October 1, 2019

Records are set to be broken across the board at this year’s World Cheese Awards, with 3,804 cheeses due to be judged in Bergamo on Friday 18 October, as the competition visits Italy for the first time. A 10% increase on last year’s record, these entries will represent more nations than ever before and will see Japanese cheesemakers making their debut at the awards, following Japan being added to the list of countries permitted to export dairy products to the EU earlier this year.

Japanese entries including hard, soft, blue, brown, goat’s and smoked cheeses will join entries representing 42 nations from six continents, which will all be judged in a single day at Fiera di Bergamo. Following the morning’s judging session, when Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards will be decided, the best of the best will be debated in front of a live audience, before the World Champion Cheese 2019 is announced across the globe on WCA TV.

This year, the largest cheese-only competition on the planet will form part of an epic celebration of all things cheese in Bergamo, as the city’s annual FORME festival expands to include the brand new international dairy trade show, B2Cheese ( A bustling cheese market will also be taking place in the medieval heart of Bergamo and visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the World Cheese Awards action with a free exhibition of World Champion Cheeses at the Palazzo della Ragione and tickets available to witness the judging unfold live and to join tasting tours over the weekend.

Record-breaking numbers

  • 3,804 entries into the 32nd edition of the competition (10% increase on record set in 2018)
  • Entries representing 42 different nations from six continents
  • 260 judges from 35 different countries, including Barbados, Japan, New Zealand and Russia, including cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs and food commentators

Intercontinental competitors

  • 42 entries from Japan – the first time Japanese cheese will be judged at WCA
  • 845 entries from Italy, in its first year as host nation (102% increase from 2018)
  • Mexican entries ranging from traditional cheeses such as Queso Chihuahua and Queso Panela to international styles including Gouda, Mozzarella and Manchego
  • Entries featuring chocolate, caramel, butternut squash and harissa from South Africa
  • Australian entries including fresh buffalo curd, labna and goat’s cheese wrapped in vine leaves
  • Entries from Argentina, Brazil and Chile representing South America’s cheesemakers

Palates on the panel

  • Nicola Bentoglio, master taster at ONAF in Italy
  • Gill Meller, chef and food writer from the UK
  • Roland Barthélemy, president of the Guilde des Fromagers in France
  • Kris Lloyd, head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights in Australia
  • Carlos Yescas, cheesemonger and author from Mexico
  • Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer at Whole Foods Market USA
  • Regula Ysewijn, food writer and host of Bake Off Vlaanderen in Belgium

The World Cheese Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, will take place on Friday 18 October 2019, forming part of the FORME festival in Bergamo, which will run from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October.


Okanagan College Media Release – September 30, 2019

Judgement of the Okanagan: Wine Talks returns to Penticton for a fifth year

Speaker series brings Spurrier and McIntyre to the valley for state-of-the-industry chat.

Two internationally-known wine experts will share their thoughts on the Okanagan wine industry and uncork a discussion when they pop into Okanagan College’s Penticton campus next month.

Steven Spurrier and Dave McIntyre will keynote the fifth iteration of Wine Talks on Oct. 28 in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. Tickets are $20 on Eventbrite and the event is open to the public.

Spurrier, who may be best known for his involvement in the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgement of Paris, brings a breadth of knowledge specific to French wine.

Spurrier became a household name in the world of wine after the Paris Tasting, which he organized, unexpectedly skyrocketed the status of California wine and helped to shine greater attention on North and South American wine regions.

Prior to settling in the U.K., he opened L’Academie du Vin, the first private wine school in France. Spurrier has spent the better part of his life travelling as a wine merchant, sharing knowledge as a writer and speaker and serving as a consultant editor for the magazine Decanter. He and his wife Arabella are the proprietors of Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, England.

Dave McIntyre is a freelance wine and food writer as well as wine columnist for The Washington Post. In his section of The Post, one can find a diverse selection of reviews, interviews, and recommendations based on first-hand experience. Not only does McIntyre share his knowledge of wine, introducing novices and experts alike to the lexicon of wine terminology, but he is also a frequent blogger. Dubbed Drink Local Wine, his website serves as a place of learning about “wines from here, wherever ‘here’ happens to be.”

In a recent story with The Post, McIntyre highlights the Okanagan as “the most exciting wine region you’ve never heard of – but you will.” As a wine journalist, he brings to Wine Talks nearly two decades of combining passion for writing and food into edible food for thought.

“Sharing knowledge and inspiring collaboration is at the heart of what we do as a College,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “With every iteration of Wine Talks, it’s been heartening for us to witness industry experts and the public come together to spark questions and discussions that may yield new insights for the Okanagan wine industry.”

Wine Talks is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Wine Initiative.

“The industry is growing and constantly evolving,” says event co-host Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Wines and one of the founders of the Okanagan Wine Initiative. “Forecasts for the industry are not solely limited to what goes into the bottle but can be reflective of demographics, economy, and consumer demand.”

MacDonald adds that, “it’s crucial to reflect on where we’ve been, not only what we’ve done right but also what needs work. If we can put a pulse on what’s happening both globally and locally, we can navigate what we can do better in the future.”

Following the keynotes by Spurrier and McIntyre, there will be a question and answer period facilitated by John Skinner, proprietor of Painted Rock Estate Winery and another founding member of the Okanagan Wine Initiative.

“I’m looking forward to a lively Q and A, given the well-travelled expertise our two speakers bring to the table,” says Skinner. “I think this format offers a wonderful candid opportunity for open, honest and, hopefully, creative discussion. It’s going to be a great opportunity to talk about what we’re doing well in the Okanagan, what we can learn from other regions, while situating that discussion within the very unique challenges and opportunities of the Okanagan.”

“I think it’s a discussion that should interest those of us who make wine and those who simply love to drink and love supporting the local industry and hear where we’re going.”


Burlington, Ontario–Ippolito Fruit and Produce is excited to announce the addition of Jon Stewart to its sales force.

Jon Stewart joins the organization as Director of Sales – Foodservice. Jon brings over 15 years of foodservice sales experience which includes the managed service sector, the cheese industry and tier 1 manufacturers. Most recently, Jon was employed with French’s Food Company as a foodservice manager.

“We are excited to have Jon come on board to help diversify our customer base and lead us into a new market. Jon’s experiences to date have been impressive and he will have our full support to be successful in this position,” states Steve Dimen, Chief Operating Officer for Ippolito Fruit and Produce.

In this newly created role, Jon will be responsible for leading Ippolito and Queen Victoria brand into the foodservice channel.

For more information on Ippolito please visit

Ippolito is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated fresh produce company operating 365 days a year, supplying major retail, wholesale and now foodservice customers across Canada and North Eastern US.  We have over 80 years of experience working with our growers to bring our customers the freshest home grown produce when in season.  We are a true Grower, Packer, Shipper.


September 26, 2019

Partake Brewing, a Canadian company known for their great-tasting, non-alcoholic beer, is the first recipient of funds from Natural Products Canada’s Executive Talent program.

The company will use the funds to hire a senior level sales executive to expand into Whole Foods in the US and Canada.

“The non-alcoholic beer market is expanding due to a growing consumer focus on personal health and nutrition,” says Ted Fleming, founder and CEO of the low-carb, low-calorie beverages. “We are aiming for 10X sales growth by introducing our award-winning beers to a whole new audience.”

The Executive Talent program is one of three commercialization programs launched this summer by NPC. It’s designed to help Canadian SMEs and start-ups reach critical growth milestones through the addition of key members to the leadership team.

“NPC is very proud to play a supporting role in Partake’s growth,” says Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada. “Their unique product formulation, sound business plan, and presence in the growing better-for-you beverage market make them a perfect candidate for our programs.”

NPC’s commercialization programs were developed after in-depth consultation with Canadian start-ups and SMEs, as well as the professionals who advise them. They address common challenges for companies developing natural products or natural product technologies, including gaps in management teams, demonstrated commercial viability, and strategic go-to-market plans.

“With the help of these programs, high-potential companies like Partake are able to accelerate their growth, capitalize on emerging market opportunities, and become more attractive to strategic partners and investors,” says King.

NPC offers the commercialization programs to members of the new network, Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster. The Cluster is comprised of SMEs and start-ups, research institutes, corporations, investors, and others, and was developed to streamline connections and collaborations within the natural product industry.

The Cluster is also supported by an investment fund, an Innovation Hub (a platform to introduce investors and corporations to products and opportunities) and custom events and initiatives to advance the development of Canadian innovative natural products and their resulting commercial potential.

“The full suite of offerings coupled with the diverse experience and insights of the members make the Cluster a powerful force in the natural product landscape,” says King.

Natural Products Canada (NPC) is the driving force behind Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster–a strategic community of SMEs, research institutes, corporations, investors, government departments, and service providers who support the development and commercialization of naturally-derived products and technologies in health and life sciences, natural resources, agriculture and agri-food, and sustainable bioproducts. As part of its role in the Cluster, NPC offers a suite of Commercialization Programs to help companies and researchers advance high-potential products and technologies; provides connection and innovation scouting services to industry and investors through its Innovation Hub; and leverages its Investment Fund to help develop and de-risk promising Canadian opportunities. NPC has over 500 opportunities in its pipeline, has completed six investments, and has already experienced two exits. Established in 2016, NPC is funded by a range of public and private investors, including the Government of Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research (CECR) program, administered by the Networks of Centres of Excellence. Visit

Partake Brewing is Canadian maker of award winning craft non-alcoholic beer with offices in Toronto and Calgary. Partake products come in a variety of styles including IPA, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, and Stout. Partake beers have won multiple World Beer Awards and are low in carbohydrates, making them ideal for people on keto diets, and are uniquely low in calories at only 10 to 30 calories per can. Partake Brewing products can be found in retailers such as the LCBO, Whole Foods, Farm Boy, Total Wine, and are available online through


TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2019 /CNW/ - McDonald's will be conducting a 12-week test of a new plant-based burger called the P.L.T, which stands for Plant. Lettuce. Tomato. McDonald's has selected Southwestern Ontario as the exclusive market for its global test, which will take place in 28 restaurants, starting September 30. The P.L.T. is made with a Beyond Meat® plant-based patty that has been crafted exclusively by McDonald's, for McDonald's, to deliver the iconic McDonald's taste customers know and love.

"McDonald's Canada has a proud legacy of innovating across our menu and we're excited that Canadians will be the first in the world to try the P.L.T.," said Jeff Anderson, Chef, McDonald's Canada. "We're eager to hear what our customers love about the P.L.T. to help McDonald's around the world better understand how a plant-based burger works in our restaurants."

The McDonald's P.L.T. is a delicious, juicy, perfectly dressed plant-based burger on a warm, soft, sesame seed bun with the iconic McDonald's taste customers have come to love from McDonald's. Featuring a plant-based patty with no artificial colours, artificial flavours, or artificial preservatives, it's a great-tasting "open wide and sink your teeth into it" sandwich. The P.L.T. will be priced at $6.49 CAD plus tax.

"As a customer-obsessed company, we are committed to continuously testing new menu items to offer a variety of options," said Michaela Charette, Head of Consumer Insights, McDonald's Canada. "The P.L.T. complements our existing line-up of craveable burgers and sandwiches, and enables us to assess Canadian's growing demand for plant-based protein options as well as restaurant experience. During this test we'll continue to listen to our guests to understand their tastes."

For more information, visit


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