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A Guernsey Girl "Coming Out" Party

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By Gremolata Kitchen

 
Chef Jason Bangerter and his sous-chef, Mike at The Cheese Boutique.

A few weeks ago, a new girl came to Toronto and had her big “coming out party”.  Fresh from Niagara, “Guernsey Girl” was the latest cheese from the famed Upper Canada Cheese Company.  To celebrate her arrival, a contest was held amongst top chefs in the city.  We learned a bit more of this cheese and snapped up Jason Bangerter’s winning recipe for his Jerusalem Artichoke and Guernsey Girl Terrine.

First things first…what is Guernsey Girl?  Well, the cheese is actually made from Guernsey cows, a breed the Comfort family has been raising in Niagara with roots dating back to the time of the United Empire Loyalists in the late 18th century.  Guernsey is a breed of cow originating from the island of Guernsey in the English Channel.  The first records of the breed date back to 980 A.D. when they were first bred by French monks. Guernsey cows are known for being peaceful (just like their monk developers) with a milk that is high in butter fat and protein.  The milk is also highly nutritious with high concentrations of A-2 beta-casein, calcium, as well as vitamins A and D. The breed is smaller than that of a Holstein and produce far less milk.


Chef Jason Bangerter's milky-white crocs, award, and the cheese of the day.

Upper Canada Cheese Company has been making cheese from Guernsey cows since 2005.  Their Niagara Gold is one of the most celebrated and a staple in the Gremolata Kitchen (CLICK HERE for our recipe for Niagara Gold Mac & Cheese).  When our first release of the Guernsey Girl arrived on our doorstep, we were excited to get to work and invited some tasters over to give it a shot. 

The first thing we noticed was how firm it was.  The second major draw was the colour.  The cheese we had was a slightly pale lemon colour however; this can vary based on the seasons.  The cows are grass fed in the summer and hay fed in the winter and this can have an impact on the milk and color of the end product.  We first tested our noses to see if anything could be found.  Nothing.  Next, a slice was taken and a taste.  The overwhelming response from the guests was how buttery it was.  There were some slight notes of herbs and grass but overall, a very soft cheese on the palate.

The cheese resembled one we had tried by a local farmer in Crete a few months back.  The first thing we decided to do was fry it like the chef in Crete had done to serve his softer version of Saganaki.  A great decision we found out.  We added some olive oil to our pan, sliced a ½ inch thick slice of the Guernsey Girl and seared both sides.  We then popped it into our oven for a few minutes.  As expected, the cheese kept its integrity but produced a lovely golden colour and became soft and warm.  We removed from the pan, added it to a plate, and drizzled with some olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  It was perfect.

While our recipe was a little more basic, the ones produced by the top chefs in Toronto at the launch of the were pretty spectacular.  Fourteen edible creations featuring the new cheeses were created by different chefs.  The goal, to bring the best out of this new Niagara cheese in the lovely surroundings of The Cheese Boutique.  Entries included Lynn Crawford‘s Chicken Cutlet Milanese with Lynn’s Crunchy Vegetable Salad and Guernsey Girl Cheese, Lora Kirk’s Slow Braised Short Ribs and Guernsey Girl Cheese Poutine,  Anthony Walsh’s Warm Salad of Winter Radishes and Legumes as well as baker Andrea Damon Gibson’s Guernsey Girl Goes Mediterranean – a dish using warm walnut bread layered with warmed taleggio and drizzled with warm truffled honey.


Chef Jason Bangerter's winning dish.

The third place award went to Chef Andrea Damon while second place went to Chef Lora Kirk.  The big winner of the evening however was Chef Jason Bangerter.  His Jerusalem Artichoke and Guernsey Girl Terrine (CLICK HERE for the Recipe) took top prize and incorporated Guernsey Girl cheese with Jerusalem Artichokes, white wine, local prosciutto from Mario Pingue, and herbs into a terrine.  This was then pan fried and served with some greens and olive oil.

However you choose to enjoy this cheese we are certain you will enjoy it.  The buttery taste and firm texture make it very versatile and it makes for a great “local” alternative to havarti.  If you live in the Toronto area, you can pick it up at such established cheese shops as The Cheese Boutique, The Healthy Butcher, Fiesta Farms, Olympic Cheese, and the Village Butcher.  Alternatively, you can head out to their shop in Niagara, a lovely day trip.

Photo Credit: Mario Stojanic



Comments


Sounds delicious!
Post Reply By Cathy in ETOBICOKE on 5/9/2018 1:21:05 PM

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