As it’s that time of year, we’ve had a lot of requests in our cheese shop for cheeses from the Emerald Isle. Here are a few of my favorites…what are some of yours?
COOLEA – Often referred to as an Irish Gouda, this is a very mild firm cheese with a long, buttery finish.
CASHEL– From County Tipperary this is a really nice blue. I find it fruity, not overly complex, but a very flavorful blue that’s hard not to like.
CROZIER- From the same producers as Cashel (restaurateurs Joel & Elizabeth Grubb) this is one of my all-time favorite blues. It’s made from ewe’s milk meaning it’s richer than most blues, but this one’s all about texture. It reminds me a bit of a mealy apple, and the flavor is really fruity. If you can find it, be sure to try it!
ARDRAHAN– One of the stinkier cheeses in our case, this is a soft, washed-rind cheese from County Cork. Pairs really well with a pint of Guinness!
Mimosa, you hit me in the wheelhouse on this one. Last summer I stumbled on wedge of smoked irish blarney cheese that was wonderfully salty, crumbly, and smokey in nice proportions. My cheese shop in Sarasota says it is seasonal, but what season? Tourist season? Any advice?
Could it be smoked Gubeen? Here's a write up on it...
Gubbeen is made from the milk of Fresian, Guernsey, Simmenthal and the local but rare black Kerry cattle. The milk used was at one time unpasteurised but now they have converted to pasteurising the milk as have the majority of Irish cheese-makers. During maturation the cheeses are regularly washed to prevent the growth a B.linens (a bacteria encouraged in many cheeses since it produces lively flavours and aromas) with a substance known as 'goo'. The cheeses are also regularly turned. The whole cheese-making process is so time consuming that Giana has to employ a team of ten to help her (a high number for such a small operation but with employment scarce in that part of Ireland Giana considers her social role as important as the potential financial gain).
Some of the cheeses made are sent to the smoke-house. They are oak-smoked for a short time giving them a light smoky flavour through which the original flavour of the cheese is able to penetrate. The cheeses are then coated with a thin yellow wax and allowed to mature for three months.
It had a yellow wax rind, for certain, and would have been cut from a wheel about 10 cm in thickness and perhaps 30 cm diameter. I dare say a cheddary- type flavor, apart from the smokiness and saltiness, if a comparison is valid at all. I will inquire of my cheese monger about the smoked Gubeen- many thanks. He sells some of the unpastuerized europeans which are periodically washed, e.g. Epoisses, so I'll keep sleuthing!
I think that is a cheese made by Kerry Gold & the irish dairy council. Milk is collected from small dairy farms (all cows are pastured in Ireland) and brought to a large facilty where they make the famous irish butter- Kerry Gold and Dubliner cheese. An excellent cheese, but non of the complexity of an artisianl product