Category Archives: Uncategorized

Curds and Eh: Kelsie Parsons Reports on The Canadian Cheese Awards

Le Baluchon displayed at the Canadian Cheese Awards

Very happy to be able to get the scoop (below) on the new Canadian Cheese Awards from cheese monger and cheese writer Kelsie Parsons–  he is in the last legs of finishing his Canadian Cheese Book and I look forward to having more on that down the road.

There’s a new champion in the Canadian cheese world – Le Baluchon, an organic washed rind cheese made in Quebec by Marie-Claude Harvey and her team at Fromagerie F.X. Pichet. It was named cheese of the year at the first-ever Canadian Cheese Awards held April 7 at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.

Three awards in total were handed out for Le Baluchon – best semi-soft cheese, best organic cheese, and cheese of the year. Each award is well deserved.

Cheese of the Year - Le Baluchon

Le Baluchon was first made in 2004 in a partnership between Fromagerie F.X. Pichet and Fromagerie Jonathan. At the time, Fromagerie F.X. Pichet produced cheese milk from their own herd of cows and then sold their young cheeses to Fromagerie Jonathan, which ripened, promoted, and sold local farmstead cheeses. This arrangement is much more common in Europe and allows farmstead producers to focus on farming and cheesemaking. Unfortunately, Fromagerie Jonathan went bankrupt. By that time, Le Baluchon had made a name for itself in Quebec so Marie-Claude Harvey and her husband Michel Pichet purchased Fromagerie Jonathan’s building and the rights to the name Le Baluchon and continued its production.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fromagerie F.X. Pichet’s ripening room with bowls of brine and brushes in the foreground.

Washed rind cheeses, such as Le Baluchon, are frequently rubbed with a brush that is dipped in brine. This technique adds salt to the cheese, keeps its exterior moist, and creates the proper environment for the growth of Brevibacterium linens (or B. linens for short) which creates the pinkish orange rind typical of this style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The name Le Baluchon refers a hobo’s bundle of possessions tied to a stick.

What I love about Le Baluchon is its complexity and depth of flavour. There’s so much happening in every bite – flavours of nuts, butter, a slight bitterness to the rind, and a subtle pungency. Although the judging was blind (they could see the cheeses but weren’t told the names), the judges picked a cheese that is consistent in quality from batch to batch. I have never had a wedge of this cheese that was less than excellent.

Marie-Claude Harvey and Art Hill

Marie-Claude Harvey displays her award for Cheese of the Year with Professor Art Hill

Marie-Claude was instrumental in changing regulations in Quebec to allow for certain fromageries to legally produce unpasteurized cheese aged less than 60 days. She has been inducted into the prestigious Guilde de Fromagers for her contributions to the cheese industry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marie-Claude Harvey and Michel Pichet pose with dry grass grown on their farm.

Michel Pichet restarted his family farm in 1989 with a focus on producing high quality organic milk and keeping his cows healthy and happy. He now has a mixed herd of 90 Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Ayershire cows of which he milks 50 twice a day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A curious Brown Swiss cow on the Pichet family farm.

The cows have access to the outdoors all year round and their feed is free of genetically modified organisms and pesticides. Michel is proud that his cows live much longer than the average dairy cow and they have more offspring. He explains that most cows have 2 or 3 calves in their lifetime but on his farm they give upwards of 12 calves which are never killed for veal. Producing certified organic cheese costs Fromagerie F.X. Pichet an extra $75,000 per year but as Marie-Claude says, it’s “the price of respecting the environment.”

An amazing amount of cheese was entered into the competition; 291 cheeses from 76 cheese companies were entered.  They competed in 30 categories. There were 16 categories based on cheese style, 5 regional awards, and 9 special categories including milk type, farmstead, organic, and new cheese.

Raclette de Compton au Poivre

Raclette de Compton au Poivre produced by Fromagerie La Station – winner of the Best Flavoured Cheese award

 

Farm House Clothbound Cheddar

Farm House Traditional Clothbound Cheddar produced by Farm House Natural Cheese – winner of Best Aged Cheddar (1 to 3 years) and Best British Columbia Cheese.

Le Porto Bleu

Porto Bleu, a new blue cheese mixed with Port made by Fromagerie du Charme.

An all-star lineup of cheese experts gathered at the University of Guelph at the end of February to judge the cheeses. Professor Art Hill, a respected expert on dairy and cheese science, led the judging. The group did a terrific job narrowing down the entrants and every finalist is worth seeking out.

Georgs and Anita

Georgs Kolesnikovs and Anita Stewart speak at the 2014 Canadian Cheese Awards

Georgs Kolesnikovs is the creator of the Canadian Cheese Awards and the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (the third annual festival will be held June 7-8 in Picton, ON). Kudos to Georgs for his hard work creating these two terrific events. After the Ontario Cheese Society crumbled a few years ago, Georgs stepped up and sought to unite Canadian cheesemakers and promote their products in new ways. I’m excited to see what he has planned next though I’m sure we’ll continue to see greater unity within the Canadian cheese industry especially with the looming increase in the specialty cheese import quota proposed in the CETA agreement.

The crowd of cheese industry professionals watches as category champions are announced

The crowd of cheese industry professionals watches as category champions are announced

At the end of the award ceremony, Georgs challenged cheesemakers to submit better quality cheeses for the next competition. Apparently, some entrants were inferior in quality to what they are known for. It was a rather solemn end to the awards ceremony but I’m confident it’s not a sign that the quality of Canadian cheese as a whole is slipping. Regardless, the bar has been raised and I know cheesemaker are already planning which cheeses they’ll send to the next Canadian Cheese Awards which will be hosted in Montreal in 2016 followed by Vancouver in 2018.

Once again, congratulations to all the finalists and category champions. There are many world class cheeses made in Canada and Georgs’ events are wonderful opportunities to recognize and celebrate the work of our talented cheese producers.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Cheesiry’s Pecorino- one of Calgary’s Top 25 Foods

Pecorino from Alberta's The Cheesiry

Pecorino from Alberta’s The Cheesiry

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to taste some amazing pecorino from Alberta and speak to Rhonda Headon the cheese maker who trained in Tuscany to bring the recipe back home where she began her business The Cheesiry.

If you’d like to try some of the cheese you can have it shipped from the Cheesiry by contacting them and for now–read my piece about Rhonda for the Globe and Mail.  Enjoy!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Uncategorized

Homemade Tomato Sauce for Apres- anything (guest post by Johanne DuRocher)

final 3 jars

Behold: two and a half jars of homemade tomato sauce! Easier and faster than you can say presto

Intro from Sue:  Finally am posting this witty and perfectly timely recipe for making your own homemade sauce as we head into March and another deep freeze.  It comes from the muli-talented and multi-tasking Johanne DuRocher.  When is there NOT a time for deliciouso home made sauce?  I shudder to realize Johanne created this wonderful post for me when tomatoes where seasonal and came in baskets–but I like to roast tomatoes in the winter before I use them to intensify the flavour and think you will still get delightful results.  And now to the good stuff….

The title for this post actually is, Making tomato sauce when it’s your first time and you’re flying to Winnipeg in 36 hours. (And obviously not ready for either, nor are you Italian, but having a bushel of ripe tomatoes and enough wherewithal in the kitchen to wing it, it’s a go.)

It was Thursday night, pushed to the last minute. I still had, oh, say five hundred things to do before I was about to head out of town for one week. I can multitask.

It’s been years since I wanted to do this and so one day late in the summer I rode home on my bicycle with a basket of roma tomatoes from the farmer’s market- that’s the first step in making sauce. I had even asked one of my Italian colleagues at work to take notes as she made sugo the weekend prior with her family. Sonia had a few pages of instructions for me about making it The Authentic Italian Way, which I really wanted to know and duplicate. I was pretty pumped- I wanted to achieve Italian flavours, not whatever sauce flavours I’d achieved before. I was very excited to make my sauce pass off as the real Italian home made sauce.

Sonia had all the steps mapped out. Step 1: the tomatoes must be quite ripe (check) and then “you put them through the machine that removes the skins and the seeds.”

There’s a machine? I didn’t know that but ok, I can do this, I can blanch, sister. I can seed. And then she said “and then the tomatoes are crushed,” and I said, pardon? “Oh yeah, the machine crushes them too at the same time.”

“Oh. So you mean *you* don’t do that-? But I could do that, right? I could blanch, seed, crush by hand?”

Already my authentic sauce dreams were starting to run. Making sauce the real Italian way is ambitious to even Italians (another sauce lesson). But they’re compulsive and can’t help themselves so there is sauce year after year.

When I came home on Thursday night, it was after a full office day, a hair dresser’s appointment and a gift shopping blitz for said Winnipeg trip. It was 8pm and I still had a list of to-dos, not to mention blanching.

This recipe is what happened on that night and, let me be the first thousandth person to tell you that everyone makes sauce differently. This I would call extreme sauce making. No blanching (obviously) no seeding (as if) and I crushed with my potato masher. It was also 30 degrees in my place.

If you can still find a nice basket of farmer’s market tomatoes, get your sauce going and then get thee to Winnipeg. And note: I finally ate this sauce with spaghetti pasta and it is incredibly delicious- has a lovely garlic flavour, umami-lovin weight and tomatoeyness. I’ve also been told that it’s preferred to the real authentic Italian mama sauce we have. Ha!

Johanne’s Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 large basket of Roma tomatoes, quite ripe (about 26)

1 bulb of garlic (I used green garlic but regular garlic is equally fine)

1/4 onion, grated (this proved successful for spraying my dress, not scenting the sauce this time. Cheese grater issues, but do your best)

Sea salt

Olive oil

Jars for canning

Step 1. Slice your tomatoes in half, length wise, and then place them on an olive-oil greased foil or parchment paper or straight up on a baking sheet flesh side up. Basted them with olive oil if desired. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Raw sliced

So far so good on slicing the tomatoes in half.

Side note: not all my tomatoes fit onto my baking sheet so I seeded and diced the rest and reserved them raw, un-roasted, for later.

Reserved chopped

Two or three tomatoes didn’t fit on my baking tray so I coarsely chopped them and added them later.

Step 2. Place tomatoes in the oven at 350F for say, 40 minutes or when they look slightly deflated, like this:

baked

The roasting helps remove some of the water content and intensify the flavours

time

Note the time: 9:51PM and doing fine. It really didn’t take long to make this sauce.

Transfer roasted tomatoes to a large sauce pot. Add reserved tomatoes.

Prepare jars for canning: while the tomatoes are roasting, sterilize your jars by adding them and their lids (removed) to a large pot, then fill the pot with boiling water and continue to boil on the stove. Keep boiling as you make the sauce- can’t hurt to leave that going.

Sterile jars

I read that 10 minutes ought to sterilize your jars but mine were in the boil for much longer while the sauce simmered.

Step 3: Back to your sauce: mash the tomatoes using a potato masher. I’m thinking an electrified device would also work and give you a smoother sauce, whereas the masher gives you a somewhat chunky sauce. Have fun.

Mashed

Now it smells amazing in your place.

Step 4:  Add an entire bulb of grated fresh green garlic. Grate 1/4 of an onion and add. Mash some more.

Ingredients

See how simple? A little bit of onion, a bulb of grated garlic and a potato masher.

Step 5: Heat sauce to a simmer and maintain the gentle boil. Stir occasionally and assess thickness- simmer longer to help reduce the liquid volume. When your optimal thickness is reached, remove from heat. This might take 30 minutes to an hour. Plenty of time to do your nails, wax your legs, pack a suitcase.

Step 6: Using oven mitts, empty out the boiling jars from their water bath and fill with sauce. Screw on lids and let cool on rack at room temperature to seal.

Makes: 2 1/2 jars (seems like not a lot of sauce, makes one appreciate homemade Italian sauce…..) The half-filled jar will have to be consumed within one week or frozen. Sealed jars will keep for months.

Jars

These are liquid gold in our home. I’ve since made this sauce recipe again and it was just as delicioso.

large pot

Look at the size of this sauce pot! This one also does my lobster boils, poultry stock, you name it.

5 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Uncategorized

So that was an unplanned 4 month hiatus…but back with SALADS!

Ally's Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

Ally’s Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

So the last post on this blog was October 9, 2013 and had I realized it would remain so until the new year I probably would have posted a “GONE FISHING” sign or something.   Which is all to say had I been realistic I would have scratched Cheese and Toast off the TO DO list for a bit and sent it on holiday to the south of France instead of letting it languish, unrefreshed for so many months.  We have made up– and the blog has accepted, grudgingly, my apology.  (Though has threatened to  crash without saving my content over the next little while as payback….)

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

In a nutshell; we were reno’ing our bathroom and the kitchen ceiling (yes just the kitchen ceiling) and that was going swimmingly until a house up the street popped onto the market–and we loved the house–and then we thought maybe we should just put in an offer…and then we had this new house and needed to sell old house which still had hole in kitchen ceiling….and my job situation changed and everything was topsy-turvy.  Including my kitchen as we did a few upgrades for the sale–so no cooking for a while.

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kle and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kale and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Anyway–we moved, I was teary saying good-bye to the old home but the people that bought it seem to love it just as much (and they don’t have the mauve bathroom we had for 11 years!) and we have a great new house that has a great backyard that tad has already built a luge track in this winter (you know a sled-luge track).  AND……..

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Counter Space! My kitchen feels humongous compared to the 1.5 feet of counter space I had before.  It’s like a dream, really.  Plus it came with a dishwasher (I’ve never had one since I left home for university, I was addicted after the first time I pressed SMART CYCLE)….and an old stove that broke and we had no choice but to replace–so now I have a new gas stove and went with the double oven (GE).  Just starting to experiment but think I will love it.

Trying to make your mouth water--steak for the steak salad (rember Chevy Chase ordering that in Fletch?)

MMMMMMMM! Sirloin.  (Remember Chevy Chase ordering the Steak Sandwich(es) in Fletch?)

But that is way too much about me.  Let me start with a few salad recipes from the “Month of Salads” project that Tad and I have been shooting and creating for the Globe.  Each weekday is February we have teamed up with the Life section to create a salad (he shoots them).  The link for last week’s five is here….and you can even photograph and submit your own faves…

Ally--co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

Ally–co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

I could not have done the project without my friend Ally–truthfully a full month of salads after last Fall/Winter’s shenanigans was an amazing opportunity but was somewhat overwhelming– but Ally came over and helped me prep (and offered a couple great recipes) like Asian Noodle Salad and Fennel Pomegranate Salad  (coming up for Valentine’s Day!)

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

And I owe a huge THANK YOU and apology to my friends and contributors Kelsie Parsons (Curds and Eh!) and Joahnne DuRocher (who was also moving yet managed to keep blogging and working full-time!) who have each written an amazing post for me (Kelsie on Grilled Cheese and Johanne sharing her spaghetti sauce recipe) and gave them to me in the fall and so I will FINALLY be posting them still in the midst of winter when we need comfort food.  Thank you guys for being so understanding (I think they were understanding, I would be understanding if they were not).

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

And congrats to Kelsie who has been chose to be one of the two cheesemongers for the American Cheese Society Competition taking place in Sacremento this year.  Huge honour.

So in other news, Ally and I have a brand new website in the works for The Cheese Table and we love our new logo–it is pretty exciting–let me know what you think!

Our new Cheese Table Logo-- LOVE--guess what it is!

Our new Cheese Table Logo in three colours– LOVE–guess what it is!

We are also testing out a first run at a monthly cheese club, if you would like some more info you can shoot us an email.  We have about two spaces left.

Otherwise we are continuing our series of Cheese Talks at McEwans and doing some private events.

And last but not least I’d like to start sharing some articles about food that I find interesting and maybe you would too.  Here are a couple pieces from WIRED magazine to get you thinking—first is about PEAK UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

And the second– well— read and see what you think about Monsanto Perfect veggies– and don’t judge yet–its quite interesting  read.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.14.47 PM

So, hopefully we’re kind of caught up–thanks to everyone who emailed to kick my butt into blogging again.  It is a pleasure to be back!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, All Recipes, Cheese/Cheese Related

Apple Sauce-homemade does not get easier

Pic 1 Final sauce

It’s pink.  It’s easy.  You can buy bushels and bushels of apples at the farmers market and not worry about what to do with them.  (Just what to do with all the apple sauce.)

Pic 2 apples

Any apples will do but you want an apple with a sweet-tangy mix.  Cortland, Pink Ladies (Cripps Pink) and of course your Macintosh.  When I made the sauce with Pink ladies I didn’t need to sweeten it but up to you–just mix in a bit of brown sugar–some spices, or just leave it plain.

Sure–you can buy sauce but it will not have this awesome amount of flavour.  You will be converted.

Pic 5 softened apples

And the pink colour comes from cooking the apples with the skins on.

For the step by step go to foodnetwork.ca or see the recipe below.

Pic 7 Final Sauce

BTW, my son would not eat this, so pulled a giant guilt trip and pretended to cry.  Ha!  It worked.   And I said I would never use such tactics…..

Recipe: Apple Sauce
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients
4-5 apples of choice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
brown sugar, to taste
cinnamon, to taste

Instructions

  1. Core and slice up 4-5 apples into large wedges.
  2. Add two tablespoons water, one teaspoon lemon juice.
  3. Cook over medium, 30-40min, in a lidded pot. Add water if necessary.
  4. Strain cooked apples with spatula and pasta strainer.

1 Comment

Filed under All Recipes, Uncategorized

Cheese Talks at McEwan Fine Foods–join us for fine cheese, fine wine and other fineries, like chocolate.

Cheese and Wine table  landscape

I’m very excited to announce a new-ish venture for which I have teamed up with fellow cheese lover and friend Ally Chang.  We kept sitting around and eating cheese and drinking wine, and talking about the cheese and wine when we had the epiphany we should do something constructive and fun with this hobby.  So we have created The Cheese Table (the link takes you to our Facebook page) and we’ll be offering a series of cheese and wine talks at the super-luxe McEwan fine foods store this fall.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.06.59 PM

We have three sessions scheduled and they are listed below. Our goal is to have fun, drink really good wine and eat really good cheese.  And get you thinking  (we’re going to crack the whip a little– a very little–and we do have a chart.  But it’s a fun chart, we promise.)

Tasting at Cheese Talks

Just to reiterate–see above photo–looks like fun, right?

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.09.00 PM

I am also adding this picture of wine being poured into the glass at one of our Spring events because it makes ME want to sign up for my own class.  (or maybe just crack open wine even though it is midnight).

Wines and cheeses for Cheese Talks Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 12.25.46 AM

The above is the more formal pic of how we’ll be presenting our case……and below, well, a few more cheeses to tempt you further.

The Cheese Table set up

Our June event at McEwans featuring the award winning cheese of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.

So without further ado–here is the Fall Line-Up  (and if you have not yet been to McEwan  it is a bit of a food lovers dream–and anyone in our session gets 10% off that night. Whoot!).  You can REGISTER here and see all the information on our website The Cheese Table.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION
What could be more exciting then tasting two of France’s best fromage next to two of Quebec’s wonderful cheese?  Heavily influenced by French cheese making, Quebec is the leader in Canada for artisanal cheese.  To refresh our palates we will pair two classic wines from France with two New World selections.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 3rd , 2013  ( 7pm – 9pm)
$65 per person

AUTHENTIC ITALY
We will take you from the foggy valleys of Piedmont to the hill and plains of Tuscany with a detour into Emilia-Romagna to hear Ally’s first hand accounts of watching Parmigiano-Reggiano being made.  We will be bringing along some of our favourite classic Italian wines.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 24th, 2013 ( 7pm – 9pm)
$65 per person

SUMPTUOUS HOLIDAY CHEESE
Think luxurious, elegant, and mouth-watering.  From silky and creamy to stinky and blue our Holiday Cheese Talks is the perfect opportunity to find new cheeses and new ways to serve them when entertaining.  After visiting some of Ontario’s best wine makers we are excited  to share their wines with you.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 14th, 2013  ( 7pm – 9pm)
$65 per person

Please note that Cheese Talks will be held at McEwan Fine Foodsat the Shoppes at Don Mills  (38 Karl Fraser Road).  There is good TTC access and we recommend trying to leave the car at home as there is a fair amount of wine to enjoy.

Side Table Products

So, to tempt away from cheese briefly, one last pic.  Last session we served our “amuse” of fresh Ontario ricotta with white balsamic and olive oil.  And we also finished with some beautiful dark chocolate..and did I mention the appetizers generously provided from the McEwan kitchen?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I will surrender counter space for a Panini Press

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.45.48 PM

The Hamilton Beach Panini Press

It just hit me–I really would use a panini press!  I mean I would right?  I love grilled panini, when I’m out and about and hungry, what is a better crisp, oozy and portable meal that a panini?  You can easily sneak them into movies–or keep them in your purse in a pinch (just while you text or create genius Instagram photos).  Even Tim Horton’s can do a half-decent job (I discovered this after finding only chip and burger stands to eat from when driving around PEI).

So I’m wondering-anyone have one and use it?? Or perhaps you can tell me I’m disillusioned, it will have the same fate as my George Forman grill…which wait a second–couldn’t that press panini?   Excuse while I go dig around in my basement.

Meanwhile check out these “18 Surprising Things You Can Make in a Panini Press” from BuzzFeed.

2 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Uncategorized

Curds and Eh: Is it cheating to make cheese with pre-pasteurized milk?

Harvest Moon, Tiger Blue, Naramata Bench Blue and Okanagan Double Cream

Harvest Moon, Tiger Blue, Naramata Bench Blue and Okanagan Double Cream

CHEESE FOR THOUGHT–ANOTHER POST FROM KELSIE.  PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS!

One of my favourite blogs that I follow is Much To Do About Cheese. It’s written by Ian Treuer a home-cheesemaker from Edmonton, Alberta who maintains an honest and uncommon look into the world of a DIY cheesemaker. Recently he posed a question on his Facebook  page.  He asked, “Can a Cheese Maker be considered an Artisan Cheese Maker if they use pre-pasteurised milk? Why or Why Not?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purchasing pre-pasteurized milk is a cost saving option for many small producers as High-Temperature Short-Time (HTST) pasteurizers cost a ton of money and even vat pasteurizers can be time consuming. Heating milk to 162F and holding it there for 16 seconds (or 145F for 30min) isn’t where the art of cheesemaking comes into play.

There are three small-scale professional cheesemakers that I know of in Canada that use pre-pasteurized milk. The cheesemaker at each factory produces every cheese by hand, adjusts the recipe according to the weather, the feel of the curds, and the taste and smell of the milk. Their cheeses are all unique. Not only do I consider them all to be artisans but they are also some of this country’s best.

The Stove-top where magic happens at Five Brothers

The Stove-top where magic happens at Five Brothers

Surrounded by vineyards in Penticton’s wine region are two cheese companies – Poplar Grove Cheese and Upper Bench Creamery. Both purchase jugs of pre-pasteurized milk and also cream from D Dutchmen Dairy, which is located 190km north in Sicamous on Shuswap Lake.  This isn’t a secret – Upper Bench proudly states the source of their milk on their website. D Dutchmen Dairy is known for their high-quality milk, flavoured cheeses, and their ice cream, which causes lineups that extend to the parking lot on a hot day. Their milk comes from their own herd of cows.

Adam Blanchard of Five Brothers

Adam Blanchard of Five Brothers

Five Brothers Artisan Cheese is the only artisan cheese company in Newfoundland. Cheesemaker Adam Blanchard actually purchases cartons of milk from his local Sobeys grocery store and then transforms it into cheese in stock pots on the stove-top. He started by making cheese in a friend’s kitchen but then decided to make a living doing it. He rented a commercial kitchen and the rest is history. There’s no way he could have afforded a pasteurizer when he started. Why give up on a dream if you can’t afford a $12,000 piece of equipment?

Perhaps several decades ago we could have asked whether cheese makers that use commercially available cultures instead of a mother culture could be artisanal. The industry has changed so much and now using mass produced culture is the norm. The basic ingredients have changed over the years too but as long as the figurative ‘hand of the cheesemaker’ is present in the cheese then I believe they deserve the title of artisan.

I’m not fond of debating the semantics of a term but I feel that labelling a producer as an artisan or not also suggests level of respect for producing a handmade product. Cheesemakers that use pre-pasteurized milk work incredibly hard, just like those that pasteurize on-site. I believe both deserve respect for labouring for long hours and transforming milk into my favourite food.

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 9.38.07 PM

For some reason I feel many people also associate a certain level of quality with the term artisan. That’s one aspect that is usually not debated when it comes to defining the term but it is just as possible for ‘artisan’ cheese makers to produce poor quality products as much as it’s possible for them to create extraordinary ones. What really matters, is not the label ‘artisan’ but the story of the cheese company (is it something that excites the customer and the owner is proud of?) and the quality of the products.

3 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Curds and Eh, Uncategorized

Abandoned House or Trendy New Toronto Resto?

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.30.26 PM

The Edison bulb….

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.22.13 PM

Aaah yes, our menu–it’s hand scrawled on our blackboard far, far across the room.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.30.12 PM

No, we don’t take reservations, but we can seat 2-6 people.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.22.41 PM

Minimalist pine tree to remind our guests we’re green…. (you can eat it for dessert)

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.57.34 PM

Everything is local.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.30.41 PM

And please don’t forget your foraged leg braces after you’ve had one too many of our hand crafted cocktails.

My husband photographs abandoned houses as a hobby and they are fascinating.  Things are just left as if people had walked out minutes before.  I became fascinated with the list of items in the kitchen cupboard in this house (Campbellford, Ontario) and it just got silly from there….click on any picture to enlarge.  Thanks to Tad Seaborn for sharing his photos.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Local and Community Toronto, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Puff Pastry + Whipped Cream + Red Currants = you rock bringing dessert to the BBQ

Berry Tart Whipped Cream

So you buy the puff pastry, roll it and bake it.  Whip cream. Stir in icing sugar.  Spread. Top with summer bounty.   Kick dessert ass.

Really, that’s it.

(Loving Tad’s photo.)

1 Comment

Filed under All Recipes, Uncategorized