Canadian cheese, crafted with creativity

As Canadians from coast-to-coast prepare to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Natural Pastures has been chosen to exemplify the best in Canadian cheese as one of three cheesemakers selected nation-wide to share in the celebrations.

Natural Pastures’ highly awarded Comox Camembert was hand-picked by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) to represent Western Canada along with a cheddar from Prince Edward Island and a blue cheese from Ontario.

“We’re truly honoured,” said Doug Smith, Operations Manager for Natural Pastures Cheese. “There are a lot of great cheesemakers in our region, and we’re thrilled to have been chosen to represent them and the high quality of cheese they produce.”

Comox Camembert is a creamy, rich cheese, characterized by its edible, downy white rind, with a delicate flavour of mushroom. Comox Camembert and Comox Brie both took third place in their respective categories at the World Championship in Wisconsin last year, and they’re local favourites at picnics and parties in British Columbia.

Representing the east coast is Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar produced by Cows Creamery on Prince Edward Island. Aged for 14 months in carefully monitored temperature and humidity conditions, this cheddar is firm in texture and has a rich full-bodied flavour.

DFC chose Devil’s Rock produced by Thornloe Cheese in Ontario to represent central Canada. Devil’s Rock is a creamy blue cheese in a uniquely shaped pyramid and encased in black wax. Devil’s Rock itself is an iconic rock surface overlooking Lake Temiskaming and onward into Quebec.

Packages containing each of the three cheeses will be sent to media and bloggers across the country and they will be writing their impressions in articles and on social media using the hashtag #CanadianCheese.

Established in their own right, Canadian cheeses are delicious and distinct from their European counterparts. Over the years, they have garnered top honours – from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, to taking awards at the World International Cheese Competition in Wisconsin and most recently, at the Global Cheese Awards in Somerset, England. As a delectable snack or a feature at an elegant wine and cheese tasting, Canadian cheese is the perfect complement to the celebration of a momentous occasion, and what better reason to celebrate than the 150th anniversary of all that is Canada.

“Our great Canadian cheeses start with 100% Canadian quality milk, which are produced by our passionate dairy farmers in a sustainable way,” said Sebastien Bergeron, Director of Marketing for DFC. “We want all of Canada to join us in celebrating generations of Canadian dairy farmers who have fed our nation for 150 years, and who provide cheesemakers with the milk they need to create great Canadian cheese.”

While cheese making in Canada can be traced back to the early 1600s when French explorer and founder of the Quebec settlements, Samuel de Champlain first introduced cattle to the region, it wasn’t until 1864, that American immigrant Harvey Farrington employed new technology to set up the very first Canadian cheese factory, ‘The Pioneer’ in Norwich, Ontario. By 1867, the year of Confederation, over 200 cheese factories were established in Ontario alone and the foundation for the creation and production of distinct Canadian cheese was set.