For cheese lovers, all roads lead to Picton on June 3-4

Informative Cheese Seminars are included in the price of admission at #TGCCF.

Top 10 reasons why you won’t want to miss the seventh annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, on June 3-4, 2017.

  1. More than 500 foods and beverages for sampling and purchase, including 200 artisan and farmstead cheeses.
  2. Chance to meet Canada’s outstanding cheesemakers face-to-face, including many from Québec.
  3. Informative Cheese Seminars on a variety of topics.
  4. Express access to more than 100 exhibitors and vendors, including specialty foods, small-batch wine, craft beer, craft cider and—NEW!—spirits.
  5. SWAG! An insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases and a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+).
  6. Local VQA wines and cider available for purchase by bottle or case (19+).
  7. Dairy Farm, with animals and displays, including the sweetest water buffalo you’ll ever meet.
  8. Food Court, featuring—NEW!— J.K. Fries and Braised-Beef Poutine from Jamie Kennedy Kitchens.
  9. Live music by Starpainters trio in the Prince Edward County Pavilion.
  10. Ample FREE parking.

More than 5,000 cheese lovers are expected to attend, sampling and purchasing close to 200 different cheeses made by artisan producers from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It’s the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada, indeed, in North America, with an estimated 500 foods and beverages in total on offer.

Meet Canada’s best cheesemakers, including Armand Bernard of Cows Creamery in P.E.I., at Canada’s biggest cheese show.

Cheesemakers, specialty food producers, small-batch wineries, craft breweries and cideries, and other exhibitors and vendors have reserved 100+ booths making the event at the Picton Fairgrounds one of the biggest artisan food markets in Ontario.

TICKET OPTIONS:

  • Super Saturday (June 3) or Super Sunday (June 4): All attractions listed above PLUS EXTRAS such as informative Cheese Seminars, an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases, a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+), live music and more. Super Ticket $50 plus tax per day.
  • BEST BUY: Weekend VIP Pass (June 3 and 4): Admission Saturday and Sunday with VIP access at 10 a.m., one hour before show opens to public. PLUS reserved seating at informative Cheese Seminars. Includes all attractions listed above PLUS EXTRAS such as Cheese Seminars, an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases, a souvenir Festival glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+), live music and more. Weekend VIP Pass $75 plus tax.

Tickets can be ordered online in advance at http://cheesefestival.ca/tickets/ or purchased at the door.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is the only place where you can taste and buy 200 different Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses—plus specialty foods galore.

The Festival’s main attraction, the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair, is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4. Families are welcome. Children 15 and younger FREE when accompanied by an adult. Special pricing for groups of 10+.

There is so much to do at the Cheese Festival—and in must-visit Prince Edward County—that you’ll want to make a weekend of it. Check out featured accommodations in Prince Edward County, Belleville and Kingston at http://cheesefestival.ca/where-to-stay/

The Festival also offers special events like Gastronomy on the Farm with Jamie Kennedy, Cooking with Cheese Class with Cynthia Peters and a Quinte Cheese Tour. For additional information, visit CheeseFestival.ca. For assistance, email info@cheesefestival.ca or telephone 1.866.865.2628.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the generous support of Celebrate Ontario. Prince Edward County is Gold Sponsor, Bay of Quinte Region is Principal Partner and Stonemill Bakehouse is Official Bread Supplier.

Picton Fairgrounds is located in the heart of Prince Edward County, south of Belleville in Bay of Quinte Region. One hour from Kingston, two hours from Toronto, three hours from Ottawa and New York State, and less than four hours from Montreal.

THE GREAT CANADIAN CHEESE FESTIVAL
June 3-4, 2017, Picton, Ontario
1.866.865.2628
http://cheesefestival.ca


 

For the cheese lover in your life at Christmas

15181409_1334820033237228_9209551556281257544_nCheese lovers in your life will appreciate a holiday gift of tickets to the 2017 Great Canadian Cheese Festival, the biggest artisan cheese show in North America.

We will send you a personalized gift certificate (upon receipt of your ticket order) for the ticket recipient. The certificate will be a PDF that you can forward by e-mail or print for giving in person.

The seventh annual Festival takes place June 3-4, 2017, at Picton Fairgrounds, in must-visit Prince Edward County, Bay of Quinte Region, near Belleville, Ontario.

Holiday tickets are available for the Saturday portion of the festival at $50 plus HST each.

Admission includes access to more than 130 exhibitors and vendors offering more than 500 foods and beverages, an insulated Festival tote bag for your purchases, a Festival souvenir glass for sampling wine, beer and cider (19+), Cheese Seminars (rush seating), Dairy Farm, Food Court, and live music. Ample FREE parking.

Click here to place your order. Please allow five days for the arrival of gift certificates.

For more information, email info@cheesefestival.ca or telephone 1-866-865-2628 toll-free.

The website CheeseFestival.ca will be updated in January when regular tickets go on sale.

Hobby to business—Ian Treuer’s winding road in cheese

Cheese dreams come true for Ian Treuer of Winding Road Artisan Cheese.

Cheese dreams come true for Ian Treuer of Winding Road Artisan Cheese.

After almost a decade of research, learning and teaching about cheese, Ian Treuer is turning his passion into a career.

“I was looking for a hobby,” Treuer said. “I don’t really drink, so beer making was out. I made my first cheese at home eight years ago.”

As of February 15, Treuer is the owner of Winding Road Artisan Cheese in the County of Smoky Lake, Alberta. He purchased the existing Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese business after working there part-time in 2012-2013. It is located 20 minutes from the town of Smoky Lake and 90 minutes from Edmonton.

winding-road-logo

Treuer and his business partner/mentor, who works behind the scenes, have rebranded and changed the product line for the launch of Winding Road Artisan Cheese. Treuer is the cheesemaker, bringing his experience as home and professional cheesemaker, teaching cheese making classes and co-ordinating the first ever Canadian Amateur Cheesemaking Awards at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in 2015.

“I enjoy both the science and the art form,” Treuer said of cheesemaking. “There’s something about starting with a liquid and turning that liquid into a solid. I love working with the curds.”

When Treuer started his road to artisan cheese making, he followed Australian blogger Gavin Weber’s “Little Green Cheese” posts. Weber also creates cheese in his home kitchen. Now Treuer follows many cheesemakers on Instagram. Much To Do About Cheese is Treuer’s own popular blog about home cheesemaking.

Ian Treuer working part-time in the make room at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese. Three years later, he's co-owner and the cheesemaker.

Ian Treuer working part-time in the make room at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese. Three years later, he’s co-owner and the cheesemaker.

“I’m inspired on a daily basis,” he said. “I’m a fan of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario. It was a thrill to meet Shep Ysselstein, the cheesemaker, at last year’s Cheese Festival,” he said.

Pending licensing and inspections, Treuer hopes to start making cheese in March. His long-term goal is to obtain federal as well as provincial licenses.

Winding Road cheeses will be made using a thistle enzyme rather than traditional rennet.

“This will help give our cheeses unique flavors and hopefully set us apart from other cheeses produced in Alberta,” said Treuer.

To begin with, Treuer will be the cheesemaker with his business partner helping with administration, marketing and sales. Their initial market will be cheese enthusiasts in Alberta and eventually across Canada. The cheeses will be cow-milk cheeses, but they hope to team up with local goat dairies as well.

The first cheeses ready for sale will be:

  • Queijo Fresco – A traditional Portuguese fresh cheese made using thistle (cardoon) enzyme.
  • Fromage Blanc – A lovely light, spreadable cheese that is a perfect substitute for Chevre, for those who don’t like goat cheese, and cream cheese.
  • Lactic Bloomy Rind Cheeses – A washed rind cheese to be ready two to three months after they start production, and a firm cheese to be ready in six to seven months.
Cardoon.

Cardoon: unique enzyme.

The partners hope to process between 1,000-2,000 litres of milk per week. They have a 300-litre vat, so Treuer said he is focusing on quality over quantity.

This quality Treuer believes will come from the unique enzyme found in the Cardoon plant, allowing him to make unique “Made in Alberta” cheeses. One of his long term goals is to get licensed Federally so he and his partner can help put Alberta in the minds of cheese lovers when people talk about Canadian cheese.

Follow Ian Treuer’s progress on Instagram at @MTDACheese. A company website, http://www.windingroadcheese.com, should be up and running by May.

—By Joanne Fralick

Joanne Fralick is a cheese lover and freelance writer who lives with husband and son in Prince Edward County. She’s also Promotions Specialist for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Savvy Cool Curds: Canadian Cheese-of-the-Month Club

The Cool Curds graphic says it all: Cheese has been delivered at your door.

Savvy Cool Curds graphic says it all: Cheese has been delivered go your door.

Just in time for Christmas, Debbie Trenholm and I are thrilled to announce the first all-Canadian artisan cheese-of-the-month club in Canada: Savvy Cool Curds.

Savvy Cool Curds is our “whey” of strengthening the bond between Canadian cheese producers and consumers, sharing the stories behind the uber-talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic individuals who give so much of themselves for the enjoyment of others through one of the world’s favourite foods.

image001Over close to ten years of working with cheesemakers, distributors, industry associations, cheesemongers, retailers and sommeliers across our nation, never has it been so important to support local. Even in the face of increased competition from imports, Canadian cheesemakers are shining on a world culinary stage, trending big wins in major competitions such as the American Cheese Society Competition and the World Cheese Awards. Proof positive that we don’t have to look farther than our own backyard for a wide variety of tasty artisan cheese that rivals any across the globe.

For $55/month ($60 after December 30), your Savvy Cool Curds subscription brings all this cheesy goodness right to your front door.

Each month, a different Canadian artisan producer will take the spotlight and you’ll receive a package to delight: 4-5 hand-selected delicious cheeses (just less than 1 kg), plus my tasting notes, tips and tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes in our Curd On The Street eZine. Plus, you’ll become a VIP member of the Savvy Company family, giving you VIP invitations and special discounts to Savvy Events featuring Canadian artisan cheese, wines, and craft beer, too!

Our first months feature delicious Canadian artisan cheeses from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Cow’s Creamery, Back Forty Artisan Cheese, Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, and new on the scene Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy.

Canadian artisan cheese brings joy to my life everyday. Cow, sheep, goat and buffalo milk cheeses. Cheddar, aged and sharp, washed rind, soft and delicate, fresh, fruity, blue and bold or rustic and vegetal, they’re all so delicious.

Through Savvy Cool Curds, you, too, can experience the same cheesy pleasure. It’s the gift that keeps on giving (for others or yourself). Sign up today and spread the curd!

                                 —Guest blog by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Curator, Savvy Cool Curds, Savvy Company

Fuoco leads Canadian charge at Worlds

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Deliciously creamy Fuoco made with water-buffalo milk.

Who says Canadian cheese cannot compete on the world stage?

Jason Fuoco, a young Quebec cheesemaker who began producing cheese three years ago, was a major winner at the 2015 World Cheese Awards last weekend. His eponymous Fuoco, a soft washed-rind cheese made with water-buffalo milk, was named Best Canadian Cheese and honoured as one of the top 15 cheeses in the world.

Three Canadian cheeses were among the 62 which attained Super Gold recognition. They are:

Washed rind cheese

Farmhouse cheddar

  • Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Hard cheese produced on small farm or dairy

“Fuoco displays beautiful balance between the paste and rind, soft creamy rich paste that runs through right to the finish, very lactic milk flavour with strong barnyard scent, wonderful with crusty bread. Would not pass up on this cheese! “

—Jackie Armet, Cheese Co-ordinator, The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

Two Canadian producers, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser in Québec and Quality Cheese in Ontario, each returned home with four medals apiece.

Eight Canadian producers won gold medals:

Semi-hard cheese produced on small farm or dairy

Cow’s milk blue cheese

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal

Washed rind cheese

Washed rind cheese

Ricotta

Ricotta

Semi-hard cow’s milk cheese

avonlea-clothbound-cheddar_sm

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar made on Prince Edward Island.

Ten Canadian producers won silver medals:

Semi-hard cow’s milk cheese

Soft goat’s milk cheese

Soft ewe’s milk cheese

Extra mature creamery cheddar

Mozzarella, fresh, cow’s milk in ball

Brie made from pasteurized milk

Washed rind cheese

Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal

Hard cheese produced on small farm or dairy

Soft or unpressed cow’s milk cheese with sweet savoury additives

alfred

Alfred le Fermier made by Fromagerie La Station.

Nine Canadian producers won bronze medals:

Creamery cheddar

Semi-hard cow’s milk cheese

Soft goat’s milk cheese

Mature traditional cheddar

Soft or unpressed cow’s milk cheese

Washed rind cheese

Washed rind cheese

Soft cow’s milk cheese

Soft or unpressed cow’s milk cheese with sweet savoury additives

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Nick Tsioros of Olympic Cheese, Toronto, was the sole Canadian judge on the jury.

Le Gruyere AOP Premier Cru made by Switzerland’s Cremo and Von Muhlnen was named Best Cheese in the World.

The biggest cheese competition in Canada, Canadian Cheese Awards/Le Concours des fromages fins canadiens returns in 2016 with the Awards Ceremony and Tasting Gala taking place in Montreal in mid-April.

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Lankaaster Aged crowned best cheese in the world

Celtic Blue Reserve: Best cheese in all the Americas

Best of Show: Celtic Blue Reserve by Glengarry Fine Cheese.

Best of Show: Celtic Blue Reserve by Glengarry Fine Cheese.

Congratulations to Glengarry Fine Cheese​ for winning Best of Show with Celtic Blue Reserve at the biggest cheese competition in the United States!

A soft blue enriched with extra buttercream and aged four months, the cheese won top honours at the annual American Cheese Society Judging & Competition, held this week in Providence, Rhode Island. Some 1,700 cheeses were submitted for judging by cheese producers in North, Central and South America.

Two years ago, Glengarry’s Lankaster Aged was named Best Cheese in the World at an international competition in England.

Cheesemakers extraordinaire: Margaret Peters-Morris (left) and Wilma Klein-Swormink

Cheesemakers extraordinaire: Margaret Peters-Morris (left) and Wilma Klein-Swormink.

Margaret Peters-Morris, owner at Glengarry Fine Cheese, located in Lancaster near Cornwall, Ontario, give full credit to cheesemaker Wilma Klein-Swormink: “This cements 20 years of really hard work from myself and my staff. Through a lot of sweat and tears, we were determined to reach a real pinnacle in our career.”

Klein-Swormink has played a key role in cheesemaking at Glengarry since its inception in 2008 and produces cheese with the dedicated team at Glengarry as plant manager/cheesemaker.

Glengarry Fine Cheese and Glengarry Cheesemaking are located on the Peters family farm which has been in the family since 1967, Peters-Morris explains. “Our ancestral roots hail from the Netherlands and our parents have laid the framework for the family farm to grow and prosper in Lancaster where our parents started their dairy and crop farm which is now in the hands of the next generation who are continuing the dairy tradition and, now, the cheese factory is building its own tradition and reputation with the hard work and dedication that our parents instilled in myself and my brother.”

Margaret shares cheesemaking responsibilities with Wilma who is also the daughter of Dutch immigrants who also came to Eastern Ontario to establish a dairy farm.

A single herd of Brown Swiss cows provides the milk for Celtic Blue.

In addition to being named Best of Show, Celtic Blue Reserve won the blue-cheese category. Canadian cheesemakers won five other categories in the prestigious competition:

Best Gouda: Louis Cyr by Fromagerie Bergeron.

Best Gouda: Louis Cyr by Fromagerie Bergeron.

Margaret Peters-Morris started making cheese commercially under the Glengarry Fine Cheese banner seven years ago, but her involvement in cheesemaking across North America goes back two decades. She’s making a name now as an award-winning cheesemaker in her own right but for many years, Margaret was—and still is—the go-to-source for lactic starters and ripening cultures for cheesemakers from California to Quebec.

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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.