Grand Trunk: Savour the aroma and flavour of the Swiss Alps

Try and buy Grand Trunk and other award-winning cheeses from Stonetown Artisan Cheese at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto on June 6.

Grand Trunk is a best-seller for good reason: It tastes great, it really does!

Grand Trunk, the most popular cheese made by Stonetown Artisan Cheese in St. Marys, Ontario, is named after the historic railway bridge of the former Grand Trunk Railway in St. Marys.

On the outside of the cheese, the rind does have an old rustic look, just like the historic bridge.

But cut open a wheel and inhale the aroma. You’re immediately transported to the Swiss Alps where the fragrance of alpine meadows fills the air, mingling with a robust aroma of dairy.

Place a piece in your mouth and let it melt. It’s so rich and creamy, so packed with layers of flavour, with a nice balance of salt.

Grand Trunk is aged six to nine months. The older the better the taste, we say.

That’s award-winning Grand Trunk, the pride of cheesemakers Jolanda and Hans Weber who came to Canada in 1996 from their native Switzerland, with three children in tow, to begin a new life in St. Marys on their own dairy farm.

“Having previously worked in the Swiss Alps, it was always our dream to produce delicious, high quality cheese reminiscent of the renowned Swiss mountains and made from our own milk,” the Webers explain. “With a profound commitment to creating cheese of the highest quality, and the support of our family, as well as Ramon Eberle, a Master Cheesemaker from Switzerland, our humble dream became a reality.”

Fresh milk comes from 250 Holstein cows—who sleep on beach sand all year round. Two sons, together with their families, look after the cows while Jolanda and Hans handcraft the farmstead cheese: “In order to obtain a great taste, the milk is unpasteurized and has no additives. This ensures the cheese is pure and natural.”

The milk is thermized, which means its heated to reduce spoilage bacteria with minimum collateral heat damage to milk components. Artisan cheesemakers prefer thermization to pasteurization as the former does not cause changes in flavour.

The taste of place is definitely Swiss Alps—although the cheese is made in Southwestern Ontario.

You’ll have a chance to meet Jolanda and Hans and sample and purchase their delicious cheese at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market at historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall in Toronto on June 6.

“We will bring our award-winning cheeses like Wildwood, Homecoming, Farmstead Fontina, Farmstead Emmental and, of course, our most famous cheese, our Grand Trunk. We also make some goat milk cheeses and we will bring our Amazing Grey. The recipe for Amazing Grey is the same as for the Grand Trunk but with goat milk.”

Grand Trunk, which is aged six to nine months, was crowned Grand Champion in Specialty Cheese at the 2018 British Empire Cheese Competition.

Jolanda and Hans Webber with Master Cheesemaker Ramon Eberle.

Grand Trunk tastes excellent in sandwiches or just on a cheese platter with fruits, dried meat and rustic bread. It is a great cheese for fondue or grilled cheese sandwiches. Due to its unique flavor, the cheese pairs well with both red and white wines.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman of Canadian Cheese Awards and director of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. He’s hardly ever met a cheese he didn’t like.