The Abergavenny: A Taste of Canada’s Finest

Have you ever wondered what makes a cheese truly exceptional? Is it the rich flavor, the creamy texture, or the careful craftsmanship that goes into its creation? Today, we’re going to explore one of Canada’s finest cheeses, the Abergavenny, and uncover the secrets behind its unique character.

Origins and History

The Abergavenny is a soft, blue cheese made from cow’s milk, produced by Haltwhistle Cheese Company in Duncan, a small town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The company’s founders, Cory Spencer and his wife Kirsten Thorarinson, left their corporate jobs in 2010 to pursue their dream of creating artisanal cheeses. After years of perfecting their craft, they launched the Happy Goat Cheese Company in 2014, which later renamed to Haltwhistle Cheese Company in 2018.

Milk and Production

The Abergavenny is made from the rich, high-quality milk of Ayrshire cows from Balme Ayr Farm, located just a short distance from the cheese company. The cows graze on the lush, green pastures of the Cowichan Valley, producing milk that is perfect for crafting exceptional cheese. The cheese-making process involves pasteurizing the milk, adding a starter culture, and introducing a type of mold, Penicillium Roqueforti, which gives the cheese its distinctive blue veins.


The Abergavenny has a creamy, pale yellow paste with a delicate, white-grey mold covering its surface. The cheese has a mild, slightly sweet flavor, with hints of earthy, mushroom notes. The texture is smooth and spreadable, with a subtle crumbliness. The Abergavenny’s flavor profile is characterized by:

  • Milk fat content: Around 35%
  • Maturation period: 2-3 months
  • Aspereza: Soft, creamy, and spreadable

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

The Abergavenny is an extremely versatile cheese, suitable for various occasions and pairings. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Enjoy it on its own, accompanied by fresh fruits like apples, grapes, or pears
  • Use it in salads, adding a tangy, creamy element
  • Pair it with crackers or bread for a satisfying snack
  • Melt it on top of a burger or sandwich for added richness
  • Create a cheese board with other artisanal cheeses and charcuterie

Wine Pairing Suggestions

The Cowichan Valley, where the Abergavenny is produced, is home to a growing number of wineries and vineyards. One excellent pairing option is a dry Rosé from Unsworth Vineyards, which complements the cheese’s creamy texture and subtle flavor. Other wine pairing options include:

  • Sparkling wine, such as Champagne or Prosecco
  • Light-bodied white wines, like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • Fruity red wines, such as Merlot or Pinot Noir

Country of Origin and Region

The Abergavenny hails from Canada, specifically from the picturesque Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This region is known for its mild climate, rich soil, and abundant natural resources, making it an ideal location for dairy farming and artisanal cheese production.

Stay tuned for more exciting stories about artisanal cheeses from around the world. In the meantime, indulge in the rich flavors and traditions of the Abergavenny, a truly exceptional Canadian cheese.

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