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Irish Cheeses - Cheese of the Month (March 2014)

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Cheese of the Month for March will celebrate cheeses of The Emerald Isle with an Irish cheese plate.

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  1. BLUE: Cashel Blue www.cashelblue.com

    Region of origin: Co. Tipperary

    A blue cheese named after Cashel Rock, which overlooks the pasture where the Grubb family’s cows roam. Its flavor varies with age – when young (up to 6 months) it’s firm and relatively moist with a fresh, lactic acid flavor, but when aged, it’s creamy with a rounder, mellower flavor.

    Other suggestions:
    Crozier Blue www.cashelblue.com/our-cheese/crozier...

    5 Replies
    1. re: fldhkybnva

      Another vote for Cashel Blue. Not as salty as some Blues.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        I just had the Cashel Blue this morning. It tastes amazing on a toasted slide of bread (TJ's sodium-free).

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          We are really enjoying the hunk of Cashel Blue we bought in honor of Saint Paddy's day - I think it ranks up there with the most excellent, savory blues

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I bought some Cashel Blue a few days ago. I think it's ... fine. I probably wouldn't buy it again -- the saltiness isn't as balanced as it could be for my taste. One thing I did like is that the blueing is very fine, which means it melts well without leaving little lumps of mold.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I tried the cashel blue last weekend. Thought it was good but didn't like it as much as some of the French blues from last month. Probably would not buy it again.

            2. SEMI-HARD/HARD: Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar www.cahillscheese.ie

              Region of origin: Co. Limerick

              A cheddar cheese made by blending pasteurized curds of Cheddar with a dark Porter beer made by the Guinness brewery. It has a stunning brown-yellow mosaic pattern and its flavor is full and rich –a balance of the tang of Cheddar and the chocolate sweetness of the beer.


              Other suggestions:
              Kerrygold Dubliner www.kerrygoldusa.com
              Wexford Mature Cheddar www.wexfordcreamery.com
              Coolea www.cooleacheese.com

              11 Replies
              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I thought Cahill's IPC was ok but a little too sweet. Kerrygold reserve cheddar was also just ok, but at $11.5/lb a bargain. I've had some other (unbranded) Irish cheddar that I liked better.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Ha! I just happen to have an unopened Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout in my cheese drawer!

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    The Oakland Grocery Outlet had the Wexford Mature cheddar -- $3.49 for 7 ounces.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I tried the Wexford cheddar a few months ago via Trader Joe's. It was OK, would be great as a cooking cheddar but not particularly memorable.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        I'd agree. Although maybe it's a characteristic of Irish cheddars that they aren't "sharp" -- this one I thought tasted more buttery and was smoother textured, not crumbly.

                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                      I happened to pick up the Kerrygold Irish Whiskey Cheddar tonight on a recommendation from a customer passing by. I'm glad I looked indecisive, I really like this cheese. It's a lovely shade of yellow like most cheeses made from grass-fed milk. In contrast to their other Cheddars, it's very soft and creamy. The flavor is very distinctive, sweetness of the Cheddar is really balance by the flavor of Whiskey which I tasted mostly on the finish. I will definitely be buying this one again. The Whiskey flavor is not so overwhelming so it would make a good everyday Cheddar.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        To honor this board's theme, I picked up some Kerrygold Aged Cheddar (the store didn't carry the whiskey-laced version). I liked it, but it's taste was sweeter and less distinctively cheddar than some generic Irish cheddar (maker unknown) I have had in the past.

                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                        Wow I just had the Irish Porter, it's quite an interesting cheese. It's quite soft and creamy almost as creamy as a young Jarslberg or Fontina. The flavor is also quite interesting. I don't get much hint of Cheddar other than a slight tang but the finish is a very strong Chocolate, musty cellar flavor (in a good way). I think this cheese would be great in a mac and cheese. I'm not sure I'd buy it again but it is very good just eaten out of hand.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I picked up some Irish Porter at my local Trader Joe's (Union Square, Manhattan) today, $9.49/lb. I haven't tried it yet, nor do I know whether that's a good price, but if anyone's looking for it...

                          1. re: small h

                            Yea, I should have mentioned that's where I bought it also.

                            1. re: small h

                              My opinion of this cheese is identical to Don Shirer's. It's fine. I expected it to be a little more interesting, because it *looks* interesting. Don't judge a cheese by its veins, I guess. Using it as an ingredient, as fldhkybnva suggests, might be the way to go.

                          2. SEMI-SOFT: Gubbeen www.gubbeen.com

                            Region of origin: Co. Cork

                            A semi-soft, washed rind cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk with a triple layered rind of different inoculations including white wine, yeast, and white candidum. Its flavor is smooth and buttery with hints of mushrooms, butter, peat and hazelnuts.

                            Other suggestions:
                            Adhrahan www.adrahancheese.ie
                            Kerrygold Blarney Castle www.kerrygoldusa.com/products/cheese/...

                            1. SOFT: Cooleeney www.cooleeney.com

                              Region of origin: Co. Tipperary

                              A soft, mold-ripened cheese made from a mix of raw and pasteurized cow’s milk. The paste varies from pale yellow with some chalkiness to soft and smooth when fully ripened. Its flavor is creamy and buttery with notes of white mushrooms and a pleasant bitterness that intensify with age.


                                1. Years ago I stumbled on a wedge named simply "Irish beer cheese". Wow, was it good, and I was never able to learn another thing about it. Sweet, cheddary, and crumbly.

                                  1. Just purchased three Irish cheese which we'll be tasting shortly here at CHOW:

                                    1) Kerrygold Kilaree - Aged 15 months

                                    2) Cahill Irish Whiskey Cheddar

                                    3) Somerdale Champagne Cheddar

                                    All of them purchased at Whole Foods, and all imported from Ireland. Tasting results coming soon!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Dave MP

                                      I love that Somerdale Champagne Cheddar.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        I really liked the Somerdale too. It was a softer cheese than the others, and also had the most intense flavor.

                                        My favorite was the Irish Whiskey cheddar, which had a really smooth mouthfeel and tasted almost vanilla-ey to me. Maybe that was the sweet notes from the whiskey pairing with the creamy cheese.

                                        I didn't really like the Kilaree that much. I've had many aged cheddars that I like much better. The flavor in the Kilaree was sharper than the others.

                                        I'm not very good at describing cheeses (sorry!), but it was fun to sample these Irish choices.

                                        Dave MP

                                        1. re: Dave MP

                                          I did not like the Somerdale; flavor and texture (too soft, almost like a whipped cheese) were weird to me.

                                          I really liked the Cahill Irish whiskey cheddar. Eating the cheese solo I thought the whiskey flavor was quite strong (though it should be noted that I don't drink so perhaps am more sensitive to the flavor of liquor than other folks), but eaten on thin sesame crackers it was perfect.

                                          As for the Kerrygold Kilaree, I also liked it very much on crackers, but on its own it was far less appealing.

                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                            I just tried the Kilaree again. It was quite creamy, which is not the usual for a 15 month Cheddar, but I found the flavor to be pretty mild. It was OK because it was on sale, but not sure I'd buy it again.

                                        2. re: Dave MP

                                          I'm not crazy about the Kilaree, either (I also got mine on sale from Whole Foods). Not enough character. I need an older, drier, angrier cheddar. This stuff's going into a burrito or being made into sauce.

                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                            Last weekend I tried the Kerrygold aged cheddar and the Dubliner. I thought both were good but there wasn't enough of a wow factor there for me to buy them again.

                                          2. Only available in Ireland and one of few raw milk Irish cheeses, Desmond is stunning, got it at Sheridans in Dublin in 2012 and still holding a vacuumed kilo chunk of it.

                                            1. Had the opportunity to eat my fill of the whole Kerrygold lineup of cheese at the IACP Conference in Chicago earlier this month. Brought home a hunk of Dubliner.

                                              My favorite of the cheddars was the one with Irish Whiskey. It had a more mellow mouthfeel than the plain. (unfortunately couldn't sample the Stout cheese due to my hops allergy). I have always liked their Cashel blue.

                                              1. Finally found some Irish Whiskey Cheddar--but it was unbranded, not Cahill--I asked. Not exactly like normal cheddar, but interesting aftertaste, sweet, not whiskeyish.

                                                1. My favorite Irish cheese so far has been the ARDRAHAN, which we also tasted during the washed rind COTM. Last week it was excellent, creamy, buttery with just the perfect amount of funk. It reminded me of good versions of Red Hawk.