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Canadian Cheeses & Bold Beverages: New takes on classic pairings

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By Crystal Wood for Dairy Farmers of Canada

Move over, wine. Chefs are experimenting with new ways to attract customers by pairing cheese with a variety of other beverages. At the 2020 RC Show in Toronto, David Beaudoin, chef and owner of Squeaky Cheese, presented his picks for matching Canadian cheeses with sake, coffee and beer.

Terry D’Agostino, manager of stakeholder engagement at Dairy Farmers of Canada, says the pairings are a natural choice because most restaurants already have the ingredients and it’s simply about coming up with new ways to use them. “It’s something that can bring your restaurant to another level,” she says. “The pairings we created are simple, flavourful and unique.”

Sake & Cheese Pairings

For these pairings, Beaudoin worked with Michael Tremblay, sake sommelier at Ki Modern Japanese + Bar to match four Canadian cheeses with sakes. “Creamy, sweet, savoury, umami and so much more…,” Beaudoin says of the pairings.

Expert picks:

1. Bel Haven Triple Cream Brie from Quality Cheese, Ontario, with Nanbu Bijin Shinpaku Junmai Daiginjo from Iwate Prefecture

2. Grand Trunk from Stonetown Artisan Cheese, Ontario, with “Izumi” Arabashiri Muroka Junmai from Ontario Spring Water Sake Co.

3. Cheddar Perron 4 years from Fromagerie Perron, Québec, with Yuho “Rhythm of the Centuries” Yamahai Junmai from Ishikawa Prefecture

4. Bleu Bénédictin from Fromagerie Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec, with Hanahato Kijoushu from Hiroshima Prefecture

Coffee & Cheese Pairings

To create these pairings, Beaudoin worked with Sevan Istanboulian, general manager at Café Mystique Coffee. Beaudoin highlighted the natural combination of cheese’s creaminess paired with coffee brewed in different ways, bringing to mind Italian affogato and flavours like vanilla and caramel. “The idea is to create a sweet, smoky, caramel, creamy coffee experience,” he says.

Expert picks:

1. Bel Haven Triple Cream Brie from Quality Cheese, Ontario, with cold-brew coffee, vanilla flavour shot and hazelnut

2. Cold Smoked Gouda from Bothwell Cheese, Manitoba, with hot drip coffee and salty caramel flavour shot

3. Cheddar Perron 3 ans Biologique from Fromagerie Perron, Québec, with café allongé and jeweled dates

4. Mascarpone from Quality Cheese, Ontario, with espresso and dark chocolate

Beer & Cheese Pairings

For the final pairing, Beaudoin teamed up with Kaitlin Vandenbosch, brewmaster at Mill Street, selecting all four beers from the Toronto brewery. Beaudoin’s pairings elevate the traditional pub flavours, bringing out the tastes of saltiness and nutty flavours in the beers. “The strength of both the cheese and the beer are coming together in harmony,” Beaudoin says.

Expert picks:

1. Le Bocké from Fromagerie Champêtre, Québec, with 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager and jalapeno pistachios

2. Albert’s Leap Belle Marie Double Cream Brie from Quality Cheese, Ontario, with White Space Wheat and carrot marmalade

3. Mascarpone from Quality Cheese, Ontario, with Hopped & Confused Session Ale and red pepper jelly

4. Bleu Fumé from Fromagerie Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec, with Vanilla Porter and white and dark chocolate

When creating new taste pairings, D’Agostino encourages chefs and vendors to shop Canadian by looking for cheeses with the DFC’s blue-cow label. “The foodservice industry are the trendsetters,” she says. “Using our cheese can speak to the locality of Canadian producers, which increases awareness and informs consumers.”

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