In addition to the specialist skills needed to make natural Canadian cheddar, Master cheese makers also need to be skilled in the grading of cheese to access quality, any defects however minor and suitability for release from the maturing store.
A Master cheese maker grades premium cheddar by visual inspection before full assessing samples based on sight, smell, taste and texture.
The skill of a Master cheese maker lies in the ability to predict when a cheese will be ready to be released from store, made all the more complicated due to the cheese's characteristics constantly changing during its 2 year maturation. Indeed one of the most unique things about cheddar is how it changes and matures with the passage of time.
Regardless of the age, the complementary balance between the cheddar flavour and its developing sharpness is the goal of the Master cheese maker. In a classic aged cheddar, the body should still be rich, with a moderate amount of of crumbliness in the texture, and the aroma should be clean and pleasant with a piquant sensation to the nose and palate.
Those are the characteristics that Master cheese maker Rejean Galipeau looks for as he continually grades and re-grades his cheeses to ensure continuity and excellence.
Producing great cheeses is reward enough for Rejean Galipeau, but it is nice to be recognised for the quality of your work. And for Balderson, this recognition has come from around the world.