The 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

My obsession with cheese is well documented on the internet, in my everyday speech and late night snacking tendencies. Over the last three years I have nibbled my way through much fromage and have profiled almost 100 cheeses to date which can be found under Cheese Love.

I was recently thrilled to have the opportunity to join some of Toronto’s top Food Media at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for a special event showcasing the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners. Sponsored and hosted every two years by Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix celebrates the high quality, versatility and great taste of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk. In 2011 while I didn’t have a chance to attend the event as I had to work (that horrible 9-5 thing) I was sent a few samples  and showcased my favourites in a Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Beer Tasting.

Shortly after 11am we gathered in the Bell Blue Room where we would spend two hours sampling through the years tops Canadian cheeses. Pursuing the menu I was happy to see some “familiar faces” as well as a few new cheeses I was obviously eager to sample and add to my repertoire.

Cheeses were offered up in three courses staring with soft and fresh, moving on to medium and slightly aged and finishing with robust blues and ancient cheddars. I sipped my way through several glasses of white wine (a perfect pallet cleanser) while nibbling on baguette and crisp grapes. My stand out favourites were the Ricotta from Ontario, Bleu d’Élizabeth from Quebec and Grizzly Gouda from Alberta. I would like to point out that before the humble ricotta was announced as best cheese in Canada (to some shock and awe from the crowd) I had returned to the table three times to scoop up the good stuff. I joked that I hoped the Ricotta won because it was so insanely addictive and delicious. Reminds me of the tale of David and Goliath, a lowly ricotta beating out the giants that have been carefully crafted and aged for years. The judges must have agreed with me as I let out a yelp when the Ricotta was announced Grand Champion. Goes to show that the finest cheese in our nation doesn’t have to be complicated or complex but truly showcase the terroir and fresh cream of our cattle.

 This Years Winners:

GRAND CHAMPION and Fresh Cheese

Quality Cheese Inc.’s Ricotta, ON

Fresh Cheese with Grilling Properties

Queso Fresco Cheese, Latin Foods Inc., AB

Soft Cheese with Bloomy Rind

Le Noble, Fromagerie Domaine Féodal inc., QC

Semi-Soft Cheese

Tre Stelle Feta Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., ON

Washed or Mixed Rind Cheese

Le Mamirolle, Fromagerie Éco-Délices, QC

Firm Cheese

Gunn’s Hill Five Brothers, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, ON


Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB

Swiss Type Cheese

Louis D’or 18 months, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC


Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., ON

Blue Cheese

Bleu d’Élizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC

Flavoured Cheese with Added Non-Particulate Flavourings

Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Cows Creamery, PEI

Flavoured Cheese with Added Particulate Solids and Flavourings

Raclette de Compton au poivre, Fromagerie La Station, QC

Mild Cheddar (Aged 3 Months)

L’Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, QC

Medium Cheddar (Aged 4 to 9 Months)

Medium Cheddar, Maple Dale Cheese, ON

Old Cheddar (Aged from 9 months to a Year)

Cheddar 1 year, Fromagerie Perron, QC

Aged Cheddar (More than 1 year up to 3 years)

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery, PEI

Aged Cheddar (More than 3 Years)

5 Year Aged Cheddar, The Black River Cheese Company Ltd., ON

Farmhouse Cheese

Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB

Organic Cheese

Bleu d’Élizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC

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  1. OH. MY. GOD. Why did my invite get lost in the mail? (That’s what I’m assuming happens, because I’m pretty sure I am one GTA-er who eats wayyyyyy too much cheese).

    This looks like such a cool event! What was the Grizzly Gouda like?? And I saw Applewood Smoked Cheddar flash by — one of my ultimate favorites! 🙂

    Wow… wish I had been there.