The Great Canadian Cheese Festival – June 1st-3rd in Picton

So Friday I had the opportunity to drop in on the Ottawa launch of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, hosted by the Savvy Company of Ottawa (presenting partner). And if the pictures 0f the sample displays below don’t get your mouth watering, then I guess you just don’t like cheese!

The event drew a couple of local cheese producers. Fromagerie les Folies Bergères (which translated equates to “cheese dairy of the mad shepherds”). Their pamphlets claim they are in Quebec, just “67km from Parliament Hill”. Clarmell on the Rideau is a new family-run goat farm (with a long history in dairy farming) who have joined forces with Glengarry Fine Cheese Factory in Lancaster, Ontario to produce 3 new cheeses (Feta, Chevre, and a goat-milk Gouda), all made 100% with their own goat’s milk.

Michael McKenzie of Seed to Sausage put out a spread worthy of the finest dining. There were chutneys from Ottawa’s Michael’s Dolce and Major Craig’s, and of course wines from Sandbanks Estate Winery.

I asked founder & director Georgs Kolesnikovs what had triggered the idea for an artisan cheese festival, and why he had chosen Picton for the location (he’s from Pickering). It all started because of his love for artisan cheese…and he got to thinking it would be neat if he could get artisan producers from different parts of Canada to gather in one place. Picton was chosen because it had a relatively central location to the 4 counties of Eastern Ontario (all of which have a long history of cheese-making), and has a great wine and food industry. I think it is the perfect location to express small, artisan producers.

Georgs Kolesnikovs Introduces the Event

Big Cheese, Little Cheese

Here’s my “Ten Reasons Why You Should Visit The Great Canadian Cheese Festival”:

1. The Cheese!With 36 artisan cheese makers signed up (literally coast-coast representation), there will be more than 125 cheeses on display, for sampling, and available for purchase.

Some Blue Cheese, Perhaps?

How About Some Creamy Cheese?

This One is Even Creamier

Perhaps Something a Little Firmer?

This Calls for Wine!

Great Cheese from Fromagerie Les Folies Bergeres

Great Names for Their Cheese

2. Wine goes great with cheese:About 15 County wineries are also participating. Find out which wines go best with which cheese.

Wine and Artisan Sausage from Seed to Sausage

Paired with a little Baco Noir from Sandbanks

3. More artisan food:More than a dozen small-batch producers will be sampling their wares – from chutney and shortbread, to meats, jams, and chocolates.

Great Chutney!

Seed to Sausage Wares

Seed to Sausage

Seed to Sausage

Michael's Dolce

More Food!

And More!

4. Craft Beer: Believe it or not, beer goes great with cheese as well. There will be at least 5 craft brewers in attendance.

5. Family Friendly: Although there are wines being sampled for adults on Saturday and Sunday, kids are welcome to attend the Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair. Some specific events are age of majority only (such as the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala on Saturday evening).

6. The Site: The added bonus is that the festival takes place in the Crystal Palace in Picton – one of the most beautiful event settings you’ll ever visit.

7. Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala:8 top chefs will prepare courses pared with Canadian wine, beer, and cider.

Chef Michael Blackie Will be Attending

And THIS is What He Is Making!

More Closeups

8. The Region: You’ll find lots of other things to do – whether it is visiting great restaurants, stocking your vegetable garden, or biking around the rural backroads.

9. Cheese Experts:Like Savvy Company’s Vanessa Simmons. She knows a thing or 5000 about cheese. Just don’t break her “rules”! 🙂

Vanessa Simmons of Savvy Company

10. The Wine!: OK I know I already might have mentioned the wine. But if you couldn’t get away for Terroir (May 26th), here’s another chance to sample some great county wines from passionate growers and winemakers. You’ve got to be crazy to make wine in this region and the crazy folks of PEC are making a statement around the world with their wines.

More great coverage of this event (and more cheese pictures that should get you salivating here:

The Food Gypsy:

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  1. Pingback: Let’s Talk About Cheese: The Great Canadian Cheese Festival | foodiePrints

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