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Ricotta from Ontario wins top award at Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

Award celebrates the best in Canadian cheeses, coast-to-coast

It was a night of firsts at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix awards in Montreal last night, with Quality Cheese Ricotta earning the coveted title of grand champion.

It was the first time a fresh cheese won the award, and the first time a product from Ontario was crowned by the jury of Canadian food industry experts.

"The jury found this Ricotta refined, delicate and well balanced," said Phil Bélanger, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury chairman. "It demonstrates that a fresh cheese can be as sophisticated as an aged one."

Judges lauded Quality Cheese Inc.'s Ricotta for its creamy texture and milky aroma. Based in Vaughan, Ont., Quality Cheese manufactures, distributes and retails Italian specialty cheeses. The company boasts a team representing four generations of cheese making.

The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix is sponsored and hosted every two years by Dairy Farmers of Canada, and celebrates high quality cheeses made from 100 per cent Canadian-milk.

The Grand Champion and 19 category winners were selected from a record 225 cheese entries submitted by makers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia.
In February, the jury then narrowed the submissions down to 58 finalists.

Canada's vibrant and unique cheese-making craft has evolved to the point that new types of cheese are were added to the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix this year: gouda and fresh cheese with grilling properties.

Cheeses were evaluated on appearance, flavour, colour, texture and body, and salt content.

Here's Phil Bélanger, jury chairman, talking about the Cheese Grand Prix:

Here are the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix category winners:

Fresh cheese ricotta: Quality Cheese Inc., Ont.

Fresh cheese with grilling properties: Queso Fresco Cheese, Latin Foods Inc., Alta.

Soft cheese with bloomy rind: Le Noble, Fromagerie Domaine Féodal Inc., Que.

Semi-soft cheese: Tre Stelle Feta Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., Ont.

Washed/mixed rind cheese (soft, semi-soft and firm): Le Mamirolle, Fromagerie Éco-Délices, Que.

Firm cheese: Gunn's Hill Five Brothers, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese, Ont.

Gouda: Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alta.

Swiss-type cheese: Louis D'or 18 months, Fromagerie du Presbytère, Que.

Pasta Filata: Not enough entries.

Mozzarella (ball, brick or cylinder): Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., Ont.

Blue cheese (various rinds, with or without veining): Bleu d'Élizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère, Que.

Flavoured cheese with added non-particulate flavourings: Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Cows Creamery, P.E.I.

Flavoured cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings: Raclette de Compton au poivre, Fromagerie La Station, Que.

Mild cheddar (aged 3 months): L'Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar, Fromagerie L'Ancêtre, Que.

Medium cheddar (aged 4 to 9 months): Medium Cheddar, Maple Dale Cheese, Ont.

Old cheddar (aged from 9 months to a year): Cheddar 1 year, Fromagerie Perron, Que.

Aged cheddar (more than 1 year up to 3 years): Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery, P.E.I.

Aged cheddar (more than 3 years): 5 Year Aged Cheddar, The Black River Cheese Company Ltd., Ont.

Farmhouse cheese: Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alta.

Organic cheese: Bleu d'Élizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère, Que.

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