Canadians have cheese in the DNA.
Not literally, of course – that would be weird – but according to the world’s youngest (and Canada’s only) Maître Fromager, Afrim Pristine, cheese is as much a part of Canadian life as hockey.
“We all grew up eating cheddar or cheese curds. Some of the best times in my life were watching Batman and my mother making me simple pasta with lots of grated parmigiana Reggiano,” he says.
Of course, parm will return to the Cheese Vault at this year’s Ottawa Wine and Food Festival, together with the custom-made Senator and some of the rarest cheeses in the world.
“We’ll have Maggengo, a super rare Italian cheese wrapped in hay and aged in Italian beer,” he says.
“I’m sending the best sheep’s milk cheese in the world – pecorino Toscano. I’m bringing in Nova Scotia’s Urban Blue, which has extremely small production, as well as the best blue cheese ever made, Colston Bassett Stilton, from England.”
Altogether, the Cheese Vault will host 24 cheeses, each hand picked for the show.
“My job is to get people excited about what I’m excited about,” he laughs. “Which is cheese, of course!”
Tickets for the popular Cheese Vault are sold separately.