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Cheese Festival a great ‘getawhey’ in Prince Edward County

There’s a reason people smile when they say “cheese” and those smiles were ear-to-ear on faces enjoying a ‘getawhey’ this weekend to Prince Edward County for Canada’s first national showcase of artisan cheese.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival made its debut June 4-5 with about 2,246 people at the historic Crystal Palace in Picton, in the heart of the County – the fasting-growing culinary destination in Ontario and newest VQA wine region in Canada.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada presented fine Canadian Cheese in a seminar and tasting of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Winners

The festival’s big cheese, Georgs Kolesnikovs, founder and director, has extensive experience in event management and promotion – and a lifelong passion for cheese. He runs the popular cheese blog www.CheeseLover.ca and sits on the Board of Directors of Canadian Cheese Society/La Société des fromages canadiens.
He was thrilled with the success of the inaugural event.
“When people ask me that I almost break down and get all teary. It’s been a lot of hard work, and not just by me, but by a lot of people very close to me to make this event such a success.”

Admission included a cheese cooler bag to tuck away the day's purchases.

Many people waited in line to speak with the “Big Cheese” identified easily while wearing his cheese hat and others waited patiently to be photographed with him (Everybody said ‘cheese’). Margaret and Paul Wadsworth expressed their appreciation to Kolesnikovs on a fun and interesting event.  From New Zealand, the couple was visiting family in Ottawa when they read about the event and made the journey to Picton.

The festival welcomed cheesemakers from coast-to-coast for cheese lovers, foodies and culinary tourists to meet to learn, talk, taste and buy the best in artisan, farmstead and specialty cheese—and sample fine wine, craft beer and artisan foods.

‘Whey’ more than 100 different Canadian cheeses were available for tasting—and purchase—at the Festival’s Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Market on Sunday. Some 30 cheesemakers will be represented, as were wineries, craft brewers and producers of artisan foods. The 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winning cheeses were presented in a tutored tasting by Dairy Farmers of Canada.
A presentation by Petra Kassun-Mutch, of Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, on Cheese Tasting and Cheesemaking for Children attracted a full house of all ages.

A full day of tasting seminars was held Saturday by cheese educators such Julia Rogers of Cheese Culture and Deborah Levy of Dairy Farmers of Canada, cheese sommelier Vanessa Simmons of Savvy Company, and Gurth Pretty, author of The Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisan and Fine Cheese.

Saturday culminated in a Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala where eight leading chefs used Canadian artisan cheeses to create tasting dishes that were paired with Canadian wine, craft beer and cider. The evening concluded with sweets, icewine and coffee.

Filed Under: Arts & CultureFeatured ArticlesWhat's To Eat?

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