In the Shuswap area of the North Okanagan is a productive organic goats cheese company called Happy Days.
Happy Days Dairies mission is to produce premium quality, 100% Canadian, Goat and Organic cow dairy products with the utmost care and attention given to farmers, animals, customers and business partners. Each one of their dairy farmers is committed to treating their animals humanely with access to clean bedding, dry and warm shelter, open air barns, access to the outdoors, pastures, fresh clean air, high quality nutritious and natural food, clean and fresh water. They encourage their goats and cows to engage in their natural behavior by placing them in social groups where they can live in a herd to run and play.
Happy Days Dairies vision is to be the leader in producing 100% Canadian Goat Dairy and Organic Cow Dairy products without compromise on quality, service and the humane treatment of their animals.
Here are some interesting wine and goat cheese pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc - The crispness of this wine is a perfect accompaniment to the soft creamy Okanagan Goat Cheese - This soft unripened cheese is available in several flavours, including: Plain, Garlic and Parsley, Lemon Pepper, and Olive Oil and Rosemary. Try it in summer salads or on crackers with this elegant wine.
NV Brut - The saltiness of this cheese lends itself to the effervescence of the Brut Sparkling. On a crostini or with salad, bubbles and feta are an interesting match. Goat Cheese Feta - available in crumbles or brine. Fresh and tangy.
Pinot Gris - The rich butteriness of Pinot Gris will capture the nuttiness and depth of character in this Organic Gouda - mild flavoured with a semi firm texture & creamy taste with a hint of nut on the finish. Grate on salads, add to pastas or enjoy on its own with some crackers and jelly.
This story is about green meadows, happy cows, fresh thinking and age-old cheese making traditions taking place in the lush landscape of Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley.
Natural Pastures specialty artisan cheeses are known for having a unique, delicious taste or “terroir”, developed from the fresh, pure milk which the pristine soils, waters and pastures produce here in the Comox Valley. The animals are stress free and live in healthy environments. Because the cows eat the local grass and herbs, generously watered by Pacific Ocean-soaked rain, the milk used to make the cheese has its own “terroir” or distinct flavour. The term is familiar to wine-makers, where different regions have their distinct terroirs.
Selected local dairy farms are committed to environmental sustainability, and the natural wildlife habitat has been enhanced. Their enhanced stream habitats raise thousands of wild Coho Salmon each year. Their pure, fresh milk complements Natural Pastures artisanal cheese-making traditions which are managed by Doug Smith and Paul Sutter, head cheesemaker, leading their dedicated team to capture the essence of the unique flavours of the privileged environment of Comox Valley with their fine artisan handmade cheeses. Edgar notes that “Natural Pastures Cheese Company’s world-class cheeses are due in part to the traditional Swiss training and professional accreditation of their cheesemaker, originally from Switzerland, and to the consistent and hard work of all the employees of Natural Pastures at their federally inspected production facility in the city of Courtenay.”
Here are some wine and cheese pairings worth trying:
Pinot Gris - Buffalo Brie - An exotic twist on their world champion Comox Brie, their new Buffalo Brie is the very essence of traditional and inspired cheesemaking. Rich water buffalo milk from the Island transforms this cheese’s texture and allows your taste buds to explore new pathways. The creaminess of this brie will compliment the rich creamy notes of the Pinot Gris with enough acidity to bring out the earthy character of the cheese.
NV Brut - Parmadammer - A parmesan style cheese with a deep, rich nutty flavour. Available at the cheese shop and farmers markets. Sparkling is a natural partner for stronger, harder cheeses. Try it with some spicy pecans.
Pinot Blanc - Boerenkaas - Dutch for ‘Farmer’s Cheese,’ award-winning Boerenkaas has a sweet nutty flavour and bold, tangy finish. Superb in soups, salads, omelettes and pizzas. The sweet nutty flavour and tangy finish will match the Pinot Blanc simplicity and bring out the best in both.
Cheese Factory & Shop
635 McPhee Avenue
Canada V9N 2Z7
Tel: 250 334 4422
Toll Free: 1 866 244 4422
Nestled in the cool moist climate of Vancouver Island in the shadow of Mt. Arrowsmith, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks produce a selection of hand-crafted cheeses to delight the senses. Using the highest quality milk from their own herd of Holstein, Brown Swiss and Canadienne dairy cows, they have an artisan cheese to suit any occasion, meal, or just a light fresh snack.
Visit them at the farm! Watch the cheese makers in action and learn a bit about how they make cheese. Take a self-guided tour of the farm and enjoy a stroll along the walking trails. Stop by the Farmgate Store for samples of all their cheeses and stay for a picnic. And you just can’t leave without visiting all the animals: cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, bunnies and Carl (the llama)!
Here are some cheese and wine pairings we think you will enjoy:
Pinot Gris - Pair with their best-selling Brie. It has a creamy texture, velvet white rind, with mushroomy overtones that works beautifully with the richness of the Pinot Gris and the acidity brings out the creaminess of the brie. The little wooden board, rescued from the burn pile of a local guitar manufacturer, can live again as a coaster.
Pinot Blanc - Caerphilly, Famous as the key ingredient in Welsh “Rarebit”, it is a good cheese for sauces as it toasts well. As a table cheese it is characterized by a buttery tang. Perfect for the richness of Pinot Blanc.
Gamay Noir - Rathtrevor - Inspired by Swiss Gruyere and named after the local provincial park. Its careful ripening process and long aging make for a fine table cheese that pairs well with fruits, nuts, and a good wine. This cheese will compliment the juicy berry characteristics that come through in the Gamay.
Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
Open daily year-round from 9am – 5pm!
403 Lowrys Rd, Parksville, BC V9P 2B5
Fine Farmstead Organic Cheeses from Salt Spring Island
These makers of fine organic cheese on Salt Spring Island use the fragrant milk from their own small herd of purebred Jersey cows. They have about 25 cows in total. Depending on the season, they milk between 12 and 20 cows. The cows are treated well as they are the foundation of the company. The healthier and happier they are, the more sweet and fragrant their milk is. Organic management is used throughout the farm meaning good food, no drugs, no chemicals, free access to the outside world and lots of opportunity to interact socially with other members of the herd.
Julia Grace (cheese-maker) and Susan Grace (farm manager) have been producing cheese at Moonstruck since 1998. All of Moonstruck cheeses are made from raw milk in small batches. The job of the cheese-maker is not only to transform milk into cheese but to preserve as much of that fragrant flavour as possible during the process. That is why they use simple, old-fashioned recipes. All of their cheeses develop natural rinds because they believe that good cheese, like good wine, needs to breathe.
Some favourite pairings:
Pinot Blanc & White Moon: White Moon is a surface-ripened bloomy rind cheese, milder than a Camembert. The easiness of the Camembert works well with the pear and apricot flavours that come through in the Pinot Blanc. The rich mouth feel of the Pinot Blanc compliments the richness of the Camembert.
Sauvignon Blanc & Savoury Moon: Savoury Moon is dusted with organic summer savoury following a great tradition from the south of France. The herb infuses the cheese inside the breathable wrapper giving a woodsy, herbal note to the cheese. This herby earthiness marries well with the crisp and clean Sauvignon Blanc.
Gamay Noir & Ash Ripened Camembert: This earthy creamy cheese works well with the juicy vibrant acidity that is Gamay Noir. Try it with some savory crackers and a little berry compote.
Pinot Gris & Tomme d'Or: Tomme d'Or is a cooked curd cheese similar to the Alpine cheeses of Europe. Made to age long, it becomes a grating cheese when it is over a year old. Made from raw milk, the curd is very slowly heated so that the curds shrink and mat to form a smooth, buttery texture that becomes increasingly firm with age. The nutty flavour of this cheese will lend itself to the Pinot Gris's acidity and notes of stone fruit. Enjoy with a spicy peach marmalade.
During the summer months, you can find their cheeses at the Salt Spring Saturday Market and at the Tuesday Farmer’s market from 2-6 pm.
The farm store is open Mon-Sat from 11-4pm (but only softly open on Sundays for those who are truly desperate).
The old adage is sparkling with everything. But is that really true?
When pairing sparkling wine and food the acidity of the wine is key. There are some classic pairings – caviar, oysters – but there are also more unexpected foods that might surprise you.
Potato Chips - Take a lesson from the Brits, the crunch, saltiness and fattiness of a great potato chip will sing with a sparkling wine with some good acidity. Sparkling Rose is also an extraordinary match, both will make the other better.
Sushi and an extra dry sparkling refreshes the palate between bites of raw fish and delicate sushi rice. Some of the compatibility comes from the high yeast content of both Sparkling and soy sauce.
Indian Food! Crunchy poppadoms can be perfect with Sparkling. Makes a great snack or starter, kick it up with some mint sauce, mango chutney or raita.
Breakfast, more specifically eggs, a rich eggs benny and your favorite sparkling are the best way to start your day.
Cheeses - Full-bodied Sparkling pair quite well with hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Gouda and Parmesan while lighter bodied Sparkling complement soft cheeses such as goat cheese and brie.
Fish n Chips, another British specialty. The mousse or fizz of the bubbly work with the crispy skin of the chips and the acidity again cuts through the oil in the batter. Casual but elegant.
Fruit, different types of fruit naturally, sit better with different types of Sparkling. At the top of the fruit list are berries. They lend a sweetness to the palate that accompanies the flavour of a light sparkling. Stone fruits such as peaches and plums can also pick out some of the flavours in Sparkling.
Sparkling does go with everything but try it for yourself. Experiment with a wide range of foods. You could even host a party where everyone needs to bring bubble and something to try with it. Either way it is meant to be fun. Let us know what your favourite pairings are with sparkling wine. Most importantly enjoy!
Our 2010 Brut Rosé R.D., 2007 Blanc de Blancs and 2006 Reserve Brut will be released on Monday, October 27th. Check back next Tuesday for Chantelle's blog, "Where to enjoy a glass of Blue Mountain Sparkling in the Lower Mainland and Whistler".
Made in the century's old cheese making tradition of Europe, Kootenay Alpine Cheese wanted to create specialty cheese that reflected the landscape, culture and life of the place it comes from.
Towering over Mountain Valley Farm pastures is the magnificent Thomson Mountain range. The farm is situated in the heart of the Kootenays, on benchland above the Creston Valley, 10 minutes from the Idaho border and 4 hours from the Alberta border. Mountain Valley uses no pesticides, GMO’s or chemical fertilizer on the land. They nurture and replenish the soil through many sustainable management practices, including the application of composted manure from the farm and whey from their new cheesemaking facility. The health of the herd is maintained following organic practices, with no hormones being used. They are certified organic with Pacific Agricultural Certification Society and also belong to Kootenay Local Agricultural Society whose mandate is to foster local, sustainable agriculture.
These farmstead cheeses are handcrafted following the tradition of artisan cheese-makers, and made using only the raw milk from their own certified organic herd. Each cheese is carefully aged in order to develop a rich, complex flavor that is unique to the milk, their farm, and their region.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Pinot Gris & NOSTRALA: “Of this place.” A firm cheese with mild earthy notes, a subtle creamy texture, and a pale golden interior. Resembles a firm Italian Fontina, often referred to as the Italian cousin of French Gruyere.
NV Brut Sparkling & MOUNTAIN GRANA: A hard cheese modeled after an Italian Piave with a dense grainy texture and a sweet flavour, with hints of nuts and fruit. With extra aging, a full-bodied flavour develops, resembling a young Parmigiano Reggiano.
Chardonnay & ALPINDON: “Gift of the Alpine,” Their premium cheese, is a firm cheese carefully modeled after French Beaufort d’Alpage. Following centuries old tradition this cheese is hand-rubbed and made only with milk from summer pastures. It exhibits a smooth nut flavour, a complex finish, a rich golden interior and a dark textured rind. Additional aging concentrates its flavours, deepens its complexity, and increases the sweet crystals that develop throughout the body of the cheese.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
10:00am to 5:00pm
(May to Thanksgiving)
10:00am - 5:00pm
(Thanksgiving to May)
Salt Spring Island Cheese Company specializes in handmade goat and sheep cheeses. Started in 1994, they made cheese for 2 years and then started selling it in 1996. Known for their chèvres, they also make several other types of goat cheeses (feta cheeses, surface ripened cheeses, and even a hard cheese).
The cheese is made at their farm on Salt Spring Island, off Canada's west coast, and while you can buy their cheese as far east as Toronto, you are encouraged to come to the island, wander the farm and taste the cheese fresh for yourself.
On Reynolds Road, about 2 kilometers from Fulford Harbour, and only a short detour on the way to Ruckle Park. Also at the Saturday market in the grace point park on Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when the market's open.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc - Sauvignon Blanc and Chèvre goat cheese were made for each other. Any of the chèvre made at Salt Spring Island cheese would go beautifully, however the simplicity of the Flower Chèvre really brings out the brightness and acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Gamay Noir - This mild blue cheese from Salt Spring Island called Blue Juliette is the perfect accompaniment on a cheese board and would be delicious on a sunny afternoon with either a slightly chilled juicy Gamay Noir or a Pinot Noir. The earthiness in the wine is complimentary to the same characters in the cheese.
Pinot Gris - Blue Juliette's sister cheese Juliette is made the same way only no blue mold is added. This goat camembert loves the crisp acidity and lush stone fruit flavours of the Pinot Gris. Have it with some apricot jelly and your cheese board will sing!
Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop
285 Reynolds Road
Salt Spring Island
May to September: 11-5 daily
October to April: 11-4 daily
The Village Cheese Company is a micro cheese plant based on the estate winery concept in Armstrong, BC. Their old fashion good times atmosphere will return you to a time when life was relaxed and fun. A time when delicious cheese was as close as your local dairy. When butter on your table was churned from field fresh cream just hours earlier. When a dip in the old swimming hole couldn't beat a scoop of luscious homemade ice cream.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Pinot Gris - A mild cheddar is a good partner for this crisp, lively wine. Enjoy a fresh salad, and your mom's home made grilled cheese on hearty baked bread for lunch. It doesn't get any better.
NV Brut - The expression is bubbles go with everything. In this case a nice sharp parmesan crumbled on a cheese board with some crostini's just out of the oven.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Mon to Fri 8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday 8:30am to 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 4:30pm
Carmelis is a family owned boutique dairy, which takes pride in the uncompromising approach taken to ensure the unique quality of its cheeses. The cheeses are produced on a small scale which enables them to closely monitor each and every cheese while placing an emphasis on their place’s design and its integration into nature, the landscape around them, and the quality of the environment.
Located near Okanagan Lake, some 12 km south of downtown Kelowna, close to the entrance to Okanagan Mountain Park. We desire to impart a sense of the breathtaking views of the Okanagan Valley.
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Pinot Noir & Misty - The ash coating on this cheese is bold and earthy but still creamy. Enjoy with some dried Okanagan cherries in the cooler months to bring back memories of summer.
Pinot Blanc & Chabichou - This mild, tangy cheese in its youth would be a brilliant accompaniment to Pinot Blanc on a summer's day on a deck overlooking the lake. Include some nuts and a little apricot jelly and you have the recipe for a perfect afternoon.
Pinot Gris & Lior - Nibble away at this sharp and tart cheese with a sweetness throughout. Grate onto salad and enjoy a long luxurious lunch. You deserve it!
Hours of operation:
March 1st till April 30th: 7 days a week from 11:00am to 5:00pm
May 1st till October 31st: 7 days a week from 10:00am to 6:00pm
If you are ever driving through the Fraser Valley on the way to the coast or the Okanagan and are looking for a great gift to take to friends and family be sure to stop just off the highway at Farm House Cheese. It is well worth the short trip into Agassiz to sample and buy these cheeses. Personal Favorites include: La Pyramide, Alpine Gold and Lady Jane. Owners George Boyes and Debra Amrein-Boyes love their special cows and goats and are proud to offer their world class cheese for your enjoyment. Debra Amrein-Boyes, a renowned cheesemaker, is one of only twelve persons in western Canada and US who has been inducted into the prestigious French Cheese Guild, the “Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon”, which recognizes those who protect and continue the tradition of cheesemaking around the world
Debra has also written a book for home cheesemakers. “200 Easy Homemade Cheeses recipes-From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt” was nominated in 2009 for a World Gourmand Cookbook Award and is available for purchase in the cheese shop, in many book stores, or online. The second edition came out in September 2013.
Alongside George and Debra, their adult children continue to work on the farm and in the cheesemaking business.
5634 McCallum Road, Agassiz, BC, V0M 1A3
Phone: (604) 796-8741 or 1-877-496-8741
Fax: (604) 796-8741
Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc & La Pyramid - an exquisite, French style goat's milk cheese, ash ripened to a complex lingering flavour. The crispness and minerality of the Sauvignon Blanc will celebrate the complexity of this unique cheese.
Sparkling & Lady Jane, similar to a French Chaource, this dense creamy cheese encased in a delicate mould has a meltingly smooth texture that calls for bubbles.
Pinot Noir & Alpine Gold - a washed curd and washed rind cheese with a golden orange rind lending a distinct flavour to the soft interior. The earthiness of the Pinot Noir will lend itself well to this smelly straw coloured cheese.