Cheese is simply exquisite!
We’re really big fans of cheese! There’s no meal in our household that isn’t made better by a little of it. It really goes without saying that Ontario cheesemakers make some pretty good quality cheeses.
In our day and age, filled with rushed consumables and mass produced goods, I invite you to venture out and try a little something that only patience, a small batch and some loving artisan intervention can create.
I would like to introduce you to some Ontario artisan cheese made with love. I know the owners and vouch for their quality.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. believes in honestly expressing the beautiful Prince Edward County terroir with which they are blessed. Whether it is the cow milk from the family farm down the road, or the goat or buffalo milk from the herder an hour away, they craft something truly authentic that connects them to the land they live on, giving taste and pride of place. And their process is environmentally friendly!
Here are some of our favourites!
Soft ripened cheese made from 100% fresh local goat’s milk. Taleggio style goat cheese which is mild, slightly salty and rich, lactic flavours. Smooth taste, pleasant creamy texture, melts beautifully and also wonderful as a table cheese. Pairs well with white, crisp and citrusy wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or a light Pinot Grigio.
2017 Bronze Medal Winner at the International Cheese Awards, Nantwich, England. Small cylindrical cheese, slightly crumbly with lemon zest and red fife flour on the rind. Clean, lactic aromas with scent of fresh lemon, tangy on the palate with a nice balance of citrus, salt and feta-like flavours with a refreshing, balanced finish.
Water Buffalo Parmesan
Naturally cave-aged cheese made with 100% fresh local water buffalo milk. A dense, hard cheese that is slightly nutty and complex with mineral accents. Aged for a minimum of 12-18 months. The rich lactic and herbaceous flavours allow this cheese to represent the terrior of Prince Edward County. Mild saltiness makes it a perfect match for complex medium-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Franc or Merlot.
Single note washed rind cheese made with 100% cow’s milk. Sourced from Local Food Plus certified Prince Edward County farm Quinte Crest. Creamy, rich, fruity cow’s milk cheese from Prince Edward County with complex, earthy and mushroomy flavours. Pairs well with Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.
2017 Silver Award Winner at the 2017 International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England. Naturally caved-aged cheese made from 100% fresh local buffalo milk. Dense, slightly nutty, black truffle infused, sweet, savoury cheese with complex flavours and mineral accents. A rich lactic flavour that shows the terroir of Prince Edward County. Mild saltiness makes it a perfect match for complex-bodied red wines.
Where the Buffalos Roam
2017 Silver Medal Winner buffalo milk cheese with a rich, creamy, chewy, firm texture. The rind is washed in Chardonnay. Sweet, salt and creamy flavours. Matches well with Chardonnay, Champagne and Pinot Noir.
Premium Goat Cheddar
Gold Medal Winner at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair. This mild cheddar is flavourful and complex, even at a young age. Made from 100% Prince Edward County fresh goat milk. Aged naturally and, never goaty.
Gold Medal Winner at the 2008 Royal Winter Fair and 2009 American Cheese Society Competition. Pleasant, light cow cheese, almost nutty with a smooth, firm texture and mild saltiness. Has a mineral rind, and cave-aged typically for two to three months or longer. Can be paired with lighter reds (Gamay) or barrel fermented Chardonnay.
Winner of Grand Champion Goat Cheese at the 2008 Royal Winter Fair. Chewy, pungent cheese made with goat’s milk. Washed rind, which gives the rind a vivid orange-pink colour. Very pale paste, typical or goat milk cheese. Semi-firm and slightly salty, creamy flavour, nutty on the inside with a slightly yeasty flavour near the rind. Works well with fruity complex red wines such as a bolder Pinot Noir or a medium bodied Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
Fromagerie Kapuskoise – Saveur de France made in Northern Ontario
Artisanal cheese, proudly made in Kapuskasing, Northern Ontario, recipient of the Premier Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Passion-inspired Francois Nadeau, owner and master cheesemaker received basic training in Quebec and in-depth training on the art of cheese in France.“Cheesemaking is very much a science as well as an art. It takes a lot of patience and experimentation,” says Francois. He has come up with a variety of cheeses made from milk of cows, goats and sheep from farms in the Kapuskasing area. His cheeses are excellent on their own or paired with different types of food and drink. These cheeses are creatively named after rivers and lakes in the Kapuskasing.
Made with cow, sheep and goat milks and inspired by the Morbier, a cheese originating from the Jura mountains in France. Known to have a creamy and buttery flavour. It distinguishes itself from other cheeses because its centre is lined with vegetable ashes, used primarily for aesthetic and traditional purposes. Food pairing: (when younger, 1-3 months) – fish and seafood; (when older) – vegetables, salads, soups, bread, red wine, shellfish/fish-based sauces, smoked meats, fresh and dried fruit, excellent in fondue.
Inspired by the Ossau-Iraty which originates from the Pays Basque in Southern France. Made with sheep’s milk, with a distinct rich and creamy texture and flavour. Can be used in a variety of recipes (e.g., in rice, sandwiches and salads) but also stands well on its own.
A softer, milder goat cheese similar to the Reblochon or the St. Nectaire of Central France.
Tips on preserving cheeses:
- Before consumption, warm cheeses to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the flavour to come through.
- Freezing aged cheeses – best to grate them beforehand. Please note that the texture and flavour may be slightly affected once thawed.
- Ideally cheeses need to be stored in a cool and dry place. Also, best to keep them in original wrapping within a sealed bag or plastic container in the warmest part of the fridge. Cool cellars are perfect storage places to store cheeses.
- Soft cheeses – store in original wrapping within a sealable bag or plastic container in the warmest part of the fridge.
Recipe ideas with My Mother’s Place cheeses and products
- Panino: prosciutto, Cowda cheese (Fifth Town), artichoke cream and arugula.
- Grilled cheese sandwich with Capreggio (Fifth Town) with Apple Cinnamon Wine Jelly (Tracey’s Wine Jelly – Niagara on the Lake) on top. To spice things up, Hot Pepper Chardonnary is also a favourite.
- Grilled vegetables – wedges of radicchio topped with thin melted slices of Premium Goat Cheddar (Fifth Town) or broccolini, asparagus with Capreggio and a drizzle of lemon juice.
- Apricots stuffed with Saganash or Pagwa, drizzled with honey, covered with fresh basil and almonds, make an exquisite and unique appetizer or meal ending.
How to make your own grilled vegetables better with cheese
- Start with any vegetable you like to grill, proceed until it’s almost done cooking.
- Place a slice of cheese on top of your vegetables.
- Cover the grill for a minute or two. Open it up and the cheese should be nicely melted and hugged around your finished veggies. If your cheese melts, it’ll hug, and that’s a very good thing!