TORONTO — Approximately 150 retailers, street distributors and foodservice operators gathered at the Boulevard Club in Toronto for the Great Britain Specialty Cheese Showcase on March 7 to recognize the cheese artisans in England, Scotland, and Wales. More than 85 cheeses were sampled, some of which have never been available in Canada.
The showcase highlighted a combination of importers, such as Tree of Life Canada, Jan K. Overweel, Finica Food Specialties, Lactalis and Saputo; exporters, such as Somerdale Cheese and The Fine Cheese Co.; and producers, such as Oak Manor, Bradburys Cheese, Snowdonia, JJ Sandham and more.
“Can you imagine a world without cheddar?” said Paul Blake, North America dairy agent for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). “After 36 years of being in this business, I believe competition is good for the whole industry. Competition creates better sales for the domestic market, as well as the import market. British cheeses are still growing. We’re currently number five on the list of imported cheeses, which is amazing.”
“It’s fantastic to have so many of you who normally produce, import, retail and distribute these fantastic high-quality cheeses into the main market,” said David Prodger, U.K. Deputy High Commissioner. “The world recognizes that a product of the highest quality is a product rooted in tradition. In a world where everything seems to be getting blander and blander by the day, British cheese is out there to create high impact. This is what people are wanting and this is what we’re trying to produce. It’s also emblematic of the trade relationship we have with Canada. We are in the middle of secondary trade negotiations with Canada and we hope to get more people enjoying and appreciating what we can do in this space.”