The Academy Awards of cheese were held in Toronto Wednesday night. The big winner: Laliberté a soft cheese from Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, Que.
Laliberté (pictured) won the coveted Grand Champion Award in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. The awards, recognizing the best of the best in Canadian cheeses, are given out every two years.
Laliberté is a triple-cream cheese with a tender bloomy rind. It has flavours of mushroom and cream when young, turning to hints of grass and root vegetables when aged. “From all the excellent cheeses the jury tasted, we found Laliberté to be the standout,” Phil Belanger, chairman of this year’s Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury, said.
This wasn’t the first time Fromagerie du Presbytère won the Grand Champion Award. The family-owned farm won the award in 2011 for its Louis d’Or cheese.
On Wednesday Fromagerie du Presbytère picked up four awards. In addition to the Grand Champion, its cheeses won in the Swiss-Type Cheese category for Louis d’Or and Blue Cheese category for its Le Bleu d’Élizabeth. It also won in the Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind for Laliberté.
Awards were handed out across 27 categories on Wednesday to recognize various types of cheeses, from fresh, to soft to various ages of goudas and cheddars. Cheese makers that took home multiple awards included Sylvan Star Cheese from Alberta, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser in Quebec and the Farm House Natural Cheeses in B.C.
Winners were selected by an 11-person jury of cheese experts. To qualify for the awards the cheeses must be produced in Canada, bear the 100% Canadian Milk symbol on packaging and be sold at retail at the time of judging.
The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Awards were started in 1998 and this year received a record 268 entries, says Dairy Farmers president Wally Smith. Submissions were narrowed to 81 finalists earlier this year. Here is a complete list of the 27 category winners:
Fresh Cheese: Ricotta Bella Casara (Quality Cheese, Ontario)
Fresh Pasta Filata: Cherry Bocconcini (Natural Pastures Cheese Company, B.C.)
Fresh Cheese with Grilling Properties: Le Paillasson de l’isle d’Orléans (Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orléans, Quebec)
Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind: Comox Brie (Natural Pastures Cheese Company, B.C.)
Cream-Enriched Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind: Laliberté (Fromagerie du Presbytère, Quebec)
Semi-Soft Cheese: Fleur de Weedon (Fromagerie P’tit Plaisir, Quebec)
Washed- or Mixed-Rind Soft Cheese: L’Origine de Charlevoix (Laiterie Charlevoix, Quebec)
Washed- or Mixed-Rind Semi-Soft Cheese: Raclette (Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Quebec)
Washed- or Mixed-Rind Firm Cheese: Alfred Le Fermier 18 months (Fromagerie La Station, Quebec)
Firm Cheese (except cheddar and gouda): Heidi (The Farm House Natural Cheeses, B.C.)
Swiss-Type Cheese: Louis d’Or (Fromagerie du Presbytère, Quebec)
Mozzarella (Ball, Brick or Cylinder) or Pasta Filata: Oaxaca (Local Dairy Products, Ontario)
Brine-Ripened Cheese: Feta Cheese (Tiras Dairies, Alberta)
Gouda (Aged 1 to 6 months): Gouda Medium (Sylvan Star Cheese, Alberta)
Aged Gouda: Gouda Aged (Sylvan Star Cheese, Alberta)
Extra Aged Gouda: Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Gold (Mountainoak Cheese, Ontario)
Blue Cheese: Le Bleu d’Élizabeth (Fromagerie du Presbytère, Quebec)
Flavoured Cheese with Added Non-Particulate Flavouring (except smoked cheese): Griffon Raclette (Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Quebec)
Smoked Cheese: Gouda Smoked Natural Cheese (Sylvan Star Cheese, Alberta)
Flavoured Cheese with Added Particulate Solids and Flavouring: Pepper Raclette (Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Quebec)
Mild Cheddar (Aged 3 months): L’Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar (Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Quebec)
Medium Cheddar (Aged 4 to 9 months): L’Ancêtre Organic Medium Cheddar (Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Quebec)
Old Cheddar (Aged from 9 months to a Year): Traditional Clothbound Cheddar, 9 to 12 months (The Farm House Natural Cheeses, B.C.)
Aged Cheddar (1 to 3 years): Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery,
Aged Cheddar (More than 3 years): Extra Old Cheddar 5 Years (St-Albert Cheese Co-operative, Ontario)
Farmhouse Cheese: Handeck (Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Ontario)
Organic Cheese: Alfred Le Fermier 18 months (Fromagerie La Station, Quebec)