ACS Best of Show Second Place
Finica Food Specialties Limited, Mariposa Dairy, Ontario
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar
Mariposa Dairy is operating in overdrive. Thanks to unanticipated attention from recent awards, cheesemakers Lori Legacey and Peter VanOudenaren are excited to be clocking long days in the make room of the dairy in Lindsay, Ontario.
In 2010, Mariposa’s Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar beat 40 other cheeses from across Canada and the U.K. in the British Empire Cheese Competition. Then, the cheese tied for second at the 2011 ACS competition in Montréal.
Legacey was thrilled, but for one thing: she had made only a limited number of wheels of the triumphant cheddar, the first specialty hard cheese she’d ever created.
Barely three years into her artisan cheesemaking career, Legacey’s particular cheddar was born of a training session with Rachel Bauman, a visiting Ontario-based Mennonite cheesemaker. Bauman had shown Mariposa employees some time-honored, bandaged-wrapped techniques following a recipe by Neville McNaughton of CheezSorce in St. Louis, Missouri.
During the 18-month aging process, Legacey kept a vigilant eye on her bandaged samples, spending hours each week in the aging room, hand-brushing and flipping the cheeses on wooden shelves, quite anticipating what favor the buttery-smooth cheese with a hint of sweetness would find with judges. She’s now reserved a few wheels, aging them 24 and 36 months, to note further development.
Understandably, Mariposa’s owners, Bruce and Sharon Vandenberg, are delighted with the acclaim. The couple’s modest operation has grown since 1989, from an initial startup herd of 130 goats to more than 1,300.
With their Celebrity International Goat Cheese brand already distributed throughout North America by Finica Food Specialties, the challenge lies in bringing Bandaged Goat to market quickly, to meet demand (plans are under way to export it to the United States as well). The opportunity is “fabulous and humbling,” Legacey says. “This has been an amazing dream come true for us.”
As for the shortage of Bandaged Goat? “It’s a really, really good problem to have!” Legacey says with a laugh.
Written by Christine Darragh
Photograph by Kate Arding