Good Evening Cheesy1’s,
On Tuesday 17th March is St Patricks Day and with all the preparations that are being made in Ireland I thought I would feature a cheese board comprising of some popular favourites. Where do you start on compiling a board when there are more than 100 different cheeses to choose from! As I have mentioned before try to get a cheese from each milk category and soft, hard, blue etc. This will ensure that you have covered all the bases of a cheese board and a good tip is to buy more of the most popular categories because people will always go back for more cheddar, brie & blue. If you’re on a budget over-cater on some cheaper cheese and under-cater on a more expensive cheese, because you still will be providing all the options but you’ll be watching your bank balance at the same time.
Below are 8 Categories to cover for a cheese board featured within those are some lovely Irish Cheeses, which I hope that will give you some help & inspiration in compiling a delicious St. Patricks Day Cheeseboard.
Ballintubber With Chives – This lovely mature cheddar is made using a traditional West Limerick cheddar is blended with chives to add an extra savoury edge to this already creamy & tasty cheese. The best thing is that it only gets better with age so lets see how long you dare to let it mature in your home!
Fivemiletown creamery – This creamy specialises in varying ranges of cheeses but their most expansive range is cheddars. Their cheddars have won many awards but I do like my cheddars strong so the Extra Mature is certainly the way to go. Fivemiletown uses a recipe that uses only the best milk from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to make the finest quality cheddar, this ensures a unique flavour is delivered every time, with sharp notes and a distinctive creamy finish to the mature & extra mature will please all you Cheesy fans out there. (Note the British Cheese Award 🙂 )
Dunbarra – Is a cow’s milk which is in the style of a semi-soft cheese that has a hint of pepper in its back notes. Decorated with a Celtic motif of poppy seeds gives this cheese a unique look, and also adds to its flavour. The cheese has won a variety of awards which is impressive considering its a relative newcomer to this category. To make this cheese even better pair with a riesling for an enhanced taste.
Imokilly Regato P.D.O – If you’re looking for an unusual and well looked after cheese then look no further than Imokilly because not only is this cheese protected it has a very traditional way of being made.
Having never tried this cheese the best description comes directly from their own website which explains the production & flavour to expect. (Except below taken from http://www.dairygoldfoodingredients.com/Imokilly-Regato-PDO, All credit is to be given to Dairy Gold Food Ingredients)
“Imokilly Regato incorporates production skills traditional to the Imokilly region. The rennet used to make the cheese has been specifically developed for Imokilly Regato. It is based on some of the traditional coagulating materials for pre-medieval Irish cheeses described in research published in 1948. Regato curd is cut very finely to take heat very quickly and aid the growth of beneficial bacteria. The starter culture, the rennet and the curd handling develop the flavour, body and texture of this specific cheese. The cheese curds are shaped in moulds. The pressed cheese is salted twice, once in a brine bath and then dry-salted by a traditional hand method. The cheese is typically held in controlled conditions to mature for 9-12 months.
Regato is a hard Italian type cheese, characterised by its wheel-shaped with convex edges with a patented Celtic cord pattern embossed on the upper and lower surfaces.
Apart from its distinctive production methods, Imokilly Regato has a distinctive straw-yellow to golden-cream colour which is directly linked to the qualities of the local milk supply. The cheese is manufactured only from milk produced by cows grazing on pasture in the period March to October. The influence of the Gulf Stream on the climate of south-east Cork is such that cows in the catchment area spend an exceptionally large amount of their lactation period on grass. Because of the particularly long grazing season in this area, the milk has a distinctive colour and natural flora which is reflected in the taste and colour of Imokilly Regato. The milk contains high levels of betacarotene, the precursor of vitamin A, which imparts a special colour to it. This grazing profile also affects the fat content of the milk. It contains a higher percentage of low melting fatty acids which impact on the flavour.
Imokilly Regato has a unique taste, aroma and texture as a consequence of the combination of this milk supply and the production process incorporating cheese-making skills traditional to the region.
Add to this its versatility; this cheese is excellent for use on pizzas, jacket potatoes, quiches, in pastas and cheese pies. Regato is also used by Greek chefs in Saganaki, a popular Greek appetiser. This salty and aromatic cheese-based appetiser of fried or broiled cheese is served with lemon juice and crusty bread. Occasionally brandy is added as a flambé.”
Knockanore – An Oak Smoked semi soft cheese smoked in a Kiln in Lismore using an oak hardwood blend provides this wonderfully smooth & light cheese an unmistakably smokey flavour. A perfect pairing with sweet fruit or a red wine.
Irish Porter (Guinness) cheese – Porter Cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk which is also suitable for vegetarians and has been made by Guinness-brewer Porter since 1759. Blended to a striking pattern that I feel resembles a natural hard stone or a giraffe this naturally will draw your attention to the cheese but so will its flavour when eaten! The flavours are full & savoury with a rich, tangy and chocolaty pungent finish. If you want to strengthen its blended flavor then drink with a chilled pint of Guinness or Irish porter.
Cashel Blue – Named after the “Rocks Of Cashel” which is a medieval castle, this cheese is produced by the Grubb family. Cashel Blue is a wonderfully rich and buttery blue cheese which comes with tanginess but not bitterness because of the fat within the milk. As an alternative to a stilton this perfect but it is stronger but has just as many uses such as in salads, quiches and is perfect for eating on a board with fruits & crackers. A must for any Irish themed cheese board as it is incredibly popular and well known.
St Tola Goats – The original. This St Tola cheese is the one that started it all and is the most well known. A smooth creamy texture is certainly indulgent goats cheese which full flavoured & sweet. Just wait for the cheese to mature so a golden rind develops and the honey undertones start coming through, this will definitely add a whole different flavour to the cheese.
Ardrahan – Do you like a cheese that hits your sense of smell like a train? Well Ardrahan may just well be your cheese! A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese which has a sticky, orange rind but a golden honey coloured centre is sure to delight your tastebuds with its buttery & creamy taste. Think of a harder Epoisses then you along the right lines but I do hope you like your fridge/ cupboard smelling of cheese! but delicious nonetheless!
I hope that you all have a brilliant St Patricks Day and that this has given you an insight & a hunger to discover some lovely Irish cheeses.
Happy St Patricks Day!