Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar
Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario
The Mariposa Dairy in Lindsay, Ontario, makes a variety of goat and sheep milk cheeses. They make the Plain Goat that I have regularly, as well as Tania Sheep Cheese, which I will have at the stall later this month. All their cheeses are pasteurized and made using vegetarian-friendly rennet. I was in Toronto recently and acquired the Bandaged Goat Cheddar there, so it is a special treat—though I will do my best to find a regular supplier of it, as I am certain it will be a favourite of many.
The Bandaged Goat Cheddar is made in small batches to keep the quality high—that they succeed in doing so is shown in the large number of awards the cheese has won since it was first launched in 2011. (In 2011 it won Champion at the British Empire Cheese Festival, first in Goat Cheddar/tied for second as Best of Show at the American Cheese Society, and Grand Champion at the [Toronto] Royal Agricultural Winter Fair; it’s won First Place at various Canadian and international competitions in every year since except for 2012, which must have been a particularly intense year.)
After the cheese has been pressed into shape, the wheels are wrapped in cheesecloth and placed on a pine board in the aging room. They are turned each week for at least a year to ensure their even aging. This results in a nutty, earthy, and slightly crumbly cheese. (You might compare to Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar or Wookey Hold Cave-Aged Cheddar, which are made similarly.) Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar has lactic acid crystals in the paste—a much sought-after element in a well-aged cheddar.
Blyth Farm, Blyth, Ontario
Blyth Farm, home of the Van Dorps, is a small producer of goat’s milk cheeses from near Lake Huron (and the town of Blyth) in Ontario. The Van Dorps began making cheeses in 2008 and have continued to expand their repertoire since. They currently make a small number of gouda-style cheeses on their farm, of which Golden Blyth is one.
Golden Blyth is a mild, relatively young cheese, aged four to six months. It has a light texture, and a firm paste. It is a surprisingly sweet cheese with a hint of caramel mingling with a slight saltiness. Curiously, it is lactose-free—though that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavour!
The makers suggest pairing it with rustic bread and crisp white wine, and I can’t say any better than that.
Five Brothers Smoked
Gunn’s Hill Artisanal Cheeses, Woodstock, Ontario
Gunn’s Hill is a small cheesemaking facility in the heart of Ontario’s dairy country. The cheesemaker, Shep Ysselstein, is of Dutch descent. He was trained in the art of cheesemaking in the US, British Columbia, and Switzerland, and reflects Alpine influences in his cheeses. The milk used comes from the family farm (run by the cheesemaker’s brothers) next door, so although it’s not quite farmstead cheese it’s very close.
Five Brothers is primarily in the style of a gouda with Appenzeller influences. It is aged for a minimum of eight months, resting on cedar planks that delicately flavour the cheese. This particular version is then smoked, adding a rich complexity to the creamy, rich flavour. You will notice that it is quite crumbly in texture without being dry.
Try the Five Brothers Smoked with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc wines, Pilsener beers, and perhaps a dry cider to complement the smokiness.
Cheddar – Six Year Old (Ontario)
Cheddar is the world’s most popular cheese—but what a wide range of cheddars there are to choose from! From the mildest marble to the extremely strong nearly decade-old vintage, from white through coloured through flavours of all sorts, there is a cheddar for everyone.
Originating in the Cheddar Gorge in southern England, cheddars are not location-of-origin protected, and can therefore be made under that name around the world. Canada has a long history of excellence in cheddar-making, both in Ontario and in the Maritimes (Cows’ Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar recently won Canada’s Best Cheese award, and won the Vintage Cheddar category in the World Cheese Awards in the UK in 2015). In this month’s box, I’ve given you two very different cheddars—one Canadian, aged, and ‘plain’, the other British, young, and flavoured—to showcase a little of the wide range of this style of cheese.
Cheddars are marked by their large curd structure. In older cheeses the paste often breaks apart into curds, something that is very noticeable with this month’s Six Year Old. As befits an aged cheese, the flavour of the Six Year Old is lingering, complex, and rich—full of savour or umami. Delicious by itself, cheddar is also one of the great cooking cheeses, melting superbly and complementing everything from broccoli to apple pie. Carrying on the British influence, I would probably go for a beer, especially an ale, over a wine, but a strong red or a dry white would also complement the Six Year Old.