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The Week in Yum May 29-June 4 SouthWestern Ontario, iYellow Wine Club and a Whack of Spanish Cheese

some of the amazing South Western Onario people I met at 2015 City Fare

This was a really great week in Yum, I must say. I attended two really fantastic food/wine events that were both well organized, informative and lots of fun.

2015 City Fare 

well, we look innocent enough..... just two moms, out having a glass of wine, nothing to see here people
The best worst (and by worst I mean best) influencer I know, Libby Roach, was kind enough to invite Shack and I to tag along with her and Mr Roach last Saturday to an iYellow wine club event that celebrated the food and drink of Ontario's Southwest. iYellow wine club is a social group of wine lovers and they put on events, organize tours and host tastings where you will be introduced to a plethora of wines from all over the world while having a hoot. I have written about them the last time Libby took me to their Shiraz shindig - hmmmm, Libby, wine, drinking..... I am sensing a pattern here.

We all ventured out in the pissing rain to meet up at Wychwood Barns for what turned out to be one of THE best food/drink events that I have attended all year. It was well organized, the food and drink was laid out in a way that allowed for a great flow if you walked along the route with your wine glass holding snack tray, spreading out the booze and making sure that there were plenty of edibles in between. Even with this thoughtful pacing, the four of us managed to get afternoon tipsy by the time we reached the end of the road, bellies full with lots of business cards, brochures and plans for summer road trips to Southwestern Ontario.

I am originally from London so, although the names and locations of the towns were all familiar, I had no idea that there was so much going on down there. When I left thirty years ago, there was nothing but tobacco, corn, tomatoes and Pelee Island, frankly, and I have never really considered going back that way for anything other than a family visit.

Walkerville Brewery all the way from Windsor Ontario might have provide me with a libation or three

butter tarts from Leaping Dear Farms were a big hit with all four of us

spring fed trout crudo with horseradish cream, pine nuts and trout skin chicharron from Woodtock's  Sixty Thirty Nine

Coopers Hawk Winery from Harrow on Lake Eerie's North Shore
Yes, I was comped our tickets but if I am not as lucky next year, I will happily purchase tickets to this event and you should too.

I do not really understand how we ended up on Vaughn Road in the rain but we certainly look thrilled with that cow!

Cheese From Spain: A Taste Experience

On Monday I joined a big group of people in the food industry at St Lawrence Market for an afternoon of Spanish cheeses, wines and sherry. Nine brands were represented and we were offered 2 6 cheeses in all. Much like olive oil production, cheese production is also protected within the EU. A cheese  with a geographical indication is consider POD (coming from a protected designation of origin) or PGI (Protected geographical indication) and Spain currently has 25 PDO and 2 PGI cheeses. This ensures that only cheese that truly originates from the named region that also meets all quality specifications is allowed to carry that designation. You can also look for DOP, DO and IGP which are the Spanish translations.

From the salty cow's milk cheeses from the island of Minorca to the fatty goat's cheese from the Mediterranean coast, Spain has over 100 varieties of goat, cow, sheep and mixed milk cheeses so if you think Spanish cheese is nothing but Manchego, think again.

Standouts were Torta De Dehesa from Hacienda Zorita in Salamanca. An almost wet, creamy cheese that is made with a vegetarian thistle rennet, this unique cheese is rich, creamy and earthy and unlike anything I have tasted before.

how sexy is this cheese??

The cheese that I am going to run away with, marry and make my very own was called Picos de Europa Valdeon, IGP from the Northwest of Spain. It is a dense, rich, salty blue cheese that comes wrapped in either chestnut or maple leaves. I may, or may not, have eaten much more of this one than I should have because I had a bit of a tummy situation that night and the next day but honey badger don't care. This is the cheese of my heart.

A class of Codornui Cava was perfect with all of the nutty manchegos that I tried and a glass of sweet sherry was a lovely foil for my beloved , stinky socked Valdeon.

There were also beautiful tapas courtesy of Pangea that featured many of the cheeses that we were tasting.

Sadly, back in my former life I actually lived in Madrid but I did not partake in their spectacular cheeses because I was young and stupid and always on a diet, so now I am making up for that silliness. All of these cheeses are available in Canada so make an effort to seek them out and expand your dairy horizons.

The brands to look for are:
Don Juan, El Pastor, Hacienda Zorita, La Cueva del Abuelo, Monte Enebro, Quorum Internacional, Roblevega, Rocinante and Vega Mancha

Special thanks to Mary Luz Mejia, The Spanish Trade Commission and cheese expert Julia Rogers for inviting me 

My week concluded with a day at the CTV Upfronts and this year, I was a lucky duck who got to spend a day with this talented, funny and very beautiful lady:

Hayley Atwell of Agent Carter 

Pin of the week: How did I miss this in Portugal? Reason enough to go back ASAP

Instagram of the week: Julie's Kitchen feed will make you gain 10 lbs

Facebook share of the week:

Gorgeous photos #photography #GirlsRuleGirls Rule in an Indian Village via @nytimesphoto
Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tweet of the week: 

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