It's been a banner year for Black River Cheese Company Ltd. Following its win for Best in Show at the Belleville Fall Fair for their new Wine Cured Cheddar, The Black River Cheese Company has once again achieved acclaim. This time, it is for their traditional Brick and new Goat Milk Cheddar. In fact, over the past few weeks, the company has garnered several awards bringing greater recognition to Prince Edward County, especially considering the winning streak that some of the county's wineries have also been enjoying.
Left to Right Back: Todd Payne - Cheesemaker, Matt Creasy - Cheesemaker, DougPeters - General Manager & Master Cheesemaker
Front: Stephanie Diamant - Specialty Cheesemaker
At the recent 87th British Empire Cheese Show, their Brick cheese won the prestigious Chr. Hansen Award as the overall winner in the Specialty Cheese Class. In addition, their new Goat Milk Cheddar placed 3rd in the Specialty Goat Milk Class. Although the company has been making Brick cheese for years, this is the company's first venture into goat milk cheese which they only started producing in May of this year. As Canada's oldest display of Canadian and International Cheese held every year since 1928, this event was originally held to provide an opportunity for cheese makers to share knowledge and techniques in what was considered a "foundling" Canadian industry at the time; however, today, it now provides the opportunity to compete against other cheese producers from the British Empire and offers recognition for being the best in a range of categories and classes.
These two awards at the British Empire Cheese Show follow on the company's two other recent wins, once again for both their Brick and Goat Cheddar in Specialty Cheese Categories at the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair held at the beginning of November. Considered as Canada's greatest agricultural showcase, winning two second place wins at the event's annual cheese competition is no small feat when one considers that The Black River Cheese Company Ltd. was challenging the national titans in the cheese industry as well as other artisan cheese producers from across the country.
"Although we've had our share of awards over the past 113 years, we have never had so many awards in such a short time span," states Doug Peters, General Manager and Master Cheese Maker at The Black River Cheese Company Ltd., "This is thanks to our young team of cheese makers Matt Creasy and Todd Payne, with whom I've had the great pleasure of training, and the expertise of Stephanie Diamant, our resident goat and sheep cheese specialist."
Unlike winning a lottery which is a case of sheer luck, it takes dedication, expertise, perseverance and a desire to be the very best in order to win or even place in any competition. Such is the testament to the cheese producing team, at Black River Cheese Company Ltd., who are determined to take the company to the highest level of achievement when it comes to producing fine artisan cheese that is defined by its consistent quality and superior taste.
"Having won these recent awards, our cheese making team is looking forward to taking the company even further in garnering provincial and national acclaim, especially at next year's prestigious Canadian Grand Prix Cheese Competition held in April," adds Peters. "We've won each time the company has entered at this national competition, which is hosted by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, and our team is determined to do so once again."
With its highly successful track record of awards and its continued growth in the marketplace as demands for the company's cheese escalates, Prince Edward County's historic Black River Cheese Company Ltd. is well on its way to carving out its own unique niche as one of Canada's most innovative cheese producers of fine artisan cheese.
This article first appeared in The Picton Gazette.