Monday, April 29, 2013

Say Cheese to Canada's Best!

Coast to coast Canada's 182 cheese makers produce over 700 different varieties of cheese.  Now ask the average Canadian what their favourite cheese is and you'll  likely get the same 6 answers over and over again. Typical favourites include cheddar, mozzarella,  Havarti, Swiss, Feta and Brie.

While these top six cheeses are all worthy of our adoration, the Dairy Farmers of Canada,  in an effort to support Canadian cheese makers, started the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Now in it's 8th edition the nation wide competition honour's all Canadian made cheeses that use 100% Canadian Cow's milk.

This year there were 20 categories that were judged by various criteria such as flavour, body, texture, finish and colour among others.  The judges tasted their way through 225 different cheese or 6.5lbs of cheese each!  Lucky me,  I was invited to a lovely brunch at the TIFF Blue Room to taste this years winners.

While all the winners were  delicious my favourites included...

  • Bleu d'Elizabeth (Fromagerie du Presbytere) -  made from organic farmhouse milk this blue has a natural rind and a delicious creamy texture.
  • Le Mamirolle (Fromagerie Eco-Delices)  - a semi-soft, washed rind cheese with a smooth texture and flavour notes of hazelnut and fruit.
  • Applewood Smoked Cheddar (Cow's Creamery) - a two-year old cheddar infused with natural applewood smoke.
  • Ricotta (Quality Cheese Inc.) - a fresh soft cheese that is semi-sweet and mild in flavour.
Of the top 20 cheeses,  the overall Grand Champion was the Ricotta from Quality Cheese Inc!   I like to enjoy Ricotta for breakfast,  topped with blueberry preserves and black pepper.   Creamy Ricotta also makes a great base to any sweet or savoury bruschetta.  Check out this link for more recipes using ricotta!

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