Tag Archives: Dairy Farmers

Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Judging Weekend

My uniform for the weekend.

My uniform for the weekend.

Hello from Montreal.  If you have seen any of my tweets from the last day or so you will know that I have had the honour of being on the jury for the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.  The event takes place every two years and is organized by The Dairy Farmers of Canada (so it is all cow’s milk cheese).  Cheesemakers across Canada can enter.

Sue poses with Washed Rinds

Here I am (kind of blurry) standing in front of two (of 4 total) tables which were being prepared for the Washed Rind category.  See how goofy happy I look!  You would not believe how many lovely cheeses we were surrounded by.  And smelled of by the end of the afternoon.

Washed Rinds set up

This is a bit of a better view.  Recognize anything?  We taste everything blind so have no idea which cheese has won until the results are tallied up.

Tasting Washed Rinds

Judges Allison Spurrell of Les Amies de Fromage in Vancouver, Chef Danny St Pierre (QC) and Chef Michael Howl (Nova Scotia).

Above are some of my co-jury members very seriously tasting cheese.  We all want to respect the work the cheese makers have put in so we do out best to be objective and analytical—as well as look for that “WOW” factor (amongst over 200 cheeses!).

Today we judged from 9 until about 4:30 and covered two cheddar categories (defined by age), washed rinds, fresh cheeses, semi-soft cheese and blue.

Blue Cheese

In a funny way though blue would seem the most challenging category (for palate fatigue) young cheddars are also tough–they are mild and subtle and you must really concentrate to not miss flavour and nuance when tasting many at a time.

I will write no more as we’ll all be going out to dinner soon (what? we had a 2 hour break after 7 hours of cheese eating, time to eat.)  Tomorrow we finish choosing the category champions and ultimately decide on the Grand Prix winner.

Will write more about the experience hopefully for Swallow and perhaps even for the Globe.

Meanwhile, I just sit here and think, “How cool is this!”   (But also, “no I don’t want yogurt for breakfast or no cream in my tea please.”)


Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

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


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)


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


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


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!


Filed under Blogs with cooking tips, Cheese/Cheese Related, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Uncategorized

Ticket Giveaway for The Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair June 2/3

I’m very excited to be have two passes (courtesy of the The Great Canadian Cheese Festival) to give away for their Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair which takes place in Prince Edward County on June 2 and 3.   This is the second annual event and numbers for the Food Fair will be capped each day so these are hot little tamales.

Monforte Dairy’s triple-cream Bliss and hand-churned butter will be available at the event.

If like me, the above cheese board is your perfect meal, you won’t want to miss the Food Fair where you will find over thirty artisanal and farmstead cheese makers from across Canada plus a dairy farm for the kids (I  plan to leave my son in the care of a responsible–but fun-loving–goat), a food court and 80 exhibitors in total showcasing their wares.

These two tickets are worth $80 and with admission you get:

-10 tasting tickets

-a souvenir Festival cooler bag for cheese purchases  (this is much better than a leather purse, trust me)

-free parking at the Crystal Palace where the event is being held

-and you can sit in on the All You Need is Cheese seminars being put on by Dairy Farmer’s of Canada  (and taught by Deborah Levy who is fantastic and very knowledgeable)


Sandbanks Winery, PEC image from About.Com

And if you’ve never been to Prince Edward County, you really must try to see it.  It is a perfect weekend away.

There is also a COOKS AND CURDS gala on the evening of June 2 which features Canadian chefs cooking with Canadian cheese, paired with local brews and wine.  The first sitting is sold out but the second sitting is still open.

Information about getting tickets to everything (but obviously you’re going to win these) is available on the festival site as is accommodation information.  See you there!


If you think you’d like to attend simply email me at thespread@globeandmail.com with the subject heading CHEESE FESTIVAL GIVEAWAY and I will do a draw next Tuesday, May 22 and mail you the tickets if you win.

Good luck and please spread the word, forward this, tell your friends to pass on information about this amazing event.   Much appreciated.


Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Toast Posts, Travel and Food, Uncategorized