The history of Canadian cheeses is fascinating. In the 1600s, they were first made with cattle brought over from Normandy. As these cows produced particular milk, this meant special cheeses. Over time, cheesemakers introduced different types of cows, and with them were born new kinds of cheeses. Let’s learn more.
In the year of the Canadian Confederation (1867), close to 200 cheese factories were established. You might think these hundreds of factories were spread out throughout Canada…but they were actually all in Ontario! Yes, the province was initially Canada’s industrial cheese making hub. Eventually, Quebec caught up with the establishment of the first North American cheese-making school in Saint-Denis-De La Bouteillerie (1881). Soon, Canadian versions of camembert and feta were first developed in Québec. Funnily enough, the World Championship Cheese Contest awarded the prize for best camembert in the world to Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur in 2018. “Shame,” said a French magazine headline. “How can it be?” asked French newspaper Ouest-France. Needless to say, France was cheesed!
The Dairy Farmers of Canada tell us that cheese production is broken down into the following steps for maximum flavour:
Now that you’ve learned about the cheese production process, want to know more about the various Canadian cheeses? The comprehensive resource dedicated to this is the Canadian Cheese Directory. They classify the various Canadian cheeses according to these categories:
Here we find three options:
It’s worth thinking about these terms when purchasing Canadian cheeses. Understanding them (and the cattle producing the milk) can open the door for an entire world of cheese options you didn’t know were available to you. After all this cheese talk you’re probably a little hungry. Let us help you find your new favourite Canadian cheese!