You might have heard of the unusual cheese rolling tradition that’s been going on for hundreds of years in Brockworth, Gloucester. Well, we have our very own Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival, too, and it’s coming up (or should I say, rolling down) in Whistler this weekend. Instead of chasing a 9-lb double Gloucester like the one used in England, Canadian Cheese Rolling participants will be chasing a hefty 11-lb Courtenay Cheddar made by Natural Pastures.
What: 7th Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival with lots of fun activities for the whole family:
Cheese rolling races for ages 19+ (7 men’s and 4 women’s events, plus finals)
Uphill races by age (for kids)
Free cheese seminars
Cheese Market with lots of Canadian cheese samples made from 10% Canadian milk
When: Saturday, August 16th 12nn to 4pm (Registration for the cheese rolling is at 11:00am)
Where: Whistler, BC
Winners get to take home the wheel of Canadian Cheddar cheese AND a Whistler season ski pass for two, so try not to break any bones so you can still use the passes. ;-)
I know for sure the cheese is worth chasing, as I’ve tried it myself, thanks to yesterday’s media event hosted by the Dairy Farmers of Canada at Forage. Doug Smith of Natural Pastures was there to talk cheese, and what makes their delicious Courtenay Cheddary unique — it’s the cheddaring process.
As you can seen, the wheel of Courtenay Cheddar is a big baby. It was passed along from one guest to another so we could have an idea of how heavy it is. I’m not surprised that it can go down the hill with speeds of up to 75 kph.
We tried the Courtenay cheddar on its own and in four cheesy preparations created by Bearfoot Bistro‘s (Whistler) pastry chef, Chef Dominic Fortin.
Here’s Chef Dominic talking about how he transformed this lovely local cheese into delectable crispy, crunchy and gooey bites.
The fennel and arugula salad had thinly shaved cheddar, and both the kale and shortbread were baked with grated cheddar. They were all very good. I like the progression of tastes and textures from the salad to the shortbread. I couldn’t get enough of the shortbread. I need to make them soon!
And yes, there’s The Baked Dip. You could hear everybody’s ooh’s and aah’s when little dishes of the baked cheesy dip were placed in front of us. Yes, yes, please.
The dip with the freshly baked bread was heaven. Spoiled, we were.
While the festival’s name owes itself to the fun and wacky event of cheese rolling, it’s more than that. It’s a fantastic time to showcase and discover all the lovely cheeses we have here in Canada (not just BC), all made with 100% Canadian milk. If you can make it up to Whistler this weekend, please do so and have some cheesy good time!
If you’re feeling cheese dish envy, don’t fret. The Dairy Farmers of Canada have generously provided the recipes (in PDF) for all four creations by Chef Dominic Fortin:
- Baked Courtenay Cheddar, Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Dip
- Kale Chips with Smoked Paprika
- Savory Courtenay Cheddar and Hazelnut Shortbread
- Fennel, Arugula, Cheddar and Pecan Salad