During the Gala of Canadian Cheese Champions held Thursday night in Montreal, Avonlea Clothbound and Cows Applewood Smoked Cheddars were given top honours by major players in the industry in their respective categories.
“We are so proud and excited to have been awarded Canada’s best in both categories,” says Armand Bernard, cheese maker at Cows. “The recipe for both cheddars has its roots from the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland.”
“This is our second in a row first-place finishes for our Avonlea Clothbound at the Canadian Grand Prix Event and our first time entering for our Applewood Smoked. To take home top honours in both categories is incredible.”
"It’s not just a one-person team, it’s a lot of hard work that everyone puts in. It’s nice to know that P.E.I. can be recognized from it.”
Bernard has been a cheese maker at Cows since 2006, when they first started creating cheese products. It wasn’t until two years later when they started to become recognized and won their first competition. The Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar placed second at the 2008 American Cheese Society Juding and Competion in Chicago, open to any cheese makers in North America.
Cows Applewood Smoked Cheddar also received a prize for their added flavouring. Bernard said he was happy to see two of their products receive such high recognition at the event.
“I think we can all take a piece of pride from saying that our product comes from our small Island. It’s competing against the whole country and it’s able to win.”
Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar is hand made in the style of the great traditional cheddars and is matured in cellars at 11 - 12C and humidity level of 90 per cent for at least one year. The cloth wrapping of the cheddar wheels allow the cheese to breathe and develop the rich, robust ﬂavours as it matures.
Cows Extra Old 2 year cheddar is naturally smoked over a six-hour period. During this time, the cheddar is smoked with natural applewood smoke to produce a mouth-watering full, smoky flavour.
The Avonlea Clothbound and Applewood Smoked Cheddars are both made from the milk of Holstein cows in the countryside of Prince Edward Island by the makers of Cows Ice Cream. It is made with raw milk that is gently heated but not pasteurized to allow beneficial microbes to thrive and give depth of character and ﬂavour.
“It definitely has a lot to do with the quality of the milk, without that you don’t have anything,” said Bernard.
Both cheddars are available for purchase at most local markets, various markets across Canada, and some markets within the United States.