Posted: 22/11/2019

Old school, new school: Kevin Sheridan’s 10 best Irish cheeses


OLD SCHOOL

Durrus
Cork
Semi-soft washed rind; pasteurised cow’s milk

For me, Durrus encapsulates farmhouse cheese, reflecting the rugged sea swept Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the craft of producer Jeffa Gill. The cheese has a silky texture and long earthy flavour under a delicate pink bloom. 

Cashel Blue
Tipperary
Soft blue; pasteurised cows’ milk

The Grubb family has created an internationally renowned cheese, which can rival the great blues of Europe, while retaining a genuine farmhouse ethos. It has a buttery texture and syrupy, tangy flavour.

Coolea
Cork
Hard; pasteurised cow’s milk

Better than any Dutch gouda I’ve tasted. The Willems family combine the steadfast consistency of their Dutch heritage with wilder notes from their adopted landscape. Matured for over a year, it has caramel elements with a delicate whiff of melted butter and fresh hay.

St Tola
Clare
Soft; raw goat’s milk

Meg and Derek Gordon created this goat’s cheese in 1978 and Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith has kept the original magic but also developed it further. A wonderful citrus flavour, which mingles with subtle herbal and nutty tones.

Gubbeen
Cork
Semi-soft washed rind; pasteurised cows’ milk

The combination of Tom Ferguson’ dairy farming and Giana Ferguson’s passion for farming rinds produces this gentle yet rich cheese. The washed rind has a perfect pink bloom and the springy paste has nutty and mushroom aromas.

NEW SCHOOL

Templegall
Cork
Hard cooked; raw cows’ milk

Cheddar maker Dan Hegarty has teamed up with French cheesemaker Jean-Baptiste Enjelven to create a raw milk Comte-style cheese. Matured for 8-12 months, it’s technically brilliant with complex flavours, from winter broth to fresh herbs.

15 fields
Waterford
Hard; raw cows’ milk

Eamon Lonergan of Knockanore makes this small cheddar-style tome for us and we then we mature it, washing the rind and allowing the cheese to develop a more rustic expression.

Wicklow Bán
Wicklow
Soft; pasteurised cows’ milk

John Hempenstal makes this cheese on his farm, adding extra cream to the milk and encouraging a thick bloomy rind. A subtle, buttery cheese that never oozes but has a thick cream cheese texture.

Cáis Na Tíre
Tipperary
Hard; pasteurised sheep’s milk

Sheep farmers Barry Cahalan and Lorraine Davis originally outsourced cheese-making but in the last couple of years have mastered the craft themselves. A sweet, earthy sheep’s milk tomme aged for at least three months.

Killeen
Galway
Hard; pasteurised goats’ milk

Marion Roeleweld goat gouda is so sweet and velvety at around three months mature. Pleases everyone, from sandwich eating kids to Michelin-starred chefs.

This story originally appeared in 2019-20 issue of Good Cheese, you can find the digital edition here.

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