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Black River’s mild cheddar named the nation’s best

It's a tough job but someone has to do it: Judges at work tasting the 203 cheeses entered in the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Photos courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

A mild cheddar from Prince Edward County’s Black River Cheese Company has been named the country’s best at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, hosted by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

The event, held every two years, celebrates the high quality and proud tradition of making cheese in Canada. It is open to cheese makers across Canada and promotes the finest cheeses made from 100 per cent Canadian Milk
A record number of entries – 203  from across six provinces – were judged in 17 categories. A panel of judges is comprised of chefs, food writers and food critics scored on overall appearance, body, texture and smell.
Robin Ferguson, general manager and Brad Reid, Cheesemaker, travelled to Toronto April 20 to attend the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Gala at the Palais Royale where category champions were announced and celebrated.
“In February, we found out  we were finalists in two categories – Mild Cheddar and Medium Cheddar,” Ferguson said.  “We were thrilled to bring home the trophy for Champion in the Mild Cheddar category.”
“Winning this award for the best mild cheddar in Canada is a great honour and a testament to the staffs dedication in producing top quality cheese,” said Reid.
Black River Cheese Company is one of the oldest cheesemaking operations in Eastern Ontario. It will celebrate its 110th birthday on June 4-5.
During the June 5 Artisan Cheese & Fine Food Fair portion of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival, at Picton’s Crystal Palace (June 3-5), Deborah Levy of Dairy Farmers of Canada will lead a tutored tasting of all the winners. They’ll also be featured at the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala Saturday, June 4.

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