By Noelle Munaretto for the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter

This past weekend the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance got its curd on at the first-ever Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton Ontario. Here’s the last in a three part series by OCTA’s Agatha Podgorski and Noelle Munaretto

Part 3: The Artisan Market

Over one thousand cheese enthusiasts descended upon the Historic Crystal Palace in Picton, Ont., this Sunday for the Artisan Market at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

With mini cooler bags, wine glasses and tasting tickets in tow, guests roamed the various booths packed full of delicious Canadian cheeses.

It was the perfect way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon, noshing on chunks of artisan cheese, sipping on vintages from local wineries, and sampling delicious chutneys and crackers from small-scale producers across the province.

Highlights of the fair included:

– The Upper Canada Cheese booth, doling out pieces of its limited-release Niagara Cottage Gold – a milder, brighter and smoother cousin to its famous Niagara Gold.

– The team from Evelyn’s crackers sampling their many handmade red-fife crackers – which were also featured in the various tasting sessions held on the Saturday of the festival.
– Mercury Chocolates once again offering their delectable goat cheese and dark chocolate truffles

– The perfectly squeaky curd selection from Empire Cheese

– An amazing selection of Ontario VQA wines and craft beer

Overall the entire weekend was a success, with over 2,000 people in attendance for the weekend’s various events. It’s safe to say Prince Edward County Ontario is now home to a bonafide national cheese festival.

And, culinary tourists couldn’t be happier.