We Heart Canadian Cheese

Posted by Ivy Knight, May 19, 2017

Ruth Klahsen is the genius behind Monforte Dairy, her cheeses can be found at most of the better restaurants in the city. She was quoted in a recent Globe & Mail article that raised flags about a new government ruling that could endanger local cheesemakers.

“In July, the government is set to more than double the amount of European cheese imported into the country as part of the new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).” – Globe & Mail

While this could mean greater European selection for customers some worry that smaller Canadian cheesemakers could lose their toehold in the market.

I sat down to talk with Klahsen in advance of the Celebration of Monforte Dairy that I’ll be hosting with her next week at the Hotel in an effort to rally cheeselovers to support one of our most beloved cheesemakers.

You’ve got cheese from all the cheese-making animals of Canada, from goats to cows to sheep and buffalo, how many cheeses do you make in total?

We work with four milks, and we tend to make about six or seven different cheeses with each milk. So, when we have all four milks coming in, we have 30 cheeses. But our milk is so seasonal. So, right now, we don’t have any sheep’s milk, so we have almost no sheep’s cheese but we’re heavy on water buffalo and goat.

What’s your most popular cheese?

We started making a cheddar as a fundraiser for the farm, it’s called Providence and that’s doing really well. The chèvre is really popular. But if I had to say the one cheese that is most popular, it would be fresco. We make that with whatever milk is available and right now it’s made with buffalo. Its like a queso fresco. Coming up we’ll have Waltzing Matilda and Little Prince, both very popular, one’s goat and one’s water buffalo coated in ash.

Regarding the Globe & Mail piece recently that warns of an influx of European cheeses, if you could speak face to face with every cheese lover in Canada, what is the number one thing you want them to know?

Keep giving us a chance to get better.

Is there any evil cheese that people should not put their money towards?

Sure, there’s lots, in the same way there’s lots of food we shouldn’t eat. But people can figure that out, just read the ingredient list. I would just ask that they give local artisans a chance to get better, because we’re all trying really hard to do good work in this country.

If people want to try your cheese what markets are you at?
Wychwood, Withrow, Brickworks, St. Lawrence on Saturday, Leslieville on Sunday, Sorauren on Monday, Trinity-Bellwood on Tuesday, Sick Kids, East York, North York. I think that’s most of them.

And you’re opening your own shop too is that right?

Yes, we’re opening a shop with Merchants of Green Coffee on Jefferson in Liberty Village. We’ve had that space for a while, but we haven’t been able to figure out how to organize it and get it going. So, Merchants have been great and we’ll be open later this month.

A Celebration of Monforte Dairy Cheeses will take place during 86’d Mondays at the Drake Hotel at 8PM on May 22nd.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: 86d mondays  ivy knight  monforte cheese