For this blog I decided to have a closer look at one of the local cheese producers that we sell in the deli: Sylvan Star Cheese.
What makes Sylvan Star extremely special is that all their cheeses are made at their farm in Red Deer from milk from their own cows. The cheese is made from heat treated milk, contains no additives, no antibiotics and is lactose free.
Because of their dedication to their cheeses, Sylvan Star has received quite a reputation. Winning the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix several times, which I am going to guess is like winning a Juno Award. As I did my research the comments about the cheese usually include the words “powerful”, and an “explosion of intensity”.
Sylvan Star makes Gouda, Edam, Manchego, Cheddar, and Gruyere. For the taste testing I decided to try the Cheddar 2 and 6 year and the medium, aged and Grizzly Gouda. Here are my thoughts:
2 year Cheddar vs 6 years:
The 2 year Cheddar is a little firmer, the taste isn’t as strong. Reminds me of Provolone, definitely a lighter cheese. The 6 year is sharper -- it has a certain spring to it. Also is a little more creamy in the mouth. The 2 years has a texture that is smoother.
Out of the two I like the 6 year Cheddar. I think it is because I like strong cheese, and that with the glass of wine in my hand makes a beautiful combination. However, I would buy the 2 year cheese if I was putting it in a sandwich or grilled cheese, to give a nice taste, that doesn’t take away from the other ingredients!
Medium Gouda, Aged Gouda and Grizzly:
The first difference between these Goudas is seen in the color of the cheeses. The medium Gouda is lighter and more flexible to the touch. The aged Gouda is a darker orange with crystals in it and it is also a crumblier cheese. To be honest the medium Gouda is not my favourite. It's a great tasting cheese but compared to the aged cheese and especially the Grizzly Gouda it just doesn’t compare. Of course this is me, who likes the stronger flavors. Also the crystals in the aged and Grizzly Gouda are such a fun to munch on. The difference in taste between the Grizzly and aged, to my limited knowledge, is that I find the Grizzly is sweeter and stronger, if sweetness can be an adjective to describe cheeses. Both delicious. My favorite for sure is the Grizzly Gouda, amazing.
I loved the opportunity to try these amazing cheeses and maybe one day I’ll make a road trip out to the Sylvan Lake farm to see the process being done first hand. Through Mountain Mercato I have come to have a great appreciation for cheese and produce that comes from dedication and love. I hope other customers see that as well when they walk in the store.
More about Sylvan Star Cheeses: http://www.sylvanstarcheesefarm.ca/