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An Irish cheese revisit before St. Patrick’s Day.

Coolea

Originally
from the Netherlands, Helene and Dick Willems brought traditional Gouda-making
methods to produce Coolea on their small Irish farm. Their son and
daughter-in-law, Dicky and Sinead, have continued the tradition of making the
cheese in County Cork.

Made
with full-cream cows’ milk, its texture is smooth and compact with slight
crystallization throughout. Generally, Coolea arrives to us when it is
somewhere between eighteen months and two years old. At this age, the cheese
expresses toffee notes, similar to many firm Dutch Goudas. However, Coolea’s
sweetness remains in check, balanced by a salty and oh-so-buttery, lingering
finish.

Durrus

An
early pioneer in the resurgence of Irish farmhouse cheese, cheesemaker Jeffa
Gill began simply at the kitchen stove. Even in her larger operation today,
Durrus is made in traditional Swiss-style copper kettles and its curds cut by
hand.

To
produce the cheese, she uses the milk from two neighboring herds of Friesian
cows in County Cork, Ireland. Cows graze on coastal pastures of briny grass,
contributing to its unique terroir. This washed-rind cheese has a bit of savory
crunch on its exterior. Uncover the paste, and you’ll find a smooth, lush
interior punctuated by flavors of fruit, hay and peanuts. Durrus reaches its
peak around 6-8 weeks of age.

Gubbeen

Gubbeen
has been made by the Fergusons at the 250 acre Gubbeen Farm in West County Cork
for almost 40 years now.  Tom looks after a herd that includes numerous
Kerry cows, a rare black breed that ranks among the world’s oldest.  The
cattle enjoy warm Gulf Stream winds and a certified GMO-free diet.

Tom’s
wife Giana makes the cheese, washing it in both salt water and white
wine.  It is made with three different cultures, including one
(Microbacterium gubbeenese) that was undiscovered before the cheese’s
existence.  Gubbeen has an orange-golden exterior and a springy pale-ivory
paste.  It is earthy in nature, tasting of mushroom and peat, and would
melt beautifully over potatoes.