We asked a cheese expert to give us the goods, and he delivered.
This weekend's Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival sounds too insane to be real. Now in its ninth year, the Festival makes cheese-loving Vancouverites' dreams of chasing an 11-pound wheel of cheese down a mountain come true. The winner gets a wheel of the cheese, and two Whistler Blackcomb season ski passes—sweet deal. Not up for barrelling down the mountain yourself? No worries—there's a more civilized way to celebrate the fest: we asked cheese expert (yes, that's a thing) David Beaudoin to help us out with some cheese and beer pairings to tickle the old tastebuds. Give them a try and let us know what you think by tagging #VanMag.
1. Terroir's Mt. Ida Mont d'Or Style and Whistler Brewing Co.'s Grapefruit Ale
"Mt. Ida is an extremely unique cheese because the breed of cows they have there are a traditional breed from France. They are all fed on the pasture by the cheesemaker over there at Terroir; he has 17 cows in total so all the milk he produces goes in to make the cheese. This cheese changes flavour as it ages, but you'll want it fairly mild to pair well with Whistler Brewing Co.'s Grapefruit Ale. Usually I would go with a Belgian wheat beer for this type of cheese, but this pairing was better because the sparkling beer cuts right through the nice and creamy cheese. The grapefruit compliments the sweet milk in the cheese, then you get this awesome earthiness from the rind coming back after you've finished your mouthful, leaving a little bit of the grapefruit tanginess." Mt. Ida Approx. $10 per wheel at the festival Can be found at Nature's Fare or served at the Irish Heather Facebook.com/Terroir
2. Natural Pastures' Aged Farmhouse and Old Yale Brewing Co.'s Sasquatch Stout
"This is the cheese that's being rolled down the hill at the Whistler festival. It looks like a gouda, and it's similar to a cheddar in texture, but it's way more crumbly; there's a really amazing sweetness to it. Usually with this kind of cheese I would go for an IPA or something a little stronger, but I couldn't find one that would stand up to the flavour of the cheese, so I went with the Sasquatch Stout from Old Yale Brewing Co. What I really like with this cheese, if you go to a high-end cheese shop like Benton Brothers on Granville Island, you can get a big piece of cheese and keep ageing it at home for a long time. That combination of the stout's notes of chocolate and the cheese's sweetness work super well together—they really fuse and start dancing in your mouth." Aged Farmhouse Approx. $8-$10 at the festival Various locations Naturalpastures.com
3. Little Qualicum Cheeseworks' Bleu Claire and Central City Brewers Red Racer Super Stellar IPA
"This blue cheese is a little crumbly at first but becomes super creamy in the mouth. I needed something that would balance with a funky cheese. Funk calls for funk in my world; that’s why I turned to Central City's Super Stellar IPA. The stronger use of the beer goes with the sweetness of this cheese very nicely. The alcohol cuts through the fat so well, it's absolutely delicious. The balanced lingering taste of the two was just awesome, that almost citrus-y funk from the beer is the dream." Bleu Claire Approx. $8 at the festival Various Locations Cheeseworks.ca