The secret to a remarkable cheese plate is a strong contrast of tastes, textures, shapes and sizes, but just because your looking for variety doesn’t mean you have to look farther than your own backyard. You might think the crème de la crème of cheeses are found in Europe, but right here in Canada there is something of a cheese renaissance happening.
The nation’s homegrown cheeses are cleaning up in competitions at home and abroad. Canada is currently home to the “Supreme Global Champion” of cheeses and Quebec is now a top cheese destination for fromage connoisseurs. In order to showcase the best and brightest from across the country, we at RecipeGeek decided to put together a deliciously varied and patriotic cheese plate.
Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar (COWS Creamery, PEI)
The winner of numerous national and international awards, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar is made from cows’ milk sourced from small local farms found on Prince Edward Island. The cheddar is hand-wrapped and turned repeatedly over its 14-month aging period. It tastes of fruit and roasted nuts and is best paired with tart apple slices.
Dragon’s Breath Blue (That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Nova Scotia)
This young (aged 2-3 months) blue cheese has a less aggressive flavor than most blues but it is by no means less complex. Completely encased in black wax, Dragon’s Breath Blue is best spooned out of it’s container, spread on a slice of baguette, and topped with crumbled walnuts and a drizzle of honey.
Le Cendrillon (La Maison Alexis de Portneuf, Quebec)
The Le Cendrillon’s creamy ivory interior is encased in a marbled vegetable ash rind, providing the cheese with a pleasant contrast of textures. This award-winning goat’s milk Brie sports a soft tang and a semi-strong taste, and is best served with fig jam on chestnut scones.
St. John’s Cow Fresh Cheese (Portuguese Cheese Company, Ontario)
Similar in texture to a expertly prepare crème brulee (without the crisp topping), the St. John’s Cow Fresh Cheese is similar to the fresh cheeses found in Portugal, Spain and Latin America. The cheese carries a mild slightly sweet taste and is at its best spread on a fresh baguette with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper on top.
Lankaaster (Glengarry Fine Cheese, Ontario)
This Gouda-style cheese was crowned “Supreme Global Champion” at last year’s Global Cheese Awards, so its safe to say it deserves a spot on your cheese plate. Complex in flavour, the Lankaaster boasts notes of caramel, butterscotch and pineapple. Try it with spiced nuts, pickled peppers and your favourite IPA.