Only a few years ago, you could buy, tasty local cheeses were a rarity, and available only in exclusive stores at outrageous prices.
These days, cheese lovers can enjoy fine Canadian cheeses from Ontario, Quebec, Price Edward Island, Alberta and British Columbia in many up-scale grocery stores.
Since 2005, Dairy Framers of Canada organizes a cheese competition annually, when a jury composed of cheese specialists, chefs, and food writers and assorted connoisseurs evaluate each sample for colour, general appearance, texture, body, flavour, and salt content.
In 2013, a record 225 cheeses were submitted from six provinces. All samples were grouped into 19 categories.
Here are winners:
Semi-soft cheese category: Feta, Tre Stelle, Ontario.
Swiss type: Louis D’Or 18 months, Fromagerie du Presbystere, Quebec
Medium Cheddar (up to nine months): Medium Cheddar, Maple Dale Cheese, Ontario
Old Cheddar (aged up to one year): Cheddar One Year, Fromagerie Peron, Quebec
Aged Cheddar (up to three years): Avonlea Cloth Bound Cheddar, Cows Creamery, Price Edward Island
Aged Cheddar (More than three years): Five Year Aged Cheddar, The Black River Cheese Co. Ltd., Ontario
Blue cheese: Bleu d’Elizabeth, Fromagerie de Presbytere, Quebec
Washed rind cheese: La Mamirolle, Fromagerie Eco Delices, Ontario
Mozzarella type: Mozzarella Arla Foods Inc. Ontario
Fresh Cheese: Ricotta, Quality Cheese Inc., Ontario
Firm Cheese: Gunn’s Hill Five Brothers, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Ontario
Soft Cheese Bloomy Rind: Le Noble, Fromagerie Domaine Feodal Inc. Quebec
Gouda type: Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alberta
Always enjoy cheese at room temperature and if you like to pair with wine select –
Goat cheese – Sancerre or dry sauvignon blanc from new Zealand, Ontario, California, South Africa, or Australia
Cream and soft with bloomy rind cheeses – oak aged chardonnay, auxerois, dry riesling from Ontario, Germany, Alsace, New Zealand or Oregon)
Hard cheeses – full bodied red wines from Australia, Italy (Sicily, Tuscany, Veneto, or Piedmont), France (Languedoc, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux), U S A ( California, Washington State), Argentina, Chile, South Africa, British Columbia, or Ontario, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, or Greece
Blue cheeses – Sauternes, ice wines (Ontario, Germany), semi sweet wines from Georgia, amarone, Tokaji 4 puttonyos
Buy cheese to last for three or four days. Portion your purchase before refrigerating.