Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winners will be in the spotlight at the fifth anniversary of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival (#TGCCF15 if you wanna get social) at the Crystal Palace in Picton on June 6th & 7th.
Cheesemakers, artisan food producers, small-batch wineries and craft breweries and other exhibitors and vendors have reserved 125 booths making the event at the Picton Fairgrounds the biggest cheese show in Canada and one of the biggest artisan food markets in Ontario. TGCCF’s Head Cheese, Georgs Kolesnikovs says that the number of vendors has blossomed from 50 to over 130 in five short years, and you can expect around 500 different products to be sampled over the weekend. As a veteran TGCCF attendee, I’m endorsing this festival as absolute heaven for foodies, and really, for anyone who likes to get their taste buds tingling.
TGCCF highlights Canadian cheese exclusively, and will be the first showcase of what may be the freshest cheese to the scene in the country, and definitely in the County and Ontario. Lighthall Vineyards have branched into the dairy game this year, producing sheep’s milk cheeses ranging from blue to brie-style, and boasting a chardonnay-washed variety whose oaky finish will change everything you previously thought about cheese.
The Artisan Food Market
On top of cheese (literally), the artisan food market hosted at the festival is home to jams, jellies, vinegars, and a new line of bespoke preserves from County Yum Club among the wares available for sale. One of preserves chef Bree Seeley’s first products available is an infused honey, with the flavours of horseradish, ginger, and chillies. Hot Honey stands up to its name, and will be the perfect complement to any goat cheeses or blues that you stock up on at the festival. Might we also suggest it as a morning pick-me-up stirred into green tea, or perhaps drizzled over an avocado? It’s a tasty complement to pretty much anything in my books, and County Yum Club’s chilli maple syrup and fermented sweet potato soda are next on my Must-Try list.
Beyond preserves and cheeses to bring home, the artisan food market will host local chefs’ inspired creations for the weekend. You’ll find Sébastien Schwab Cuisine (Schwab is also chef at Huff Estates Inn & Winery) alongside a roster of County chefs with samples and canapes to inspire your creations. If you’re looking for further delectable experiences, be sure to check out the Mystic Dandelion B&B, recently opened by Schwab and Silvia Cambray.
Cheddar & Ale (and everything nice…)
For the second year in a row, the Bay of Quinte Region is bringing its cheddar-mongering history to TGCCF with a Bay of Quinte Island, where you’ll be able to sample Cheddar & Ale Trail wares from the century old Wilton Cheese Factory, Ivanhoe Cheese, and Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op, and get in on the craft beer pairing with MacKinnon Brothers, Church-Key, Barley Days, and newcomers to the artisanal cider game: Empire Cider.
You can get 25% off admission tickets for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival by entering the promotional CF15QUINTE before starting your online ticket order. Good only on tickets purchased online in advance of the Festival on June 6-7. Visit cheesefestival.ca for information on the Festival. Go for the day or make a weekend of it! Oh, and stay tuned – we’ll be giving away passes for Sunday, June 7th on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all month!