WATCH: Big cheese to be crowned in Armstrong

Annual Cheese! It’s a Natural! event to celebrate all things cheese

They say cheese is addictive. Scientists have found cheese, like most dairy, contains casein. This substance plays on dopamine receptors, which in turn, triggers reward systems in our brain in a similar fashion to hard drugs such as cocaine.

But the orange, white or yellow, salty, fatty, drippy, ooey-gooey deliciousness leaves mouths watering for a reason. And on Saturday, Nov. 2, Armstrong is serving up some serious cheese at the 2019 Cheese! It’s a Natural!

Last week, this reporter had the opportunity to taste four of the five entries of the Professional Grilled Cheese Competition as a member of the “celebrity” panel of judges. Beach Radio’s Brian Martin, Your Country News Cam Luckok and Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce president Peter Rotzetter also resumed their role as judge.

We were tasked with the most important job: grading four entries based on the appearance, colour, imaginative ingredients and whether or not it was cheesy enough.

At the end of the day, with bellies full, the judges determined Wild Oak Cafe’s Italian Stallion Grilled Cheese was No. 1.

“In the end, there were only a few points separating the media’s top choice from the rest,” contest organizer Patti Ferguson said.

The Brown Derby Café’s La Mort Par Le Fromage Formidable Grilled Cheese covers all the basics to perfection. For those who want an ooey-gooey cheesy sandwich, this is a great option. For those who want to try something more robust and unique in its flavourings, try the Ooey Gooey Turkey Dinner Grilled Cheese sandy from Fairways Bistro and Catering—complete with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a side of gravy for dipping.

Country Bakery’s Okanagan Harvest Grilled Cheese is stocked full of local ingredients and a surprising spice that follows suit thanks to jalapeño jelly. This locally-inspired sandwich comes complete with hawthorn berry ketchup.

The Station Diner is also serving up a sandwich called Nacho Daddy, but the celebrity judges didn’t get the opportunity to give it a try on Oct. 23.

“While the media judges have picked their favourite,” Ferguson said. “The community still has time to try them all and then cast a vote for their favourite. The People’s Choice winner will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Hassen Arena.”

Votes need to be cast by Nov. 1.

The Cheese! It’s a Natural event will run Saturday at the Hassen Arena. Artisan cheeses will be available for sale and the expert cheesemakers will be on hand to provide advice and, most importantly, samples.

Cheese poet David Beaudoin will host a “Cheese 101” seminar the morning of and a “Cheese and Brew” seminar that afternoon.

Birdsong Farm will also be on location hosting two cheese-making demonstrations and registration starts at 9:30 a.m. with limited space.

For more information on the event Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce event, visit the website at aschamber.com/cheeseits-a-natural.html.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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