Cheese of the Year : Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar: 2016 Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar: 2016 Canadian Cheese of the Year.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar made by Cows Creamery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, was proclaimed Cheese of the Year at the conclusion of the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards in Montréal on Thursday.

Awards were also presented to 31 category winners during the Awards Ceremony at glittering Time Supper Club to bring to a climax the biennial cheese judging and competition that is open to all milks—cow, goat, sheep and water Buffalo—used in cheesemaking in Canada.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar was also honoured as Best Aged Cheddar (aged more than 18 months).

Appletree Smoked Cheddar, also made by Cows Creamery, also won big :

  • Best Smoked Cheese
  • Best Cow’s Milk Cheese
  • Best Atlantic Canada Cheese.
Happy winners: Andrea White and Armand Bertrand of Cows Creamery.

Happy winners: Andrea White and Armand Bertrand of Cows Creamery.

Here are the complete results of what has become the biggest cheese competition in Canada. It is sponsored by Loblaw Companies and Provigo, with support from Dairy Farmers of Canada and Desjardins Group.

The presenting sponsor is The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, where the Cheese of the Year and other award winners will be in the spotlight on June 4-5.

FROMAGE D’EXCEPTION – CHEESE OF THE YEAR
·      Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

·      Cows Creamery

·      Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

MAIN CATEGORIES (17) CATÉGORIES PRINCIPALES

FRESH CHEESE – FROMAGE FRAIS

·      Bella Casara Mascarpone – Quality Cheese, Vaughan, Ontario
FRESH PASTA FILATA – FROMAGE À PÂTE FILÉE
·      President’s Choice® Formaggio di Bufala – Loblaw Companies, Brampton, Ontario
 SEMI-SOFT CHEESE – FROMAGE À PÂTE SEMI-FERME
·      Baluchon – Fromagerie F.X. Pichet, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec
FIRM CHEESE – FROMAGE À PÂTE FERME
·      Pionnier – Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
FIRM CHEESE WITH HOLES – FROMAGE À PÂTE FERME AVEC OUVERTURES
·      Oka l’Artisan – Agropur, Saint-Hubert, Québec
WASHED RIND CHEESE – FROMAGE À CROÛTE LAVÉE
·      Chemin Hatley – Fromagerie la Station de Compton, Compton, Québec
 
MIXED RIND CHEESE – FROMAGE À CROÛTE MIXTE
·      Zoey, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
BLOOMY RIND CHEESE – PÂTE MOLLE À CROÛTE FLEURIE
·      Le Sabot de Blanchette – Fromagerie La Suisse Normande, Saint-Roch-Ouest, Québec
MILD & MEDIUM CHEDDAR (aged up to 9 months) – CHEDDAR DOUX & MOYEN (maximum de 9 mois d’affinage)
·      Cheddar moyen – Fromagerie Perron, Saint-Prime, Québec
OLD CHEDDAR (aged from 9 to 18 months) – CHEDDAR FORT (entre 9 et 18 mois d’affinage)
·      Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
 AGED CHEDDAR (aged more than 18 months) – CHEDDAR VIEILLI (plus de 18 mois d’affinage)
·      Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
GOUDA CHEESE – FROMAGE GOUDA
·      Old Growler – That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Upper Economy, Nova Scotia
BLUE CHEESE – FROMAGE À PÂTE PERSILLÉE
·      Dragon’s Breath Blue – That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Upper Economy, Nova Scotia
FLAVOURED CHEESE – FROMAGE AROMATISÉ
·      Le Fréchette – Ail & Fines Herbes – Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
SMOKED CHEESE -FROMAGE FUMÉ
·      Appletree Smoked Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
FETA / CHEESE IN BRINE – FETA / FROMAGE EN SAUMURE
·      President’s Choice® Feta Light – Loblaw Companies, Brampton, Ontario
 GRILLING CHEESE – FROMAGE À GRILLER
·      Le Paillasson de l’isle d’Orléans – Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orléans, Sainte-Famille, Île d’Orléans, Québec
 

The biennial competition attracted 301 entriers from across Canada.

The biennial competition attracted 301 entries from across Canada.

SPECIAL AWARDS (9) PRIX SPÉCIAUX

BEST COW CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE VACHE
·      Appletree Smoked Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
BEST GOAT CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE CHÈVRE
·      Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
 BEST SHEEP CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE BREBIS
·      Zacharie Cloutier – Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
BEST WATER BUFFALO CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE BUFFLONNE
·      Fuoco – Fromagerie Fuoco, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Québec
BEST BLENDED-MILK CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT MIXTE
·      Zoey, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
BEST FARMSTEAD CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE FERMIER
·      Baluchon – Fromagerie F.X. Pichet, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec
BEST ORGANIC CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE BIOLOGIQUE
·      Baluchon – Fromagerie F.X. Pichet, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Québec
 BEST RAW-MILK CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT CRU
·      Le Pionnier – Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
BEST NEW CHEESE – MEILLEUR NOUVEAU FROMAGE (Introduced to market in 2015/Mis en marché en 2015)
·      Zoey, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
REGIONAL AWARDS (5) PRIX RÉGIONAUX

BEST B.C. CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LA COLOMBIE BRITANNIQUE

·      Traditional Clothbound Cheddar – The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Agassiz, British Columbia
BEST ALBERTA CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE L’OUEST
·      Natural Smoked Gouda Medium – Sylvan Star Cheese, Red Deer, Alberta
BEST ONTARIO CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE L’ONTARIO
·      Tania, Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
BEST QUEBEC CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DU QUÉBEC
·      Le Pionnier – Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec
BEST ATLANTIC CANADA CHEESE – MEILLEUR FROMAGE DES PROVINCES ATLANTIQUES
·      Appletree Smoked Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The Canadian Cheese Awards is the first cheese competition in Canada open to all milks used in cheese making – cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo – with only pure natural cheese accepted for judging. That means with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients.

http://www.cheeseawards.ca

Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens est le premier et le plus grand au Canada ouvert à tous les fromages produits au Canada à partir du lait pur de vaches, de chèvres, de brebis ou de bufflonnes canadiennes – sans colorant artificiel, parfum, agent de conservation  ni substance laitière modifiée.

http://www.cheeseawards.ca/accueil/

Awards Tasting Gala at Time Supper Club in Montréal drew 460 fans of Canadian cheese.

Awards Tasting Gala at Time Supper Club in Montréal drew 460 fans of Canadian cheese. Photo: Anne Munro.

A delish potato gratin made with five artisan cheeses

Five-cheese Potato Gratin: Scalloped potatoes never tasted so good.

Five-cheese Potato Gratin: Scalloped potatoes never tasted so good.

If you like cheese and if you like potatoes, this Five-Cheese Potato Gratin is the dish for you. This Christmas, we served it with roasted turkey at a Boxing Day family gathering and it was a hit.

Our gratin is based on a recipe developed by Kelly Jaggers who runs the mouth-watering blog Evil Shenanigans, subtitled “Sometimes it’s good to be bad.” Her’s is a four-cheese gratin. We go the extra step with five cheeses, four of them made by Canadian artisans.

Kelly Jagger's dish looks better than ours.

Kelly Jagger’s dish looks better than ours.

The main cheese is Pionnier, a wonderful collaboration by Marie-Chantal Houde of Fromagerie Nouvelle France and Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère, made in the Jura style with a blend of sheep’s milk and cow’s milk.

The supporting cast includes two cheddars, Avonlea Clothbound and Pine River Aged, and for creaminess, the delicious Laliberté, a triple-cream cheese made by Jean Morin.

The final touch, as the topping, is 30-month Parmigiano-Reggiano, imported simply because no one in Canada comes close to matching the Italian classic.

Bon appétit!

Bleu d’Élizabeth best of the best in Québec cheese

Caseus winners Dominic and Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytere.

Caseus winners Dominic (left) and Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère.

For the second year in a row, Bleu d’Élizabeth made by Fromagerie du Presbytère has won the coveted gold medal in the Caseus Québec Fine Cheese Competition, the annual judging of cow-, goat- and sheep-milk cheeses produced by Québec cheesemakers.

For its repeat performance, Bleu d’Élizabeth was also honored with the Caseus Emeritus award.

For the Morin brothers—Jean is the cheesemaker, Dominic manages the fourth-generation dairy farm—the awards just keep on coming. Earlier this year, Bleu d’Élizabeth won two medals in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, for best blue and best organic cheese. Two years, ago Élizabeth was named runner-up in the prestigious American Cheese Society competition.

What’s the secret to their success? Happy cows is Jean Morin’s stock answer, but he adds: “Every morning I start the day by asking myself what I can do better today than yesterday.”

Bleu d'Élizabeth

Bleu d’Élizabeth

That drive for perfection shows in Bleu d’Élizabeth, so soft, rich and creamy, with lovely grey-greenish veins, with understated saltiness, and a distinct earthy aroma.

The Caseus awards were presented yesterday in the National Assembly in Québec City by Agriculture Minister Francois Gendron. More than 40 producers entered 165 cheeses in 24 categories of competition.

Mont Jacob

Mont Jacob

The Caseus silver medal went to Mont Jacob, a washed-rind cheese made by Fromagerie Blackburn, while the bronze was awarded to Pionnier, a firm cheese made with a blend of cow and sheep milk in a collaboration between Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère and Marie-Chantal Houde of Fromagerie Nouvelle France.

Pionnier with its two collaborators

Pionnier with its two collaborators

A new Caseus medal honoring excellence in aged cheese went to the 24-month Alfred Le Fermier made by Fromagerie La Station.

Alfred Le Fermier

Alfred Le Fermier

For the winners in all Caseus categories, please click here.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the lead sponsor for the Caseus competition. The Institute of Food Technology, Campus Saint-Hyacinthe, manages the judging.

This year for the first time the jury included a judge from Ontario, Vanessa Simmons of Ottawa, cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and presenter of guided tastings at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

For information about the availability of all winners except Mont Jacob, contact Plaisirs Gourmets. For information on Mont Jacob, contact Fromages CDA.