Cheese Plate


A perfect pairing

Like wine, I think its important go out of your way to try new and different (sometimes questionable) cheeses. After all who knows what you've been missing?
Most importantly---if you are able--try and locate the best cheesemongers in your city or neighborhood. Find a retailer who loves cheese, where the staff is knowledgeable and they are always sourcing new products and most important, somewhere where you can sample!

Most Cheeses I sample are available at Les Amis du Fromage-Park Royal South and w. 2nd avenue in Kitsilano in Vancouver BC.  

Mousseron du Jura

Unpasteurized cows milk cheese from Jura France. I find it very similar perhaps a bit stronger (ergo tastier) than Comte de Montagne. Its a firm cheese with a lovely honey hue and thin inedible rind. It has a nutty, sweet earthy aroma and a smooth nutty, toffee/caramel flavour with a salty backbone.
It comes in large drums so you can have yours cut to size.
Wine Pairing: Great with full bodied wines like Rhone Syrahs.
$4.25 per 100g
Stink Factor: Medium-low


Delice de Bourgogne

Triple cream cows milk brie from Bourgogne France. This creamy white uber-soft cheese spreads like butter and is decadently rich. It has a mild aroma and flavour similar to the inoculated blue cheese- a distinct sharp medicinal/mouldy flavour but in a mild and appealing way.
It also has hints of earthy and herbal nuances but mostly its just incredibly rich!
As you can see by the photo at right it has a mottled thin rind where the flavour is sharpest and it gets creamier toward the centre. It also doesn't travel well so keep it safe!
Wine Pairing: A red Burgundy would be the obvious choice but I love it with Champagne and sparkling wine that cuts through the richness or a Sauterns or Icewine.
$3.99 per 100g
Stink Factor: Medium



Tomme Corsu Vecchio

Sheeps milk tomme from Corsica has a  rough, gray mottled rind and ivory interior.
The aromas are of wild herbs, earth and has lovely sweet milky nuances. The texture smooth and creamy with amazing sweet, nutty flavour and hints of rosemary and thyme. Try this next time in place of your regular Tomme de Savoie or Tomme Piedmontese.
Wine Pairing: Maybe a wine from Neighboring Italian Sardinia (Carignan or Vermentino) or creamy, nutty white like Chardonnay or rustic French or Italian red.
$6.50 per 100g
Stink Factor: Low



Formaggio Ubriaco

This is a hard cows milk cheese  from (generally from Northern Italy) that has been brushed or immersed in red wine. Generally it's aged 6-10 months. One would expect it to have a wine-ish hue seeping in from the rind but it has a lovely creamy flesh with a distinctly purple rind with just the faintest hint of wine-colour soaking in underneath. It has a  briny aroma similar to parmesan with fruity, nutty and smoky nuances with a very pleasing and distinct wine-y flavour. The texture is very firm and crumbly suited to an aged cheese.
Ubriaco means "tipsy" or "drunk" in Italian and another interesting version called Ubriaco al Prosecco is brushed with Prosecco must (skins and leftovers from winemaking) giving it a delicate floral fruitiness.
Sounds like a perfect pairing to me.
Wine Pairing: A lush Italian red wine made from Cabernet, Merlot, Raboso or Nebbiolo or a Valpolicella or Amarone would be nice.

$7.95 per 100gr
Stink Factor: Medium-low (in a very good way)


Le Nuits d'Or
A cows milk cheese from Nuits-St.-Georges, Burgundy this is a cheese that will rock your world without emptying your pockets.
If there are cheese fiends and cork dorks knocking at your door, this is the cheese to serve. And, since it's from Burgundy it goes extremely well with-of course, Pinot Noir.
It looks far more expensive than it is, all dressed in gold foil then unwrapped to a light amber washed cross-hatched rind and creamy interior.
It is soft and sufficiently smelly enough to replace an Epoisses. Blasphemy you say, I say its a smart, affordable indulgence!The washed amber rind is slightly tacky, left on the counter to warm for sufficient time (one hour at least please) it begins to sag slightly and bulge out out at the sides.
The texture is creamy, smooth and slightly rubbery with slightly fruity, mushroom and bolder "ripe" barnyard aromas. On the palate it's creamy sweet on the entry with faint herbal/grassy nuances and a nutty finish...dreams are made of this!
Wine Pairing: Perfect with red Burgundy,  young-ish red Bordeaux  or reds without overt jammy fruit and flavour that will overpower this cheese. 
$8.95  wrapped 250 gr drum
Stink Factor: high


Epoisses-Cows milk cheese Burgundy Fr.
The Queen of cheeses?
Wine Diva
will bow down to her!
This cows milk cheese from the Bourgogne village of Epoisses has a soft amber-hued washed rind (bathed in marc or brine) with an intense and pungent barnyard aroma to it. (I placed one in the overhead bin one on a short plane trip once, quadruple wrapped and and in a plastic container. By the end of the trip it was smelling up the entire cabin). Robust flavour, earthy,  sweetly creamy and decadently rich.
The texture when cool is pate-like but spoon soft when sitting at room temperature.
Long live the Queen (just not in my fridge)!
Wine: Fresh white wine with some body and a hint of sweetness like Viognier, Alsatian Riesling/ Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir or for dessert a Sauternes or sweet Loire Chenin Blanc like Vouvray.
$18.00 approx. depending on the retailer
Stink Factor-Off the chart

Le Brin, Savoie France
Cows milk cheese.
Amber hued, washed rind hexagonal shaped cheese with a gamy/wild aroma and hints of sweet nuttiness. Soft, creamy and supple this semi-soft cheese has a creamy, milky and slightly fruity flavour.
It would be nice as a dessert cheese served with fruit.
Light-med fruity reds, medium bodied fruity whites.
Stink Factor: low
$ 7.00 (approx) puck sized individually wrapped 

Providence Oka
A washed rind soft ripened cow's milk cheese from Quebec. This perfect little drum comes housed in a clear top container which makes it nice to travel with. It is softer and creamier than the traditional  Oka you probably purchase already cut in larger wedges at your local store.
It has that slightly sticky golden-amber hued rind (washed) and creamy-rubbery texture with intense sweet and nutty aromas and a fruitiness that reminds me of  Gewurztraminer.
Wine Pairing-Gewurztraminer would be nice or any fruity white

or lighter bodied fruity red.
$7.25 200g drum
Stink Factor-Medium



St. Marcellin
From Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers in SE France is a buttery, runny,  soft ripened cow's milk cheese that is quite spectacular in two ways.
First, it comes in it's own lovely little ceramic pot which prevents it from running all over your fine wood-grained table and second it's a heavenly buttery bliss that spreads like thick cream.
In the crock it has a vague cross-hatch pattern and is a pale straw colour with a paler interior. The flavour is mild but rich with a sweet herbal, earthy flavour.
Make sure you serve it with a delicate little spoon-you'll need it!
And talk about impressing your guests!
Wine Pairing-Rhone style or South of France reds wines with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre...Burgundy reds. Or Fuller-bodied Alsatian Pinot Gris white.
$8.50 90g crock                                                                    
Stink Factor-Medium low





Pont l'Evêque-Pierre Lesasseur France-
Cow's milk cheese.
Diva has purchased the Pont L'Eveque before but never in this handy demi sized brick.  L'Evêque has a smooth formed surface with a fine crosshatched creamy hued (often orange) rind and delicate yellow interior. It has a barnyard-y aromatic essence to it a , funky and earthy. The texture is supple and creamy with a slightly rubbery brie-like mouth-feel with earthy mushroomy, herbal flavours and a strong milky finish. The Pont l'Evêque is not a completely mild cheese even if it looks completely innocent peering out at you from its adorable wooden case!
Similar to an Epoisses, Livarot or Tallegio.

Burgundy (Pinot Noir), Bordeaux blend, red Rhone variations.
Stink Factor: Medium-high
$10.00 per 175 gr demi-brick (approx)


Doux Peche-Cow/Goats milk Quebec
I also purchased this cheese at
Ottavio Gastronomia in Victoria.
It's a combination of goat and cows milk cheese from Quebec. But don't let it fool you. It looks like Brie but is quite different. It has a soft bloomy white rind and stunning soft white interior. Aromas are of chalky minerals , cedar, grass and green herbs.
It has a dry texture, similarly chalky but tastes creamy  and earthy with mushroom-y nuances and a 'goaty' flavour. Perfect with a drop of sweet fruit compote or truffled/mushroom spread.
Wine Pairing: An earthy but light red wine, a rose or a crisp and fruity white wine.
$4.10 per 100gr
Stink Factor: Very low


Tomme au Marc Raisin
She ain't pretty, but I love her!
This unique cows milk  cheese from France is covered in marc (the seeds, skins and stems remaining after making wine).
It has a sharp wine-y aroma and flavour, tangy
 with grassy/herbal flavours and a hint of sweetness.
The texture is quite rich and soft, slightly crumbly.
A great cheese for wine.
Wines: French would be best, Pinot Noir or rich/robust white or try a Rosé.

Stink Factor-medium

One for Cheddar fans!
Semi-firm cows milk cheese from England has a milky flavour with  lemon-grassy/herbal flavours and a free range earthiness.
The texture is somewhat dry, chalky and slightly crumbly. If you are a cheddar fan you'll enjoy this cheese.
Wine: Crisp, minerally white wines, Alsatian whites or reds with some acidity.
Stink Factor-
virtually non-existent

Fleuron de Bruges-cows milk, Belgium.
This cows milk cheese from Belgium was one of the three cheeses I picked up at
Ottavio Gastronomia in Victoria after the Victoria Wine

Festival March 14-16th. After noshing my way through a selection of Andrew Moyer & Monica Pozzolo's products in the tasting room I decided to stop in and see this cozy shop for myself.
The Fleuron de Bruges has a soft, washed rind with a slightly amber hue (from the bathing) and a creamy yellowish interior. The texture is amazingly velvet,  slightly rubbery and is sweet, creamy and nutty.
It reminds me  of the delightful French Fleur d'Aunis which is bathed in cognac (available at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver).
This cheese now holds a place near and dear to my heart (hopefully not my arteries).
Wine Pairings: Fruity and fresh reds and whites like Pinot Noir or fruity Chardonnay or a Kriek beer from Belgium.
$5.00 per 100g
Stink Factor: Low


Fleur d'Aunis
Baste her in Cognac!

Cows milk cheese from Charentes Poitou France. Wine Diva loves this cheese with its rich and creamy texture. Its sweetly nutty and has slight mushroom-y and milky aromas. It has a soft texture that's just a hint rubbery with a soft, orange (edible) and sticky rind that has been brushed with the regions Pineau des Charentes, a fortified aperitif-style wine made with Cognac.
Wine:I paired it with sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, both were wonderful!
But any light, fruity red or white would be nice.

Stink Factor-low

Salt Spring Island "Juliette"-
Goats milk cheese from the Gulf Island in BC.
A soft, white mould surface ripened goat cheese-A local Salt Spring Island  artisan goat cheese recognizable by its decorative rosemary sprig.
Fresh herbaceous and saline aromas with a typical ‘goaty’ fragrance. It has a soft white shell exterior and soft, velvety texture with flavours of mushrooms and sweet cream, and a fresh piquant finish.
Wine Pairing: Crisp wines Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, unoaked Chardonnay, Rose or light red.
 $8-$10 (each 190g round)
Stink Factor: Low

Le Marachel
Swiss Miss!
Cows milk cheese from Switzerland. It has a thin hard mottled rind (I wouldn't suggest you eat it) with milky and grassy/herbal aromas. Nutty, intense forest floor mushroom-y elements with a sweet milky finish. Delicious.
Wine: I had this cheese with Pinot Noir but it would also be good with a rosé or a Beaujolais.
Price-$4.99/100g (about)
Stink Factor-low

Sometimes a nice round of Goat Cheese is easier to cart along with you than a pre-cut piece destined to become mushed up between bottles of wine. (What, you don't carry wine and cheese with you in your purse wherever you go?)
èbrie from Quebec is simply as it says a brie style round made from goats milk cheese. It has that slightly rubbery brie texture with a soft rind and earthy, sweet, mushroom-y flavour which is nice with a little fruit or fruit spread on the new spiced sundried tomato and jalapeno Raincoast Crisp crackers.
Price-$8 approx
Stink Factor-virtually non-existent


This aged goat cheese from Spain has a delightful pumpkin orange rind from being dusted in paprika. It has a Parmesan-like texture, dry and crumbly but the paprika adds a hint of smoky spice to the flavour and aroma of the cheese. Salty and smoky with herbal, grassy flavours a sharp finish and a slow paprika burn.
Price-$4 per 100g
Stink Factor-Low


Valentine's Pick

Clawson Creamy White Stilton with Cranberries-Wrapped in a glorious red wax case, a perfect heart sized drum for two and a creamy-ish interior crammed full of cranberries (antioxidents+health equal good luvin').
The Stilton isn't too strong...the aromas are sweet cranberry, not old socks and it looks lovely.
Slightly creamy, faintly chalky with the sweet/sour pop of cranberries as you let it melt in your mouth. There is no bitterness or lingering strong flavours. Its just plain adorable and easy!
Serve it at the end of your meal or just before a sweeter dessert with some dried fruit and nuts,  Lesley Stowe style crackers and a dessert wine.
It comes in several flavours...including blueberry!
Approx. $8.99 200g drum
Stink Factor: Low
Caveat: As stated on the bottom label "Do not eat the wax layer", "Do not throw wax layer onto open fire"


Pecorini de Fosse-Sheeps milk cheese from Romagna Italy. This hard Pecorino style cheese is aged in underground caves for 4-6 mos. giving an deep earthy aroma with flavours of roasted nuts and herbs. Rich, earthy and smoky!
$5.50 per 100g
Stink Factor: Med-Low


Smoked Gouda- You can get smoked gouda (cows milk) in the grocery store in processed rounds (a slightly rubbery texture) that would do in a pinch if you were melting it. Or you can get the good stuff from your cheesemonger.
has never been a smoked cheese lover but the gouda has such a smooth creamy texture and is the perfect accompaniment to wines with any smoked, toasted or oaky flavour to them (ie: Chardonnay, aged Champagne or a numerous red wines).
$ Prices vary
Stink Factor: Low


Brebille Papillon, Aveyron France-Goats cheese-An adorable 100g short barrel of medium consistency and lovely strong aged goat aroma/flavour. Very earthy with herbs and pasture grassiness. The dense weight and flavour translate into smooth chalkiness. Let it sit on your tongue and melt to really appreciate it's wild goat-y flavour.
Appox. $6.00 each (Les Amis du Fromage)
Stink Factor-low
Wine:-Sancerre or a crisp new world sauvignon blanc

Sevre & Belle, Chevre du Poitou, Celles-sur-Belle France- Goats cheese-As opposed to the firm chalkiness of the previous posted cheese, the Poitou is fresh and runny. This individually cardboard encased 125g puck has a creamy white shell with herbaceous, mushroom-y and fruity ooey-gooey goodness. Perfect for spreading on a baguette. Carries well for a picnic and all you need is a bottle of wine with a screw cap!
$6.95 (Les Amis du Fromage)
Stink Factor-low
Wine:-Off-dry riesling or fruity rosé

Toma Piemontese, Piedmont Italy-Cows milk-Medium soft and supple with a bloomy rind (edible when young) but gets mottled and thick as it ages (I suggest you don't eat the aged rind). Earthy and  barnyard-ish with sweet fruity and truffle flavours. Mild but inspiring. If you like good quality Camembert and Brie-try'll love it.
Comes in a larger disk/drum-have them cut you a piece.
Barbera d'Asti, Pinot Nero, smooth fresh reds and fruity whites.
$4.50 for 100 gr
Stink Factor-

Spread a small amount of Urbani Tartufi-Truffled Porcini Crema on a cracker and top with a slice of the Toma.
Sniff, bite, savour and swallow!
Repeat as needed.
Urbani Tartufi-Truffled Porcini Crema
purchased from the Ponderosa Mushrooms booth at EAT! Vancouver. This creamy concoction of porcini, white truffles, bianchetti truffles and spices is heavenly.
It's not cheap $20 for a tiny 80g jar but like truffle oil-you don't need much!
Products can be purchased at Urban Fare

My favorite Olive spread comes in a glass jar and is called,
Bruschetta-Chunky Olive Spread. What makes this one so special? It's the addition of the walnuts to the usual green olives, lemon, olive oil and capers concoction. Also great with a cheese platter!
$7.95 (249gr) at Les Amis du Fromage

Neal's Yard Dairy-Spenwood- This goats cheese looks a bit like Manchego in disguise but is much more expensive. Neal's Yard Dairy carries cheeses made by small producers, kind of an agent for small British artisanal cheese makers, and sells them through it's two retail stores in London (Covent Garden and Borough Market), to specialty food stores across the UK and around the world.
Joe at Les Amis knows of my predilection for all things goat (in the cheese world) and suggested this beauty. Firm and creamy white, it comes in drums about 7" x 5'' high (like Manchego) and has a strong chalky, earthy and nutty flavour slightly wild and herbaceous with a texture just bordering on crumbly.
Stink Factor: Low

Idiazabal-(ee dee ah zah bahl)-45-50% butterfat. I was looking for a slightly fruity, not grassy, cheese to go with a 1997 St. Francis Reserve Merlot, from Sonoma. I wanted something I had not had before, when on the cheese board at Les Amis du Fromage I spotted this cheese. Hailing from Spain this med-firm sheeps milk cheese is gently smoked, just enough to achieve a wonderful sweet, savoury flavour. It went extremely well with the smokiness in the Merlot as well. If you like Manchego, you will love this cousin.
Stink Factor:


Salt Spring Island-Juliette-Handmade goat cheese- Creamy white saucer sized round with a slightly mottled surface and a fresh sprig of rosemary resting atop. Soft and fresh with aromas of earth, and herbs roll it around in your mouth and let it warm up to release the slightly sweet, mushroomy and earthy creaminess. This cheese is made by David Wood who also produces the highly recognizable upside-down vacuum sealed chevre rounds decorated with pretty flowers and tepanades.
Available at specialty food stores and
Price-$8.99 approx
Stink Factor-Low

Vacherin Mont D’Or-(vasher-ANN-moan-Dor)
Why am I writing about this cheese (teasing and tempting you) when the ladies at Les Amis du Fromage only get it in one time per year…primarily before Christmas?
To prepare y’all for next years shipment, of course!

General information-Cows milk, un-pasteurized with a delicate apricot-hued washed rind and supple, runny interior. It comes packaged in a round spruce-wood case. I've purchased the 500 gram drum and the 250 gr drum.
You don't want to miss the unparalleled buttery texture and earthy, fruity and nutty flavours of this rare queen of cheeses.
Vacherin is produced in the fall, hence the pre-holiday arrival and comes from France or Switzerland (although there are replications) similarly labeled Vacherin…The producers vary as do the flavours depending on the region but the ladies at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver receive shipments from France and Switzerland every year so do you research and pre-order next year in the fall.
Approx Prices: 
Stink Factor-

Le Trou du Cru- 50% butterfat (or 24% actual dry fat content)                          
This adorably small orange puck is the perfect size for two, if you are having a cheese only dinner with a couple other selections and a bottle of wine. The interior is creamy yellow and demands to bulge out of its washed-rind exterior as it warms at room temperature. It has a very soft, creamy texture and intense raw cows milk flavour, slightly wild, barny and grassy. The Trou comes from Epoisses, Burgundy (a consummate cheese snob's utopia) and shares the strong aroma and flavour of its famous Epoisses cousin. No wonder it goes so well with red Burgundy or Pinot Noir!   
Stink Factor
: Medium-high                                                        

St. Marcellin-60% butter fat (aka double cream)                                     
Smartly comes in it's own lovely little clay dish. Trust me you'll need it because when this runny cheese hits room temperature you had better bring out the spoon! St. Marcellin is a cousin to Banon from Provence, and this particular one has a pale creamy hue and mild nutty and buttery flavour. It is made from cows milk and I would recommend serving it with a nice crusty, rustic bread that will absorb and hold the liquid smoothness of the cheese. I liked the flavour, but one taste was enough, my poor arteries were beginning to harden. Some suggest a Rhone style red wine to go with the St. Marcellin, but I think a sparkling wine would cut through the fat nicely and set off those nutty flavours.
Stink Factor:

Mountain Meadow 'Brie' from Chase, B.C. (29% milk fat) A certified organic sheep's milk brie with a low enough fat content as to be considered a January 'diet' cheese. It has a soft open-meadow aroma of grass and herbs. It is richly creamy in the mouth and much milder than expected (for those of you who think you don't like sheep's milk cheese) and as with cheese (or wine) as it heats up on your tongue it blossoms, into delicate earthy flavours.

I served it with a reduced red wine and cranberry compote I mixed up on the stove with honey and star anise to sweeten, and pecans on the side.
Stink Factor:Low   
each (approx)                                                                                       

*You can make any 'compote or chutney' quickly at home to serve with cheese by dicing fruit (pear/apple/berries/kumquats peaches/nectarines or whatever) into a saucepan on medium-low heat and adding honey, sugar or maple syrup to sweeten. I cook down unused red wine and keep it in the fridge to thin out and give the 'chutney/compote' a compatible wine flavour. Then I add whatever additional flavour elements I like, star anise, cardamom, rose water, orange water, ginger candied or fresh (all found in Asian or Middle Eastern stores). Stir until heated and thick, then puree or leave in chunk style.

Tomme de Muscadet- Cows milk cheese, France.
Wine Diva loves Tomme (great with Burgundy) and Wine Diva loves wine…Muscadet. By brushing cheese with wine you have combined W.D’s two major food groups!
The Tomme de Muscadet has a lovely (slightly sticky) edible, orange rind that is the result of brushing the Muscadet wine onto the outside of tomme disks. It imparts not only the gorgeous colour but a grapey/Muscat-y flavour into the cheese. The cheese is earthy, herbascous and sweetly grapey-fruity with a fresh, nutty finish and creamy mouth-feel. Could be a new W.D favorite!
Excellent with slightly sweet white wines with good acidity. $4.95/100gr
Stink Factor-Medium

Queijo de Nisa-Portugal-Sheeps Milk
Smelly yes, earthy, sheepish, barnyard-y and  wild tasting with a long herbasceous grassy finish. Soft washed rind amber/orange rind-edible.
Stink factor- Medium High

Cheese Diary
Tripping on cheese...

Carmelis-Artisan Goat Cheese Boutique Dairy- Aha, I knew this would capture your attention!

We started with a creamy yogurt cheese served in a beautiful wooden bowl and topped with golden olive oil and the Middle Eastern spice blend (which you can coincidentally purchase on site) zatar. Serve this at your next party with warm pita triangles and watch your guests scarf it up!

The tasting continues through the extensive range of preservative free, organic products that the family-run Carmelis makes. Next came the delicate ‘chevry’, a fresh, simple chevre and continuing through, vine wrapped, herb-crusted, wine soaked, walnut studded, Camembert, Gorgonzola and Emmental styles of handcrafted goats cheese.

I know, it sounds like a lot of cheese, but the fingernail sized tasters are just right to base your purchasing decisions upon. The family suggests you put your favorite cheeses aside as you taste, as not to forget which were your favorites, (the Wine Diva concurs with this clever advice).

I would highly recommend you take a trip out to Carmelis the next time you are up in Kelowna. Stop, pick up a bottle of the fine Platinum Pinot Noir from Cedar Creek, choose your cheese from Carmelis, then find a nice spot to relax and enjoy!

What the Wine Diva Purchased!

Lovely- a palm sized, heart shaped disc with an ash covered rind and a mild creamy texture.
Chevretal- Hard style similar to Swiss Emmental made from raw goats milk.
Blue Velvet- A softer Camembert style disc, similar in size with a soft rind covered in an edible bluish mold.
Goatgonzola- Just like it says, but less creamy than a Gorgonzola. Instead it is drier with a pungent sharp earthy flavour and aroma and certainly not for the faint of heart!
Vintage- Hard, from raw goats milk aged 4-5 months then soaked in red wine for several days. Lovely hue on the edible rind, and the wine gives another flavour dimension.

 You can purchase Carmelis Goat Cheese on-line at
Or if you live in Vancouver, stop by Cheese the Shoppe in the Market at Park Royal.
Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan-
170 Timberline Road, Kelowna B.C- (250) 764-9033
Cheese the Shoppe- Park Royal South, West Vancouver- (604) 922-0477

May 2006-A quicker trip to Carmelis!

If you have followed the Wine Diva on her escapades you will know that I have made it a habit to drop into the Carmelis farm and artisan cheese shop whenever I am in Kelowna.
But as luck would have it the Wine Diva received an email from Ofri Barmor who (much to my delight) mentioned that Carmelis was setting up a booth at Granville Island Public Market on a permanent basis! Ofri is offering all 20 of her handcrafted artisan goat cheese styles (and they will let you sample) sent down fresh from the dairy.
My favorite is the Chabichou (although Ofri didn't want me to put ideas into your head) but the newest addition 'Misty' was a close second with it's sweet creaminess. Vintage, a hard cheese doused with St. Hubertus wine is always good with a glass of antioxident-rich red. But if you like your goat cheese with bite then try the Picollo (with its soft edible rind covered in vegetable ash) or the firm blue-veined Goatgonzola.

Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan- 170 Timberline Road, Kelowna
Granville Island Public Market-Various traveling locations (look for the crowds)

Natural Pastures

Recently having returned to Vancouver I have discovered numerous local artisan cheese makers around the lower mainland, on the Islands and in the Okanagan. One of which is Natural Pastures Cheese Company. I first tried their Comox Camembert a couple of months ago when I purchased a gift from my local haunt, Les Amis du Fromage.

The individually wrapped hand sized disks are the perfect size to set out at a party with some fresh and dried fruit and a handful of nuts. It has white bloomy rind, typical of Camembert with a creamy center and mild flavour. It is best set out at room temperature for about an hour before serving and I love it with a dry Rose, Gamay, Pinot Noir (of course) but I have also paired it with Merlot and thoroughly enjoyed the combination.

Although the Comox B.C. based Natural Pastures has only been producing since 2002 they have won numerous awards including 4th in class at the 2004 World Cheese Festival for the Comox Camembert. They also produce Brie and a selection of other cheese including Amsterdammer and Verdelait with cracked pepper or cumin seed or…Wasabi?

I was able to find the Natural Pastures cheese factory in Courtney on a visit a few weeks ago. The hours in the retail shop at the factory are limited-1-4pm Mon-Fri and unfortunately they don't seem to give samples. So we purchased a perfect pie slice of just cut Brie as well as a slice of both Verdelait with cracked pepper and Borenkaas.

Wine Diva tasted -The Borenkaas was my favorite, although firm it has a buttery, creamy flavour with just a soft zip on the finish.

Check them out at

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