If you’ve ever ventured up to Bay of Quinte–near Belleville for those who haven’t–you’ll have noticed that the area has a very special relationship with cheese.
The region is home to Canada�s oldest cheese factory, Ivanhoe Cheese and in the 1940s, boasted more than 100 cheese factories. Back then, most of them were owned by local farmers–making Hastings County famous as the Cheese Capital of Ontario.
Things have inevitably changed in the last century, with refrigerated transport making it possible to carry fresh milk farther from farms resulting in the closure of many of those famed cheese factories.
Luckily for us cheese lovers, a number of them survive in the region and continue to make award-winning cheddars, often in much the same way as 100 years ago � in open vats, using real milk, without modified milk ingredients, guided by master cheese makers.
These dairies are celebrated culinary and historic treasures.
Today, of the 15 cheddar finalists at the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, seven were from these Bay of Quinte Region cheese producers. That’s a lot of mighty good cheddar for one region!
The area is rich in agricultural land and traditionally grew both hops, barley and apples in abundance.A� It’s only natural then that breweries–and eventually cider houses–have begun to spring up in the region.
As wonderful as it is to meander down the many beautiful winding country roads and happen upon one of the many hidden culinary treasures in the region, the folks at Bay of Quinte Tourist Council thought visitors might appreciate a little help. They�ve brought these unique cheese, beer and cider producers together on a new Bay of Quinte Region Cheddar & Ale Trail.
The Trail features the Region�s six artisan cheese producers, three craft breweries and two cider houses.
Have you toured the Trail? It’s a great way to discover, experience and appreciate the Bay of Quinte cheddar and beer!
Download the Cheddar & Ale Trail companion map!
About Bay of Quinte
Bay of Quinte Region is farm and foodie country. Enjoy artisan cheese and award-winning wine against the backdrop of rolling farmland and spectacular water views and take in a cooking class in one of several cooking schools.