The Date and Time: Wednesday June 6 2018 1PM to 8PM
The Event: Canadian Cheese Industry Conference at the Third Canadian Cheese Awards (held biennially).
The Venue: St Lawrence Market, Temporary North Hall
The Target Audience: cheese producers, some media
The Quote/Background: There were a number of seminars on offer, such as taking advantage of the opportunity of CETA, NAFTA and TPP; innovations to think outside of the box (Dr. Art Hill, Chair of Guelph's Dept of Food Science and expert in cheese technology); innovation from an American perspective; and panel discussions on expectations from the cheese supply chain. This was followed by the Canadian Cheese Awards Ceremony – see www.cheeseawards.ca for a list of the winners in 19 main categories, nine special categories, five regional divisions, plus the Cheese of the Year. There were 378 entries in all, with the big winners coming from PQ, ONT, PEI, and NS. This is the only pan-Canadian cheese competition open to all milks used in cheese-making – cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo – as pure natural cheese. It was all co-ordinated by founder Georgs Kolesnikovs with Gurth Pretty (Loblaw) and other hosts. There was a jury of 12 who tasted in February all cheeses blind within their categories (directed by Dr. Art Hill).
From six to eight PM there was the tasting gala for sampling cheeses, and it included charcuterie, baked goods, wine, beer and cider. The cheese awards are supported by Loblaw Companies with the Dairy Farmers of Canada as Principal Partner, Cow Milk Cheese. Overall, there were two major major cheese winners: the Best Cow Cheese winner was awarded $5000 (this was Cows Creamery 3 Year Old Cheddar from PEI, which also won the Best Atlantic Canada Cheese), and the Canadian Cheese of the Year also got $5000 (this was Louis d'Or from Fromagerie du Presbytere in Sainte-Elizabeth-de-Warwick PQ).
The Food: We were offered samples of all of the cheese winners in their respective categories. My overall fave was the Best Raw-Milk Cheese, Louis d'Or vieilli 2 ans from PQ – similar to the Cheese of the Year Louis d'Or but a year older in aging. Other samples of food and wine included Ottawa's Big Rig Brewery radlers and pilsener, some Woolrich goat triple crème brie, Janice Beaton's jams and jellies (which are specifically designed to accompany cheeses), Game Changer White and Red wine from Vineland Estates (88 points, $15 LCBO) with pinot blanc and riesling in the white and both cabernets and merlot in the red, assorted breads and biscuits, Brickworks Cider Batch 1904 and its Queen Street 501 (both some of my fave ciders), Ottawa's Seed to Sausage amazing charcuterie (www.seedtosausage.ca) and Sweet Nature Bakery offering grilled raclette cheese sandwiches.
The Downside: I had to miss the seminars as I was at a matinee play that day. The next day I was at the Ontario Wine Awards in Niagara, so I missed everything that day, which included an industry showcase and the big Artisan Cheese Night Market.
The Upside: I managed to re-connect with some friends in the cheese business.
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88