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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 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?

SS-6-247x300

  •  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:

Jean Morin wins again with Louis d’Or and Pionnier

Louis d'Or.

Louis d’Or.

Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère is Grand Champion twice over at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

His Louis d’Or is Grand Champion in the cow’s milk variety cheese class. Pionnier, made with a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk in collaboration with Marie-Chantal Houde of Fromagerie Nouvelle France, is Grand Champion in the goat and sheep milk variety cheese class.

Marie-Chantal Houde and Jean Morin with Pionnier.

Marie-Chantal Houde and Jean Morin with Pionnier.

The 18-month Farmstead Gouda made by Adam van Bergejik of Mountainoak Cheese is Reserve Grand Champion in cow milk.

Adam van Bergejik.

Adam van Bergejik.

Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar made by Pieter van Oudenaren of Lenberg Farms/Mariposa Dairy is Reserve Grand Champion in goat and sheep milk.

Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar.

Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar.

Grand Champion in cheddar cheese is Black Diamond Mild Cheddar made by Parmalat Canada, now part of Groupe Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy producer. Parmalat dominated all cheddar categories except:

Click here for complete results.

 

 

 

 

Tania leads the Mariposa charge in Royal competition

Grand Champion: Tania Lenberg Farms Toscano Sheep Cheese.

Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion: Tania Lenberg Farms Toscano Sheep Cheese. Tania also won a Super Gold in the World Cheese Awards in September.

Mariposa Dairy dominated this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair competition for cheese made with goat, sheep or water buffalo milk. Mariposa’s Tania Lenberg Farms Toscano Sheep Cheese was named Grand Champion. Three other Mariposa cheeses won their classes as did Tania.

Tania, a farmstead Toscano-style sheep’s milk cheese, is a relatively new addition to the array of cheeses produced by Mariposa Dairy in Lindsay, Ontario. Sweet and nutty, attractive on the cheese board, Tania already has many fans.

px-tania-royal-winnerA distinctive characteristic is the colour of the paste that deepens as the cheese ages. Cheesemaker Pieter vanOudenaren says the orange colour comes from the carotene in milk. The inset shows a wedge of Tania in our cheese bin that was made in early 2012, now nicely aged, darker in colour and delicious.

Mariposa markets its goat and sheep cheeses under three labels: Celebrity, Mariposa Dairy and Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve.

Here are the results for cheese made with goat, sheep or water buffalo milk:

Grand Champion Goat, Sheep or Water Buffalo Milk Cheese

Mariposa Dairy – Tania Lenberg Farms Toscano Sheep Cheese

Reserve Champion Goat, Sheep or Water Buffalo Milk Cheese

Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Crooked Wheel

Hard Cheese

1 Gordons Goat Dairy – Farmstead Goatagiono aged 2.5yrs no GMO

Firm Cheese

Mariposa Dairy – Lenberg Farms Bandaged Goat Cheddar
Mariposa Dairy – Lenberg Farms Premium Age
Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Goat Cheddar

Interior Ripened

1 Mariposa Dairy– Celebrity International Mediterranean Gouda
Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Goat’s Milk Feta Cheese
Mariposa Dairy – Extra Sheep Feta

Surfaced Ripened

Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Crooked Wheel
2 Upper Canada Cheese – Nosey Goat
3 Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser – Sainte-Nitouche

Mold Ripened Cheese

1 Alexis de Portneuf – Cendrillon
2 Woolwich Dairy– Woolwich Dairy Triple Creme Goat Brie
3 Quality Cheese – Ashley Goat

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese

Mariposa Dairy – Celebrity International Goat Cheese Original
2 Quality Cheese – Ricotta
Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Original Chevrai

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

1 Cross Wind Farm – Cranberry Orange
2 Cross Wind Farm – Italian Blend
Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Chevrai Cranberry Cinnamon

Flavoured Cheese

1 Blyth Farm Cheese – Blyth’s Jalapeno
2 Blyth Farm Cheese – Blyth’s Garlic
3 Blyth Farm Cheese – Blyth’s Cumin

All New Innovations

1 Alexis de Portneuf – Double Joie
2 Quality Cheese – Buffalo Mozzarella
Woolwich Dairy – Woolwich Dairy Plain ‘N’ Simple Fresh Chevre

Any Cheese Made with Sheep’s Milk

Mariposa Dairy – Tania Lenberg Farms Toscano Sheep Cheese

Outstanding cheese bites of 2011

Bliss from Monforte Dairy, an outstanding cheese bite if there ever was one.

We bring the curtain down on 2011 with friends in fromage recalling the memorable cheeses that crossed their palates this year. It’s a tradition at CheeseLover.ca we started last year.

Interestingly, two friends selected the same stand-out:

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy:
Lindsay Clothbound was the best new Ontario cheese I tasted this year.  Beautifully balanced flavour, everything you would expect in a great clothbound cheddar in texture and flavour—with a terrific goat bonus at the end.
—Andy Shay, Cheese Buyer, Sobeys Ontario

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy:
New to Ontario’s cheese scene and winning awards already, Mariposa’s twist on bandaged cheddar is an aged hard goat’s milk cheese, slightly dry and crumbly, with significant earthy, but distinct “meaty” flavor.
—Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Vanessa named three other memorable cheeses of 2011:

Jersey du Fjord, Les Bergeries du Fjord:
My memorable cheese this year is definitely the Jersey du Fjord, aged 10 months, a 20-kg English Cheshire-inspired cheese that was one of the 16 Champions at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, a first prize and silver medal overall at the Quebec Caseus Awards.
Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

Old World
2011 was my year to celebrate Old World classics. Iconic Spanish cheeses, such as sultry smoky Idiazábal and cool minerally Valdeón were big hits, as were rare treasures from tiny shops in Toronto, including Danish Esrom (Stinky! Umami!) and Portugal’s Serra da Estrela—a tangy, wobbly, grassy wonder.
—Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

Hail to the blues!
At what point do we stop developing our taste buds? For years, I have fought with the blues, only to find it actually works to try something 25 times! I have now come to the other side and crave the blues. No cheese board is complete without them. So what blue converted me? Saint Agur. How can you resist that double creamy, lovely balanced blue served with a beautiful glass of Karlo Estates Van Alstine Port. Hail to the blues! Bring them on in 2012!
—Jackie Armet, Cheese Co-ordinator , The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

Lady Jane, Farm House Natural Cheeses:
I first fell in love with this cheese at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton when I tried it during one of the pairing sessions.  It looks like the best, most beautiful buttermilk-y cheesecake, with a texture that is such heaven in your mouth. Lady Jane is one of my favourite new finds of 2011.
—Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl

At CheeseLover.ca, the most memorable moment in cheese of 2011 came when we first tasted Laliberté, the triple-cream cheese made with whole organic cow’s milk at Fromagerie du Presbytère. Such rich dairy delight!

Other taste hits of the year just ending:

Bliss, Monforte Dairy:
Cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen never ceases to amaze with her creations. This Brie-style pasteurized sheep’s milk is pure bliss.

Goat Cheese Curds, Monforte Dairy:
Be prepared for bursts of farm flavours when you pop these squeaks into your mouth.

14 Arpents, Fromagerie Médard:
Every time we taste this soft-ripened cheese we get religion and want to make a pilgrimage to the Lac Saint Jean in Quebec where Rose-Alice Boivin Côté and her family work wonders.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-head-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, wonders what outstanding cheeses he’ll encounter in the New Year.

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar best goat-milk cheese at Royal

Grand Champion honours at the Royal Fair are the latest recognition for Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar, shown here at the American Cheese Society competition where it was named Best in Show, Runner-up.

Two new goat-milk cheeses—one barely out of the vat—took top honours in the goat-cheese competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week.

Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar was named Grand Champion about a year after it was introduced by Mariposa Dairy of Lindsay, Ontario—and began winning awards, including Best of Show, Runner-up, at the American Cheese Society.

Camelot, a new goat-milk cheese introduced by Upper Canada Cheese of Jordan, Ontario, only a few months ago, was named Reserve Champion and its other new cheese, Nanny Noire, placed second in mold-ripened class.

Mariposa Dairy dominated the goat-milk cheese competition, winning or placing in five categories.

Upper Canada’s goat cheeses are made only with milk from a rare herd of Lamancha goats pastured at Gord and Melanie Wood’s Idyllwood Farms near Keene, Ontario, and cared for by the entire Wood family. Says Lauren Petryna, head cheesemaker:
“This fresh, pure milk is then transformed into Camelot and Nanny Noire. Camelot ages for two months in our cellars, while camembert-style Nanny is rolled in ash, allowed to develop its bloomy rind and is ready to be enjoyed within weeks.”

Here are the top three in the mixed-milk class of the annual competition at the Royal:

All New Innovations Mixed Milk Cheese

  1. Buffalo Mozzarella, Quality Cheese
  2. Buffallo Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  3. Doucerel, Agropur Fine Cheese

Here are the top three cheeses in each category of the goat-milk competition:

Firm Cheddar, Mozzarella, Caprano

  1. Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Mornington Heritage Old Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Mornington Heritage Marble, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative

Interior Ripened Gouda, Friulano, Manchego, Havarti, Feta

  1. Woolwich Dairy Goats Milk Feta, Woolwich Dairy
  2. Feta, Rivers Edge Goat Dairy
  3. Feta, Glengarry Fine Cheese

Surface Ripened Oka-style, St. Paulin, Tilsit, Mimstes

  1. Camelot, Upper Canada Cheese
  2. Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Mold Ripened Brie, Camembert, tre Fratello, L’Extra Goat, La Brie,Triple Cream Brie

  1. Nettles Gone Wild, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Nanny Noir, Upper Canada Cheese
  3. Triple Creme Brie, Woolwich Dairy

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese Cream Cheese, Ghage, Quark, Ricotta

  1. Capriny, Alexis de Portneuf
  2. Chevre Original Cup, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Chevrai Original, Woolwich Dairy

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Herb+Garlic, Mariposa Dairy
  2. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Mediterranean, Mariposa Dairy
  3. Celebrity International Goat Cheese Fig, Mariposa Dairy

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Celebrity International Blue Goat Sliced, Nasonville Dairy

Flavoured Cheese Smoked, Jalepeno

  1. Mornington Ultimate Smoked Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  2. Mornington Ultimate Cranberry Cheddar, Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative
  3. Charlton hot pepper, Thornloe Cheese

Camelot by Upper Canada Cheese Company was named Reserve Champion in the goat-cheese class.

Judges: Thierry Martin and Jean‐Jacques Turgeon

Sponsors: Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Canadian Cheese Society, Cargill, Central Ontario Cheese Makers, Parmalat, Jersey Canada, Continental Ingredients Canada, Ecolab, Empire Cheese.

The 89th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs until Sunday at Exhibition Place, Toronto.

To be posted tomorrow: results in the cheddar competition at the Royal.

Best cheeses of the “British Empire” in 2010

Lori Legacey, cheesemaker at Mariposa Dairy, has a sniff of a 19-kilo wheel of cheddar. The dairy's Lindsay Bandage Cheddar beat out 40 other goat-milk cheeses in the British Empire Cheese Competition. Photo by Lisa Gervais/The Lindsay Post.

Here are the results of the cheese competition at the 83rd annual British Empire Cheese Show organized by Central Ontario Cheesemakers Association:

The Alexis De Portneuf division of cheese giant Saputo was crowned Grand Champion.

Quebec cheesemaker Fromagerie La Vache à Maillotte was named Reserve Champion.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, an artisan cheesemaker  in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, was honoured with the Finica Food Specialties Award.

In the cheddar class, Parmalat Canada was recognized as Grand Champion. Reserve Champion honours went to Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues.

Glengarry Fine Cheese, after an excellent showing at Royal Winter Fair, picked up several more awards at British Empire, as reported in Eastern Ontario AgriNews.

Here are the top three in each class of the competition:

ARTISAN

Goat Milk Cheese

  1. Lindsay Bandage Cheddar, Mariposa Dairy (Finica Food Specialties)
  2. Cape Vessey, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Operetta, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

Sheep Milk Cheese

  1. Bonnie and Floyd, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Toscano, Monforte Dairy
  3. Wishing Tree, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

SPECIALTY CLASS

Hard Cheese Type

  1. Glengarry Fen, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Lankaaster Aged, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  3. Romano, St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative

Firm Cheese Type

  1. Lankaaster Medium, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Nouvelle France, Agropur
  3. Fondue Prestigio, Agropur

Swiss Cheese Type

  1. Artisan, Agropur
  2. Swiss, Fromagerie Lemaire
  3. Mont Gleason, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Semi-Firm Cheese Type

  1. Raclette du Village, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  2. Le Cabouron, Fromagerie Blackburn (Fromages CDA)
  3. Le Cendre, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Fresh Cheese Type

  1. Mascarpone, Arla Foods
  2. Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  3. Prestigio Ricotta, Agropur

Soft Rind Cheese Type

  1. St. Honoré, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  2. Triple Crème du Village, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  3. Cendre de Lune, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage

Smear Ripened Type

  1. Mamirolle, Fromagerie Eco Delices (Fromages CDA)
  2. Mont Jacob, Fromagerie Blackburn (Fromages CDA)
  3. Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser (Fromages CDA)

Flavoured Soft Type

  1. Lady Laurier d’Arthabaska, Saputo/Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage
  2. Raclette Oka, Agropur
  3. Chevalier Tomato Basil, Agropur

Flavoured Firm Type

  1. Lankaaster Chive, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Smoked Cheddar, Parmalat Canada
  3. Lankaaster Cumin, Glengarry Fine Cheese

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Celtic Blue, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. La Roche Noire, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  3. Bleubry, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf

American Style Type

  1. Brick, St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative
  2. Monterey Jack, Bothwell Cheese
  3. American Mozzarella, Parmalat Canada

Pasta Filata Type

  1. Bocconcini, International Cheese
  2. Burrata, Quality Cheese
  3. Fresh Mozzarella, Quality Cheese

Goat Milk Cheese

  1. Le Paillot de Chevre, Saputo/Alexis De Portneuf
  2. Rondoux Chevre, Agropur
  3. Chevrita, Agropur

Sheep Milk Cheese

  1. Allegretto, Fromagerie La Vache a Maillotte
  2. Bedda Fedda, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Blossom, Monforte Dairy

Process Cheese

  1. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada
  2. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada
  3. Spreadable Cream Cheese Product, Parmalat Canada

CHEDDAR

Mild White or Coloured Cheddar – Less than 2 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Empire Cheese & Butter Coop
  3. Black River Cheese

Medium White Cheddar – 3 to 6 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues
  3. Amalgamated Dairies

Medium Coloured Cheddar – 3 to 6 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Bothwell Cheese
  3. Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op

Marbled Cheddar – any age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Bothwell Cheese
  2. Empire Cheese & Butter Co-Op
  3. St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative

Mature Cheddar – 12 to 15 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. St. Albert Cheese
  3. Fromagerie Isle-aux-Grues

Extra Mature Cheddar – 24 to 36 months of age, 40 lb. or more

  1. Parmalat Canada
  2. Maple Dale Cheese
  3. St. Albert Cheese Co-Operative