Canadian Cheese Grand Prix 2015 finalists revealed - Dairy Farmers of Canada recognizes the best in Canadian cheese

MONTREAL, March 3, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Dairy Farmers of Canada announced today the finalists for the record-breaking ninth edition of the prestigious Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Cheese makers from British Columbia to PEI submitted 268 cheeses in 27 different categories in the esteemed Canadian cheese competition. A panel of Canadian food industry experts gathered in Montreal for a closed door session on February 21st and 22nd and selected 81 finalists that truly exemplify the world-class calibre of cheese being produced in Canada today. 

The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix is sponsored and hosted every two years by Dairy Farmers of Canada, celebrating the high quality, versatility and great taste of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk. 

"Canadian cheese makers are expanding their repertoire and producing unique, highly impressive, top quality cheeses," said Phil Bélanger, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury chairman. "Given the growth and diversity we've seen over the years, we knew we needed to expand the submission categories this installment, to truly showcase how evolved this craft has become in Canada. With stunning, flavourful cheeses ranging from pasta filatas to extra-aged Goudas, cheese makers from coast-to-coast are making a name for themselves, both here in Canada and on the international stage."

This year, nine new categories, including three individual Gouda categories based on cheese age and a stand-alone category for Smoked Cheese, were added to the competition.

The Category Champions and Grand Champion will be unveiled at the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Gala of Champions at Toronto's Liberty Grand on April 22nd.

Judging Process

The jury members had the envious challenge of tasting 268 cheeses and naming three finalists in each category. Tasting began with the milder cheeses and progressed to the more full-bodied varieties.

Each cheese was carefully observed, touched, smelled, and tasted by jury members, who evaluated them based on very specific criteria including flavour, texture and body, colour, appearance, finish, and salt content.

About the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix began in 1998 to promote achievement and innovation in cheese making and to increase appreciation for fine quality Canadian cheese. The competition celebrates the proud tradition of the diverse cheeses made in Canada. 

All eligible cheeses must be produced in Canada, bear the 100% Canadian Milk symbol on their packaging and be available at retail at the time of judgement.

The 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finalists are:


Fresh Cheese

  • Formaggino Original, Bella Stella Cheese, BC
  • Cream Cheese, M.C. Dairy Co. Ltd., ON
  • Ricotta/Bella Casara, Quality Cheese Inc., ON


Fresh Pasta Filata

  • Cherry Bocconcini, Natural Pastures Cheese Company, BC
  • Fresh Mozzarella Zerto, Finica Food Specialties Ltd., ON
  • Burrata / Bella Casara, Quality Cheese Inc., ON


Fresh Cheese with grilling properties

  • Le Fleur St-Michel, Fromagerie du Terroir de Bellechasse, QC
  • Le Paillasson de l'isle d'Orléans, Les Fromages de l'isle d'Orléans, QC
  • Queso Fresco Cheese, Latin Foods Inc., AB


Soft Cheese with bloomy rind

  • Comox Camembert, Natural Pastures Cheese Company, BC
  • Comox Brie, Natural Pastures Cheese Company, BC
  • Brie paysan, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC


Cream-enriched Soft Cheese with bloomy rind

  • Albert's Leap Bel Haven Triple Creme Brie, Quality Cheese Inc., ON
  • Le Riopelle de l'Isle, Société Coopérative Agricole de l'Île-aux-Grues, QC
  • Laliberté, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC


Semi-soft Cheese

  • St-Paulin, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC
  • Fleur de Weedon, Fromagerie P'tit Plaisir, QC
  • Amsterdammer, Natural Pastures Cheese Company, BC


Washed or Mixed Rind Soft Cheese

  • L'Origine de Charlevoix, Laiterie Charlevoix Inc., QC
  • 14 Arpents, Fromagerie Médard, QC
  • L'Empereur, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC


Washed or Mixed Rind Semi-soft Cheese

  • Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC
  • Tête Dure, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC
  • Le Mamirolle, Fromagerie Éco Délices, QC


Washed or Mixed Rind Firm Cheese

  • La Meule des champs, Fromagerie Éco Délices,QC
  • Le Blackburn, Fromagerie Blackburn, QC
  • Alfred Le Fermier 18 months, Fromagerie La Station, QC


Firm Cheese (except Cheddar and Gouda)

  • Asiago, Bright Cheese & Butter Mfg. Co. Ltd., ON
  • Heidi, The Farm House Natural Cheeses, BC
  • Muenster, Bothwell Cheese Inc, MB


Swiss-type Cheese

  • Miranda, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC
  • Handeck, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese Ltd., ON
  • Louis d'Or, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC


Mozzarella (Ball, Brick or Cylinder) OR Pasta Filata

  • Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., ON
  • Oaxaca, Local Dairy Products, ON
  • Mozzarella Ball, International Cheese Co. Ltd., ON


Brine-ripened Cheese

  • Queso Duro Cheese, Latin Food Inc., AB
  • Feta Cheese, Tiras Dairies Inc., AB
  • Tre Stelle Feta Cheese, Arla Foods Inc., ON


Gouda (aged 1 to 6 months)

  • Gouda Medium, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Medium, Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., ON
  • Gouda Mild, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB


Aged Gouda

  • Louis Cyr, Fromagerie Bergeron, QC
  • Gouda Aged, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Aged, Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., ON


Extra Aged Gouda

  • Old Grizzly, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Grizzly, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Gold, Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., ON


Blue Cheese

  • Le Rassembleu, Fromagiers de la Table Ronde, QC
  • Bleu Bénédictin, Fromagerie Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, QC
  • Le Bleu d'Élizabeth, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC


Flavoured Cheese with added non-particulate flavourings (except smoked cheese)

  • Stout beer cheddar, Fromagerie Perron, QC
  • Tipsy, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese Ltd., ON
  • Griffon Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC


Smoked Cheese

  • Gouda Smoked Natural Cheese, Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., AB
  • Appletree Smoked Cheddar, Cows Creamery, PE
  • Naturally Smoked Boerenkaas, Natural Pastures Cheese Company, BC


Flavoured Cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings

  • Raclette de Compton au poivre, Fromagerie La Station, QC
  • Formaggino Garden Herb, Bella Stella Cheese, BC
  • Pepper Raclette, Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser Inc., QC


Mild Cheddar (aged 3 months)

  • Marble Cheddar, Bothwell Cheese Inc., MB
  • Mild Cheddar, Bothwell Cheese Inc., MB
  • L'Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar, Fromagerie L'Ancêtre Inc., QC


Medium Cheddar (aged 4 to 9 months)

  • L'Ancêtre Organic Medium Cheddar, Fromagerie L'Ancêtre Inc., QC
  • Medium Cheddar, Bothwell Cheese Inc., MB
  • Medium Cheddar, Maple Dale Cheese, ON


Old Cheddar (aged from 9 months to a year)

  • Old Cheddar, Bothwell Cheese Inc, MB
  • Traditional Clothbound Cheddar (9 to 12 months), The Farm House Natural Cheeses, BC
  • Old Cheddar, Bright Cheese & Butter Mfg., ON


Aged Cheddar (1 to 3 years)

  • Traditional Clothbound Cheddar (1 to 3 years old), The Farm House Natural Cheeses, BC
  • Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Cows Creamery, PE
  • Extra Old Cheddar, Cows Creamery,PE


Aged Cheddar (more than 3 years)

  • Extra Old Vintage Cheddar Cheese, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ivanhoe Cheese, ON
  • Outrageously Old Aged 72 Months, Maple Dale Cheese, ON
  • Extra OLD CHEDDAR 5 YEARS, St-Albert Cheese Cooperative Inc., ON


Farmhouse Cheese

  • Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Gold, Mountainoak Cheese Ltd., ON
  • Louis d'Or, Fromagerie du Presbytère, QC
  • Handeck, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese Ltd., ON


Organic Cheese

  • Le Baluchon, Fromagerie F. X. Pichet, QC
  • Alfred Le Fermier 18 months, Fromagerie La Station, QC
  • Comtomme, Fromagerie La Station, QC


Jury Members

Phil Bélanger: Jury chairman and the longest-standing jury member, Phil has been a part of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix since its inception in 1998. He has had a distinguished career in the Atlantic agrifood industry and currently is executive director for Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour for the province of New Brunswick and chairman of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for the New Brunswick chapter, as well as an independent consultant in hospitality and tourism.

Yannick Achim: Yannick's adventure with cheese began early in life and came to fruition when, after completing university, he opened Fromagerie du Marché in Saint-Jerome (Quebec). His passion, desire to learn and determination led to extensive travel through France, Belgium, Switzerland, England and Quebec, where he discovered the best cheese artisans and the finest cheeses embodying the traditions and know-how of their country of origin. Since then, he's become a fixture on the Quebec cheese scene, with the opening of multiple cheese shops under the Yannick Fromagerie and the Étal du Fromager banners respectively.

David Beaudoin: Born and raised in Québec City, David Beaudoin has always been a cheese lover. In 2005, David moved to the Okanagan and launched his own cheese business - Squeaky Cheese. Five years later he took on the lead role for The Village Cheese Company in Armstrong, BC, growing his cheese knowledge and passion to a whole new level. David utilizes his great knowledge and profound passion for cheese to educate and entertain, teaching people about cheese from the making to the tasting, and every aspect in between. David is currently a cheese expert and consultant with the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Julian Bond: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts' (PICA) executive chef and vice president, Julian Bond is highly awarded and well respected in the Canadian culinary world. In 2014, the British-born and trained chef accepted Where Vancouver Magazine's 'Editor's Choice, Where to Dine Award' on behalf of PICA's Bistro 101. An 'Industry Inductee' into the 2013 BC Restaurant Hall of Fame, Julian is behind several award-winning restaurants, has been a mentor to over 2,200 culinary school graduates, and has pioneered for conservation and awareness initiatives including Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise Program, Chefs' Table Society of BC and the Green Table Network.

Reg Hendrickson: Reg has 45 years of experience in the food industry including teaching professional culinary programs in the Calgary public school system. He has a 20-year working relationship with Dairy Farmers of Canada and was responsible for the research and development of its initial cheese training material. He provides training for deli staff, and delivers cheese seminars especially geared to the needs of food industry professionals and the interests of the general public.

Michael Howell: Executive chef of Tempestuous Culinary in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Michael is a cookbook author, leader of Slow Food Nova Scotia, president of The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia and sits on the Board of Taste of Nova Scotia. Michael is a strident advocate for local food, family farms and new farmers.

Martin Juneau: Chef and owner of Pastaga restaurant and its renowned natural wines, and named Best Canadian leader during the 2011 "Gold Medal Plates" competition, Martin Juneau is best known as a judge on the reality TV cooking show Et que ça saute!, on V télé in 2011 and 2012. His inventive, eclectic and unpretentious cuisine is one of the most creative in the province of Quebec.

Ian Picard: Vice-president of La Fromagerie Hamel, one of Quebec's finest and highly reputed cheese shops, Ian studied everything there is to learn about cheese at the École Nationale d'Industrie Laitière et des Biotechnologies in Poligny, France. He has worked with some of the most renowned master cheese makers in Paris, Dijon and Alsace to perfect his technique.

Sue Riedl: A Toronto-based food writer who is the cheese columnist for The Globe and Mail and host of its "Chef Basics" video series, Sue is a regular contributor to and writes for her blog ( about cheese and other edibles. Sue studied at Queen's University before obtaining her cuisine certificate at the Cordon Bleu in London, England. She has worked in Toronto's dining industry and has graduated from Canada's Cheese Education Guild.

Andy Shay: A graduate of Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Andy began his career in boutique hotel restaurants in New York City before finding his true calling in gourmet retail with Gourmet Garage and Eli Zabar. Andy managed department store food halls in Sydney, Australia and Toronto, before opening his own food store, Shay Gourmet. Andy is the owner of Shay Cheese, Canada's first online cheese club, a board member with the Ontario Cheese Society, a host for guided cheese tastings, an instructor for George Brown's cheese certificate program and the senior director of merchandising and commercial programs for Deli Meat and Cheese at Sobeys.

Anne-Marie Rajabalee Shubin: Anne-Marie is a passionate advocate of the Canadian farmer and protecting the rich heritage and knowledge passed on through the generation of farmers. An educator for the last eight years, she currently shares her experience as a culinary arts professor at Centennial College and George Brown College in Toronto. An accomplished Fromager, Anne-Marie has been singing the praises of Canadian cheeses for years, leading cheese appreciation classes and seminars both within and beyond the academic world.

About Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) strives to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future. DFC works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy producers and to promote quality Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk as part of a healthy balanced diet. 

Visit to discover the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finalists.


SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)

Image with caption: "Jury member Michael Howell examines entries in one of the 27 cheese categories in the prestigious 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix competition, hosted by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Eighty one category finalists were selected and the Grand Champion cheese will be announced April 22 in Toronto (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC))". Image available at:

Image with caption: "The 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury members examined 268 entries in the prestigious cheese competition, hosted by Dairy Farmers of Canada. They selected 81 category finalists; the Grand Champion cheese will be announced April 22 in Toronto. From L to R: Andy Shay, Yannick Achim, Anne-Marie Rajabalee Shubin, Martin Juneau, Ian Picard, Michael Howell, Phil Bélanger, Reg Hendrickson, Sue Riedl, David Beaudoin, and Julian Bond (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC))". Image available at:

For further information: or to receive high resolution photos, please contact:Sandra Da Silva / Geneviève Fontaine, Dairy Farmers of Canada, (647) 633-3741 / (514) 434-2347, /


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