Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off (and grilled cheese giveaway-thanks Cheesewerks!)

THE WINNER: Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese by Chef Jason Bangerter

Remember that Bryan Adams song?  “Everything I do I do it for a Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese?”  A real wedding fave.

First off–yes–there is a grilled cheese give-a-way at the bottom of this post.  Second the Niagara Gold Crunch grilled cheese was unbelievable.

I spent this afternoon as a judge at The Dairy Farmer’s of Canada Grilled Cheese Cook-Off.  (I know, does lunch get any better?)  Four of Canada’s top chefs went head to head and each served two grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese made from 100% milk  (you’ve probably seen the little blue cow label on your cheese, it means that a cheese is made with all cow’s milk, no other additives–aside from salt and culture of course.)

Just wanted to give you a little brief of the menu and the chefs, so I’ll start with Chef Bangerter and move on from there.

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of O&B ( Luma and Canteen), Toronto

CHEF JASON BANGERTER

Niagara Gold Crunch (The Winner)
Niagara Gold cheese, sour dough bread, prosciutto, baby arugula,  with the bread brushed with mayo that had been flavoured with garlic, thyme and pepper before being grilled.

*this was also served with pickled grapes and a sparkling fresh grape juice that was the perfect compliment to the savoury sandwich.  I hear it will be going on the menu…..  (but here is the RECIPE if you want to DIY it)

Sweet Summer Night

This was the Chef’s dessert grilled cheese. It was made with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries with a some basil added in between the grilled brioche. It was served with aged balsamic vinegar.

Executive Chef Michael Howell, Tempest Restaurant, Nova Scotia (defending champion)

CHEF MICHAEL HOWELL

Crabby Dipper

Yum, if you love crab dip, this is your man-wich from Chef Howell. The crab dip is made with cream cheese, marinated artichokes, fresh parsley and some hot sauce.  There as also a hint of smokiness from smoked Gouda and real crabmeat–of course.  Recipe here.

The Crabby Dipper

Apulia Panini

This was inspired by Chef Howell’s love of  Southern Italy (he gives culinary tours of Italy, just FYI!) this sandwich was on olive bread and had Asiago cheese, pesto, tapenade and sundried tomato compote inside. All homemade of course and incredibly flavourful.

Chef Liana Robberecht, Calgary Petroleum Club holding her Stampede Centennial

CHEF LIANA ROBBERECHT

Stampede Centennial

Chef Robberecht made this grilled ‘wich with pulled beef short ribs, provolone and blue cheese on sourdough–oh–and a bit of onion jam for some tangy sweetness. Must be eaten with fork and knife.  (Or just a pile of napkins on hand).

Cherry Bomb Grilled Cheese

The Cherry Bomb

This baby came close second for me.  It looked gorgeous on the plate (excuse my shoddy photo). The bright red, candied cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavour and gave the sandwich such a freshness married with Triple Cream Brie and then crunchy bacon (ok, my mouth started watering as I wrote that).  Trust me, you want the recipe for for the candied-tomato vinaigrette.

Executive Chef Ned Bell, Yew Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver

CHEF NED BELL

The Simple

This was a great concept, because the comfy, cozy grilled cheese we all want on a rainy day is just cheese melted and in this case served with a fruit chutney.  Showcased the bread and the cheese (Courtenay Cheddar and Island Brie).  And the presentation was, can I say, cute?  Would Chef Bell kill me?  I loved it.

The Ned “Bell Pepper” Sweet and Spicy

This little number was made on a country loaf with Hot Pepper Cheddar and Pacific Pepper Spicy Verdelait.   The red bell pepper jam on the side made it, I think you’ll be wanting this recipe too.

Judges Elizabeth Baird and Rita DeMontis (talking and tweeting about the event)

And who were my fellow judges?  Elizabeth Baird, Rita DeMontis and Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks which brings us to our free grilled cheese!

Judge Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks at Grilled Cheese Mission Control

HI EVERYONE–THE GRILLED CHEESE VOUCHERS ARE ALL SPOKEN FOR. Thanks for emailing, we’ll do another giveaway soon!

Kevin has generously donated a few sets of tickets for a free Original Grilled Cheese (so you can either bring someone or eat two sandwiches–it’s a toughie).

Cheesewerks (56 Bathurst St, Toronto) which also serves soups and mac and cheese, also offers some amazing sodas that are made in-house (and written up by Macleans magazine).

Email me at sueriedl@gmail.com with the words “Grilled Cheese” and I’ll give them away, first come first serve!

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Snacks in Halifax–beer… lobster… beer and lobster….Wayne’s World

Lobster’s from Wayne’s World. Really. Keep reading, eh.

We were on holidays in Nova Scotia and PEI for 10 days and had an outstanding time.  I was disappointed to be such a terrible blogger in the last couple weeks as I had so many delicious moments, but between problems uploading pics and just travelling with child, I kind of gave up.  But, I will now start sharing.  One huge thing for me was my conversion to beer over wine for most of the trip.  You would switch sides too if you tasted how good the local brews were.  Perfect with our food and the sunny, hot weather.

Like a fish to water, Tad and Propeller IPA

I had planned on branching out ever since Heather Rankin at the Obladee Wine Bar in Halifax (along with beer and wine writer Craig Pinhey) organized a local cheese/beer pairing post on this blog which featured Canadian brews (and Canuck cheeses), three of them from out east.

In Halifax Garrison’s brewery right beside the Seaport Market was our second stop after a quick bite of some amazing, and well spiced, Indian food in the market itself.  Tasting glasses were only $2 each and we tried several, leaving with bottles of the Tall Ship Amber Ale and Raspberry Wheat Beer (very subtle in fruity qualities, which I liked).  We drank these with some spicy tapenade that evening before donning old T-shirts to dig into the lobster fest (see the first picture) on a backyard patio.  Butter, white wine and nothin’ else.  Well, a lot of paper towels.

The Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Which brings us to Wayne’s World via the Eastern Passage (where the weather is apparently really different than nearby Dartmouth-sweater vs T-shirt I hear, on some days).  It’s a little fishing community with many “I must take a picture…or 20″ worthy little coves and piers.  We were there on an especially beautiful evening as the sun was on its way down.

Wayne’s World—of Lobster!

But enough sightseeing.  Back to Wayne’s World. This is where the locals go for lobster.  They don’t cook it themselves–heck no.  They do take-out.  Truthfully, I don’t know about all locals, but I do know about at least two locals who have Wayne on speed dial….we had some damn good lobster at their house later that night.

Fish cake and beans at Henry House.

I’m getting all ahead of myself talking about lobster when the first meal I had on the east coast was fish cakes and beans.  And here’s a good laugh for you Atlantic natives, when I saw this I thought, “how novel!  Beans with the fish cakes”.   Ha ha ha ha.  Only to see this on every menu everywhere.  This delicious plate was eaten on the patio of Henry House in Halifax.

Henry House in Halifax

Henry House was built in 1834 and has some great pub food and quite a beer menu (see how easily my beerification began?)

Uncommon Ground, Halifax

Right across the street I had steaming after-lunch coffee from Uncommon Grounds.  Felix was a little boisterous and may have pissed off some customers but I just smiled in embarrassment and looked at him as if he was the cutest imp I had ever seen.  Denial works.

Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market

Which bring us back to the Seaport Farmer’s Market (I know, I’m too excited and jumping all around!) we visited on a weekday so not quite as bustling as it must be on Saturdays but still–wild blueberries for $3/pint!  And truthfully, tonnes of great food to be looked at, admired and purchased when you’re a tourist like me.  And when one has a stroller–NOT CROWDED is awesome.

Butcher Seaport Market

I checked out the grass-fed steaks at the butcher…

And veggies to go with the steak..

Or maybe you just want to grab some lobster poutine to eat by the water?

Lemon Ginger lovely-ness.

And wash it down with this locally made soda (grandma’s recipe!).

Forget chocolate and peanut butter.

And I found this at the Garrison brewery.  And we hadn’t even gotten to the sno-cones we had after the Theodore the Tugboat tour.  (Man, sno-cones aren’t as good as I remembered them.)

So what did I learn in my first 24 hours in Nova Scotia?  Fishcakes come with beans, the beer out East is great and don’t take the light pink crayon if you want to properly mark anything on your Theodore and Friends map.

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Curds and Eh: Episode 7 How to Roll Cheese and Kick Butt at Whistler

Check out lots of photos at canadiancheeserolling.ca

This post is part of a guest blog series by Kelsie Parsons.   See the recent Globe and Mail piece about his travels.

August 18th, 2012 was a super hot day on the slopes in Whistler, BC but that didn’t stop the 137 competitors and over 13,000 attendees of the Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition.

This photo of Kelsie has not been retouched or manipulated in any way.

This was the 5th annual competition and it coincided with Crankworx – a downhill mountain biking festival that attracts fearless athletes from around the world.

Crankworx 2012, photo by Blake Jorgenson (umm, where’s the cheese?)

The Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition is sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada and promotes cheese made from 100% Canadian milk.

You need a fast shutter speed not to blur the action in this photo.

What happens at a cheese rolling competition? Basically, cheese is rolled down a hill and the first person to the bottom wins. The winner qualifies for the finals and the grand champion heads home with an 11lb wheel of Cracked Pepper Verdelait cheese and a season’s ski pass to Whistler Blackcomb.

Staying strong through the pain.

After 7 qualifying rounds, 10 men lined up at the top of the hill. The horn blew and people flipped and tripped and stumbled down the hill but Tyler Belan stayed vertical and won the race with a time of 5.03s beating his competitors (including last year’s champ) by only a fraction of a second.

Tyler Belan celebrates.  CONGRATS TYLER!

I was excited to learn that Tyler is actually a cashier supervisor at the Highland Rd. Sobeys in Kitchener, Ontario which is only 5 minutes from the Sobeys where I’m a cheesemonger. If you’re in the Kitchener-Waterloo area stop in to say hi to Tyler, the cheese rolling champ, and maybe he’ll even have a bit of his 11lb cheese left to share. Tyler explained that his technique was to not focus on the cheese but to just run as fast as possible. He actually ran so fast that he beat the cheese to the bottom of the hill! Way to go Tyler for bringing home the gold (or cheese in this case)!

A bachelorette at Cheese Rolling!  I need to get remarried tout de suite. S.R.

And then there is this pic also from The Canadian Cheese Rolling site’s gallery…..

Am assuming this is the costume component and that that is Kelsie in the mask. S.R.

The woman’s finals saw Joslyn Kent of Australia take the prize with a time of 7.08s. For the costume contest, a team from Washington won a $500 gift certificate to local restaurants for their costumes of a cow, farmer, wheel of cheese and milk bucket featuring the 100% Canadian milk logo. One of the other attractions was a busy farmers market featuring cheesemakers from BC to PEI. Festival goers sampled cheese and brought home their favourites.

Spectators keeping a safe distance from hurtling cheese (and people)

Although I didn’t compete (the above action photos of Kelsie were just promo shots and did not involve a stunt double whatsoever S.R.) , witnessing the Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition was one of my most memorable days this summer.

Salt Spring Island’s Romelia, Juliette and Blue Juliette.

What’s next for this cheesy adventurer? A trip to Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island and then I’ll be ending my 3.5 month road trip and taking the long drive home. Not to worry, I’ve got enough cheese stories to keep me writing for a long time.

For Curds and Eh 1 (the itinerary), click hereCurds and Eh 2 (Quebec), Click Here, Curds and Eh 3 (Quebec) , click here, Curds and Eh 4 (St.John’s), Curds and Eh 5 (Thunder Oak Gouda)and Curds and Eh 6 (Upcoming Cheese Festivals).

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Curds and Eh, Episode 6: Cheese Rolling and 3000 tonnes of curd

These people are chasing wheels of cheese down the Whistler slopes

This post is part of a guest blog series by Kelsie Parsons.   See the recent Globe and Mail piece about his travels.

Summer is the time for festivals. I’m not talking Lollapalooza and Osheaga here. I’m talking cheese festivals such as The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Victoriaville Fine Cheese Festival, Festival des Fromages Artisanaux Quebecois and American Cheese Society’s Cheese Rally in Raleigh.

Although we’re half-way through August the festival season isn’t over yet. Here are a few cheesy festivals to keep you busy.

St. Albert, Festival of Curd

Festival de la Curd – St. Albert

St. Albert Cheddar Co-op makes some of the best cheddar curds in Canada. Fortunately for us they created a festival to celebrate squeaky cheddar curds. The annual festival began in 1994 when St. Albert Cheddar celebrated its 100th anniversary. This year’s festivities include a giant corn maze, an antique tractor show, beach volleyball, a magician, plenty of live music, wine and surprise, surprise…CURDS!!! Over the course of the 5-day festival, St. Albert typically gives away 3 tons of cheddar curds for free. 3 TONS of curds!!! That could make a lot of poutine!

I have never been to the curd festival but I’d love to go sometime! If you’ve been (or are going) I’d love to hear all about it!

Festival de la Curd takes place August 15-19 in St. Albert, Ontario. For more info visit the Festival de la Curd website. .

More cheese rolling–view from the bottom of the hill!  Helmets! Knee pads! This is intense.

The Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition

Where will you be on Saturday August 18th from noon-4pm? I’m planning on attending the Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition in Whistler, BC and I’m super excited to see it! As you may know, I’m spending my summer visiting cheesemakers in every province and will be writing a book about Canadian cheese. I’ve actually planned my whole trip so that I end up in British Columbia for this competition!

This guy for Pope. Just a thought (by Sue).

The Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition is based on the legendary cheese rolling competition in Gloucestershire, England but with a Canuck twist. All the cheese at the festival (and there’ll be a lot) is made from 100% Canadian milk.

Cheese rolling is pretty straight forward. Basically, cheese is rolled down a hill and people attempt to catch it. The lucky winners get to keep an 11-pound wheel of cheese and they receive two ski season passes to Whistler Blackcomb. Last year’s festival saw over 165 participants and 12,000 spectators! There’s more than just cheese rolling and running though. The festival also includes a costume contest, cheese seminars and a market featuring cheesemakers from Courtenay, BC to Charlottetown, PEI.

This event is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada and aims to bring attention to great cheeses made from 100% Canadian milk. As someone who is eating different Canadian cheese every day I have to say there’s a lot of great cheese made here!

UPDATE FROM KELSIE:  The winner of the 2012 cheese rolling is Tyler Belan, front end manager at Highland Sobeys in Kichener, ON.  Congrats Tyler!

Cheese Rolling winner

For an up-to-date countdown until the festival  check out canadiancheeserolling.ca

Come out and taste the best grilled cheese of 2012.

The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off

The start of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto is always a bittersweet time. Around this time you’ll hear people exclaim, “The CNE is opening! I can’t believe summer’s almost over!” But that sentiment doesn’t last long as they indulge in tasty treats and then attempt to hold them down while on dizzying rides.

One of the hot food events at the CNE will be The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off held in the All You Need Is Cheese booth. At this event top chefs from around Canada compete to create the “gratest” grilled cheese sandwich.

In 2010, Michael Howell (chef and owner of The Tempest in Nova Scotia) won for his Panini Toscano which featured Canadian Havarti, prosciuto, baby arugula, fresh figs, lemon aioli, and balsamic vineagar. Whoa! I’ll be cooking this up when I return home in September.

Michael will be defending his title against three top chefs from across Canada: Jason Bangerter, executive chef at O&B Luma and Canteen restaurants in Toronto; Ned Bell, executive chef at the Yew Restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver; and Liana Robberecht, executive chef at the Calgary Petroleum Club in Calgary. Each chef has created two recipes featuring cheeses made from 100% Canadian milk and the winning chef will walk away with the 2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese trophy. Recipes from the event will be posted on the All You Need Is Cheese (www.allyouneedischeese.ca/grilledcheesecookoff) website after August 29th.

Chef Melissa Craig at the 2010 competition.

One the judges who will taste all these gooey creations will be Cheese and Toast’s very own Sue Riedl! I’m sure Sue makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich too! (Awwww, stop. SR) What’s your favourite grilled cheese sandwich? Personally, I like mine with horseradish cheddar (go on!  me too…SR)…or maybe a triple cream mixed with a Swiss style cheese. There are infinite possibilities!

The competition will be held on August 29th at 11am in the All You Need Is Cheese  booth at the CNE in Toronto, ON.

For Curds and Eh 1 (the itinerary), click hereCurds and Eh 2 (Quebec), Click Here, Curds and Eh 3 (Quebec) , click here and Curds and Eh 4 (St.John’s).

**Photo of the grilled cheese from http://theinterrobang.com

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Go to Cheese School this Fall! Classes start in September.

Cheddar making tools

Wondering why there’s a rake lying in a bathtub?  Time to go to cheese school.

The Cheese Education Guild (where I took my first cheese classes) is back up and running and offering an introductory Cheese Appreciation course starting September 11, 2012 and running 8 weeks until October 30, 2012. (hey, you can give out cheese for Halloween!  With a little note that says, “Eat the rind scaredy pants!”)

I went to cheese school and look–(messy) counters full of cheese greet me every day!

My colleagues and the new owners of the school, Lisa McAlpine and Marla Krisko are both graduates of the 3 level certificate program (originally run by Kathy Guidi who created it as the first certified cheese program in Canada) and will be teaching the course.  They are excellent and experienced instructors who are also a lot of fun.

Hmmm, bloomy rind, buttery paste, ripe interior and gorgeous manicure.

You may or may not do all three levels but this first course is eye-opening and inspiring for anyone who has a love or learning and a love of cheese.  It’s a lot of fun–but you also have to study a bit….which may mean putting out a cheese board.  (hmmm, my first degree was in film which involved studying by watching movies…am I lazy?  or genius? )

Here is more info:
Time and Location:  6:30 – 9:30 p.m. at University of Toronto Faculty Club

Cost:  $575 + HST = $649.75

Contact:  info@artisancheesemarketing.com

Cheese Appreciation 1 Classes include 8 weeks (Tuesdays) of training, 3 hours per evening, course curriculum materials, tasting of 8 – 10 cheeses per class, testing, and final certificate.

These classes allow the student to discover the vast knowledge surrounding the production of cheese, its history, cultural influences and the nuances of terroir.  In addition, the student is taught how to actually taste and categorize cheese and to appreciate its subtle qualities.

Cheese Appreciation classes are casual, but extremely informative, allowing the student to relax while learning about cheese and enjoying the company of other like minded caseophiles (cheese lovers!).  Students attending these classes range from pure enthusiasts to retail and culinary students wishing to specialize in the exciting World of Cheese.

Established in 2005, the Cheese Education Guild has trained hundreds of cheese lovers, ranging from enthusiasts to food and wine professionals, and has played a significant role in encouraging the production and distribution of artisan cheese across Canada and the U.S.

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How to Make the Best Schnitzel (let the games begin)

flour, bread crumbs, egg and pork

I was going to call my blog The Sunday Schnitzel.  Because I love schnitzel and that name sounded kind of cool.  But since I went with a meat-free name I must be satisfied with sharing with you the basics of the best schnitzel ever (for Sunday or any day).  I feel like I have some authority as my mom makes the best schnitzel and I have learned from her.  Are mine as good?  Well, they’re getting there.

What makes a schnitzel the best?  Well, you want it thin enough to have a proper crust to meat ratio, and crispy is important and golden brown (a few burnt patch never did anyone harm either if you asked my grandfather) but I think it also has to do with the salt.  You need to season well.  But first things first.  And when properly done the crust will make a little jacket for the meat, but not be attached to the meat.

Take your pork cutlet or boneless butterflied pork chop (each side can be its own schnitzel) and if you’re my mom, give it a good wash and dry well.  If you’re me you might forget that step. (I should mention we never make veal schnitzel, in our family the pork is top choice over the occasional chicken–at which time complaints are made to the chef.)

First remove the excess fat from around the pork.  I don’t go insane on this, just the main fatty bits come off.

I may have gone a little deep with the slicing here, but it is important to cut around the edges so that when you whack your pork with the tenderizer, it will really give way.   Also, it creates all these delicious breaded crispy edges to rip off and run away with when the schnitzel is cooling.  I loved that as a kid so I guess I like to ensure plenty of sneaking potential.

Now you pound your schnitzel with the tenderizer.  I probably am a little too enthusiastic–but boy–is it easy to get carried away!  Work from the outside in and joking aside, you do not want to tear the meat into bits.  Flip it over part way through–the meat should spread to almost twice its size.   You will now salt it on both sides.

schnitzel, floured, goes into egg

Next step is the breading. Put out a plate with some flour.  A plate with bread crumbs and a large bowl with a couple of eggs lightly whipped with a fork.  Add salt to all of these plates.  This is what gives the savory, salty, yum to the crispy fried schnitzel.  Triple level seasoning.

First take one of the naked schnitzels and put it in the flour until well coated–do not miss the nooks and crannies.  Now dip this into the egg mixture, the egg will stick to the flour.

Let excess egg drip off and then lay into the bread crumbs.  Coat and turn well–again–make sure you are getting into the nooks and crannies.  Should be well covered.  Using a fork it is possible to do this without mess, most often I end up with breaded fingers though.  I do not think this happens to my mom.

Pile up the breaded schnitzel on a clean plate until ready for flying.  You can even bread these a little in advance, and then just fry them an hour later for dinner.

Frying:  This is where my mom would instruct ” just pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into the pan” and fry.  No.  If you watch what she does, you will know that the oil actually comes about halfway up the schnitzel.  So, glug in some vegetable oil (or something fairly neutral with a high smoking point-add some butter if you like–YUM) and heat over med-high.  Add the schnitzel when the oil is glistening.  Should sizzle as it goes in.

no this schnitzel did not shrink, the one above was a previous batch.

Flip the schnitzel when golden.  It only takes a minute or two. Finish on the other side.  Watch the heat, you may need to lower it a bit.  Remove schnitzel and let dry out on a paper towel.  Eat immediately.  With potato salad if possible.  My mom’s potato salad if circumstances are ideal.  (I should post that one day…)  Usually we poke the schnitzel with a fork and then drizzle it with fresh lemon before attacking.

Do not add cheese to the plate.  That’s just crazy.

**OK, so no reference to schnitzel/wiener schnitzel in the Penguin Companion to Food, but Shoofly Pie, that’s got a few paragraphs.  WHAT?  What do penguins have against the the Austrians?  Here is some schnitzel history from the German Food Guide.

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Curds and Eh, Episode 5: THUNDER OAK GOUDA breaking new ground

This post is part of a guest blog series by Kelsie Parsons.   See the recent Globe and Mail piece about his travels.

Thunder Oak Cheese is famous for their Gouda. The Schep family produces aged and flavoured Goudas on their family farm in Thunder Bay, Ontario and are the only Canadian cheesemakers within a 650km radius!

It wasn’t until more than 30 years after Jacob Schep’s first trip to Thunder Bay that he began commercially producing cheese. Jacob Schep arrived in Thunder Bay from Holland as an exchange student in 1968. His dream was to work on dairy farm but unfortunately he was placed on a potato farm instead.

The following year Jacob returned with his partner Margaret to show her the land that he loved but after a 3 day train ride from Montreal to Thunder Bay, Margaret decided it was too remote and too far from her family. Back in Holland, Jacob and Margaret ran a dairy farm for 10 years but they found there wasn’t land available to expand so in 1981 they immigrated to Ontario and the following year they set up a dairy farm in Thunder Bay.

Thunder Oak Company

Their cheese factory opened in November 1995 and in 2007 their son Walter and has wife Joanne took over the cheese production. As Margaret recalls the past 30 years she laughs and says she never wanted to marry a farmer, move to Canada or end up making cheese but she ended up doing all of the above and seems incredibly happy.

Forms filled with Gouda Curds

Walter Schep is a 6th generation cheesemaker and his family still makes cheese in Holland and Belgium. His mother, Margaret, explains that their Gouda recipe has been passed down through her family for generations but making cheese is a lot like making cake – everyone in her family uses the same recipe but there are small differences in the final product.

Thunder Oak Gouda flavours (from the Thunder Oak website)

The cheeses at Thunder Oak are a rainbow of colours and cover a huge range of flavours. In total they produce 12 varieties of flavoured Gouda including sun-dried tomato, nettle, smoked, classic cumin spice, and jalapeno, their most popular. They also make regular Gouda at 4 ages (mild, medium, old, and extra old) and Maasdammer which is the size and shape of Gouda but has holes and a flavour similar to Swiss. Due to the demand for fresh curds Thunder Oak began selling Gouda curds, which are less salty than their cheddar curd cousins but equally as delicious.

Gouda Pressing at Thunder Oak

For anyone traveling across Canada or visiting Thunder Bay, Thunder Oak Cheese is a must stop destination. Visitors have a chance to watch Walter produce cheese every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and of course there are plenty of samples too. Thunder Oak’s cheeses are so popular locally that they can often be hard to find across the country.

It’s worth looking for at your local fine cheese retailer. Not to worry though, Thunder Oak is about to break ground on a new facility down the road that will double their size and allow them to keep up with the demand of their highly sought after cheeses.  Now that’s gouda news!*

*A Gouda joke is obligatory in any article about the classic Dutch cheese.  Read more about the city of Gouda itself.

For Curds and Eh 1 (the itinerary), click hereCurds and Eh 2 (Quebec), Click Here, Curds and Eh 3 (Quebec) , click here and Curds and Eh 4 (St.John’s).

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