04/19/2013 03:25 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Quality Cheese Ricotta from Ontario crowned grand champion at 2013 cheese awards

MONTREAL - A ricotta cheese from Ontario has achieved two firsts: it was the first time that a fresh cheese has been named grand champion at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix and the first time that a product from that province has won.

Quality Cheese Ricotta, made in Vaughan, Ont., was praised by judges for its creamy texture and milky aroma. The company manufactures, distributes and retails Italian specialty cheeses. Four generations are involved in the cheese making, Dairy Farmers of Canada said in a release.

"The jury found this ricotta refined, delicate and well-balanced," said Phil Belanger, chair of the jury. "It demonstrates that a fresh cheese can be as sophisticated as an aged one."

The jury of Canadian cheese experts selected the ricotta as the top choice from among 19 category winners at the awards held Thursday night in Montreal.

The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada, was started in 1998 and is held every two years to showcase Canadian cheese made from 100 per cent Canadian cow's milk.

For this year's awards, 225 entries were submitted from across the country. The submissions were whittled down to 58 finalists by February.

Two new cheese categories were introduced this year: Gouda and Fresh Cheese with Grilling Properties.

The cheeses were each tasted, touched and smelled by jury members, then evaluated for appearance, flavour, colour, texture and body, and salt content.

For a complete list of all category finalists and the winners, visit