Canada, the second largest country int her world, has a lot of pastureland and fine cows producing significant amounts of good quality milk. From early on, farmers in Quebec, Ontario, and Maritime provinces made cheddar-style hard cheese and in the 18th and 19the centuries a lot of the production was exported to the United Kingdom and the U S A.
For North Americans cheese has different uses – for breakfast, in sandwiches and may be in food once in a while.
Serving cheese as a separate course to conclude a meal, or for use in recipe has been alien, although this is gradually changing.
In remember once ordering a cheese plate after a meal instead of dessert, and I received was a piece of ice-cold medium cheddar with a few saltine crackers and a few grapes. My disappointment was bigger than imaginable.
Today, select restaurants in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Quebec City offer cheese menus. We have come a long way, but still have to go a much longer way to catch up with the French.
A good portion of the population knows about cheese and is willing to pay for quality to get it.
When it comes to cream cheeses, Quebec diaries have it; Ontario excels in hard cheeses! Artisan cheese establishments in Quebec are now producing semi-soft cheeses of great taste and refinement.
Since 1998, Dairy Farmers of Canada have promoted the annual Canadian Cheese Grand Prix competition and encourages small establishments to invent new recipes.
Here is a list of the Grand Prix award winners:
Ricotta, Damafro (Quebec), Comox Camembert, Natural Pastures (British Columbia), Boerenkass, Natural Pastures (British Columbia), Le Migneron de Charlevoix, Maison M. Dufour, (Quebec), Medium Gouda, Thunder Oak Cheese (Ontario), Mozzarella, Maple Dale Cheese,(Ontario), Provolone Sette fette, National Cheese, (Ontario), Bleu Benedictine, Abbaye Saint Benoit, (Quebec), Balderson Mild Cheddar, Balderson (Ontario), Brittania Three year Old, Agropur, (Quebec).
Cheese mongers in large cities carry many of the above, and if you order well in advance, they will make every effort to bring it in.
Concluding a meal with a small portion of cheese(s) and remaining wine is a pleasure. If you have never tried it, experiment with a few of the suggestions below.
Red Bordeaux or Bordeaux blends: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Reblochon, Livarot
Cabernet Sauvignon: aged Cheddar, Monterey Jack
Syrah Cheddar, Gruyere, Emmenthal , Camembert, Brie
Zinfandel: Jarlsberg, Emmenhtal, Cheddar
Sangiovese or Chianti Classico: Pecorino Toscano, Sapsago, Parmiggiano-reggiano, Reggiano
Pinot Noir: Mozarella, Monterey Jack, Gouda, camamert
Chardonnay: mild Cheddar, Brie, Camembert
Champagne or sparkling wine (dry): Reblochon, Feta, Cream cheeses
Gewurztraminer (dry): Maroilles, Langres, Munster
Late harvest: Roquefort, Bleu de Benedictine, Danish Blue, Stilton
Riesling: chevre, feta.