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Journalist Sarah Efron explores strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best ethnic food

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beyond mozzarella—a factory outlet of Italian cheese

While heading out on another food mission, I spied the Grande Cheese Factory Outlet at 22 Orfus Road near Dufferin and the 401 and I had to stop by to check it out (see map below). I've always thought Italian cheese was kind of boring and flavourless—think mozzarella—but I was wrong.



They sell all kinds of Italian groceries here but the store is dominated by cheese, which hangs from the ceiling, is stacked in giant bricks and soaks in buckets of brine. There are all kinds of European-style cheeses here, but the thing to check out is Grande Cheese's own brand of cheese, made at their factory/retail outlet at 175 Milvan Drive. They also have outlets in Richmond Hill, Maple and Woodbridge.

Sette fette balls
Provolone, a mild cheese that hails from southern Italy. 
Or you can play bocce with this provolone, if you prefer.
The store's cheese expert, Anna Maria, says bocconcini, fresh mozzarella and romano are their best sellers.  
Want a bit of parmesan with your meal? These $170-bricks should last you a while.
The pear-shaped passitti cheese was creamy, like mozzarella but better 
Friulano cheese is named after Italy's Frioul region. This was one of my favourites.
Overall I'd say some of the cheeses are still too mild for my liking (provolone, buffalo mozzarella) but I was impressed by the full flavour of many of them. My favourite: caciocavallo, a hard pear-shaped cheese with a slightly stringy texture that originates in southern Italy.

The Orfus Road location of the Grande Cheese Factory Outlet is open Monday to Friday 9 to 7, Saturday 9 to 6 and Sunday 9 to 5.

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1 comment:

  1. awesome! will definitely check this place out! excited for the passitti cheese

    ReplyDelete