Cheese Gala: Manitoba chef meets Ontario ricottta

Chef Talia Syrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Ricotta-Stuffed Blintzes, Wine-Braised Leeks, House-Smoked Walnuts and Berry Compote:

One of eight tasting dishes prepared by eight outstanding chefs from across Canada for the Cooks & Curds Gala at the 2012 Great Canadian Cheese Festival on Saturday evening, June 2, presented by Swallow.

The Gala is the culinary and social highlight of the Cheese Festival. The first sitting at 6:00 p.m. has SOLD OUT. Second sitting at 7:00 p.m. now on sale. Don’t delay ordering your tickets!

Chefs use Canadian cheeses to create mouth-watering tasting dishes that are paired with Canadian wine, craft beer and cider. The strolling dinner concludes with an after-dinner cheese board presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada, sweets and wine.

Food Network celebrity chef Bob Blumer will make a guest appearance to prepare his signature blue-cheese cappucino made with Alpindon from Kootenay Alpine Cheese and Devil’s Rock Creamy Blue from Thornloe Cheese.

Ivy Knight, editor-in-chief of Swallow, the new online food and drink magazine, serves as Gala Co-ordinator.

Cheese Gala: A cook and curds from British Columbia

Chef Jimmy Stewart of Whistler, British Columbia.

Aerated Triple Cream Camembert with Phyllo Crisps and Spiced Almonds

One of eight tasting dishes prepared by eight outstanding chefs from across Canada for the Cooks & Curds Gala at the 2012 Great Canadian Cheese Festival on Saturday evening, June 2, presented by Swallow.

The Gala is the culinary and social highlight of the Cheese Festival. The first sitting at 6:00 p.m. has SOLD OUT. Second sitting at 7:00 p.m. now on sale. Don’t delay ordering your tickets!

Chefs use Canadian cheeses to create mouth-watering tasting dishes that are paired with Canadian wine, craft beer and cider. The strolling dinner concludes with an after-dinner cheese board presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada, sweets and wine.

Food Network celebrity chef Bob Blumer will make a guest appearance to prepare his signature blue-cheese cappucino made with Alpindon from Kootenay Alpine Cheese and Devil’s Rock Creamy Blue from Thornloe Cheese.

Ivy Knight, editor-in-chief of Swallow, the new online food and drink magazine, serves as Gala Co-ordinator.

Pulled-pork parfait a fabulous find at Gourmet Expo

Giovanni Le Brasso shows a guest how easy it is to cut an 80-kilo wheel of Emmentaler at the Switzerland Cheese display at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in Toronto this week.

There are more wines to taste than is humanly possible in one evening and all kinds of fancy food to sample, but pulled pork was the clear winner in our hearts  and stomachs at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in Toronto this week. Not just any pulled pork but a perfect parfait served up at Hank Daddy’s Barbecue stand.

Pulled-Pork Parfait made by Hank Daddy's Barbecue, pictured with Hank's nephew Gordie.

Here are the ingredients: pulled pork, Hank Daddy’s Original Barbecue Sauce, mashed potatoes, more sauce, another layer of pork, sauce, potatoes, more pork and a topping of baked beans. Talk about an ultimate take on comfort food! No wonder Jennifer Bain raved about it in the Toronto Star after sampling the dish at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair last week.

For cheese lovers, there is a diverse selection of tastes to be had at the Gourmet Expo which runs till Sunday:

  • Cypress Grove Cheese from Northern California and Sobeys Ontario team up to present a divine plate of four goat cheeses made by Mary Keehn, one of the founders of the artisan-cheese movement in the U.S.
  • A delicious selection of classic and contemporary goat cheeses is available at the stand operated by Ontario Goat Cheese.
  • Devil’s Rock, a creamy blue cheese from Northern Ontario, and squeaky cheese curds are front and center at the Thornloe Cheese stand.
  • Major Craig’s Chutney is partering with two new artisan producers, Primeridge Pure and Seed to Sausage, to present a dynamite charcuterie platter.

Dairy Farmers of Canada is presenting winners of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in tasting seminars at the All You need Is Cheese stage.

Also participating in the Expo: Finica Food Specialties with Mariposa Dairy and other products,  Ivanhoe Cheese and Switzerland Cheese.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs is Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Agropur cheddars win Grand Champion and Reserve at Royal

Agropur's two-year Grand Cheddar was crowned Grand Champion.

Agropur, the giant co-operative owned by 3,459 dairy farmers in Canada, United States and Argentina, dominated the cheddar competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week. Agropur cheddars won or placed in six of seven categories with its two-year Grand Cheddar being crowned Grand Champion while the Reserve title went to its one-year Grand Cheddar.

Both cheddars are made at the Longueuil plant in the village of Bon Conseil near Drummondville, Quebec.

Aged cheddar is made with unpasteurized milk. The milk is lightly heated in a process called thermization, which preserves the microorganisms and enzymes in raw milk that give cheddar its characteristic flavor. To prevent pathogenic organisms from proliferating, this type of cheddar undergoes a minimum 60-day aging period from the start of production. The resulting cheese retains all its flavour characteristics and gives the cheddar its distinct flavour.

Here are the top three cheeses in each category of the cheddar competition. Unfortunately, the results provided by the Royal do not name the actual cheddar, only the location of the plant, which is not particularly useful for consumers.

Extra Mature Cheddar 24 Months or Longer

  1. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Longueuil, Agropur

Mature Cheddar 12-24 Months

  1. Grand Cheddar aged for 2 years, Agropur
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron

Medium Cheddar 6-8 Months

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Saint-Prime, Fromagerie Perron
  3. Madoc, Ivanhoe

Mild Cheddar 2-4 Months

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Winchester, Black Diamond
  3. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter

Extra Mild Cheddar 1-2 Months

  1. Winchester, Black Diamond
  2. Longueuil, Agropur
  3. Madoc, Ivanhoe

Marble Cheddar Any Age

  1. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter
  2. Winchester, Balderson
  3. Thornloe, Thornloe Cheese

Stilton-Shape Cheddar, coloured or white, made from ordinary Cheddar curd

  1. Longueuil, Agropur
  2. Plainield, Maple Dale Cheese
  3. Campbellford, Empire Cheese & Butter

Blocks of cheddar await scrutiny by judges at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Judges in the variety class: Norm Matte and Gilles Sabourin.

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.

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.

Aged Lankaaster crowned Grand Champion at the Royal

Aged Lankaaster created by Margaret Peters-Morris of Glengarry Fine Cheese is the 2011 Grand Champion in its class at the Royal Winter Fair.

Aged Lankaaster was named Grand Champion in the variety cheese competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this week, continuing a streak of awards won by Eastern Ontario’s Glengarry Fine Cheese.

Cendre de Lune made by Quebec cheesemaker La Fromagerie du Village 1860 was named Reserve Champion.

Despite multiple entries from large cheese producers such as Saputo and Agropur, Quality Cheese of Vaughan, Ontario, collected the most first-place ribbons—four in all—with Zerto Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Borgonzola and Burrata.

Perhaps as an indication of things to come, a new artisan cheesemaker, Primeridge Pure of Markdale, Ontario, won a second and a third with Grey Rush, a creamy dessert cheese.

The Grand Champion, Aged Lankaaster, is matured to a minimum of 10 months. Margaret Peters-Morris tells CheeseLover.ca. The cheese entered in the competition was made in June, 2010, therefore, it was 16 months mature.

Aged Lankaaster is a firm cheese, traditional rind, characteristic gouda “eyes” present,  paste is dark, laden with crystals, with lovely butterscotch, pineapple and lactic notes, the veteran cheesemakers says. This cheese lingers in one’s mouth and is very suitable to use as cheese to make any “gratin” in culinary preparations.

Here are the top three in the variety class of the annual competition:

Hard Parmesan, Grana, Romano, etc

  1. Lankaaster – Aged,  Glengarry Fine Cheese
  2. Quinte Crest, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Baby Parmesan, Silani

Pasta, Filata Mozzarella, Provolone, Scarmorze, etc

  1. Zerto Fresh Mozzarella, Quality Cheese
  2. Fior de latte, Quality Cheese
  3. Tre Stelle Fiordi Latte, Arla Foods

Firm Brick, Colby, etc

  1. Monterey Jack, Parmalat
  2. Anco Creamy Havarti, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Colby, Ivanhoe

Interior Ripened Edam, Gouda, Asiago

  1. North Heaven,  Thornloe Cheese
  2. Riviere Rouge, Agropur Fine Cheese

Surface Ripened Fontina, Oka, Munster, St. Paulin

  1. La Sauvagine, Alexis de Portneuf
  2. Cantolait, Fromagerie St Guillaume
  3. Oka Raclette, Agropur Fine Cheese

Mold Ripened Brie, Camembert

  1. Cendre de Lune, La Fromagerie du Village 1860
  2. Rondoux Triple Creme, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Camembert L’Extra, Agropur Fine Cheese

Unflavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Ricotta, Quality Cheese
  2. Grey Rush,  Primeridge Pure
  3. Anco plain, Agropur Fine Cheese

Flavoured Fresh Cheese

  1. Delicreme Five Peppers, Agropur Fine Cheese
  2. Delicreme Herbs and Garlic, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Grey Rush – Herb Blend, Primeridge Pure

Blue Veined Cheese

  1. Borgonzola, Quality Cheese
  2. Castello Gorgonzola Cheese, Arla Foods
  3. La Roche Noire, Alexis de Portneuf

Swiss Ementhal Cheese

  1. Swiss Cheese, Fromagerie St Guillaume
  2. Oka L’Artisan, Agropur Fine Cheese
  3. Swiss Cheese, Farmers Dairy

Flavoured Cheese

  1. Oka Mushrooms, Agropur Fine Cheese
  2. Lankaaster Cumin Flavoured, Glengarry Fine Cheese
  3. Chevalier Fine Herbs, Agropur Fine Cheese

Open Class

  1. Burrata, Quality Cheese
  2. La Tentation de Laurier, La Fromagerie du Village 1860
  3. Allegro Camembert 16%, Agropur Fine Cheese

Any Cheese made with Sheep’s Milk

  1. Wishing Tree, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  2. Bonnie & Floyd, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese
  3. Mouton Rouge, Best Baa Dairy

Feta

  1. Feta in Brine, Black Diamond
  2. Tre Stella Feta, Arla Foods
  3. Anco Feta, Agropur Fine Cheese

Cendre de Lune by La Fromagerie du Village 1860 was named Reserve Champion in the variety cheese class.

Judges in the variety class: 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.

Cheese Lover’s Guide to Ontario North

Here’s where to find the two cheesemakers in Northern Ontario.

Click on “View Larger Map” for a legend showing the two cheesemakers, Thunder Oak Cheese Farm and Thornloe Cheese.

Here’s where to find the other cheesemakers:

Our mission at CheeseLover.ca is to publish profiles of all cheesemakers, descriptions of cheeses produced and maps of all regions in a printed booklet and interactive website under the banner of Cheese Lover’s Guide to Ontario. More, as the Ontario Cheese Trail project proceeds.

By the way, when you visit a cheesemaker, in Ontario or elsewhere, share your experience by leaving a comment below.