Two Trophies Captured by Local Cheese Company

Natural Pastures brings home awards from the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix

 Comox Valley, B.C.: Comox Valley’s own Natural Pastures Cheese Company captured two category wins at this year’s Canadian Cheese Grand Prix for their Cherry Cow Bocconcini and their Comox Brie.

“This is one of the premier awards for cow’s milk cheese in Canada,” said Natural Pastures Operations Manager Doug Smith, “and our teams’ hard work has paid off.  There’s recognition that the cheese we consistently produce is top quality and showcases the unique west-coast terroir of Vancouver Island.”

The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix began in 1998 as a way of showcasing high quality, versatile, and world-class calibre Canadian cheese.  Judged by Canadian Food Industry experts, this year’s 2015 Grand Prix had over 268 entries submitted by cheesemakers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia.

Natural Pastures Master Cheesemaker Paul Sutter flew out east to attend the Gala of Champions awards ceremony in Toronto on April 22nd to accept the trophies.

“It was a big honour to receive this recognition and it’s always great to reconnect with colleagues and compare notes,” said Sutter.

Sutter was particularly happy the cherry bocconcini received a win. “It’s one of our newer products and hasn’t yet received a big award. The cherry bocconcini is a very tasty cheese that has a delicate flavour and light salting that lets the freshness of the milk come through. It melts on your tongue.”

He said that while the Comox Brie also showcases the flavour of our local milk, the cheese changes over time. “A young brie will have a light, clean tangy flavour.  As it ages, the flavour becomes more robust and it develops the rich, mushroom flavour and creamy, soft texture that signals a true bloomy rind cheese.”

While each Grand Prix category yields only one trophy winner, Natural Pastures also had other serious contenders – boasting five nominations in four categories: Cherry Bocconcini in the Fresh Pasta Filata; Comox Camembert and Comox Brie in the Soft Cheese with bloomy rind; Amsterdammer in the Semi-soft cheese; and Naturally Smoked Boerenkaas in the Smoked Cheese category.

Smith attributes a growing artisanal cheese movement in Canada to helping contribute to the continued success of Natural Pastures Cheese. “We have to constantly be upping our game and working diligently to continue to improve the quality of our cheese,” he said.

“It’s like the wine industry,” he said. “Just like it’s not enough to have one great wine producer in Canada, we need to have many cheesemakers developing their craft, and the artisan cheese movement is really developing in Canada. It’s exciting to be part of an industry that’s getting better, that’s expanding, and that’s getting new people and new ideas.”

This win is the most recent of a string of awards for the local cheese company. Natural Pastures has been taking home awards for thirteen years, from competitions like The Canadian Cheese Awards, 2008 World Cheese Championship, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and the British Empire Cheese Competition.