You have definitely heard that Ireland is the land of beer, leprechauns, and red-headed men. Not only that, the country is not as abundant in milk production as Italy or France. However, you will be surprised to find out what a huge selection of cheeses this small but interesting country has to offer.
The majority of all cheese in Ireland is made from cow milk. Large industrial factories are located mainly in the north of the country, while its southern suburbs boast excellent small private farms that make the best Irish cheeses. The choice of delicious products is truly enormous: soft, hard, smoked, blue, nut-flavored, etc.
Temple Bar Market—the Place Where It Starts
Let’s take a simple example: you are in Dublin, and you want to try the best Irish cheese. The first place you should go is Temple Bar in a square with the funny name Meeting House Square. Early in the morning, Irish farmers sell their products for local customers and visitors there. You’re sure to find Corleggy products on offer, which is a fairly well-known brand of new European milk production. Its specialty is that it’s made from raw cow, sheep, and goat milk.
The range of the Irish cheese brands does not end there. The following kinds of this dairy product are among them:
- Bluebell Falls
- Cahills Farm
- Cooleeney Farmhouse
- J&L Grubb, etc.
What makes Irish cheese special? The main thing is the high quality milk. This is evidenced by the farm that supplies the milk for the Bailey’s liquor producer.
What Is Traditional Irish Cheese?
Large Irish producers offer a great variety of dairies, but the products made by small farms stand out in particular. Irish items are particularly popular, including Irish cheese types with the following names:
- Coulea is similar in type to gouda. The flavor of the young product is fruity, the older it is— the more noticeable aftertaste of the nut. It is chosen for making salads or roasting.
- Ardrakhan is a pale one with a slightly golden hue, covered with a sticky crust of reddish color. It tastes sweet but quite sharp, and has a concentrated aftertaste of meat.
- Cough blue is an Irish blue cheese with mold. The older it is, the softer it is . The young one is quite dense. But the taste itself is tangy, mild, and spicy.
An interesting fact: in Ireland, cheese is called “white meat.” Massive production cannot maintain private herds of cows, so the main milk supplier remains the surrounding farmers.
Here there is for you the list of best producers in Ireland:
- Primula cheese Ireland. It is an Irish cream cheese, created in 1924. Now, it is known as the first thing to spread in the world.
- Monterey Jack cheese Ireland. The import of this dairy product from Ireland took the 5th place in the world back in 2020. This world-known Montary Jack is grated, except fresh, blue-veined, or processed.
- Gaelic cheese. It combines the classic stem ginger and whiskey from Ireland flavors with a soft and creamy texture cheddar to create this special one.
- Gubbeen cheese USA. The producers’ family has lived at Gubbeen for 6 generations, all the time as dairy farmers. They began milk production here in the 1970s. And since then, it has grown as a huge business.
Ireland is a very progressive country. So in case you are allergic, it won’t be challenging to find a product with a label “lactose free cheese Ireland” or any gluten-free option.
Irish Cheddar—the Favorite Choice
This type is particularly famous in Ireland and around the world. At one time, it was the only kind of cheese produced in Ireland, and it came to the country from the neighboring Great Britain.
Its production originated in the small town of the same name in Somerset, England. You can find all kinds of cheddar in Ireland cheese shops and markets. Mostly, cheddar has these characteristics:
- By consistency: quite dense, it is characterized as a hard and semi-hard variety.
- By color: light yellow, even slightly creamy, or with a touch of ivory.
- By taste: bright, spicy, nutty, slightly spicy, mildly salty.
- By aftertaste: expressive, quite long.
Cheddar can mature from 2 months to several years. It’s a great option for a plate of cheese as an appetizer, or served with salads, or cooked with sandwiches, as well as sprinkled on hot dishes.
What to Drink When Eating Cheese in Ireland?
Above all, Ireland is associated with alcoholic beverages. Thus, you can use Irish milk products as appetizers for a variety of drinks.
Hard Irish cheeses, such as cheddar, pair perfectly with port. Sweetish and delicate, almost creamy ones go well with pale ale. Light beers go well with any cheese, and sour ones will pair well with apple cider. It is better to choose white wine with snacking. The sharper the sort and the older it is, the stronger and longer aged wine you should go with it. Red wines should be used only for delicate types of yellow delicacy.
Almost all the Irish milk production in the world is from the big producers. They make their products from pasteurized milk. But the highest quality of cow milk product from Ireland is what really makes the taste special. Irish cows are able to eat green grass, which grows in environmentally friendly regions almost all year round. And this is one of the key factors that give the future delicacy its special flavor, consistency, and color, which cheese makers in Ireland are proud of.
What is Irish Cheddar Cheese?
Irish cheddar is a must-try when you travel to this country. It is something incredible, that deserves to be tasted and appreciated. One of the most popular is classic Irish cheddar— a sharp yellow product made by descendants of the cream cheese makers banished from England back in the 17th century. Cheddar is a dense type, but the older it is, the spicier and tougher it is. Also, don’t pass by Irish goats cheese—for example, Silke Cropp or Corleggy cheese from Ireland.
Where to Buy Irish Cheddar Cheese?
Ireland is a small country, so you can easily get to the point of sale, but it is important to pay attention to one Irish peculiarity. Cork is the city and county of the same name, bearing the proud name of “the culinary capital of Ireland.” However, you’d be surprised to find that the cheese department of a supermarket in the tiny, more village-like town of Middleton sells almost exclusively local cheddar from South of Ireland farms. What is even more surprising is that at the famous English Market in Cork, which is full of tourists and where everything is quite expensive, almost all the products on offer are imports from France. The locals themselves buy products from their fellow countrymen in Cork.
When you back home, you can order any Irish cheddar you like online. Exports have evolved so much that cheddar can find you anywhere in the world. But you should understand that the producer may not be Irish, and the quality and the cheese freshness will be lower. In the land of the producer, you will always get the best milk products with courtesy and authenticity.
What Is the Best Irish Cheddar Cheese?
Best Irish cheddar cheese brands:
- Irish Dubliner cheese. In its native Ireland, Dubliner has earned its popularity; there it can be bought in many different variations—in different colors, aging and other characteristics. Dubliner is sold every year in 800 tons in Ireland. The average aging period of a Dubliner is more than 12 months, and the “oldest” variety has to be aged for two years. Dubliner has a sweet aroma and flavor that is less bright and milder than the well-known traditional best Irish cheese—cheddar.
- Cheddar Oak Smoaked from Ireland. This semi-soft cheddar is made from pasteurized cow milk. From its name, you can understand, this item is smoked using real Irish oak. Over the past three years, the well-known Irish Cheddar Oak Smoaked Old Irish Creamery manufacturer has won 56 international awards.
- Kilmeaden. This Irish sharp cheddar cheese is made in Waterford County. It has been produced there for almost half a century. It’s most often used in cooking. You can also use this type of cheese for delicious sandwiches.