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‘Whey’ too much fun planned for first Canadian Cheese Festival at Picton

Artisan, farmstead and specialty cheese from coast-to-coast will be showcased June 4-5 at the Crystal Palace in Picton as The Great Canadian Cheese Festival makes its debut.
For the first time in Canada, the festival will bring together cheesemakers from coast-to-coast so cheese lovers, foodies and culinary tourists can 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 will be available for tasting, and purchase, at the Festival’s Cheese Fair & Artisan Food Market Sunday, June 5. Some 30 cheesemakers will be represented, as will wineries, craft brewers and producers of artisan foods.
Additionally, the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners will be presented in a tutored tasting by Dairy Farmers of Canada.
A full day of tasting seminars led by experts will take place Saturday, June 4, starting with a keynote presentation on the future of artisan cheese in Canada. Six to nine cheeses will be tasted in each of the nine sessions, generally in pairings with wine and beer. Topics include Taste of Québec, Artisan Cheeses of Ontario and Blue Canada (as in cheese). Leading the tastings will be cheese educators such Julia Rogers of Cheese Culture and Cheese Lover Productions Inc; 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. A buffet lunch is included in the all-day program.
The first day culminates in the Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala where eight leading chefs will use Canadian artisan cheeses to create eight tasting dishes that will be paired with Canadian wine, craft beer and cider. The evening will conclude with sweets, icewine and coffee. Participating chefs will include Jamie Kennedy, Jamie Kennedy Kitchens, Toronto; Anthony Rose, Drake Hotel, Toronto; Michael Blackie, National Arts Centre, Ottawa; Michael Howell, Tempest, Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Craig Flinn, Chives Canadian Bistro, Halifax; and Andreas Feller of Blumen Garden Bistro, Picton.
For those interested in seeing cheesemaking first hand, cheese-plant tours will be offered at nearby Black River Cheese and Fifth Town Artisan Cheese with stops at cow and goat dairy farms on Friday, June 3.
Acclaimed chef Michael Potters of Angeline’s Restaurant & Inn will offer a cheese-themed dinner on the eve of the Festival, June 3, the first restaurant to commit to what will be billed as the Great County Dine Around.
A portion of Festival proceeds will benefit Canadian Cheese Society/La Société des fromages Canadiens and a Cheese Technology Scholarship at University of Guelph to encourage young Canadians to pursue careers in cheese.
Georgs Kolesnikovs of Cheese Lover Productions, founder and director of the Festival, maintains the popular cheese blog CheeseLover.ca.
Tickets to the Festival are only sold only online at www.CheeseFestival.ca.
Early-bird ticket prices are Cheese Fair & Artisan Food Market, $30, including 10 sampling tickets, wine glass and cooler bag for hauling purchased cheese home; All-Day Tasting Seminar Program, $150, including tote bag, keynote presentation, cheese, wine, beer and lunch; Cooks & Curds Cheese Gala, $95.

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  1. @amwaters says:

    It’s old news now but Andreas Feller of Blumen Garden Bistro, Picton was not one of the 8 chefs at the Gala on the Saturday evening. The other 5 chefs mentioned were there, plus Lisa Ahier from Sobo out in Tofino, British Columbia; Alexander Svenne of Bistro 7 1/4 from Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Jeremy Charles of Raymonds from down east, St. John’s, Newfoundland. They all did a great job.

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