Books, Videos & More
Canadian Cheese: A Pocket Guide
Author: Kathy Guidi
Publisher: McArthur & Company
If you are looking for an introduction to Canadian cheese, this is an
essential reference book. Guidi provides a brief description and tasting notes for more than 180 Canadian cheeses. The cheeses are organized alphabetically within their category (fresh, soft, firm, etc.). The convenient pocket size means you can slip it into your back pocket for easy reference whenever you head to your favourite cheese shop. The book also contains some important tips on cheese tasting as well as helpful information on different types of cheese. My one complaint with this book is that it doesn’t include an index. Given that Canada’s artisan cheesemaking industry is growing in leaps in bounds, let’s hope that Guidi comes out with an updated edition before too many more years slip by. Buy this book on Indigo
The Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal and Fine Cheese
Author: Gurth Pretty
Publisher: Whitecap Books
If you want to know who’s producing artisan cheese in Canada, this book provides a good starting point. In the introduction, the author refers to the book as a “journey across Canada” – and that’s a pretty fair description. Starting in Nova Scotia and ending up in British Columbia, Pretty takes you on a tour of approximately 130 cheesemakers from coast to coast. For each cheesemaker, he provides a brief profile, a list of the cheeses produced, details on milk type, information on availability, and contact information. For good measure, he throws in a brief history of cheesemaking in Canada, some useful terminology, and some tips on buying, storing and serving cheese. And, he finishes it all up with a detailed and logical index – making it easy to look up cheeses by name and milk type. The author is no cheese slouch. He is the category manager for deli cheese at Loblaw, a former jury member and spokesperson for the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, past chairman of the Ontario Cheese Society, past president of Cheese of Canada and the author of two cheese books. There are, however, a couple of things to keep in mind about this book. If you are looking for descriptions or tasting notes for specific cheeses, you won’t find them in this book. Also, the book was published in 2006, so it’s starting to get a little dated, which probably explains why the book doesn’t include website listings for any of the cheesemakers. Nevertheless, if you’re planning a cheese tour for your next vacation, this book will definitely come in handy. Buy this book on Indigo
By the Labour of their Hands: The Story of Ontario Cheddar Cheese
Author: Heather Menzies
Publisher: Quarry Press
If you’re interested in the history and lore of cheesemaking in Canada, this book is a great place to start. After all, cheddar is an important part of the Canadian cheese tradition. In the late 1800s, cheddar was, by volume, Canada’s number two export (second only to timber). By the turn of the 20th century, there were more than 1,200 cheddar factories across Ontario alone. And cheddar production accounted for 35% of farm income. This book follows Canada’s cheddar industry from its genesis in the early 1800s to through its collapse in the 1940s and 1950s and its brush with extinction in the 1970s. You can easily while away an afternoon curled up in a chair with this book and a hunk of delicious Canadian cheddar. This book is out of print, but you can still find used copies online.
This is a fabulous magazine. With it's gorgeous glossy photos of delicious-looking cheeses, it will have you salivating before you can say "cheese please." One cheesemonger I know refers to it as porn for caseophiles (cheese connoisseurs). The magazine’s tagline -- “the word on cheese” – pretty much sums it up. It’s 100+ pages are brimming with information. In a typical issue, you’ll find feature stories on artisan cheeses from around the world, profiles on cheesemakers, pairing ideas, news about cheese “gear”, an “Ask the cheesemonger” column, and a directory of cheese retailers. My one complaint is that because it's an American magazine, it has an American slant. It seems to almost totally ignore the cheese scene north of the 49th parallel. That said, I still subscribe. Canadian subscriptions are $40 per year, which may seem a little pricey for a quarterly magazine, but then again, there’s a lot of reading in every issue. Subscriptions are available at www.culturemagazine.com.
All you need is cheese
This is a freebie magazine published four times a year by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. There’s a heavy focus on recipes that incorporate cheese. I’ve tried a few of the recipes and they were fine – nothing fancy, but tasty. Featured cheeses tend to be industrial or semi-industrial cheeses, rather than artisan cheeses. And because the magazine is produced by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the focus is exclusively on cow’s milk cheese.
That said, this magazine offers up some worthwhile tips on pairing. For example, the summer 2012 issue had a basic article on pairing beer and cheese, while the winter 2013 issue had an article on pairing tea and cheese. If you are looking for in-depth information on Canadian artisan cheese, this probably isn’t the magazine for you. But if you are looking for some decent cheese-oriented recipes and some basic tips on cheese pairings, it’s a starting point – and it’s free. You can subscribe online.
Cheese Slices - with host Will Studd
Cheese Slices is a unique TV series that explores how cheese is made and where it comes from. Host Will Studd travels the globe to get a close-up look at artisanal cheesemaking. He explores the traditions and history of both Old World and New World cheeses as his travels take him from the rolling hills of Ireland to a quaint Japanese island, and from the rugged coast of Northern California to a monestery in Quebec. While the five CD series doesn't forcus on Canadian cheese specifically, disk four does provide a glimpse of cheesemaking in Quebec. In short, the CD set provides an entertaining introduction to cheese around the world. You can order disks (individually or as a set) online from the official Cheese Slices website. The cost is about $30 per disk or $80 for the set.
Courses & Workshops
This indepth certificate program gives students an opportunity to explore and compare hundreds of cheeses. Through a series of three courses -- offered by the Cheese Education Guild -- students experience great cheese and learn about the many challenges facing artisan cheesemakers today. The Toronto-based Guild has been offering cheese appreciation courses since 2005. For more information go to www.artisancheesemarketing.com/education.
This six-course, 126-hour certificate program – offered by George Brown College in Toronto – is designed to give participants an understanding of cheese production, selection, storage, and service, as well as a knowledge of noteworthy pairings. The six courses offered include:
A five-day program offered by the Food Sciences
department at the University of Guelph. Learn the scientific and technological principles of cheesemaking through interactive lectures, and apply them in hands-on cheesemaking laboratories. The course provides information on: milk quality, treatment and chemistry; processing, ripening and packaging; calculating yield and setting benchmarks; sanitation and
quality control; and cheese grading. For details, check out the program web page.
A one-day workshop -- offered by Glengarry Cheesemaking and Dairy Supply Ltd. in Lancaster, Ontario -- that provides a hands-on lesson in cheesemaking. Workshop notes and recipes are provided. All you need is a love of cheese. For more information go to www.glengarrycheesemaking.on.ca.
Making cheese at home
Doreen and Peter Sullivan run one-day workshops on how to make cheese at home. Through their company -- appropriately named Making Cheese at Home -- Doreen and Peter have been helping home cheesemakers hone their skills for more than decade. Workshops are held right in kitchen of Peter and Doreen's Niagara Falls home. For detail on costs and dates, visit their website at makingcheeseathome.ca.