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Award-winning Canadian cheddar

Cheddar winner - award-winning canadian cheddarCheesemaking in Canada began with the introduction of cattle by Samuel de Champlain in Quebec in the early 1600s; in fact, our breed is believed to be descended from cattle brought by settlers from Brittany and Normandy. Cheddar, which originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England, is the most popular – but which cheddars are the best in all the land? Lucky for us, we don’t have to guess. The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix gives master cheese makers from all over the country the opportunity to put their cheese to the test. At the 2011 Awards, five cheeses brought home top honours. (The next competition will be in 2013.) If you’re looking to upgrade from your regular cheddar, look for these blue ribbon winners!

Mild Cheddar

The Black River Cheese Company Ltd. (Ont.)
This cheese’s buttery, nutty flavour gets stronger with age. It has a firm, smooth and somewhat elastic texture that also becomes a bit granular with age.

Medium Cheddar

Cheddar Moyen Biologique, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre (Que.)
Certified organic by Quebec Vrai, this medium cream-yellow Cheddar is firm, smooth and slightly elastic with a mild, milky flavour. It’s lactose-free.

Aged Cheddar (1-3 years)

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery (P.E.I.)
Canada’s only clothbound Cheddar is aged just over a year. The cloth allows the cheese to breathe and develop an earthy flavour.

Aged Cheddar (4+ years)

Cheddar Doyen 4 ans, Fromagerie Perron (Que.)
A firm cheese with a nutty flavour that intensifies over time, the Perron Cheddar is an authentic product of the Quebec soil. It’s aged from nine months to four years.

Old, extra old Cheddar

Le Jersey du Fjord, Bergeries du Fjord (Que.)
Made from raw, whole cow’s milk from a neighbouring herd (Ferme Pierre Girard) and aged at least 10 months it has a distinctive uneven appearance because the curd is ground before being pressed. This leaves little openings where bluish mould can develop.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2012.

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