Exploring the Savoury World of Cheese in Prince Edward County

Exploring the Savoury World of Cheese in Prince Edward County
Exploring the Savoury World of Cheese in Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County, located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario, roughly halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, is renowned for its thriving food and drink scene.

While it’s famous for its wineries and culinary experiences, the County also boasts a thriving cheese culture that locals and visitors cherish. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the cheese factories, popular cheese varieties, and places to savour the delightful cheese offerings in PEC.

Cheese Factories of Prince Edward County

Fifth Town

Whether it is the cow milk from Jean’s “Quinte Crest” farm down the road, the Jersey milk farm between Picton and Bloomfield, the Ontario Buffalo Farm in Stirling, or the goat milk from the herder an hour away, Fifth Town crafts something truly authentic that connects their love for Prince Edward County. 

With over 28 different seasonal cheeses, Fifth Town Farm is a must-stop. Try their award-winning Cape Vessey and sample through their boutique tasting room/shop.

Black River Cheese Company

Founded in 1901, Black River Cheese Company has been a staple in Prince Edward County for over a century. This award-winning cheese factory is known for producing a wide variety of cheese, including cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, and curds. Their products are made from 100% Canadian milk and testify to the county’s rich dairy heritage. 

Located just outside of Milford, take a trip to Black River Market and indulge in free samples of their famous cheese. Local favourites are Maple Cheddar and Goat Milk Cheddar. The factory looks onto the water where boats can dock.

Empire Cheese Company

Empire Cheese Company, another longstanding establishment, has produced quality cheese since 1870. They are known for their high-quality cheddar cheese, made using traditional methods passed down through generations. 

Popular Cheese Varieties in PEC

While Prince Edward County offers a diverse array of cheeses, there are a few standout varieties that have captured the hearts and taste buds of cheese lovers:

Cheddar: Cheddar cheese, mainly aged cheddar, is a local favourite. The county’s cheddars range from mild and creamy to sharp and crumbly, offering a delightful spectrum of flavours.

Brie: Creamy and luxurious, the brie produced in PEC is a must-try for cheese enthusiasts. Its soft, white rind encapsulates a silky, mild interior that pairs perfectly with local wines and fresh fruit.

Blue Cheese: Prince Edward County’s blue cheeses are known for their bold and tangy flavours. They make excellent additions to cheese boards and are often featured on restaurant menus.

Dairy Free Cheese

Whether you have lactose intolerance or adhere to a strict vegan lifestyle, you can still enjoy some delightful options! Paula, the local artisan behind Caju Winds, has created an entirely plant-based range of cashew spreads that are both 100% vegan and gluten-free. These “cheeses” from Caju Winds are crafted using organic cashews blended with dried organic herbs from nearby farmers. What’s more, they undergo fermentation with a vegan probiotic containing 10 diverse strains of beneficial bacteria, making for guilt-free indulgence!

You can find Caju Winds spreads at various locations, including Penny’s Pantry, Agrarian Market, The Local Store, and select eateries and wineries. 

Where to Enjoy Cheese in the County

Farmers’ Markets

PEC’s farmers’ markets, such as the Wellington Farmers’ Market and the Picton Farmers’ Market, are excellent places to sample and purchase local cheese. You can chat with producers, learn about their cheese-making processes, and savour the freshest products.

Local Stores

Local shops around the County carry a unique selection of cheeses, perfect for delicious gifts. The Agrarian Market (4 Lake Street, Picton) and Cooke’s Fine Foods (280 Main Street, Picton) offer gourmet cheese baskets filled with must-try cheese, old-world foods, meats, and tasty chocolates. 

Local Restaurants and Wineries

Many local restaurants and wineries feature cheese plates, often incorporating cheeses from nearby producers. Pair these cheeses with a glass of local wine for an exquisite tasting experience.

Visit these local restaurants for outstanding charcuterie boards featuring local cheese, preserves, and more!

  • Bloomfield Public House – 257 Main St, Bloomfield
  • The County Canteen – 279 Main Street, Picton
  • The Miller House Cafe & Brasserie – 275 County Rd 7, Prince Edward
  • Stella’s Eastery – 2470 Prince Edward County Rd 8

Cheese and Picnic Tours

Several tour operators in the county offer cheese-focused tours, taking you to cheese factories and picturesque spots for a picnic featuring local cheeses, wines, and other artisanal products.

Indulge in local countryside picnics with ready-made baskets and day tours.

  • Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. – 4309 County Road 8, Prince Edward
  • The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyard & Estate Winery – 990 Closson Road, Picton
  • The Agrarian Market – 4 Lake Street, Picton
  • The County Picnic – Experience a delightful day with the County Picnic’s inclusive day tour, featuring a guided walking exploration of Wellington, bicycle rentals, wine tastings at two charming wineries, and culminating in a magnificent picnic feast crafted entirely from local Prince Edward County products!

Cheese Festivals

Keep an eye out for cheese-focused events and festivals that occur throughout the year in Prince Edward County. These gatherings are an excellent opportunity to indulge in various cheeses and learn from cheese experts. Look out for the Great Canadian Cheese Festival the next time you’re down!

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Milford, Ontario in Prince Edward County

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