Shelves of cheese wheels, and Upper Canada Cheese Company logo.

A Cheesemaking Journey: Upper Canada Cheese Company

For over 16 years, Upper Canada Cheese Company has been making award-winning artisanal cheeses in the Niagara region. This Niagara cheesemaker handcrafts their cheeses in small batches using only 100% delicious local milk from Guernsey cows.


Upper Canada Cheese was born in a family kitchen. Founding partner and president, Wayne Philbrick started his cheesemaking journey as a passion project. As a longtime Niagara local and member of the agri-business community, Philbrick always knew he wanted to make his own contribution to the community, beyond his family’s peach farm, he just wasn’t sure how.
 
While on a trip to Quebec, Philbrick was inspired by the province’s independent cheesemakers. He became fascinated with a Canadiana-herd made cheese - a very unique, Quebecois heritage breed. It was this, along with his time in the wine industry, that convinced Philbrick he had a niche to fill within his own community.
 
“Every story is unique and wonderful, but this isn’t a story of a family of dairy farmers whose natural extension was to make cheese or other dairy products, this was someone who had such a passion for cheese that the deeper he got into making his own cheese, he decided that this was something he wanted to do with his life.”
 
Upon his return, Philbrick set out to source his milk locally and sustainably, leading him just up the escarpment to the eighth generation, family-owned and operated Comfort Farms. From their first interaction and the introduction to their herd, he knew they were the right partners to bring his passion project to life. In 2005, after much trial and error and support from the Comfort Farms, Philbrick launched the Upper Canada Cheese Company with their flagship Niagara Gold cheese and Comfort Cream cheeses.

The milk comes straight to us - so, the milk is one herd milk with absolutely no pooling. Which is really special seeing as we aren’t farmstead with on-farm processing.

As artisan cheesemakers, Upper Canada Cheese pride themselves on the quality of their handmade, unstandardized products - furthermore, seasonality and terroir are cherished throughout the entirety of their operations. Comfort Farms specializes in a 100 per cent Guernsey herd, making Upper Canada’s cheese a creamier, richer option by virtue of the higher fat and protein content of the herd's milk. When taking into account other uncontrollable factors such as weather, which is a primary influence on the herd’s feed, each batch is celebrated for its unique texture and taste.
 
Traditional cheesemaking techniques are at the forefront of their product creation, with every style mimicking its development origins. Their Flagship, Niagara Gold, is made replicating time-honoured Trappist monk cheese-making techniques and traditional French cellar aging. Twice a week for five months, each cheese is washed in brine, turned, and returned to the aging room. Runner up, Comfort Cream, is a beautifully creamy camembert style cheese with a velvety bloomy white rind. Unlike Brie, it’s more aromatic and soft, making it the perfect candidate for warming.
 
Currently, Upper Canada Cheese delivers their products to southern Ontario, with some areas of eastern Ontario and Ottawa. Their delicious products can be found not only in select grocery stores but in their on-site retail boutique and of course in the tasting room. Alongside their cheeses, Upper Canada features a carefully curated selection of local, gourmet accoutrements including chocolates, baked items, preserves and artist-designed giftware.
 
If you’re looking for a taste of Upper Canada Cheese brought to you, try their year-round Cheese Club! Subscriptions are available on a bi-annual or quarterly basis, in accordance with the seasons. Each box includes a selection of their handcrafted cheeses, respective tasting notes, a local gourmet accompaniment, seasonally inspired pairing recipes and more.
 
All of Upper Canada Cheese’s products are made with 100 per cent Guernsey milk that contains the highest concentration of A2 protein which may be easier to digest for some people.
 
Niagara Gold is an award-winning cheese, taking first place at the 2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in the Semi-Soft cheese category. Try Niagara Gold in place of cheddar, mozzarella, or gouda. It pairs well with an oaked or partially oaked Chardonnay.
 
Comfort Cream is a camembert style cheese and is stored in the temperature and humidity controlled cheese cave at precisely 95 per cent relative humidity and 51 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four weeks before it’s ready for customers. An additional few weeks of aging in your fridge will see the cheese ripen and mature in flavour, texture and colour.
 

You can visit Upper Canada Cheese’s creamery shop and tasting room at:

4159 Jordan Rd
Jordan Station ON
 
Online: https://www.uppercanadacheese.com/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/uppercanadacheese/
FB: ​​https://www.facebook.com/uppercanadacheese

Savour Ontario Kitchen
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