This morning Elly and I ventured over to the Ivanhoe Cheese Factory. For my kids this is a treat. In the summer they often ask if we can go over to the cheese factory and watch them make cheese. I feel very fortunate to live in an area with so many cheese factories. Of the many cheese factories, Ivanhoe is by far my favourite.
They have the neatest thing there, a huge window so that you can watch them make the cheese. This is my kid's favourite thing about the cheese factory, other than the samples and the inevitable bag of cheese curds. Elly stayed at the window the whole time we were at the store. I felt badly for the workers because there were times that she was banging on the glass waving to them. I wonder if they sometimes feel like zoo animals on display? It really is neat to watch them make the cheese, an opportunity we may not otherwise have.
The other excellent thing about the Ivanhoe Cheese Factory is the cheese samples. There are cheeses that I would not normally try (I am not a risk taker, even on the small scale food area). I am always a little embarrassed at the sample part. Inevitably my kids act like they have never seen food and descend upon the sample like a pack of ravenous dogs. I remind them before we even enter the store to use manners, but sometimes in the excitement they forget.
It is at this point I would like to talk about "cheese curd". My husband's family lives in Acton, Ontario and had never had cheese curd before. I had easily by that point converted my husband. We had also converted my nephew who came to visit us for Canada Day. So off we went with a small bag of cheese curd for our nephew, Matthew and a big bag to share with everyone else. For those of you uninitiated in the ways of the cheese curd, the best cheese curd that there is has been freshly made that day. It will have a delightful "squeak". The "squeak" is the best part, oh and they should be eaten warm. We pulled out our huge bag of cheese curd feeling like cheese curd missionaries, there to convert the savages. Christopher's mom took a bite and made a face. "Not for me." she replied. Each person tried the curd, each did not like the curd. The whole time this was going on my nephew is shouting "You're crazy!", and "I hope they all hate them, because that's more for me!". The funniest response was Christopher's 80 year old grandpa. He ate one and then politely responded "Maybe on a biscuit". I howled with laugher. I then explained to him that we eat them like potato chips, he wrinkled his nose. Maybe the love of cheese curds are a regional thing.
Today I purchased "Asiago Cheese" and "Parmesan Cheese", and of course cheese curds (don't tell the big kids because Elly and I ate the whole bag before lunch). I abandoned the dry powder parmesan cheese a long time ago in favour of the bricks of cheese. The taste difference is huge. I figure if I am going to the trouble of making food from scratch for my family, shouldn't I use the best ingredients too? I also like the price of their cheese, i.e. it's affordable. My brick of Asiago was under $5.00 as was the brick of Parmesan. Their Feta is also great and very affordable.
Last but certainly not least the thing I like about Ivanhoe Cheese is the staff. They are always so nice and friendly. It is rare in this day and age to go to a store and leave happy, not just because of your purchases but because of the level of customer care that you received.
If you find yourself traveling highway 62, or find yourself in the area, you really owe it to yourself to visit the "Ivanhoe Cheese Factory". You will love it! They also deliver. When my sister was living in Red Rock, Ontario (near Thunderbay) she was feeling homesick. For her Christmas that year I ordered her a Ivanhoe Cheese cheese basket. That we she could at least taste home. ivanhoecheese.ca
If you can't visit Ivanhoe Cheese Factory, why not take a road trip and visit a local cheese factory?