Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Second generation Irish

Coolea is a gouda-style made in Co. Cork in the south-west of Ireland. Originally one of the “big four,” this cheese has been made since 1979 by the Willems. Since, 1991 Dicky the son of the original cheesemakers, Helene and Dick, took over the family business. The cheese is now easy to find in the United States as it travels well and the sweetness, classic of this style, is really appealing.

Unlike other gouda-style cheeses, Coolea has enough flavor from excellent milk, that it can be aged up to two years. At that time it turns into a complex and nutty taste that is excellent to pair with a stout. The Willems also make an herb and garlic flavored type that is delicious with salads or just in a sandwich. The texture of the young rounds is creamy, while the aged ones are firmer but still elastic. I remember selling it to people looking for a good table cheese that can be eaten while cooking.

Gouda is the quintessential Dutch cheese, and while Boerenkaas (the raw milk version) is second to none, many artisanal gouda-style cheeses made outside of The Netherlands are better than commercial stuff produce at home. This is the case of Coolea, which takes its flavor from amazing milk coming from cows pastured in the lush hills of Ireland.

The reason Gouda and gouda-style cheeses are so popular among cheesemakers, perhaps has to do with the easiness to age and transport them. This means that they are a safe bet for steady income sources. Originally, according to Harbutt, this ability to travel without rotting was what made Dutch Goudas famous in France and with travelers sailing around the world. Nowadays, probably the reason is that the sweetness of the cheese and the potential to be flavored gives it a wide market among consumers in places where stinky or blue cheeses have a hard time selling.

For more info on Coolea visit:

1 comment:

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