Overhead view of a wooden board with various Ontario Artisanal Cheeses.

Discover Ontario Cheese: Experience the Art of Local

Apr 25 2022

In our opinion, the very best way to experience local cheese is to go to the source.

 

Planning an Ontario cheesemaker retail shop discovery tour is not only a fantastic day trip, but a unique way to connect with and support the makers behind the flavours. And, you’re guaranteed to find cheeses you’ve never even heard of (yes, they’re that special). It’s the optimal way for cheese lovers to truly understand the breadth and depth of Ontario’s cheese game.

 

Much like local wineries, it can be tough to find the full variety of artisanal Ontario cheeses at retail grocery stores. In fact, some of the most unique local cheeses are not available anywhere but the cheesemakers’ on-site shops or in the region where they’re made. Not to worry though - our Discover Ontario Cheese map pins all the cheese-quest-worthy stops to help you plan your next road trip.

LOCAL CHEESE 101

An overhead view of a serving board with a few pieces of cheese surrounding text that reads

Explore Ontario Cheesemaking by Region: A truly delicious, local experience.

You may never have thought about it, but climate, landscape and growing seasons have an effect on the richness and flavour of milk. Much like the origin and development of grapes used for wine, the terroir of milk further plays a role in the flavour and texture of cheese, butter and other dairy products. While we’re a long way away from bottling milk vintages, we already see unique milk varietals on grocery shelves, from Jersey to Guernsey milks, cheeses, ice cream and dairy products.

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A white rectangular board with various Ontario artisanal cheeses.

Choosing Local Made Easy: How to Find & Identify Ontario-Crafted Cheese

We hear about the importance and value of buying local on a weekly - if not daily - basis. For most of us, it’s a choice that comes down to shared values and a sense that our purchase choices have a direct effect on the resilience and shared quality of life in local communities.

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A round wooden board with wedges of various types of Ontario cheeses.

Ontario Cheese: A History of Award-Winning Craft

The chain of events that birthed Ontario’s rich history of cheesemaking all started with the lowly wheat midge. The mid-nineteenth century saw a population explosion of the fragile insect, which decimated the wheat crops. In response to failing crops, many Ontario farmers converted their operations to dairy, which led to a new abundance of local milk, kick-starting a cheesemaking tradition that started with Cheddar.

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A bowl filled with cheese curds with a sprig of parsley on top.

How Cheese is Made

Cheese is a simple food made from natural ingredients starting with fresh milk. Making natural cheese only requires four ingredients: fresh milk, salt, “good” bacteria, and rennet. Everything else that goes into making a stand-out cheese is the closely kept secret of the cheesemaker’s craft.

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A brick of white cheddar with a cheese knife sticking out of top on a dark marble serving board, next to a stemless glass of red wine next to a small black bowl of cranberries, and a dark round plate of chocolate.

Cheese & Wine

Well-paired cheeses and wines are a wonderful thing, and we’ve done the work for you with these all-Ontario pairings featuring mouth-watering chef created recipes, local one-of-a-kind artisanal cheeses and brilliant wines.

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Spotlight: Local Cheesemakers

A close up of a large wheel of aging cheese on a shelf next to other large wheels of aging cheese with a stamp on it that reads

A Cheesemaker's Entrepreneurial Pursuit: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese

Taste Ontario
author icon Savour Ontario Kitchen
Apr 25
Rows of shelving containing large wheels of aging cheese.

Discovering Ontario Cheese: Oxford County Cheese Trail

Taste Ontario
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Apr 25
The front of the Upper Canada Creamery building.

From Humble Beginnings: Upper Canada Creamery

Taste Ontario
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Apr 25
Shelves of cheese wheels, and Upper Canada Cheese Company logo.

A Cheesemaking Journey: Upper Canada Cheese Company

Taste Ontario
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Apr 06
An assortment of cheese, cured meat, and crackers on a board.

Thornloe Cheese & Northern Heritage Dairy Craft

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Walker Dairy farm and Bar building.

Walker Farms: All-In on Sustainability and Local A2 Protein Milk

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Feb 07

Savour the Art of Local Cheese

An overhead view of a cheeseboard featuring different cheese from processors across Ontario.

Discover Ontario Cheese Board

Send your tastebuds on a road trip around Ontario with this regional cheese board featuring cheeses locally crafted from across the province.

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Overhead view of 4 cheese pesto pizza on a round wooden serving board with basil garnish.

4 Cheese Pesto Pizza

Say hello to this addictive 4 Cheese Pesto Pizza that features some of the best local cheeses.

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Ontario Cheese breakfast rosti with a fried egg and yogurt dollop on top, plated on a black plate on top of a a round wooden board.

Ontario Cheese Breakfast Rosti

Some would say that rosti is a larger version of a hash brown, but this Ontario Cheese Breakfast Rosti is no hash brown. Made with Ontario Paneer and topped with yogurt, this rosti has a whole lot more to offer.

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A stack of mac and cheese waffles with a dollop of sour cream and chive garnish on a white plate.

Spicy Mac & Ontario Cheese Waffles

This is not your average waffle! These Spicy Mac & Ontario Cheese Waffles are a new way to experience the wonders of mac n’ cheese and are destined to become a new favourite.

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Overhead view of Carbonara pasta on a round beige plate next to a cast iron pan filled with pull-apart cheesy bread.

Carbonara & Ontario Smoked Gouda Pull-Apart Bread

Made with delicious Ontario Gouda, this Carbonara paired with Ontario Smoked Gouda Pull-Apart Bread is so irresistible that it’ll have your guests raving about it for days.

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Brie Cheese in a rectangular blue dish on a serving board surrounded by bread pieces.

Bring Local to Your Table with Ontario Cheese

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these Spring inspired recipes that feature Ontario Artisanal Cheese!

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