How to get to the Cheese Festival without driving

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You don’t own a car? Or you don’t want to drive! No problem! We have ways to get you to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival without wheels of your own.

From Toronto:

Join a guided bus tour from Toronto to the Cheese Festival organized by Culinary Adventure Company, with tastings at two wineries, gourmet lunch and Grab & Go Breakfast at CHEESEWERKS. Click here for more info and tickets.

From Ottawa and Kingston:

Enjoy a roundtrip coach package with Savvy Company leaving from Ottawa with pick-ups in Kingston. After an afternoon at the Cheese Festival, you will tour the back roads of Prince Edward County to visit two wineries, then back to Picton Fairgrounds for a fun dinner at Makers+Mongers in Cheeseburger Paradise. Click here for more info and tickets.

Entirely on your own:

Getting to Picton without a car is doable—but it calls for two steps. First, get to Belleville by Greyhound or Via Rail. Then, use the local transportation service, Deseronto Transit, to get to the Fairgrounds. Match up the two schedules and you’ll be enjoying cheese in no time. Another helpful resource: Prince Edward County Ride Share.

Save 10% off admission prices by ordering tickets online in advance. No waiting in line as the Express Entrance will quickly whisk you into all the deliciousness. Enter the promo code CF15WEB before starting your online ticket order here: http://cheesefestival.ca/tickets/

We look forward to welcoming you to the biggest cheese show in Canada.

—Festival Organizing Group aka Cheese FOG

 

“Give People What They Want, Give People Flavour!”

Jeff and Rayling Camacho, owners of Burger Revolution in Belleville and Trade Craft Good Food in nearby Brighton.

Jeff and Rayling Camacho, owners of Burger Revolution in Belleville and Trade Craft Good Food in nearby Brighton.

Makers+Mongers in Cheeseburger Paradise on Saturday evening at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival will introduce you to a cozy little burger joint in Belleville, Ontario, one that’s grown to include a second, sammy-driven location in nearby Brighton, and a huge community following. If you’ve been searching for a perfectly executed grilled cheese, or a succulent handmade burger, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more at Burger Revolution and Trade Craft Good Food Co.

Burger Revolution began its uprising in 2012. In the shadows of a Burger King no less, Jeff and Rayling Camacho launched their tongue-in-cheek response to the fast-food trend: a slow-food outpost focusing on quality, local ingredients, and of course, appropriately rebellious naming conventions.

With menu items like the “Chevre Guevara” and the “Malcolm X-treme,” Burger Rev has cemented itself in the hearts of foodies and revolutionaries alike.

Burger Revolution at 300 North Front Street, Belleville.

Burger Revolution at 300 North Front Street, Belleville.

“We wanted to give people a reason to keep coming back regularly,” says Jeff, “We didn’t want it to be a special occasion, fine dining establishment, but instead, somewhere that we’d see people more often.” Each month, a limited-edition burger is added to the restaurant’s roster, and a social media frenzy ensues as Jeff and Rayling ask their Facebook fans to name their new creation. Past hits have included pork belly and Sriracha maple “Aporkalypse Now,” and a crispy fish creation dubbed “The Kraken.” The business itself began with an outcry from burger lovers, and led to the creation of the Burger Revolution manifesto: Give The People What They Want; Give The People Flavour!

Pastry madfe in-house at Trade Craft in Brighton.

Pastry madfe in-house at Trade Craft in Brighton.

The philosophy extended earlier this year to include Trade Craft Good Food Co: Jeff and Rayling’s new sandwich shop nestled into the End of the Thread Antique Emporium in Brighton, Ontario. “We had been talking about food trucks,” says Jeff, “but every time we think we might go that direction, a different business is the result.” The 475 ’wich, stuffed with ham and Granny Smith apples, is further testament to the operation’s local-flair, and is just a taste of what you can expect when you walk through its retro-inspired café surroundings.

In just a few short years, the Camachos have begun revolutionizing the dining experience across the region they call home, all the while keeping the produce used as local as possible. The foundation of a Burger Rev burger is a testament to this, starting with the homemade pretzel bun, Enright Cattle Company beef patty, and Wilton Cheese (which you’ll find just outside Napanee). “We met Kara (Enright) after she came in . . .  one day. She was just getting into the business and wanted us to taste her product. We knew we couldn’t deny it: They treat their cows right, and you can taste it.”

When it comes to Trade Craft, sandwich meats are also sourced from Enright (Don’t miss the pastrami when you make the trip!) and are cured and smoked in-house. Bread and pastries are baked fresh daily, and the shop has even begun crafting its own line of hot sauces and condiments so that you can take home the shop’s special flavours.

Flavor and tastiness, hallmarks of a signature cheesburger created by Jeff Camacho. Bon appétit!

Flavor and tastiness, hallmarks of a signature cheeseburger created by Jeff Camacho.

What to expect from the masterminds behind Trade Craft and Burger Rev at Makers+Mongers? In a word, or two, flavor and tastiness. For his cheeseburgers, Jeff will be using Enright Cattle Co. beef, award-winning Raclette cheese made by Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, kaiser buns by Stonemill Bakehouse, and condiments made in-house. Also on the menu, appetizers provided by artisan food exhibitors in the Cheese Festival, superb sausage by Seed to Sausage, several sides created by Chef Michael Hoy, and incredible desserts made by Pastry Master Peter Grendel.

Oh yes, Vineland Estates Winery and Beau’s All Natural Brewing at the cash bar.

The fifth anniversary of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival—the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada—takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, in Picton, Ontario, at the Fairgrounds. For complete information and tickets, please visit CheeseFestival.ca.

—Laura Voskamp

By night, Laura Voskamp is a cheese lover and freelance writer. By day, she’s Communications Coordinator for Bay of Quinte Tourism and Bay of Quinte Living

Enright Cattle: Leading the herd in Sustainable Ag

Darold and Kara Enright with young Corben on the their beef farm near Tweed, Ontario. Now, there is second young one, Evelyn.

Darold and Kara Enright with young Corben on the their farm near Tweed, Ontario. Now, there is a second young one, Evelyn.

You won’t find any Heinz 57 or greasy French-fries here, but make no mistake, you’ll definitely get lost in your cheeseburger in paradise at Makers+Mongers, the Saturday evening social function at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

The Cheeseburger in Paradise theme, complete with a live Jimmy Buffett musical tribute, offers up a perfect partnership with Enright Cattle Company—providers of the highest quality beef to restaurants across Southeastern Ontario for a number of years and Official Beef Supplier to Makers+Mongers at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

The Enright purebred black and red Simmental cattle are bred on-farm, and are raised on farm-grown crops without the use of artificial hormones. As a result, the beef is truly a cut-above, noticeably more tender and tasty, and of course, trustworthy. As the consumer begins to lean towards sustainably produced food, Enright Cattle Company is leading the pack with its innovative practices and commitment to providing the best product.

It all starts with high quality hormone-free beef from cattle raised on farm-grown crops.

It all starts with high quality hormone-free beef from cattle raised on farm-grown crops.

Kara Enright, along with her husband Darold, and their two little ones, are fourth-generation farmers, based just south of Tweed, Ontario. While farming traditions are at their family business’s core, Enright Cattle Company is also a pioneer in new practices such as meat traceability, having introduced a barcode system that allows the farm to track each cut of meat it produces. Being able to track each cut back to the animal it came from provides a level of flexibility and efficiency not previously available to farms, as well as a superior sense of accountability to their consumers. In the event of a recall, for example, Enright is able to locate each cut from the affected animal and find out instantly where it has ended up. Beyond this type of scenario, traceability also allows the farm to replicate the conditions of exceptional animals in order to reliably produce outstanding beef.

If you find yourself too far from the scattering of restaurants around the farm’s Tweed outpost, the Enrights have recently begun offering online sales and weekly delivery options between Toronto and Ottawa. While you can select your cuts individually, Kara also offers a unique selection service: essentially, a beef concierge package, aptly named Kara’s Box, in $100, $200, and $300 increments. Cuts are hand-selected and paired with ideal recipes from pot roasts to grilling steaks, adding even more of a human touch to the Enright Cattle Company experience.

Enough about pot roasts, though: We all know that during summer, the main event is always burgers. If you haven’t taken a bite of a juicy Enright burger at one of their many partner restaurants, you’ll finally be in on the secret at the Cheese Festival’s Makers+Mongers gathering this year. Burger Revolution (of “You Gotta Eat Here!” fame, located in Belleville) will come together with their long-time beef supplier to create the burgers worthy of the event’s utopian title. Cheeseburgers in Paradise is a name that demands a heavenly menu, and these two Bay of Quinte makers are more than prepared to deliver.

Beef from Enright Cattle transformed into a gourmet cheeseburger by Burger Revolution.

Beef from Enright Cattle transformed into a gourmet cheeseburger by Burger Revolution.

On her first meeting with Burger Rev owners Jeff Camacho and Rayling Lei, Kara says that Jeff was immediately intrigued with the option of a local beef product. He began serving Enright beef at Capers Restaurant in Belleville, where he was the head chef at the time, and took the partnership further in opening Burger Revolution, which has since developed a cult following in the area.

“We work with a lot of very talented chefs from Kingston, Ottawa, Gananoque, Belleville, Prince Edward County, Trenton and Toronto,” says Kara. “Our chefs really support us and work with us to utilize the entire carcass. “We are always looking for ways to utilize the entire carcass, and we’re midway through a very exciting project that will allow us to do just that!”

The future of Enright Cattle Company is bright, as Kara and Darold work to create a business that’s sustainable and profitable for what will be the fifth generation of farmers, their two little ones.

The fifth anniversary of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival—the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada—takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, in Picton, Ontario, at the Fairgrounds. For complete information and tickets, please visit CheeseFestival.ca.

—Laura Voskamp

By night, Laura Voskamp is a cheese lover and freelance writer. By day, she’s Communications Coordinator for Bay of Quinte Tourism and Bay of Quinte Living.

Pharmacology to fermentation to wine to cheese at Lighthall

Cheesemaker Heather Robertson and three of the first cheeses made at Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy.

Cheesemaker Heather Robertson and three of the first cheeses made at Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy.

How does a pharmacist become Ontario’s first small-batch winemaker/artisan cheesemaker? Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy owner and winemaker Glenn Symons can explain:

He has been making cheese for personal use for the past two years, discovering new recipes and perfecting techniques along with Heather Robertson. She is a longtime friend and a 15-year cheese industry veteran. She has worked in cheese retail and cheesemaking at another cheese producer.

Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy will be one of 40 artisan cheese producers sampling and selling cheese at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 6-7 in Picton, Ontario.

Glen Symons, winemaker and cheesemaker, too.

Glenn Symons, winemaker and cheesemaker.

Symons had been a home winemaker since age 19. He started in pharmacy in 1993, taking over the Lighthall vineyard in 2008. Lighthall produces three still wines, two sparkling, including 2014 Lighthall The Fence Rosé, and and one dessert wine. The Fence the first rosé from its own vineyards. It is 100% Pinot Noir, refermented using the Charmat method.

All the wines are produced in a non-interventionist manner. Non-interventionist winemaking consists of doing as little as possible to the grapes from their growth to their eventual vinification.

Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy endeavours to produce the highest quality wines, primarily from their own grapes, with all employees and family members involved in every step of production, including vineyard work through to final bottling, said Symons. With the tasting bar inside the production area, they aspire to share this enriching experience with every customer who comes to visit.

“It’s much like making home vintage, but on a larger scale,” said Symons. “In some ways the commercial equipment makes the process easier.”

Cheesemaking has proven to be so much fun and the cheese so delicious that Symons and Robertson are sharing their talents with the public. They sell their three sheep’s milk cheeses at a farmers’ market in Kingston and at the winery. They produce three varieties:

  • Runner – a soft ripened cheese, the rind washed in Lighthall Chardonnay,
  • Cocotte – a rustic, earthy unpasteurized blue,
  • Brie de Milford – a soft, surface-ripened cheese with a hint of Prince Edward County terroir flavours.
Glen Symons and Heather Robertson toast they first cheese creations.

Glenn Symons and Heather Robertson toast their first cheese creations with his wine creations.

Symons is planning to expand his facility. For now, he and Robertson make the cheese off-site, but hope to soon have an on-site commercial kitchen. They will keep to the three current varieties, said Symons, producing in quantities sufficient to sell at the winery and in Kingston. They may try some seasonal cheeses or a more aged cheese in the future, said Robertson.

The winery is located at 308 Lighthall Road, Milford, in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on Ontario’s newest artisan cheese producer, please visit Lighthall Vineyards and Dairy’s website www.lighthallvineyards.com

The fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival—the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada—takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, in Picton, Ontario, at the Fairgrounds. For complete information and tickets, please visit CheeseFestival.ca.

—Joanne Fralick

Joanne Fralick is a cheese lover and freelance writer who lives with husband and son in Prince Edward County.

 

Laliberté: Best of the best in Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

Laliberté, an aromatic triple crème made by Fromagerie du Prebystere, is Grand Champion of the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Kudos to Jean Morin!

Laliberté, a fabulous triple crème made by Fromagerie du Presbytere, is Grand Champion of the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Kudos to Jean Morin!

He wore the same smiling-cow tie he wore at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, and, again, at the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix last night, Jean Morin was named Grand Champion—the best of the best in artisan cheesemaking in Canada.

This time the champion cheese is Laliberté, an aromatic triple crème that will blow your mind and palate. Last time the winning cheese was Louis d’Or, another extraordinary cheese made in a former Roman Catholic rectory—thus, the name Fromagerie du Presbytère—in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick two hours east of Montréal.

Jean Morin accepts the Grand Champion award at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix night, for the second time in four years.

Jean Morin accepts the Grand Champion award at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix night, for the second time in four years. Click on image for an enlarged view.

In a repeat of Morin’s then unprecedented awards sweep in 2011:

  • Laliberté was also named champion in the Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind category,
  • Louis d’Or was named champion in Swiss-Type Cheese,
  • Le Bleu d’Élizabeth was named champion in Blue Cheese.
Jean Morin dances a happy dance with Nancy Portelance of Plaisirs Gourmets as his associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard looks on.

Jean Morin dances a happy dance with Nancy Portelance of Plaisirs Gourmets as his associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard looks on. Click on image for an enlarged view,

Clearly, it was an unforgettable evening for Morin and associate cheesemaker Dany Grimard as the Gala of Champions unfolded at Liberty Grand in Toronto, scene of a lavish awards ceremony cum cheese-tasting organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada. DFC has sponsored of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix since launching the biennial competition in 1998 to celebrate the high quality and proud tradition of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian cow’s milk.

When asked what the secret is to making award-winning cheese, Morin, a fourth-generation dairy farmer, answers simply: “Good grass and no silage.”

His response last night echoes what he told CheeseLover.ca four years ago: “Happy, healthy cows. It all starts with the milk, and the care we show the cheese as we make it.”

A tie with smiling cows proves to be a lucky charm for Jean Morin—for the second time.

A tie with smiling cows proves to be a lucky charm for Jean Morin—for the second time. Click on image for an enlarged view.

Appropriately, smiling cows adorned the tie Morin wore to the 2011 awards presentation and last night, too.

Laliberté was selected as Grand Champion by a jury of Canadian food industry experts from 27 category winners. The Grand Champion and 27 category winners were chosen from a record-setting 268 cheese entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 81 finalists by the jury in February.

“From all the excellent cheeses the jury tasted, we found Laliberté to be the stand-out,” said Phil Bélanger, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury chairman. “This cheese truly distinguished itself in texture, taste and overall appearance. Its exquisite aromatic triple cream with its tender bloomy rind encases an unctuous well balanced flavour with hints of mushroom, pastures and root vegetables.”

Named after Alfred Laliberté, the famous sculptor born in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, the farmstead cheese took a year and a half to develop and is made with cow’s milk provided by a mix of naturally raised Jerseys and Holsteins.

Fromagerie du Presbytère cheeses are distributed by Plaisirs Gourmets and available in cheese shops across Canada.

Laliberté will the featured cheese and Jean Morin the guest of honour at the fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 6-7 in Picton, Ontario. Many of the Grand Prix winners will also be in the spotlight at what has become the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast.

Québec dominates Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

fromagerie-fritz-kaiser

Fritz Kaiser, a pioneer in artisan cheesemaking in Québec, was named champion in three categories at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.

Cheese producers in Québec, the birthplace of the artisan cheese movement in Canada 25 years ago ago, dominated the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix when winners were announced last night.

Fritz Kaiser, one of the pioneers in artisan cheesemaking in the 1980s, was named champion in three categories for cheese made by Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser:

  • Washed- or Mixed-Rind Semi-soft Cheese: Raclette
  • Flavoured Cheese with added non-particulate flavourings (except smoked cheese): Griffon Raclette
  • Flavoured Cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings: Pepper Raclette.

Fromage-AmourTradition_4coul-e1419193019649Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser is distributed across Canada by Fromages CDA under the Amour & Tradition banner. Fromages CDA, named for its founder and president Daniel Allard, will take over an entire wing at the upcoming Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, representing a total of 10 artisan producers from Québec, including the following Grand Prix champions and finalists:

Altogether, Québec cheese producers won 13 out of 27 categories in the Grand Prix plus the coveted Grand Champion.

Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère also won in three categories:

  • Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind: Laliberté
  • Swiss-Type Cheese: Louis d’Or
  • Blue Cheese: Le Bleu d’Élizabeth.

With Laliberté, Morin was honoured as Grand Champion—the best of the best in Canada.

Other category champions from Québec:

Jan Schalkwijk of Sylvan Star Cheese was set to sweep all gouda categories until . . .

Jan Schalkwijk of Sylvan Star Cheese was set to sweep all Gouda categories until . . .

. . . when along came Adam of Mountainoak Cheese to capture the Extra Old Gouda category.

. . . along came Adam van Bergeijk of Mountainoak Cheese to capture the Extra Old Gouda category.

The biggest winner outside of Quebec was Sylvan Star Cheese which won three categories:

  • Smoked Cheese: Gouda Smoked Natural Cheese, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Gouda (aged 1 to 6 months): Gouda Medium, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Aged Gouda: Gouda Aged, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB

Other category champions outside Québec:

It doesn't get more Canadian than this: Punjabi immigrants, Amarjit Singh and his wife,  make Mexican-style mozzarella named Oaxacxa at their Ontario creamery (Local Dairy Products) and become Canadian Grand Prix champions.

It doesn’t get more Canadian than this: Punjabi immigrants, Amarjit Singh and his wife, make Mexican-style mozzarella named Oaxacxa at their Ontario creamery (Local Dairy Products) and become Canadian Grand Prix champions.

The Gala of Champions unfolded at Liberty Grand in Toronto, scene of a lavish awards ceremony cum cheese-tasting organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada. DFC has sponsored of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix since launching the biennial competition in 1998 to celebrate the high quality and proud tradition of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian cow’s milk.

A jury of Canadian food industry experts selected from the Grand Champion and 27 category winners from a record-setting 268 cheese entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 81 finalists by the jury in February.

Laliberté will be the featured cheese and Jean Morin the guest of honour at the fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival on June 6-7 in Picton, Ontario. Many of the Grand Prix winners will also be in the spotlight at what has become the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada representing producers from coast to coast.

The Farm House Natural Cheeses of Agassiz, British Columbia, in quite possibly the prettiest setting for a chesse dairy in Canada, was named Grand Prix champion in tw0 categories.

Farm House Natural Cheeses, in quite possibly the prettiest setting for a cheese dairy in Canada in Agassiz, British Columbia, was named Grand Prix champion in two categories.

Cheesemaking technology rescheduled to June 8-12

A student in the Cheesemaking Technology course at University of Guelph learns how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.

A student in the Cheesemaking Technology course at University of Guelph learns how to pour Camembert-style cheese into forms.

Here’s your chance to get real cheese smarts.

The University of Guelph has been offering some version of its cheesemaking course since 1893, though its present professor, Art Hill, began teaching his Cheesemaking Technology Short Course with the Food Sciences department in 1986.

The  acclaimed course—designed for artisan and commercial cheesemakers, cheese hobbyists, and government and sales personnel who work with cheesemakers—focuses on the science and technology of cheesemaking. Students attend lectures and apply the principles learned in a cheesemaking laboratory.

“The focus is on understanding the manufacturing principles of technological families of cheese, rather than becoming expert in the manufacture of particular cheese varieties,” says Professor Hill. The program is offered annually in the spring and runs for five days. The next course offering runs from June 8-12, 2015. Those interested can visit the course website.

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