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Best Cheeses Of The Year: Canada


Canada Cheese!

There’s great cheese nearly everywhere you look these days, whether you’re planning to summer in the south of France or ski the slopes of Canada. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take you to five popular tourist regions—the Alps, the Anglo-Celtic Isles, Australasia, Canada, and the Mediterranean—complete with recommendations for places to visit, fun facts, and of course, some of the best wedges and wheels in the area.


At 150 years old, Canada is a relatively young country, but it’s rich in landscapes, from the impressive Rocky Mountains to its lengthy coastline (the longest in the world), with 151,600 miles touching the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. While it might be better known for its Justins (Trudeau and Bieber) and Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds), America’s friendly northern neighbor has been quietly cultivating a rich food and wine culture for decades. Toronto, arguably the world’s most diverse city, has a culinary scene that draws from its deeply multicultural population. Meanwhile, in places like Prince Edward County and in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, some of the world’s best cheesemakers are collecting prestigious awards for their efforts.

TALIAH

Fromagerie du Presbytère, Saint-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, Quebec

This twist on a clothbound cheddar is made with sheep’s milk and aged between 10 and 16 months. The result: a caramelly, fruit- and hazelnut-forward flavor profile that pairs nicely with a glass of cabernet franc or a Quebec-made maréchal foch.

 canada cheese

Taliah

MOZZARELLISSIMA

Saputo. Montreal, Quebec

The Saputo family brought their Italian cheesemaking secrets to Canada in 1954, and in the years since has grown the business significantly while retaining high standards of quality. Case in point: Mozzarellissima, a creamy cow’s milk mozzarella begging to be melted on pizza and lasagna.

TRUFFALINA

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, Picton, Ontario

Fifth Town sits in Prince Edward County, an emerging wine region two hours east of Toronto. Its award-winning Truffalina is a dense, nutty goat’s milk gouda infused with black truffles. The flavor is mildly earthy and salty—perfect for pairing with complex, medium-bodied red wines such as syrah or zinfandel.

LENBERG FARMS CLASSIC RESERVE ZOEY

Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario

The winner of an American Cheese Society blue ribbon, this wheel is hand-salted, washed with brine and aged four months. The combination of tangy goat’s milk and creamy sheep’s milk makes for a buttery texture that pairs nicely with a peppery zinfandel or a bold chardonnay.

LOUIS CYR

Fromagerie Bergeron, Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Quebec

This pasteurized cow’s milk gouda packs a punch—much like its namesake, a Quebecois strongman renowned for holding many records, including lifting 18 men at once. Aged for at least six months, the wedge offers flavors of toffee and fresh hazelnuts. Enjoy it with fruity and aromatic white wines like sauvignon blanc.

LA MADELAINE

Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Quebec

Named after Madeleine Boucher, one of the first children of pioneers to be born in New France (now known as Quebec), this soft bloomy rind boasts a fragrance of dry hay and barnyard. Try it with a dark fruit jam, such as black cherry or blackcurrant preserves, and Quebecois cider

 canada cheese

La Madelaine

PIONNIER

Fromagerie Nouvelle France / Fromagerie du Presbytère, Racine, Quebec / Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, Quebec

This prized washed rind is the result of two cheesemakers working together, combining the raw milk from their sheep and cow herds. Once formed into large wheels—each almost 90 pounds—Pionnier ripens for 10 to 12 months and develops aromas of butter, brown sugar, and macadamia nuts.

EXTRA OLD CHEDDAR

Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island-based Cows Creamery attributes the quality of their cheeses to the island’s unique location. No point is more than 20 miles from the sea, and the salty air and iron-rich red soil lend a distinct flavor to this flaky, Scottish-inspired cheddar. Try it with vintage port.

FUN FACT:

  • Although it’s more than 3,000 miles from France, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world.(Oui, Paris is number one.)
  • Kraft Dinner, the boxed macaroni, and cheese product is arguably the country’s national dish—Canadians eat an average of 3.2 boxes per year, about 55 percent more than Americans do.

TRADITIONAL CHEESY DISH: Poutine
This iconic Quebecois dish is simple in its composition—French fries, cheese curds, and chicken gravy—but that doesn’t stop trendy restaurants from adding embellishments like braised short ribs or roasted chicken. Beware of those who suggest using an alternate cheese, such as chèvre, smoked mozzarella, or ricotta: The hallmark of true poutine is its squeakiness, which can be attained only with fresh cheese curds.

Andrea Chiu

Andrea Chiu is a freelance writer in Toronto where she likes to drink sherry and grill cheeses on her plancha. Follow her on @TOfoodie

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