Ontario artisan is a magical thing. Much like fine Ontario wine, it can be tough to find in your typical grocery store. True cheese lovers know that going direct to the source leads to mighty rewards. Some of the most unique Ontario cheeses are not available anywhere but the cheesemakers’ on-site shops or in the region where they’re made. Don’t get discouraged though! The folks at Savour Ontario are here to help. They’ve created a Discover Ontario Cheese map that pins all the cheese-quest-worthy stops to help you plan your next road trip.
You feta believe we love a gouda road trip. The more artisan makers we visit, the more fun we have along the whey! Here’s three Ontario-made, artisan cheeses we’re hitting the road for this summer.
Have you ever had a grilling cheese? If not, open your heart and let it change your life. Inspired by Scandinavian bread cheese and similar to Middle Eastern halloumi and Greek kefalotyri – the Opa! Cheese – this firm Guernsey cow’s milk cheese becomes crisp and golden outside, with a soft, slightly salty, squeaky bite when fried or grilled. Guernsey cow milk is richer in butterfat and proteins compared to the more common Holstein milk. That makes it extra creamy and extra delicious!
Choosing a favorite cheese from this Northern Ontario cheesemaker is not an easy task. There’s the hyper seasonal Pagwa that lends itself beautifully to honey comb or the Mattagami, aged to perfection for over a year. It’s the Kapuskasing Chèvre that’s won our hearts this year though. It’s is known to have a creamy and slight tangy flavour. Its center is also lined with vegetable ashes. Fun fact: The Kapuskasing Chèvre was created in honor of the Town of Kapuskasing’s 100th anniversary.
Thornloe Cheese has been making some of Ontario’s best cheese and butter since 1940 in the beautiful region of Temiskaming Shores. They make a variety of beautiful cheeses (including an addictive Blue named after local landmark: Devil’s Rock) but it’s the Asiago that’s stolen the show for us. Flavourful, semi-firm and made in the traditional style – this cow’s milk cheese is aged 6 weeks before hitting shelves in the dairy’s brand new cheese shop!
Discover More Ontario Cheese
In our opinion, the very best way to experience local cheese is to go to the source. Planning an Ontario cheesemaker retail shop discovery tour is not only a fantastic day trip, but a unique way to connect with and support the makers behind the flavours. And, you’re guaranteed to find cheeses you’ve never even heard of (yes, they’re that special). Start your adventure here!