June 1st marked the start of the Second Annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario. Almost 4000 cheese lovers attended the festival this year, and some of the La Ferme team were among the cheesy masses. The Cheese Festival is comprised of educational seminars, gala events and public markets which all provide attendees with opportunities to learn about and eat amazing Canadian cheese as well as other artisan products. While we all know that classes and seminars are valuable and informative, the heart of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival is the Artisan Food Fair. Nothing feeds a food lovers’ passion as much as…. well….. eating great food!
Over one hundred cheeses from three dozen cheese makers were available to sample that represented the entirety our country. Also present, and extremely popular with festival-goers, were nearly two dozen Prince Edward County winery’s, cider makers, and craft brewers from all over Ontario.
With so many amazing cheeses, it is hard (and hazardous to my waistline!) to pick a favourite, but I can say that the Ramembert from Best Baa Dairy is a cheese that has matured into one of Ontario’s finest. Its’ soft and fluffy p. candidium rind holds a lovely ivory white paste that is tangy, sweet and satisfyingly salty all at once. A stand-out wine for me was the Pinot Noir from The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery. Only available from at the winery, it is aged in a cellar that was once their farms’ milking parlour, lending a sense of satisfaction and unity at a celebration of cheese.
Throw in a few fine food producers, (like one of my absolute favourites, The Mad Mexican) a grilled cheese tent, and a mechanical milking cow named Moonika (I’m not kidding) and you have got yourself a cheese festival!
For all the fun you missed if you didn’t go, to relive all the fun you had if you did go, or to request mechanical bull riding for next year; hit up The Great Canadian Cheese Festival website or their awesome blog, Cheeselover.ca