While patiently waiting for my garden to grow and produce some substantial food, I'm exploring the region in search of local farmers and vendors who are already accomplishing the life I dream about. Last weekend, I made a few stops in St. Catharines and then wound my way through the sunny escarpment road to Vineland, and the Upper Canada Cheese Company.
There are some things that I can't grow in the backyard, and CHEESE is one of them. Is there anything in the world better than cheese? Inevitably, when someone says, "Oh wow, this is soooo good! What's in it?" The answer is always cheese. And LOCAL cheese? Well, friends, this is what dreams are made of.
I spent some time with Susan, an employee of the company who is clearly passionate about her work. She talked me through the signature cheeses of Upper Canada, all crafted from the milk of a single herd of Guernsey cows: Niagara Gold, Comfort Cream, and Guernsey Girl. Ohhh my my!
Guernsey Girl is interesting, as it's actually recommended to be served grilled. Susan said to slice it, and drop it into a hot pan or even roast it on the barbeque. This is on my 'to do' list for this fall, for sure! Comfort Cream is a soft cheese, like a brie or camembert, and it is amazing. It's unbelievably silky and rich, and I had to talk myself out of buying a wheel... I know myself too well, and would surely have spent my next five evenings at home in front of the television, gorging on cheese and crusty bread. Yikes! Niagara Gold (pictured) is a beautiful, sharp cheese that you slice and eat like a cheddar or a gouda. It's pungent, but smooth and tasty, and surprisingly beautiful to look at! This one, I could definitely justify, and I bought a big chunk to bring home with me.