(Savvy Cheese sommelier Vanessa Simmons preparing for the Artisan Cheese Tasting)
Admittedly I was a little intimidated when I arrived at Savvy Company's Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia artisan cheese tasting. I like cheese but I don't know much about it and I had never been to an event based around learning how to taste and distinguish flavors. I was afraid I would be asked for an opinion and have to embarrassingly mutter something about it being airy, spreadable with a hint of grassiness even though I have no idea what any of those adjectives mean when applied to cheese. Once the tasting, led by cheese sommelier Vanessa Simmons, started my nervousness disappeared and I began learning about artisan cheese.
Vanessa, fresh from attending and speaking at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, was excited to let us taste cheeses that can't be found in Ottawa which may be why several Ontario cheeses found their way on the tasting menu. As we tasted Vanessa explained a little about each cheese and what made it unique. In the case of Romelia, a soft cheese from the Gulf Islands in BC, it's aroma and flavor are intensified by it's washed rind. For Tiger Blue, a bold blue from Penticton, BC, it's weekly piercings which help develop it's consistent blue veining. We were also served a red and white wine so we could taste how cheese impacted it's taste - either by intensifying the flavor or making it bland.
There were cheeses I liked more than others and in the little notebook provided by Savvy Company I wrote "yum" and "super yum" beside my favorites - Namarata Bench Blue, Eweda Cru, and Tiger Blue. I'm a little sad that I probably won't get to taste these cheeses again unless I visit British Columbia but I am excited that I had the opportunity to try them. I will be attending future cheese tastings and encourage you, if you are curious about cheese, to as well. Savvy Company is hosting an Ontario artisan cheese tasting on Wednesday, July 14 and a Quebec artisan cheese tasting on August 18.