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Great Canadian Cheese Show another sell-out success in seventh year

Nicole Barr, Veronica Visser, P.J. Haynes, Nicole Visser and Lydia Coco have so much fun attending the Great Canadian Cheese Festival they ended up filling a bus with 40 friends and family members joining in on the fun. Here they enjoy tastes from Ivanhoe Cheese – samples of vintage, goat and jalapeno varieties.

Sold-out signs popped up all over the Crystal Palace and Picton Fairgrounds sites by Sunday afternoon as more than 5,000 visitors wedged themselves into the seventh annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival on the weekend.

Reigning Cheese Champions from Cows Creamery serve up award winning favourites

Cheesemaker Armand Bernard, reigning Cheese of the Year Champion for the Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, said the Cows Creamery company brought twice as much cheese to the show to avoid selling out as they did last year – once on Saturday, and again on Sunday after sending an SOS for more stock. But it still wasn’t enough for the award-winning Avonlea as packages were sold out by Sunday afternoon, though a few were kept aside for tasting.

“Last year was our first year here and we enjoyed it immensely,” said Bernard, noting he enjoys meeting the many producers at the show, and the customers.

“It’s an educated audience here. The people know what they want and they ask very intelligent questions about the cheeses,” he said. “It’s also nice to have this kind of venue, in a smaller community like this because you get to know the people at the show and at the motel where we’re staying.”

Another full house on Sunday resulted in many “sold-out” signs by late afternoon.

More than 150 cheeses from across the nation were featured at the show along with wine, spirits, craft ciders and beer, specialty foods and food related products. The artisanal offerings varied from from cow, sheep, and goat to water buffalo milks.

Henry Laliberte presents Rosanna O’Neill with her favourite choice from the Biobio Organic cheese selections.

Rosanna O’Neil, of Demorestville referred to herself as a mouse as she nibbled her favourites, and new offerings, while attending the show for the first time.

“I’m so glad to see so much cheese from further afield and tasting things that are not normally available to me in regular retail. I will be making a point of going to cheesemakers now.”

Norah Langdon and Sean Fraser poured signature Doghouse red and white wines from Three Dog Winery.

Helping to flavour the palate between cheese tastings were Norah Langdon and Sean Fraser, from the County’s Three Dog Winery, on Fish Lake Road. They were serving up signature Doghouse red and white wines and inviting guests to their annual Ribs, Rock & Rose event Saturday, June 17.

Chocolatier Audrey Brown, from Coca Bistro artisan chocolate in Kingston, was happy to see cooler weather this weekend.

“Last year was scorching hot and half our product melted,” she said, of her handcrafted natural chocolate “made with love”.

Amy Baldwin presents the Waupoos Winery’s new release, The Knoll, Cabernet Franc.

Amy Baldwin, of Waupoos Estates Winery, said their new release “The Knoll” Cabernet Franc was creating a lot of buzz at the show. The grapes for The Knoll are dried in the greenhouse before being pressed.

Sonia Roy takes a photograph of her son Frederik enjoying something yummy she could describe in French, but wasn’t sure of the English translation word for it.

“I love the cheese show,” said Sonia Roy, attending with her sons Frederik and Samuel. “This is my third visit. I love the cheese, of course, but also the wine, and everything else!”

A number of women who work at Joyceville decided to invite family and friends to fill a bus to attend this year’s event.

“About 15 of us usually go every year but others kept asking us about coming so this year we rented a bus. There’s about 40 of us here together.”

The Star Painters entertaining in the food court tent

A ‘Haute Goat’ resident has a stretch to take a peek at passersby.

Cheese Festival Founder and organizer Georgs Kolesnikovs was spotted without his cheese hat as he deked inside to buy a cheese board from Live Edged Woodcraft.

Bruno Morelli, of Mysty’s Distributing in Toronto, said he was lucky to meet up with County hospitality on the weekend.

When he left the show Saturday night, his truck died just outside of town and he thought he would have no choice but to call a tow truck, gather his granite cheese boards and lazy susans, and go home.

“We pulled over and a gentleman named Rob stopped and asked if there was anything he could do to help,” said Morelli. Lucky for him, Rob was a 30-year mechanic.

“He came to the conclusion it was a fuel pump and we got a tow out to his mother’s farm. He fixed it last night and brought it back to me here today, all ready to go back to Toronto. It’s our fifth year we have been here. It’s a great show. It’s a great place here.”

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