Category Archives: Recipes

Soup recipes from Natural Pastures Cheese

Amsterdammer Cheese Bliss: Elevating Natural Pastures Cheese with Eric Akis’ Apple and Parsnip Soup a new winter favorite

Inspiration Behind the Recipe

Renowned culinary expert Eric Akis has always been a source of inspiration for food enthusiasts, and his recipe for “Apples and Parsnips” is no exception. The ingenious combination of sweet apples and earthy parsnips creates a harmonious blend of flavors, making it a delightful soup for the colder months.

Natural Pastures Cheese: Elevating the Dish

Eric incorporated our very own Amsterdammer Cheese. Handcrafted by our Swiss Cheese makers here in Courtenay, BC with precision and care, our cheese adds a creamy and savory dimension to the soup, elevating it to a whole new level of indulgence. The distinct flavor profile of our cheese complements the sweetness of apples and the nuttiness of parsnips, creating a symphony of tastes that dance on your palate.

The Natural Pastures Difference

What sets Natural Pastures Cheese apart is our commitment to using only the finest, locally sourced ingredients Vancouver Island Canadian milk. Our cheese is crafted with passion and expertise, ensuring that each bite is a testament to the quality and dedication we pour into our products. From the lush pastures of Vancouver Island, we bring you a taste of nature’s bounty in every slice.

Cooking Instructions


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Natural Pastures Amersterdammer Cheese, shredded (or choose your favorite variety)
  • Fresh chives for garnish


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, sauté until softened.
  2. Add parsnips and apples, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until parsnips are tender.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
  5. Stir in Natural Pastures Cheese until melted and well combined.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh chives, and serve hot.

Acknowledging Eric Akis

We extend our sincere gratitude to Eric Akis for inspiring this mouthwatering recipe. His culinary expertise and dedication to creating memorable dishes align seamlessly with our values at Natural Pastures. For the original recipe and more culinary inspiration, visit Eric Akis’ Apples and Parsnips Recipe.

At Natural Pastures, we believe in the power of exceptional ingredients to transform a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece. Join us on this journey of flavor and indulge in the richness of our handcrafted cheese. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, our cheese is sure to elevate your culinary creations. Try Eric Akis’ inspired soup recipe, and let the symphony of tastes created by Natural Pastures Cheese leave you craving more. Cheers to savoring the finest flavors nature has to offer!

Grilling Cheese: A Primer

Back in the day, the Food Network taught a legion of would-be BBQ masters to grill salmon on a plank of cedar.

Cool! So what’s next? Time to up your grilling game using our favourite ingredient: cheese!

Grilling Cheese on a BBQ or Cedar Plank: Camembert (or Brie)

The cool part about grilling cheese on a cedar plank is this: as the cheese melts, the moisture pulls out the flavour of the cedar and imbues it into your protein.

First, brush your Camembert / Brie with olive oil and place on your cedar plank in a 450 degree BBQ, or place directly on the grill to give it the signature singe marks. Put the lid down and leave for 2 mins.

Brush the other side and gently flip, grilling for another 2 minutes.

Before you grill, make sure to check the rind for any holes – if there are holes, the cheese will melt out. If your rind is solid – you’re good to go.

We like topping a grilled Camembert / Brie with a balsamic reduction drizzled over chopped nectarines, cherries, plums, or your favourite stone fruit.

Simply pour a half a cup of balsamic into a pot, and boil until it reduces by half and coats the back of a spoon. All set for drizzling!

More Ideas

Pacific Wildfire Burgers.

Our hot and spicy verdelait was meant for grilled burgers! Top your burger with grilled red onion, jalapenoes, and melted Pacfic Wildfire. Be sure to add a nice stout of your choosing to wash everything down.

Grilled Buffalo Paneer Kebabs

Using cubed paneer, beefsteak tomatoes, red onions, bell pepper, and a generous shake of Montreal Steak Spice for seasoning. Heck yes!

Cheese Hats – for burgers or sandwiches. What is a cheese hat? Grate a saucer sized amount of our Courtenay Cheddar onto hot non-stick skillet. Leave it to cook until the cheese is all melted and bubbly, and slightly browned underneath. Then gently flip with a spatula and do the same to the other side. you can make it super crispy, or more gooey. Great for kids who require a jaunty cheese hat on their burger or sammy.

So what say you? Have you got the chops to grill cheese? Tag us on instagram @naturalpasturescheese and show us your grilled cheese creations!

How to host the perfect picnic.

Picnic season is here! Whether you’re walking, cycling, or driving, you need a good plan of attack to make your picnic run deliciously smooth.

The Gear

A classic wicker hamper (basket) to hold everything is a fun thing to have, but you can use anything to transport your goods. A cooler with wheels works great, but if you have kids and a ton of stuff, a large folding wagon is your best bet. Load up with cooler, a blanket, and all the food, and plop baby (human and/or fur-baby) down in the back. 

Food storage is crucial, and you need to keep your food at 4 degrees C or below for food safety. Reusable ice packs in a variety of sizes help you customize cooling to your payload. Place these at the bottom of your cooler. We use glass when we can (mason jars or saved containers from grocery items) and spill-proof Glad-type containers when needed. 

Pro-Tip: refreeze and reuse those gel-filled ice packs from food delivery services.

We also grab some utensils from home; tongs, spoons for serving, a cutting board, and cloth napkins for each person. If we can bear the weight, we take small serving plates from home, but if not, compostable paper plates are light and convenient.

A large blanket or a lightweight tarp is great for carving out space on the beach or in the park.

The Food

If your style is to simply arrive, plop your basket down, and crack a cold one, we suggest making ahead of time: a frittata (made with any of our cheeses), roasted chicken drumsticks, or a pressed sandwich (see recipe below!). These items are finger friendly, less mess, and easy to deal with. Supplement with a chopped salad, a potato salad, or a pasta salad and you’re done.

If you like to settle in and do some assembly on-site, we always love a classic French baguette with a wheel of Buffalo Brie or Comox Camembert – or a good cheese board filled with a mix of cheeses, like Aged Farmhouse, Smoked Boerenkaas, Mozzarella di Bufala, and Pacific Wildfire Verdelait

For the true Picnic Pro: bring a portable grill. The sky’s the limit: grilled marinated kebabs are fantastic (try with cubes of Buffalo Paneer!), as are fresh-made sausages from your local butcher, little steak fillets, and you can also grill our Buffalo Paneer in the style of Halloumi.

Some other easy to-bring items: Caprese skewers, homemade soup, empanadas, quiches, and savoury tarts.

Here’s a very nice pressed sandwich that you can make and refrigerate the night before:

The Drinks

If you’re in North Vancouver this summer you can pack your craft brew growler to be openly consumed at a variety of public parks LIST HERE.

For virgin drinks, we love making a homemade iced tea, lemonade, or iced coffee. Flavoured soda water is nice, especially with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. 

Think Local

Don’t forget your local small businesses serving up picnic baskets, take away food, and food truck vendors. It saves a lot of prep to pick something up along the stroll to the park or beach.

Get out there! Practice social distancing but enjoy being out in nature on your luncheon in the sunlight.

Ask us for recommendations. Various of our cheese products are pictured here.

What are you in the mood for?

Now for Something a Little Different 

You’ve tried our Comox Brie on your cheese board, and baked a few in the oven topped with dried fruit, honey, and nuts. Awesome! You are a cheese fan!

But how about something a little more adventurous?

Buffalo Paneer

Never cooked with a Paneer cheese before? No worries, it’s easy and delicious! A protein-rich staple in South East Asia, and with good reason. Paneer is a firmer cheese that holds up well to grilling and pan-frying. If you’ve ever had haloumi in the greek dish saganaki, paneer has a similar hearty quality. With grill season well on its way, it’s a great time to try this out. You are actually looking for grill marks on this cheese. It won’t melt into your grill!

Marinated Bocconcini

Have you avoided Bocconcini because of the too-mild flavour? Amp up the texture and flavour by breading and frying: you’ll get a crunchy, savoury exterior and a smooth, delicious centre. We love treating our bocconcini the traditional Italian way, by marinating with herbs and olive oil. You’ll find this dish all over Italy with good reason, it brings out the flavour in the mild cheese and serves as a great accompanyment to summery BBQ’s and picnic meals on the patio.   

Pacific Wildfire 

How about turning up the heat? But how spicy is spicy? Don’t fear, our Pacific Wildfire cheese won’t melt your face off – but it will melt perfectly into egg dishes, nachos, or your BBQ’d pizza. We’re talking about a perfectly balanced warm hum blended with a smokiness that mellows your soul. All the more excuse to pair with beer or a nice chilled white! 

Try this nice beer dip using our smoky favourite, Pacific Wildfire.

Stay tuned for more recipes and pairings as the sunny season gets underway. And stay safe out there everybody.

Valentines Day pasta dish with cheese and two forks.

How to Make Valentine’s Day Extra Romantic (with cheese!)

Show your sweetheart just how much you care through thoughtfully selected and lovingly prepared cheese dishes, of course! 

These dishes require some prep, some technique, and a huge amount of love. Be sure you have the time to fully indulge your loved one, all day long. 

Start Valentine’s day off right with an elegant and classic breakfast.

Call us cheesy, but we like to start the day with a flute of our favourite “breakfast juice” – a classic mimosa! Refreshing, bubbly, and a little bit naughty. It’s a great way to perk up the senses. If you’re feeling more ambitious, try a delightful Bellini. Of course, it’s best you have nothing pressing to do afterward.

Follow your “breakfast juice” with a classic french omelette, stuffed with savoury Boerenkaas. This is a thing of beauty. Brush up your omelette skills with Jacques Pepin. 

This omelette is delicious on its own, but some lovely thin-sliced gala apple with toasted squares of buttered bread are always welcome players in your V-Day game.

On to lunch! A smorgasbord for the senses.

It’s hard to beat the visual appeal of a well-crafted cheese board bursting with all of your favourites: olives, caramelized onions, fruit, charcuterie meats. If you’re looking for inspiration, just check out Vancouver cheese monger @cheesedarling on Instagram. She’s doing amazing boards with locally sourced ingredients on the regular. 

A cheese board inspires conversation; about the ingredients, the flavour pairings, and eating slowly means you’ll be less likely to overstuff. For more fun, invoke Rule Zero: you must only feed another, not yourself. Stay at home for this portion, or face public scorn. 😄

Our Natural Pastures Comox Brie and Camembert pair great with Lesley Stowe’s crackers, Le Meadows Pantry’s jam and marmalades. Head out to your local market and grab some artisan products and have fun with it!

And finally, dinner: Cacio e Pepe

This elegantly simple pasta dish gets right to the point – fresh pasta, grated Aged Farmhouse and Parmadammer cheese, black pepper, and plenty of it. This dish is easy to prepare after a long day of wooing your loved one. A simple dish to warm anyone’s soul. Pair with your favourite BC produced Chianti, Pinot Grigio, or Riesling.

There you have it – this day of worshipping cheese (and your loved one) is complete! Until you want to do it again, that is.

There’s nothing more delicious than showing your love through food, and cheese is the best kind. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Asparagus & Mushroom Soup with Boerenkaas

What’s in season in May? On Vancouver Island we have fresh asparagus, celery, kale, mushrooms, green onion, peas, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, spinach, and turnip.

We have a lovely roasted asparagus soup topped with delicious Boerenkaas. 


1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups chopped mushrooms

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 tablespoons arborio rice

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shaved Boerenkaas 


Preheat oven to 400°. Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until tender and browned in spots.

Meanwhile, in a medium to large pot, heat the remaining olive oil and cook the onion over on medium heat until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss in the chopped mushrooms and let them release their moisture, about 10 mins. After their moisture is released, they will begin to brown. Cook for another 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the mushrooms are nicely caramelized. 

Add the roasted asparagus, chicken stock, arborio rice and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook the soup until the rice is very soft, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Or, transfer the soup to a blender and puree, then return to the pot. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous amount of shaved Boerenkaas.

National Poutine Day delicious poutine

Poutine, Reigning Champion of Canadian Junk Food

Do you pronounce Canada’s favourite dish “pou-tin” or “poo-teen”? Well, that depends on where you are and who you are talking to.

In the heart of poutine country in Quebec and New Brunswick, francophones vote “pou-tin” all the way. Outside of those provinces, it’s straight anglo with “pou-tine”.

Either way you slice it, poutine is the best thing to happen to potatoes since, well, cheese curds and gravy! And with National Poutine Day coming up on April 11, we ask you: 

Eat in? Or take out?


Coming out of mid-century Quebec, poutine’s true origin is not confirmed. One story from 1950’s Warwick, Quebec has a restaurant customer ask for fries, cheese, and gravy. To which the owner proclaimed, “Ça va faire une maudite poutine,” or, “That’s going to make a dreadful mess.”

Indeed. Poutine is a hot mess of the very best kind. What makes it so good?  

The Curds

Squeaky cheese curds are the benchmark for the very best traditional poutine.  You’ll only hear the squeak when the curds are very fresh, and some curd-experts insist that a curd must be eaten before it spends even one night in a fridge. However, although not as noticeable after refrigeration, the squeak will usually last a day or two before it finally dissipates. If you want the squeak, your best bet is to stop at our Cheese Shop in Courtenay (635 McPhee) around 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll be able to pick up a bag still warm from the vat. The taste, texture and shape also make it the perfect snacking cheese, as you can eat it straight from the bag like popcorn. We have customers who pick up two bags when they come to the shop on Wednesdays – one for making poutine, and one for the drive home.

The Gravy

Some gravies are lighter and chicken stock based, while others are dark and beefy. We prefer our gravy somewhere in the middle. For that, we look to French-Canadian and tv host, Ricardo. His recipe uses a 2/3 blend of both chicken and beef, which we think is the perfect balance. 

The Fries

We like our fries thick, hand-cut, and twice fried. The fries have to be heavily crispy to stand up to hot gravy, and will provide the best textural contrast in a meal with only three star ingredients.

From Vancouver BC, to St. John’s, NL you can find poutine in menus across the nation. When it comes to eat in vs take out, we like mastering the ingredients and preparing the best poutine at home. While there are countless recipes for it’s preparation, we like Ricardo’s recipe for Brown Gravy Sauce for Poutine.

Poutine with Ricardo’s Brown Gravy Sauce.
Image from the recipe link.

How to Choose Camembert

Native to Camembert, Normandy in France, this surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese is a brilliant foil to tart and crisp fruit, sweet jams, and bright, fruity white wines. But how to choose a good Camembert?  We’ve compiled six tips to help you get the most out of your soft cheese:

  1. Camembert is a bloomy cheese with an edible rind. Bloomy rind cheeses are considered a soft cheese and while choosing whether to eat the rind of Camembert is a matter of preference, most people enjoy the additional flavour it gives to the cheese.
  2. To get the flavour you most like, experiment! Check the best-before date. The flavour of our soft cheese changes dramatically during its 45-day life. When it’s first produced, it has a drier, lighter texture and somewhat tangy flavour. About mid-way through, the cheese will become creamier and stronger, and in the last two weeks it will develop its strongest flavour with the cheese becoming almost runny accompanied by a mild ammonia smell. Experiment and find out what taste you like the best!
  3. Do the squeeze test. If you want to eat your cheese tonight, gently squeeze the sides of the round. There should be a little give when the cheese is ripe.
  4. Keep your drink cold and your cheese warm. For best flavour, bring your soft cheese to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before serving.
  5. Pairing your cheese. Apples are a classic companion to cheese, but the mildness of brie and camembert are particularly suited to zippier acidic flavours like apricots, figs or a fruit preserve.
  6. Storing. You can eat part of a round of brie or camembert and re-wrap it in the breathable Natural Pastures wrapping, but for even better results, wrap just the cut area in plastic and then use its original wrapping to keep the rind from drying out.
Grilled Shrimp & Natural Pastures Camembert Stuffed Mushroom Caps

RECIPE: Grilled Shrimp & Natural Pastures Camembert Stuffed Mushroom Caps


  • 150 grams cooked shrimp
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil- Salt & pepper to taste
  • 150 grams Natural Pastures Comox Camembert, cut into small cubes
  • 12 large mushroom, stems removed


  1. Preheat barbecue to medium heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except mushrooms, in a bowl.
  3. Spoon into mushroom caps, ensuring 1-2 pieces of cheese end up on top.
  4. Place on grill, close barbecue lid, and cook 5-6 minutes, or until mushrooms are just tender and cheese is melted.

Try our these mushroom caps with a dry Rose, a Gamay, a Pinot Noir or a Merlot. If you’re looking for a smoother taste, reach for our Triple Cream Camembert. This one is a decadent, smoother, and richer Camembert with a creamy finish that complements the delicate note of mushroom.

You’ll be surprised and delighted.