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Ambassador of Cheese

SimplePleasuresCheese

Last August an email arrived in my inbox that invited me to participate in a programme that the Dairy Farmers of Canada are running. Over a year-long stretch that started in September 2013 they are going to send cheese to bloggers who will then post “action shots” of Canadian cheese on Instagram and other social media channels.

For participating I get a selection of cheese each month this winter and have agreed to post an Instagram photo once a week during that period.

You’ll be able to find my photos under the hashtags #CDNCheese and #simplepleasures. This is all part of the Simple Pleasures campaign that also includes this short YouTube video. DFC posted a profile of the three bloggers and are collecting our photos on this page.

More about Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada is an umbrella organisation of all of the provincial dairy boards. Membership in the provincial organisations (and the associated dues) are mandatory for all dairy farmers in Canada.

Part of DFC’s role is to market cheese in Canada with familiar campaigns like All You Need Is Cheese and the blue cow logo. This is an optional marking that cheese producers can license from DFC to distinguish their offerings that are made from 100% Canadian milk. (All the cheese that I’ll be spent will be ones that participate in this licensing arrangement.)

The CETA impact on cheese in Canada

It’s an interesting time for specialty cheese in Canada. It was probably the line item that made the biggest splash from the recently-announced Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. We’ll get tariff-free access to 30,000 additional tonnes of Parmigiano Reggiano, brie de Meaux and the like which represents 32% of the highest-value segment of the retail cheese market in Canada. (One assumes that there won’t be much bulk pizza cheese coming from Europe.)

DFC seems to think the deal would be a death sentence for small cheese producers here, posting on their website:

Dairy Farmers of Canada is angered and disappointed with this news as the reality is that Canada would lose its small, artisan and local cheese makers and a world-leading industry with top quality products – within a short time frame.

On the other hand, some commentators and commenters have praised both the general idea of freer trade and their specific desire for tariff-free cheese (see the comment section).

Also, it looks from this piece like it will be at least two years until we see any effect from CETA in the cheese market.

What you can look forward to seeing

You’ll see me take the cheese samples for a test run on their own, pair them with beer, and work them into some of the recipes from my cookbook. I have a bunch of books signed out from the library, including one with the somewhat daunting title: Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager, and am eager to share what I learn with you. Please feel to jump in with any questions on the comments section of this post or Twitter.

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