Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cheeses To The North Of Us

If I were ever to wear one of those "I (heart) Something" t-shirts, one I'd seriously consider would feature something about British Columbia, whether Vancouver or Ucluelet or Salt Spring Island. We've spent many, many happy days vacationing there over the years and it's one of the first places we consider going back to when the opportunity arises.

If you've been looking for an excuse to get up to the (not-yet-)Great White North or, better yet, if you've got plans to head up there next weekend, you're in for a treat because it's time for the 3rd Annual Curds & Whey Festival on Granville Island in Vancouver. As Tami Parr of PNWCheese notes, "This is the last of the six West Coast Cheese Festivals of the year. Featured artisan cheesemakers at the event will include Moonstruck Organic Cheeses, Salt Spring Island Cheese Co., Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and Jerseyland Organics. Chef Stephen Wong will also be giving cooking demonstrations throughout the day. While you're there, I also recommend stopping at the Edible British Columbia store which has a great selection of products (including cheese) made exclusively in the province.

"Down here in the US part of the Pacific Northwest we don't have the chance to enjoy a lot of artisan cheese from British Columbia. The Canadian licensing system is a two tiered scheme that allows cheesemakers to either make and sell cheese solely on a provincial level, or acquire a more complicated 'federal' license that allows them to sell across Canada and/or export outside the country. The upshot is that this is a great opportunity for US folks to sample cheeses that we otherwise wouldn't have access to outside of Canada. I especially recommend Moonstruck Organic Cheeses (absolutely amazing blue cheeses made from Jersey cow's milk) and Salt Spring Island Cheese Co. products (check out their fresh chevres as well as their aged Montana) - both are making some of the best cheeses in the entire Northwest."

And, as the Queen of Cheese, she knows her fromage and would never lead anyone astray with less-than-stellar recommendations. And if you make it, come back with a report so we all can drool!

Details: 3rd Annual Curds & Whey Festival on Granville Island. Nov. 17-18, 9 am-7 pm; free. Granville Island, Vancouver, BC. 604-666-5784.

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