Starting 1980’s Canadian “cheese palates” started evolving by leaps and bounds. Previously, mostly cheddar and a few soft cheeses were consumed but now; cheese mongers in large cities stock hundreds of varieties both domestic and imported.
Most consumers discern clearly, differences between processed and natural cheeses, and appreciate distinct flavours inherent to the products of different regions. They know that the breed of the cow, or sheep, or goat, and the grass consumed make a difference.
Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia Romagna, tastes completely different, to an imitation from Wisconsin, or New Zealand, or Argentina. The same is true for Cheddar from England, Camembert from France, Manchego from Spain, and Emmenthal from Switzerland.
Canada’s meadows feed millions of cows, sheep and goats. The grass species they eat make a distinct difference in their milk, and ultimately the cheese.
All Canadian provinces produce cheese, but Ontario and Quebec more than all others.
British Columbia and Alberta are relatively newcomers, but seem to be catching up quickly.
The Biannual Cheese Grand Prix celebrates the artistry of cheese makers across the country.
Jury of11 food industry experts select a Grand Champion a single winner in each 27 categories that cover all varieties made exclusively using locally milk.
The grand winner in 2015 was
Laliberte from Fromagerie du Presbytere, Quebec, a soft ripened bloom rind cheese.
Single winners in each category were:
Soft cheese with bloomy rind
Comox Camembert, Comox, British Columbia, Natural Pastures Cheese Co.
Cream enriched soft cheese with bloomy rind
Albert’s Leap BelHaven Triple Crème Brie, Ontario, Quality Cheese Inc.
St. Paulin, Fromagerie Kaiser Inc. Quebec
Washed rind soft cheese
L’Origine de Charlevoix, Laiterie de Charlevoix, Quebec
Washed rind semi-soft cheese
Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc. Quebec
Washed rind firm cheese
La Meule des Chammps, Fromagerie Rang 9, Quebec
Asiago, Bright Cheese and Butter Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Ontario
Miranda, Fritz Kaiser Inc. Quebec
Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., Ontario
Queso Duro Cheese, Latin Foods Inc., Alberta
Gouda (aged six months)
Gouda Medium, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alberta
Louis Cyr, Fromagerie Bergeron, Quebec
Extra aged Gouda
Old Grizzly, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alberta
Le Rassembleu, Fromagerie de la Table Romande, Quebec
Stout Beer Cheddar, Fromagerie Perron, Quebec
Gouda Smoked Naturally, Sylvan Star Natural Cheese Ltd., Alberta
Mild Cheddar (aged three months)
Marble Cheddar, Bothwell Cheese Inc., Manitoba
Medium Cheddar (aged four to nine months)
L’Ancestre Organic Medium Cheddar, Fromagerie L’Ancestre, Quebec
Old Cheddar (aged nine to twelve months)
Old Cheddar, Borhwell Cheese Inc., Manitoba
Aged Cheddar (aged one to three years)
Extra Old Cheddar, Cows Creamery, Prince Edward Island
Aged Cheddar (aged more than three years)
Extra Old Vintage Cheddar Cheese, Gay Lea Co-operative Ivanhoe Cheese, Ontario
Mountain Oak Farmstead Premium Dutch Gold, Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., Ontario
Le Beluchon, Fromagerie F.V. Pichet, Quebec
It is always a gustatory pleasure and learning experience to line up six to 10 cheeses, 10 wines, and inviting friends to taste and discuss, both cheeses and wines to uncover flavours never experienced before.
Note: During a recent New Zealand wine festival
Albert’s Leap Belhaven (Quality Cheese, Vaughan, Ontario), Tipsy, Social Club Artisan Foods, Toronto), Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Quebec) were served to appreciative guests.