Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Irish

Milleens is recognized as the first farmhouse artisan cheese of the dairy revolution. Veronica Steele, who is a very active lady, developed this cheese in 1976. It is a washed rind that was a favored style at the beginning of the movement in Ireland along with Durrus and Ardrahan.

When ripe, Milleens is runny with a pungent earthy smell, soft in texture and piquant in the tongue. It is always a gorgeous orange color and perfect to pair with nuts, cornichons, and some English mustard for a very strong-flavor lunch.

For more on the farm and cheese visit their site: www.milleenscheese.com or like their facebook site or Culture’s profile: Milleens.
You can follow Veronica on twitter at @veronicasteele

The cheeses selected to be feature this week are: Milleens, Coolea, Crozier, Clonmore and Glebe Brehan. Lucy N. Moylan, formerly of Neal’s Yard Dairy in England and now working for Sheridan’s Cheesemongers in Ireland, recommended them as uniquely Irish.

We will have her write up the entries for Clonmore and Glebe Brehan and hopefully tell us a little bit about her experience as a monger in Dublin and London.

Juliet Harbutt in her “World Cheese Book” list twenty-one Irish cheeses. Càis lists thirty-two dairy farms and Sheridan’s sells twenty including Cratloe Hills, Gabriel, Killeen Cow and Goat, Knockanore Smoked and Wicklow Blue Brie not included by Dianne Curtin contributor of the Irish section of Harbutt’s book.

I point out this to highlight the wide variety of cheeses that do not make it outside of local markets and can only be enjoyed near the places where they are produced and therefore it is hard to find information on them. This is the case too with many cheeses from Latin America, new cheeses from the US and very local examples of French, Spanish and Italian cheeses produced seasonally or ad-hoc depending on milk ability.

Cheese like many other artisanal foods is best consumed close to the source. This is specially true for washed-rind cheeses that don't travel well in dry containers. Therefore, if you want to try them you ought to visit Ireland.

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