The judges spoke first.
The people concurred.
The 2020 Professional Grilled Cheese contest’s People’s Choice award went to the place that three celebrity judges also chose as the best – Country Bakery in Armstrong’s Askew’s Foods.
It’s the first time Country Bakery has won the prestigious event, part of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Cheese! – It’s a Natural celebration held each November.
The Wild Oak Café finished second and the Brown Derby Café was third, said grilled cheese sandwich contest organizer Patti Ferguson.
“Comments on the voting cards showed that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves tasting all these amazing concoctions,” said Ferguson.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, there was no winner of the amateur grilled cheese or cheese ball contest, but that didn’t stop some great online demos from previous winners.
Rhonda Keating and Carol Hill-Lonergan, both with more than one win under their belt in the cheese ball competition, kindly shared a recipe with cheese lovers via video on the official event Facebook page.
“Thank you to everyone who entered and thank you to everyone who went out and tasted the restaurants’ entries – they appreciate you taking the time to do that,” said Ferguson.
“Everyone is looking forward to next year’s competition, with 2020 participants already planning for the 2021 entries.”
Despite a virtual event this year, slow food producers including artisan cheesemakers, dairy farmers, beverage producers and local businesses contributed to three days of cheesy jokes, videos and recipes showcased on the Cheese! – It’s A Natural Facebook page.
Once again, there was also an amazing pairing event featuring David Beaudoin with Dairy Farmers of Canada. Beaudoin led more than 150 virtual guests through seven pairings featuring amazing Canadian cheese, local spirits and accompaniments in an evening filled with laughter and learning – Beaudoin’s trademark.
Special mention was made several times during the evening honouring the contribution made by the late Peter Rotzetter in encouraging the event to continue since its inception as a one-time event to celebrate the City of Armstrong’s 100th Anniversary in 2013.
“Without Peter’s commitment to our agricultural community and slow food producers, this event would not have continued for eight years,” said Sean Newton, Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce chair. “Our chamber believes strongly in this event that recognizes the value of agriculture and we look forward to hosting it in the future.”
The event, past, present and future would not be possible without the support and efforts of Beaudoin, Dairy Farmers of Canada, BC Dairy Farmers, and chamber staff and volunteers.