Cottage Gold

I forgot to take a picture of the cheese before I ate it all!! This is the label!

One of Ontario’s finest cheese makers has developed a new winner! Upper Canada Cheese has released a limited edition cheese called Cottage Gold!! I had the pleasure of tasting this cheese and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

The Upper Canada Cheese Company is located in Jordan Station, Ontario and they are best known for providing us with the esteemed cheese, Niagara Gold. Upper Canada Cheese prides itself on creating cheeses from the milk of the herd of Guernsey cows that they maintain on their farm. Their herd is one of very few Guernsey herds in Canada. The Comfort family does all that they can to create cheese of the highest quality for all of us to enjoy.They create cheese using traditional methods and no mechanical intervention. All of their cheeses are hand-made, hand wrapped and hand salted.

If you are a Canadian cheese lover, you have likely tasted Upper Canada’s most well-known cheese, Niagara Gold. Niagara Gold is an Oka style cheese, semi-soft with an orange tinted washed rind. The new release, Cottage Gold, is an updated version of its predecessor. Cottage Gold is also a hand-made, washed rind cheese, however, it is aged for a longer period of time (5 months). Cottage Gold is more like a cheddar, with a lower moisture content and more salt. From the outside, the Cottage Gold still looks very similar to the Niagara Gold – with an orange washed rind. Once the cheese is cut into, the visual differences are clear. This cheese has a darker coloured paste with a few more eyes (or holes!) spattered throughout. The aroma is a bit warmer and smells toastier and nuttier. There does not seem to be as much of the pungent aroma that I am used to finding on the Niagara Gold. With my first bite, it is clear Cottage and Niagara Gold are quite different from one another. The paste of Cottage Gold has more firmness to it, slightly like a cheddar as the official tasting notes suggest. The flavours are deeper and ring clear with notes of toast, nuts, salt and even a bit of butterscotch! The cheese smoothly melts, though it does so with a bit of resistance, which I expect to find in a firm cheese. Overall, I was VERY impressed with this new Upper Canada cheese. It did occur to me that the cheese reminded me of an aged gouda-style cheese, such as the Glengarry Lankaaster, as well as traditional cheddar. This was a delightful conclusion as gouda-style cheeses are amongst my favourite in the vast world of cheeses!

How to eat it:
Aside from eating a whole block on its own – which is what I did with my piece of Cottage Gold, there are lots of fitting places for Cottage Gold. Upper Canada Cheese suggests putting it on your burgers, crumbling it over a salad and using it to make Mac and Cheese. The last suggestion is one I intend to try – how did they know that Mac ‘n’ Cheese is my favourite food? I do want to emphasize that how I chose to taste Cottage Gold is not to be overlooked! This cheese will be a great addition to a cheese board, paired with jams, spreads, fresh baguette and local charcuterie. It will be even more perfect if you take that cheese board down to the dock at your cottage (or a friends!) and enjoy by the sparkling lake on a warm summer day!!

I hope they have Cottage Gold featured at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival this weekend in Picton, ON!

Here is Upper Canada Cheese’s website: www.uppercanadacheesecompany.com

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Finding Comfort in Comfort Cream

Comfort Cream

Good Afternoon Cheese Lovers! I hope that you are all having a cheesy day! I’m hanging around the office, snacking on a yummy cheese called Comfort Cream.

Comfort Cream is produced by Upper Canada Cheese Company (Hereby refered to in this post as U.C.C.C.), which is located in Jordan Station, in the Niagara Region of Ontario. Upper Canada Cheese is well known for its famous, washed-rind cheese, Niagara Gold.

Comfort Cream is a white, bloomy rind cheese that has a smooth, creamy golden-coloured paste. The aroma is light and mushroomy and the flavours are rich and buttery, with notes of truffles. The cheese is ultra-smooth over the palate and leaves a long, lingering tangy flavour at the finish. The soft white rind is salted by hand and the cheese is carefully hand-wrapped.

Comfort Cream is produced from the milk of Guernsey Cows that have a milk production which is lower in volume than many other breeds, however, it is higher in protein and various vitamins. The U.C.C.C. ensures that their herd feeds only on specially grown grains from right on their farm. Their cheeses are made using traditional timing procedures, and so it is produced as soon as possible after the cows are milked.

I love this cheese! It is similar to a Camembert, and the qualities of this cheese makes me wonder how it would stand up to being baked like a brie. The Upper Canada Cheese Company aims to produce cheese of the highest quality, and I think that it definitely shows. The Comfort Cream is a luscious, rich cheese experience! Now I just need to convince myself out of eating the second big hunk left on my plate!

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Happy Valentine’s Day, Cheese Lovers!

Happy Valentine’s Day my fellow cheese lovers!
I do hope that this lovely holiday is treating you well and that you have been eating lots of chocolate.. and lots of cheese! Due to my Valentine being far, far away, I have been consoling myself by eating the prettiest cheese that I could find this February 14!

My Cheese of Valentine’s Day 2011 is Tommette aux Baies Roses, a small, fresh pat of chevre seasoned with herbs and sprinkled with pink peppercorns. The Tommette comes from France and is produced by the Fromagerie Banon in small, artisanal batches. The cheese is served up in a little paper cup, like a cupcake liner, and in a small wooden box… it is almost too pretty to eat!!

The aromas are fresh and lactic, so pure and sweet!  This chevre is perfect for spreading, but I wanted to eat it all on its own at first, so I took a big hunk on a knife and took a big bite!! The texture is smooth and rich, with a full, creamy residual mouth feeling. The tart flavours are accented by the herb which dot the goaty flavours delicately. I can’t wait to try this on a fresh piece of baguette!! I also look forward to crumbling it into a salad and drinking it with tangy, acidic chardonnay or sauvignon blanc – maybe i’ll have to have a post-Valentine’s Day cheese celebration! Now, I know it isn’t quite as fantastic as real, human love… but the Tommette aux Baies Roses sure comes close! Yummmmm

Return to Blog Posts Listing

NEWS UPDATE: CHRISTMAS CHEESE HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE!!!

Hello to my fellow Cheesivores,

I can’t even believe it is December 21st! 3 days ’til Christmas, 2 days till the last day of my Cheese box deliveries! The reason I haven’t written in ages is that I’ve been up to my elbows in Brillat, Valencay, Cru de clocher, Trappe Echourgnac and Cabra Pimenton… oh my! The past two weeks mark the busiest and most festive time of the year at Taste of Cheese. Between Taster boxes and Chanukah and Gourmet baskets and Christmas, not much time is left over for blog writing! Nevertheless, I have happily returned to my post as fledging cheese-queen and now I have lots of stories and reviews of new cheeses.

This weekend, in my first couple days of down-time, 2 of my best friends and I had a little wine and cheese party, just because! At our little soiree-pour-trois, I produced some Brillat Aux Truffes, Cendrillon and my personal favourite cheese, maybe of all time, Picobello. Picobello is crumbly, crunchy and crystalline like Parm and rich like Gouda. It takes a moment to register on your buds but the caramel taste of the cheese becomes overwhelmingly AMAZING! If you haven’t tried it, stop reading this blog, and go out and get some! I swear it will be worth your while. I went on to sneak chunks of it over the weekend and even gave it a try on a fresh multi grain bagel, and in no situation did Picobello disappoint. I’m only sad that my chunk is in my fridge at home and not here at work, where I am.

Well, now that I’ve raved about my fave I’m ready to head back out into the wild (or warehouse, if we’re being truthful) and pack up cheese boxes for some unexpecting recipients!

The Big Cheese, Signing off!

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Valen-cay it with CHEESE!


I know, so I make cheese puns. Like the one that is the title of this post. But why not… if I don’t want to get made fun of I can always block comments!!

Today I had the pleasure of trying out more of the cheeses from Taste of Cheese’s December Cheese Box and I have much to report on the Valencay. Not only is it phenomenal (cheese-tastic?) but it also has a great story behind it, and I’m a sucker for a good story.

Valencay is a raw-milk chevre from the Loire Valley in France. It’s lovely pyramid form is blanketed in a soft ash mould. Legend has it that the Valencay was at one time a pyramid with a point – NOT as in a cheese with something to say. When Napoleon returned to France after failing to conquer Eqypt, it is said that the sight of this pyramid of cheese pissed off the little guy to the point of saying “Off with it’s head!” (Wrong Frenchman – I know!!)

Anyways, after it’s evolution Valencay continued on to become a beloved French chevre, sweet with a bit of a tang and a texture which is a mix between crumbly and melty. It is a bit lactic and herbal and everything else that a great chevre should be!!

I wish I hadn’t tried this one first today. If it had been last on my list of 4 I would have definitely gobbled up more.. but it’s ok! I’m probably going to have to keep testing the Valencay. Maybe every day till it’s gone, you know, just to make sure it’s staying ok!!

Can’t wait!! yummmmmm!!

Stay posted for some exciting pics of the cheese label art I’ve been doing using the oodles of “etiquettes” (aka labels, in French) to make some sweet ephemeral design!!

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Merry Cheese-mas

Hi all!
I have about 3 minutes to blab about the cheesy sights that I’ve seen today! Then I have to go back to work.. which is ok, because I get to work with the cheese – lucky me! Today was cheese arrival day! What does that mean exactly? Well, it means skids and skids of holiday cheese to sort through!

We got in tons of cheese, that are currently smelling up our packing area.. and not in such a good way. It seems the smells of the various cheeses are kind of clashing… makes me want to send it all to you now! Ok, well, not allll of it!

I am so excited to see one of my favourites, Brillat aux Truffes sitting on the skids! I know its sort of a cliche favourite, but it really is great! Who doesn’t like a brie… that has truffles in it?? It’s like someonecut open one of my favourite foods and shoved another one of my favourite foods right on in there! Its such a fantastic mix of creamy and rich and sharp and savoury. mmm! I can’t wait to break one open!

I ought to be going back to work, writing up cheese description for all of our holiday cheese buyers! Keep your eyes (and mouths) out for more of my favourite cheeses!

Cheese ya later!

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Edel de Cleron

 

Edel de Cleron

Edel de Cleron

Another day, another cheese!

It seems that the need for photographing the cheese in Taste of Cheese’s cheese boxes has become my best reason for giving new or forgotten cheeses a try! Another one of the November Cheeses is the Edel de Cleron, a widely accepted pasteurized version of the Vacherin du Haute-Daubs… While I’m almost certain that I’ve tasted it before, I couldn’t remember what it tasted like – probably not a good sign!
So, after I broke it out of it’s little box, I took some pictures – and then some liberties with it. I could already detect it’s strong, barnyardy aroma before I even broke into the rind! Given my tendency to dislike these smelly cheeses, I could have just walked away, but instead I bravely cut into it’s light, sticky rind and dug out a little hunk. I stuck it up under my nose to force myself to really get the aroma and then I opened wide and popped it in.

And I must say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting!! SO, I didn’t LOVE it. I wouldn’t DIE for it. But if someone said “Hey, Stacey! I have some Edel de Cleron here and I just can’t finish it” I would probably make myself available to assist them.

It was smooth and creamy, but much lighter than, say a rich triple cream. It did have that barny flavour but it wasn’t overpowering. I tend to go for sweeter cheeses, but if you’re not the same then this will be a great cheese for you. It had nutty, woody undertones that likely were brought forth by the strip of bark surrounding the little cake. Instead of seeming sour, it was more tangy. It would probably be better for me on a plain, crusty bread. All in all, it was much better than I expected… but still not my favourite. But you can’t really expect to love ’em all, can you? well, maybe you can. I’m just not there yet.

If you can’t LIVE without this cheese, check out my November Cheese box at tasteofcheese.ca!

I’m heading up to a camp in Haliburton, ON this weekend (to get better at singing.. not cheese) so, have a wonderful fall weekend… take advantage of the supposed-to-be-warm weather!

 

Return to Blog Posts Listing

Great Goat: Rosemary Caprillice

Rosemary Caprillice

My first new cheese review!! I’m so excited to tell you about how good this cheese is!

Yesterday I got to taste a great cheese that was tantalizing on my taste buds!  The Rosemary Caprillice is one of the cheeses in the November Taster Box at tasteofcheese.com. As official photographer of all cheese at Taste of Cheese, I got to crack open a half wheel of Rosemary Caprillice and take some great photos and also give the cheese a try!

Rosemary Caprillice is an aged farmhouse goat cheese, created by Lacteos Segarra in Spain. This 60-day aged cheese is coated in a layer of fragrant rosemary leaves that leak their delectable flavour into the small wheel. Caprillice has a perfectly smooth and creamy consistency as you chew it and a cool, refreshing, tangy flavour. The herbal notes in this cheese made it a wonderful snack and it would be fantastic on some fresh, crusty baguette, or even on some toast! It is very reminiscent of a Brin D’Amour, only much firmer. I think that the Rosemary Caprillice would be a great cheese to use if you are introducing your friends to the wonderful world of cheese – it is flavourful but not so overpowering that it will scare them away!!

Give it a try… I promise it will be worth your while!

Return to Blog Posts Listing

The Ones That Stayed On The Plate… My Bottom 5 Cheeses

While it would be nice to imagine adoring every cheese that was served up at the Artisanal Master Class, that certainly isn’t very realistic. Most of the cheese I gobbled up was yummy and wonderful. But there were five that took me on an undesirable cheese field trip to the the un-mucked barns that they began their lives in! (Or something to that effect.)

So here they are.. my bottom of the barrel, or barn! BUT – don’t take this list to mean you shouldn’t try these cheeses. In fact, go try them and come back and tell me why you think I’m completely crazy for not liking them!!

Again, I’ll go from the best of the worst, to my least favourite! I won’t bore you with super long descriptions, just some key words.

5) Pecorino Toscano Stagionato DOC, Italy, Sheep Milk
– Salty smell, more barn-like than the other Pecorino we tasted, too peppery

4) Liberty’s Cream, USA, Goat
– Goat taste should be hidden more but it is very strong, very lactic, odd herbal flavour

3) Roncal, Spain, Sheep Milk
– Very gamey, a strong sheepy aroma, grainy texture

2) Cabecou Feuille, France, Goat
– This little cheese is wrapped in a Chestnut leaf which leaves a very bitter, unpleasant flavour; off spicy aftertaste

1) Le Moulis, France, Cow Milk
– Smells like a barn, unpleasantly tangy, underlying bitterness, very yeasty.
The Winner of my cheese losers!

And there you have it, the cheeses I wont be begging to try again.

Return to Blog Posts Listing

The Top 10 of the Artisanal Cheese Master Class

Cheese Plate at Artisanal Master Class

Cheese Plate at Artisanal Master Class

44 recorded cheeses. Many more that went undocumented. When you eat more than 50 different cheeses in 3 days, you’re bound to have some favourites, the ones that slide over your tongue like a breath of fresh air or a gulp of caramel. You’re also bound to have some that make your taste buds feel like you’re punishing them with dirty hay. After taking the Master Class at Artisanal, I definitely have some new favourite cheeses, and unfortunately I now have a docket of cheeses I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Ok, well maybe that’s a little harsh!

The Winners: My Top 10
(I’ll start at 10 and work up to the very best one!!)

10) Manchego, Spain, Sheep Milk
The Manchego was sweet, caramelly, and nutty all at once! It had a dry, grainy, crystallized texture that you could really feel between your teeth. It was actually not as strong as I had expected it to be.  mmm mmm! It was like eating candy!

9)  Fleur du Maquis, France, Sheep Milk
This sweet little wheel of smooth sheep is encrusted with herbs like rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries and bird’s eye chile. This cheese has such a fresh, herbal flavour that carries throughout its smell and flavour. You could really taste the terroir (where it came from) of this cheese!

8 ) Comte DOP, France, Cow Milk
Comte is a firm, pressed cheese with a claim to fame! It has been stated that one can pick out over 83 distinct flavours! Maybe my palette just isn’t refined enough, because while I tasted a glorious mix of baked bread, nuttiness, chocolate, butter and cream, I definitely didnt taste 83 things! Nevertheless, this chewy cheese is going to be fannnntastic on some toast the next time I can get my hands on it!

7) Alp Drackloch, Switzerland, Cow Milk
Alp Drackloch is a yummy, luxurious cheese that a big Swiss cow made just for me! (let me dream, ok?) This very rare cheese is made only in the summer in a very specific region of Switzerland. Like my last pick, Alp is nutty and toasty on my tongue and the strong taste lingers around for a while even after all is said and done… a great way to drag out eating cheese!

6) Sea Hive, USA, Cow Milk
When I saw this cheese on the tasting list, I was so excited! I had been reading about this honey-rubbed and salt-encrusted cheese for ages before I made it down to NYC! Sea Hive is a firm cheese that exudes a perfect sweet and salty flavour. The saltiness comes through strongly with a bit of a spicy bite. It’s so complex it makes my head spin – I had to try a few bites before I really could appreciate the whole thing!

5) Rocky Sage, New York, Goat Milk
Rocky Sage is a light, fresh goat cheese made by Coach in New York State… Coach, you say? A cheese made by a noted bag and accessory designer?? How could it be bad! I half expected the cheese to come covered in the Coach logo, but I was instead met with a cloudy white cone of smooth goat cheese. It was a tad chalky yet still crisp, herbal and even a bit spicy! Overall, it was a designer delight! (I didn’t, however, like the rind… but to each their own!)

4) Smokey Oregon Blue, Oregon, Cow Milk
Smokey Oregon by Rogue Creamery was the only blue to hit my top 10, and why, might you ask? Because every morsel of it was udder (excuse my pun!) perfection! It has a sweet and smokey smell, that translates seamlessly into the lingering taste. The smokey flavour is subtle, not overbearing and the 100% natural full cream makes each bite melt away. The whole cheese has a fudge-like quality! This is one cheese I might even drink a beer for! We were suggested to try it with a Rogue Brewery Chocolate Stout… which sounds pretty tasty, if I might say so!

3) Ossau-Iraty, France, Sheep Milk
Ossau-Iraty is a fantastic, firm, fabulous cheese! It is delectably smooth and goes down like a dream. It is nutty and fruity and sharp and sweet all at the same time, which almost seems impossible! It is a buttery concoction of ewe curds that will never get old.

2) Nettle Meadow Kunik, New York, Goat Milk
Butter. Cream. Tangy. Sweet. Smooth. Refreshing. Clear. All of these are fittingly used to describe this Triple Cream of all Triple Creams. Of every cheese we tasted, this was the most amazing creamy cheese. I can’t say I tasted it in bites, because it was so smooth there was nothing to bite down on! It slid over my taste buds and definitely left them wanting more… I had to refrain from eating my piece in just one big bite – I thought that might be rude! I truly can’t even put into words all of the wonderful things about this cheese. You’ll just have try it for yourself.

1) Gouda (Aged 4 Years), Netherlands, Cow Milk
If you love salty and sweet, like I do, than this old Gouda is just for you! It looks and tastes like caramel and butterscotch, with sugar crystals breaking through in each bite. It has a big, bold, lingering flavour that rests in your mouth like the chewy outside of a candied apple. The salt makes each taste complex and makes me want to taste it many more times! If I were ever to taste a cheese I might want to sprinkle on some ice cream, this is the one! I wonder if that would be gross?

And there you have it! 10 amazing cheeses! Next up, the ones that didn’t make my cut.

Return to Blog Posts Listing