Have you ever wondered how to pronounce the word “Gouda”? If you’re us, you’ve been saying something like goo-dah, or gow-dah all these years, but it turns out that:
a) there are, in fact, at least two more ways to pronounce it, and
b) this is a source of major controversy in the cheese world. Major.
Last week, two very happy members of our team (Agatha, our communications manager, and Alanna, communications intern extraordinaire) went to witness the inaugural 2014 Oscurds — or as the rest of the country likes to call it, the Canadian Cheese Awards!A� For its first year, the ceremony took place at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. There, we learned all about the history of cheese in Canada, educated ourselves on the correct pronunciation of certain cheeses, and sampled more dairy than any two people should ever sample in one sitting�and then some.
The Canadian Cheese Awards came about to promote the best in Canadian cheesemaking, coast to coast, and was organized by The Great Canadian Cheese Festival as a service to the cheese industry and as a guide for consumers. Unlike other Canadian cheese competitions, this one was open to milks of all ilk�pure milk of Canadian cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo were equally welcome to apply! Licensed federal and provincial cheesemakers were allowed to apply so long as their cheese also was without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, or modified milk ingredients.
The cheeses were judged in February on technical aspects and aesthetics at the University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, with evaluation of cheese headed by Dr. Arthur Hill, Chair and Professor, Food Science. After sampling the goods post-award-announcements, we were glad that no one had asked us to be judges! The cheeses we tasted were nothing short of incredible, and had us jotting down name after name to seek out for future dinner parties!
There were 16 main categories this year, plus 9 special awards, 5 regional awards, and the grand prize of “Cheese of the Year.” Le Baluchon from Fromagerie FX Pichet in QuA�bec took that grand title (and it was well deserved!) but we were thrilled to see Ontario rack up a number of awards too!
- The title of “Best Fresh Cheese” went to Quality Cheese’s Bella Casara Mascarpone (Vaughan, Ontario)
- The title of “Best Firm Cheese” went to Best Baa Dairy’s Eweda Cru (Fergus, Ontario)
- The title of “Best Gouda Cheese” went to Blyth Farm Cheese’s Golden Blyth (Blyth, Ontario)
- The title of “Best Cow’s Milk Cheese” went to Quality Cheese’s Bella Casara Mascarpone (Vaughan, Ontario)
- The title of “Best Goat’s Milk Cheese” went to Mariposa Dairy’s Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar (Lindsay, Ontario)
- The title of “Best Sheep’s Milk Cheese” went to Mariposa Dairy’s A�Lenberg Farms Reserve by Celebrity Tania Sheep Cheese (Lindsay, Ontario)
- And, finally, the winner for the prize of the “Best Ontario Cheese” went to Quality Cheese’s Bella Casara Mascarpone (Vaughan, Ontario)