Tag Archives: Picton

Go East for Cheese! Meet Adam Blanchard, Newfoundland’s one-man cheese stop

Adam Blanchard with his smoke Cheddar

Adam Blanchard with his smoked Cheddar- photo by Tad Seaborn

In 2011 Adam Blanchard bought a two-pound cheese press online and taught himself cheese making, initially for friends and family but he eventually set up a stall at the St. John’s Farmers Market in 2011. He sold out in two weeks.

Five Brothers Smoked Cheddar

Five Brothers Smoked Cheddar

The response from customers was enthusiasm mixed with a bit of shock.  “The look on some people’s faces, I’ll never forget. ‘Cheese?’ they would say. And I would say, ‘Absolutely.’ ”   No one had ever come across hand-made cheese in Newfoundland before- until Five Brother’s Cheese came along.

I was lucky enough to meet Adam and catch up with my friend Julia Bannister (Five Brother’s retail manager) at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton.  He was sampling his smoked cheddar, queso fresco and fresh mozzarella but he also makes a Monterey Jack and looking to make some chevre in the future (maybe in his new space??).

You can read more about Adam in my Globe piece (get that thing tweeting for the East Coast!)  and also get Kelsie Parson’s perspective on cheese and the food scene from his visit to Newfoundland last year.

Canadian Cheese Festival Wide

A packed house Saturday AM–can you find Felix and I?

I’d also like to share some pics from the amazing Great Canadian Cheese Festival this year, 4000 people and 3 dozen cheese makers from across Canada.  It was so much fun, there was so much great food–cheese, sausages, condiments, wine, cider and beer that I just kept running out of sampling tickets!  This is such an amazing event–there are  tutored tastings run through the weekend and I always learn so much while eating amazing cheese (thanks Julia Rogers and Cheese Culture).

I also got out to do some wine tasting at Clossen Chase (love their chardonnay) and Hinterland (love all their sparkling wine-amazing).  But sounds like Norman Hardie’s was the place to party that weekend.  He was hosting a bunch of people including the whole Five Brothers crew.

Albert Borgo of Quality Cheese Holds his Grand Prix Winning Ricotta

Albert Borgo of Quality Cheese Holds his Grand Prix Winning Ricotta

One of the amazing things about the festival is that it is a place you can meet all the people who make the amazing products we all salivate over during the year.  For instance, here I am with Albert of Quality cheese and below…

Felix riding Yvette

…  is Felix riding Yvette, the water buffalo who lives on one of the two water buffalo farms in Ontario.  She supplies milk for our fabulous, local buffalo mozzarella.

Sampling wine and cheese

And this could be you next year, sipping wine, eating cheese, wandering around the county….( hopefully not aimlessly wandering, its good to have a destination–even if it’s just bed).

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

One of my all-time favourites.  The Avonlea clothbound cheddar, gorgeous as always.

Samples at the Cheese Fest

Or perhaps you prefer a bloomy rind?

Tania

Or tasting the “new aged”- like the latest cheese from Finica (makers of the Lindsay Clothbound Cheddar) called Tania.

Days end at the Picton harbour Inn

And finally back to kick back on a patio chair outside the Picton Harbour Inn–where are the cool people stayed.  Unless you were staying at Norman Hardie’s–then that was cooler.

But best breakfast in town right here, or so they say…..

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Asparagus Season–make pesto with your spring veggies

photo by Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn/ click to enlarge  (not to enrage)

Here’s a recent favourite for the Globe “Quick Fix” column.  The recipe is with the article HERE.

It’s so hard not eat a whole lot of pine nuts when making pesto–almost mindlessly–and then I keep reminding myself that they’re a kazillion dollars for a handful–probably worth more than Jack’s beanstalk seeds.  But so yummy.

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And a little reminder if anyone is thinking about attending the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton June 1-2, you can get a discount through the blog.  Hope to see you there!

SR

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Great Canadian Cheese Festival only 40 days away! Get a 25% discount on tickets here.

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Hey everyone– just a reminder that the annual cheese festival taking place in Picton on June 1-2 is not so far away.  Perhaps farther than Spring…..but perhaps not.  Sigh.

It’s an amazing weekend where you can sample cheese from across the country (Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair) while sipping local wine or cider and there are some fantastic seminars about everything from pairing beer and cheese, wine and cheese, different types of milk, Quebec cheese and so on.  Plus all the dinner—Jamie Kennedy’s shin dig is sadly sold out–sorry.

Anyway–if you’re thinking of going to website has accommodation suggestions too (some lovely Inns and B&Bs in the area) and of course wineries to be toured and tasted.

As a special promotion for Cheese and Toast I can offer you a promo code to get yourself a discount on the event—just a little THANK YOU to all the people who follow the site.

 Get 25% off tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by entering the promotional code CF13TOAST before starting your online ticket order ONLINE here. Good only on tickets purchased online in advance of the Festival on June 1-2. Visit cheesefestival.ca for information on the Festival.  
Maybe I will see you there!
Sue

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More Cheesemakers and Shakers in Picton (C’est Bon, Primeridge Pure, Upper Canada, Fromagerie du Presbytère)

George Taylor and the Casa Gomez, organic cow’s milk Gouda style cheese

I walked inside the Crystal Palace during the Great Canadian Cheese Festival (the outside post is here) and there was George Taylor from C’est Bon Cheese.  Exactly in this pose.  Like at a wax museum (no, not really).

You may know the C’est Bon chevre but George is also making Cuban Breakfast cheese which is called Sunrise Caprea.  It’s a queso blanco style cheese and won’t melt when heated, it will actually caramelize and retain its shape.  George’s partner in Havana (yes Cuba) Raul Gomez helped him finesse the cheese to match the cheeses George had tasted in South America.  George spent three years developing it and in 2011 it took first place in the Artisan Goat Cheese Category at the British Empire Cheese show.

The firm cheese (George is holding)  Casa Gomaz, is an organic Gouda-style cheese from the milk of  Mr. Gomez’s own cow herd.  Even the wax exterior is organic (from a bee’s wax generated on his farm).  The cheese is made in Cuba and the cows are fed spent sugar cain and distiller’s waste from the Havana Club Rum Factory.

George only brings in small quantities so you might want to get on his “nice” list asap.

Scott and Steacy den Haan look  angelic in this photo, don’t they?  I snapped it in between the crowds snapping up their farmstead cream cheese (Primeridge Pure) which contains only natural ingredients and come in three flavours: natural, herb and hot chili (it is very hot, but good).  A typical week for them includes managing a dairy farm, cheese making, caring for a baby daughter and selling their cheese at local markets throughout the summer–so maybe they are a little supernatural?  To read more about them I recently interviewed Steacy for The Spread–the article also lists locations where they sell their cream cheese.

Smoked Comfort Cream–as if Cottage Gold wasn’t enough for a summer treat!

Upper Canada Cheese Company is now smoking their Comfort Cream.   It is cold smoked at Hansen Farms in Cayuga Ontario (same place that smokes Blue Haze and Provincial Smoke).  You might be wanting this for your cheese burgers this summer….

What product from Fromagerie du Presbytère to try first????

There was a lot of cheese to choose from at the Fromagerie du Presbytère table and cheesemaker Jean Morin  was a gracious cheese host.  Mr. Morin and his brother Dominique are fourth-generation farmers on La Ferme Louise D’Or, named by their grandfather.  Their award-winning cheeses Louis D’Or and Bleu D’Elizabeth had just been sent off to be served at the Queen’s Jubilee in England (so, I imagine they’d be good enough for our commoner’s palates too).

Louis D’Or at a 24 and 9 months.

And here is the Louis D’Or.  Both versions were seductive but I do like the more supple texture of the younger cheese.  But hey, I wouldn’t kick the older Louis out of bed (we all eat cheese in bed right?).

Tomme de Grosse Île

And I had to post a few old friends,  cheeses that will not let you down in a pinch.  Like the Tomme de Grosse Île..

Beautiful Baluchon

And aromatic and organic Baluchon.  After all the cheese eating I was so full but so thirsty…..and somehow craving a Buddha Dog…parked just out back!

I also sauntered over to grab a sparkling lemonade from Kevin at the Cheesewerks booth next door.

And then I plain fell over into a dead slumber…you can just see my sandal under the bottom of the Buddha Truck.

Just kidding.  I was wearing flats.

(For even more detailed reporting on this annual weekend of cheese antics check out this great report from Vanessa at Savvy.)

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Hey, there was a really cool Cheese Festival in Picton. You’ll wish you were there.

Felix shows an aptitude for milking at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The 2nd Annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival happened the first weekend of June and it was a grand ol’ time.  Even the dreaded rain did it justice and held off.  Though I missed last years event I will book my weekend for this event from now on.  Overhearing the conversations around me,  it was exciting to hear a real mix of industry people, cheese lovers, food lovers and just people looking for something tasty–all gathered in one spot.

Above are the tents set up all around the Crystal Palace where the main part of the festival happened over two days.

And here is the interior, it was pretty jam-packed.  You would buy tickets inside and use those to sample many delicious things such as cheese (of course) but also local wine, brew, preserves, breads and other fine food.  And as much as there were loads of people there was plenty of opportunity to chat with the producers and learn more about them.  It was very friendly and casual.

I used up many a ticket walking around with a sample of the 2009 Closson Chase Pinot Noir.

But a person does not want to ignore Chardonnay either so here I tried the 1812 from Palatine Hills Estate with Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.  The wine is technically from Niagara Wine Country but it is a tribute to the anniversary of the war.  So, who can fault that?

Then I moved over to the Back Forty booth where Jeff Fenwick was sampling their Highland Blue and the Bonnechere (with its toasted rind).

Bonne Chere and Highland Blue

Jeff and Jenna Fenwick took over Back Forty from James Keith this spring.  The rind of the Highland Blue is very beautiful with a little bit of bloomy mold developing.  (or “bloody” mold if you copy my notes straight from my iPhone. Damn you autocorrect.)

From East coast to Ontario to West Coast, it is impossible not to recognize this beautiful trio from Salt Spring Island.  Romelia is the pale gold lady, Blue Juliette is next to her and at the back is elegant Juliette herself.  Some of my very favourite cheeses.  Blue Juliette was the subject of the very first Spread Column (2008) ever, so I am particularly attached.

I then slid over to sample the amazing Alpindon and Nostrala from The Kootenay Alpine Cheese company from BC.  Both cheeses showcase the raw, organic milk they are made from. If you see them while shopping make you try these guys.  They will become a staple.

And I could not resist sampling this sheep’s milk, bloomy rind cheese called “Commanda” as a tribute to the Algonquin elder William Commanda– by John Thompson of Kendal Vale Cheese.

And to cleanse the cheese palate I stopped by the Mad Mexican booth where they make authentic Mexican food from fresh local ingredients.  Everything was amazing.  Here is a little description of their Salsa Morita from their site:

Morita Salsa (a.k.a. Salsa Roja):

The dried and smoked morita pepper, a native of Mexico, give this salsa its distinct earthy flavor. Made from fresh charred tomatoes and sweet onions, it has a medium heavy body with a touch of heat. This morita salsa achieves complex flavors reminiscent of smoked and fire grilled foods. It boldly stands alone as a dip or adds the spark to grilled meats, shrimp and tomato base sauces.

And this is me and Janice Beaton, the passionate cheese monger, owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese in Calgary and FARM a restaurant showcasing the wealth of Albertan foods.  I had been dying to meet so was so happy to final talk face-to-face.

And I will continue this post tomorrow as I realized I have not even taken you INSIDE the building and already am going long!

Til then,  S.

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Last chance to enter the draw for Artisanal Cheese and Fine Food Fair

Hi everyone

Happy Victoria Day– sorry to repeat myself–but in case you meant to enter the draw or were suddenly free to head to Prince Edward County June 1-3  I thought I’d send out a quick, “last chance” reminder.

CLICK HERE–for more details, this will take you to the full contest post.

Thanks to everyone who has entered so far and I will draw the winner at some point tomorrow.  I’m getting excited about the festival myself!

Sue

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