Indulge your inner foodie at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co is one of those places where you walk in and everything in your head just screams "YES"! This small dairy, producing artisan cheese from local milk in Prince Edward County, Ontario, is the embodiment of everything I love in a culinary destination - and its accreditation (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) makes visiting even sweeter.
My tour (and tasting!) at Fifth Town was a highlight of the Blogcation Retreat I helped organize in Prince Edward County. But before I even sampled any of their signature cheese, I was distracted by many other tasty offerings. The shelves at Fifth Town are lined with the usual jams and jellies, as well as more scintilating offerings like lemon pesto (that one came home with me) and truffle honey. There's also fine imported pasta from Italy along with jars of ruby red sauces (a few of those came home with me too!). As far as gourmet groceries go, the space is small but the selection is mighty. But all of this is just the prequel, as nothing can compare to their cheese!
This is cheese-ville for a real, dyed-in-the-wool cheese lover. Fifth Town specializes in cheeses made from goat and sheep milk, and it came as no surprise that I loved the Lemon Fetish - a lemony, crumbly feta. This was one sinfully, sensationally, "this is local food?" good cheese. I polished off the block I brought home in less than 48 hours, pairing it with wheat crackers and a raspberry-cherry bomb pepper jelly. Mighty fine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Producing artisan cheese is not for the faint of heart. A small dairy must adhere to all the same health and safety regulations as a big producer and they are at the constant mercy of the weather, the environment, and even the animals! Fifth Town never relies on fillers like modified milk ingredients and they don't take any shortcuts. As such, no two batches of cheese are ever identical, but I think that's just part of the charm!
If you're in Prince Edward County, you can drop in and - emulating my fine example - dip into all the sample trays. (Okay, okay - I did it twice). There's virtually no cheese or dip that's not open for you to test and it will definitely leave you wanting more. But for a slightly more sophisticated experience (hey, this isn't Costco afterall), you can chose summertime cheese and local wine pairings at a very reasonable $25 for 5 pairs.
All of Prince Edward County is a foodie's paradise. This is one part of the world where slow, local food isn't just a trend; it's their way of life. I'd wager that there isn't a bad meal to be had in the entire county but there's just something extra special about Fifth Town. It proves that slow food, local food, and artisan food can be sexy and sophisticated and accessible to everyone.
What does slow food mean to you?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
The Cheese Lovers' Guide to Norfolk County
The Best Buttertarts in Ontario
Ottawa's Croissant Crawl