If you love cheese, it’s time you paid a visit to Oxford County! The region is known by many as the birthplace of Canada’s commercial cheese industry, and Canada’s Dairy Capital. In 2015, 12% of the finalists in the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix were made by producers that can be found along the Oxford County Cheese Trail!
With credentials like these, it’s no wonder that Oxford County takes all things cheese seriously. This fall, they are celebrating the love of cheese, with Big Cheese Days, a mammoth celebration of the cheese-makers of the region. Here’s eight stops not to miss on the Oxford County Cheese Trail.
What is the secret ingredient to award-winning gouda? For Mountainoak Cheese, it all starts with the best & freshest milk – which means making cheese with milk produced onsite at their dairy farm. Don’t miss the factory tour on Big Cheese Days, where you can follow the journey from milk to award-winning cheese.
Bright’s Cheese is not only delicious, but is an important part of Canada’s cheese-making heritage. Established over 140 years ago, Bright Cheese is the oldest remaining Canadian cheddar factory, and is still located on the same site where the business was established in 1874!
For delicious artisan cheese with a Swiss influence, a visit to Gunn’s Hill Cheese is a must. Well-known for their delicious cheese curd, fresh curd is available each Friday. They’ve also won national accolades: Gunn’s Hill’s Handeck cheese was a big winner as best Farmhouse Cheese in Canada at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.
The Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum brings to life the rich farming history of the region. A highlight is the historic cheese factory, with original equipment (some still operational!), which allows visitors experience how cheese would have been made at the turn of the century. On Big Cheese Days, don’t miss their fresh-made biscuits in the pioneer brick oven!
Want to take home some non-perishable souvenirs from the cheese trail? The Wooden Pearl has locally made goat milk soap, and Patinas has a huge selection of handcrafted cheese boards made by Canadian potters.
While a cheese trail is typically a savoury experience, there are also some sweets along the way to treat your taste buds. Chocolatea specializes in hand-crafted chocolates, and a curated tea collection. Their lavender chocolates are made with local milk!
After a busy day exploring the Cheese Trail, settle in for an evening where Oxford County’s cheese industry began. The current site of the Elmhurst Inn & Spa was once the site of the very first cheese factory in Oxford County!
Enjoy locally inspired cuisine in one of the Elmhurst’s heritage dining rooms, or treat yourself to a spa experience in their full-service AVEDA Spa. On a sunny day, enjoy views of the inn and gardens from the Muskoka chairs throughout the property.