Ireland is currently undergoing a resurgence of artisanal cheesemaking, as cheesemakers pop up across the country. I was lucky enough to encounter one of them, Silke Cropp of Corelggy Cheeses, at the Dublin Temple Bar Food Market last Saturday.
Silke explained that 30 years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find any good cheese in Ireland. Now, however, artisanal cheesemakers like her are springing up around the country. Not that she’s new to the field– she began making cheese from her own animals 27 years ago. Her initial foray into cheesemaking was a solution for using up the excess milk produced by a particularly prolific goat.
Now, she gets her sheep’s, goat’s, and cow’s milk from her neighbors, preferring to concentrate on the cheesemaking itself rather than the raising of the farm animals to provide the raw materials. And since she gets the milk from her neighbors, she knows its quality and its provenance.
I tried samples of three of her cheeses; all were fantastic but a hard cheese made from raw goat’s milk was my favorite. It tasted of meadows and pastures but was also full, mature, and savory.
I didn’t get to try the smoked cow (above) to my lasting regret. Oh well. One more reason to go back to Ireland.
You can shop for her cheeses here: http://www.corleggycheeses.bigcartel.com/
Silke also offers cheesemaking classes, and has one coming up on September 15th, (registration details in the image below.) I asked what the class would be making and she said “a gouda,” and that students would prepare the cheese in buckets that could then be taken home and aged. That sounds fun and ambitious; I highly recommend checking it out if you’re going to be in Ireland in September 2013! Her farm is driving distance from Dublin, (looks to be about 76 miles.)
Who else is ready to start planning an Irish Cheese Tour?