moisture Pasta Filata

3rd BelGioioso Cheese Inc., WI
Sharp Provolone Mandarino

HY: Fresh Mozzarella – 8 oz. or more (Balls or Shapes) – all milks

1st BelGioioso Cheese Inc., WI
Fresh Mozzarella Thermoform

2nd Calabro Cheese, CT
Fior Di Latte

2nd Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, CA
Fresh Mozzarella

3rd International Cheese, ON
Santa Lucia Buffalo Mozzarella

I. FETA CHEESES

IC: Feta made from cow’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Karoun Dairies Inc., CA
Basket Feta

3rd Parmalat Canada, ON
Black Diamond Feta

IG: Feta made from goat’s milk

1st Karoun Dairies Inc., CA
Basket Goat Feta

2nd Shepherds Dairy Products, UT
Fine Feta-Plain

3rd Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek, BC
Feta

3rd Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
Vermont Feta

3rd Willow Moon Farm, VT
Feta

IS: Feta made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Farmstead Feta

2nd La Moutonniere, QC
Feta

3rd Meadowood Farms, NY
Meadowood Farms Sheep’s Milk Feta

IF: Flavor added – spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits – all milks

1st Klondike Cheese Co., WI
Tomato & Basil Feta

2nd Neighborly Farms of Vermont, VT
Organic Pepper Feta

3rd Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek, BC
Cranberry Caprabella

3rd La Moutonniere, QC
Feta with Herbs

J. LOW FAT / LOW SALT CHEESES
JL: Fat Free and Low Fat cheeses

1st No Award Given

2nd Fromagerie Le Détour, QC
La Dame du Lac

3rd Fromagerie Bergeron, QC
6% Pourcent

JR: Light/Lite and Reduced Fat cheeses

1st Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, QC
Empereur Light

2nd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, VT
Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar

3rd Tillamook County Creamery Association, OR
Tillamook Reduced Fat Monterey Jack

K. FLAVORED CHEESES
Entries are limited to cheeses not included in categories with “Flavor Added” subcategories

KC: Cheeses flavored with all peppers (chipotle, jalapeno, chili, etc.) – all milks

1st No Award Given

2nd Damafro, QC
Les Bouchées Saveur Mexicaine

3rd Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin, WI
Brun-uusto with Jalapeno

KP: Cheeses flavored with crushed or whole peppercorns or savory spices – all milks

1st Sartori Company, WI
Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano

2nd Fromagerie Bergeron, QC
Coureur des Bois

3rd Formaggio Italian Cheese Specialties, LLC, NY
Prosciutto Roll

KH: Flavor Added Havarti – spices, herbs, seasonings, fruits – all milks

1st No Award Given

2nd Klondike Cheese Co., WI
Dill Havarti

3rd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Havarti Jalapeno

3rd Edelweiss Creamery, WI
Onion Havarti

L. SMOKED CHEESES
LD: Smoked Cheddars

1st Parmalat Canada, ON
Balderson Double Smoked Cheddar

2nd Gold Creek Farms, UT
Smoked Cheddar

3rd Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, WA
Smoked Flagship

M. FARMSTEAD CHEESES
Limited to cheeses and fermented milk products made with milk from herds on the farm where the cheeses are produced

MA: Open Category for all milks – Soft (Aged up to 60 days – over 50% moisture)

1st Doe Run Dairy, PA
Hummingbird

2nd Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs, QC
Le Pont-Blanc

3rd Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC, WI
Petit Frere Reserve

ME: Open Category cow’s milk cheeses – Hard (Aged over 60 days – Less than 39% moisture)

1st Fromagerie Du Presbytère, QC
Louis d’Or

2nd Farms For City Kids Foundation, VT
Tarentaise

3rd Shatto Milk Company, MO
Gouda

MG: Open Category Goat’s Milk Cheeses aged over 60 days

1st Tumalo Farms, OR
Classico

2nd Chèvrerie Fruit d’une Passion, QC
Tomme des Joyeux Fromagers

2nd Yellow Springs Farm LLC, PA
Fieldstone

3rd Capriole, IN
Mont St. Francis

MF: Open Category for all Cheeses with Flavorings Added – all milks

1st Ruggles Hill Creamery, MA
Lea’s Great Meadow

2nd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ
Pepato Shepherd

3rd Coach Farm, NY
Coach Farm Fresh Goat Cheese Log with Dill

3rd Fromagerie La Station, QC
Raclette de Compton au Poivre

N. FRESH GOAT’S MILK CHEESES
NO: Fresh Goat Rindless (black ash coating permitted, extruded or in containers, cups, tubs, cryovac)

1st Laura Chenel’s Chevre, CA
Laura Chenel’s

2nd Montchevre-Betin, INC., WI
Crumbled Goat Cheese

3rd Mariposa Dairy, ON
Celebrity International Goat Cheese Original

3rd Woolwich Dairy, ON
Woolwich Dairy Chevrai Original

NP: Flavor Added – Peppers / Spice

1st Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Coeur de la Crème Three Pepper

2nd Mariposa Dairy, ON
Celebrity International Chevre Pesto

3rd Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Coeur de la Crème Garlic and Chives

O. FRESH SHEEP’S MILK CHEESES
Open to all shapes and styles of rindless, unaged, fresh sheep’s milk cheeses

OO: Open Category

1st Les Fromages du Verger, QC
Le Louché

2nd La Moutonniere, QC
Cabanon

3rd Shepherd’s Way Farms, MN
Shepherd’s Hope Original

P. MARINATED CHEESES
Entries include cheeses marinated in oil, vinegar, wine, etc.

PG: Open Category made from goat’s milk marinated in liquids and ingredients

1st Laura Chenel’s Chevre, CA
Laura Chenel’s Cabecou

2nd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Goat Cheese Balls in Herb and Oil 100g

3rd Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Sweet Vanilla Cardona

Q. CULTURED MILK PRODUCTS
Limited to Yogurt, Crème Fraiche, Kefir, Labne, etc.

QG: Cultured products made from goat’s milk

1st No Award Given

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Traditional Plain Kefir

3rd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Goat Milk Kefir 500ML

QY: Yogurts, Plain – made from cow’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st No Award Given

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Lactose Free Lowfat Plain Yogurt

3rd Beurrerie du Patrimoine, QC
Plain Cow Yogurt

QD: Yogurts, Plain – made from goat’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st Sierra Nevada Cheese, CA
Capretta Goat Yogurt Rich & Creamy, Plain

2nd Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., CA
Plain Yogurt

3rd Beurrerie du Patrimoine, QC
Plain Goat Yogurt

3rd Coach Farm, NY
Coach Farm Goat Milk Yogurt, Plain

QE: Yogurts, Plain – made from sheep’s milk with NO additional ingredients

1st Best Baa Dairy, ON
Sheepmilk Yogourt

2nd La Moutonniere, QC
Royogourt

3rd Appleton Creamery, ME
Yogurt

3rd Valley Shepherd Creamery, NJ
Ewegurt

R. BUTTERS
Whey Butter, Salted Butter, Sweet Butter, Cultured Butter, etc.

RC: Salted Butter made from cow’s milk with or without cultures

1st Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, QC
L’Ancêtre Organic Salted Butter

2nd Parmalat Canada, ON
Lactantia Salted Butter

3rd Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
Vermont Cultured Butter – lightly salted

RO: Unsalted Butter made from cow’s milk with or without cultures

1st No Award Given

2nd CROPP Cooperative/ Organic Valley, WI
Organic European Style Cultured Butter

2nd Parmalat Canada, ON
Lactantia Unsalted Butter

3rd Cabot Creamery Cooperative, MA
Cabot Unsalted Butter

S. CHEESE SPREADS

Spreads produced by grinding and mixing, without the aid of heat and/or emulsifying salts, one or more natural cheeses
SA: Open Category made from all milks – Spreads with flavors using a base with moisture higher than 44%

1st Kraft Foods, NY
Garden Vegetable Spread

2nd Kraft Foods, NY
Spinach Artichoke Spread

3rd Happy Days Dairies, BC
Probiotic Goat Cheese Spread 280G

T. AGED SHEEP’S MILK CHEESES
Caciotta, Romano, Manchego, Table Cheeses, etc.

TO: Open Category

1st Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Cave Aged Marisa

2nd Fromagerie Nouvelle France, QC
Zacharie Cloutier

2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Ocooch Reserve

3rd Lark’s Meadow Farms, ID
Dulcinea Extra Reserve

U. AGED GOAT’S MILK CHEESES
Taupinière, Rinded Log and Pyramid Types, etc.

UG: Open Category

1st LaClare Farms Specialties LLC, WI
Evalon

2nd Chèvrerie du Buckland, QC
Tomme du Maréchal

3rd Appleton Creamery, ME
Chevre Wrapped in Brandied Grape Leaf

V. WASHED RIND CHEESES
Cheeses with a rind or crust washed in salted brine, whey, beer, wine, other alcohol, or grape lees that exhibit an obvious, smeared or sticky rind and/or crust  – Limburger, Pont l’Evêque, Chimay, Raclette, Swiss Appenzeller or Vignerons-style, etc.

VC: Open Category made from cow’s milk

1st La fromagerie 1860 DuVillage, QC
La Tentation de Laurier

2nd Agropur Fine Cheese, QC
Champfleury

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Rose Haus

3rd Upper Canada Cheese, ON
Niagara Gold

VG: Open Category made from goat’s milk

1st Baetje Farms LLC., MO
Fleur de la Vallee

2nd Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
River Bend Goat

3rd Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, ON
Cape Vessey

VS: Open Category made from sheep’s milk or mixed milks

1st La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour, QC
La Tomme d’Elles

2nd Best Baa Dairy, ON
Mouton Rouge

2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Ocooch

3rd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
Meadow Melody

Elisabeth Bzikot of Best Baa Dairy receives a first-place ribbon for her Sheepmilk Yogurt while Lucille Giroux of La Moutonniere waits for a second-place ribbon for Royogourt.

Congratulations to all Canadian winners! They are shown below in alphabetical order with a summary of their winnings which accounted for 22.5 percent of ribbons awarded.

Agropur Fine Cheese
First-place ribbons – 4
Second-place ribbons – 3
Third-place ribbons – 2

Best Baa Dairy
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1

Beurrerie du Patrimoine
Third-place ribbons – 2

Chèvrerie du Buckland
Second-place ribbons – 1

Chèvrerie Fruit d’une Passion
Second-place ribbons – 1

Cows Creamery
First-place ribbons – 1

Damafro
Second-place ribbons – 2

Domaine Feodal
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Farmers Cooperative Dairy
Third-place ribbons – 1

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
Second-place ribbons – 2
Third-place ribbons – 3

Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs
Second-place ribbons – 1

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

Fromagerie Du Presbytère
Best of Show – 3rd place
First-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
First-place ribbons – 3

Fromagerie L’Ancêtre
First-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie La Station
Third-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Le Détour
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
Second-place ribbons – 1

Fromagerie Perron
Third-place ribbons – 1

Glengarry Fine Cheese
First-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Goat’s Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek
Third-place ribbons – 2

Happy Days Dairies
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 2

International Cheese
Third-place ribbons – 1

La fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
First-place ribbons – 1

La Maison Alexis de Portneuf
Third-place ribbons – 1

La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour
First-place ribbons – 2

La Moutonniere
Second-place ribbons – 4
Third-place ribbons – 1

Les Bergeries du Fjord
Second-place ribbons – 1

Les Fromages de l’île d’Orléans
Third-place ribbons – 1

Les Fromages du Verger
First-place ribbons – 1

Mariposa Dairy
Best of Show – 2rd place
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 1
Third-place ribbons – 1

Monforte Dairy
Second-place ribbons – 1

Parmalat Canada
First-place ribbons – 1
Second-place ribbons – 2
Third-place ribbons – 1

Rogue Creamery
Best of Show

Saputo Dairy Products
First-place ribbons – 1

Upper Canada Cheese
Third-place ribbons – 2

Woolwich Dairy
Third-place ribbons – 1

For additional photos from ACS 2011 in Montreal, click here.

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.