Irish Blue Cheeses

Jane and Louis Grubb started their farmstead cheese making in 1984 at the family farm in Beechmount, near the old episcopal town of Cashel, in county Tipperary. The dairy farm long produced butter (Irish butter!) and spotted cream Originally experimenting with an old cooper brewer’s vat , Jane eventually settled on a signature blue cheese, as their first cheese, Cashel Blue. This pasteurized cow’s milk blue is a classic. Made from a “closed” herd of Friesian cows it can stand with the other blues such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton yet has it’s on flavor personality. When it is young, (3-4 weeks),it is sweet and delicate with just the slightest tang from salt at the tip of the tongue. Its texture is thick and creamy with a buttery color. Cashel ages well (up to 12 weeks), becoming more creamy and pronounced with earthy tones while remaining balanced. It is sweet and carries a spicy note to its creaminess.

Now, fast forward to 1993, Jane is training Geurt van den Dikkenberg a well versed Gouda maker, on how to make Cashel. Over the hill her nephew has started to raise milking sheep, a rarity in Ireland. A number of circumstances related to these two happenings led to the happy re-interpretation as Crozier Blue, Ireland’s only sheep’s milk blue cheese:

A Crozier (or Crook) refers to the hooked staff either carried by a bishop as of pastoral office or by a shepard. The name Crozier Blue is a play on the fact that Crozier Blue is a sheep’s milk cheese and that it is in Cashel that St. Patrick converted the Irish. In fact, St Patrick’s “crozier” can be seen today in the Rock of Cashel.”

It’s profile carries a lot of taste but is sweet making it very approachable for newcomers to blue cheeses. Crozier carries notes of fresh cream, nuts and hay in the finish.

Pairing: West Coast style IPA |North Coast Brewing Acme IPA (hop hop tastic!); Chimay Blue or Connemara Whiskey

The Craft of Making (Cashel) Cheese

On the Cheese Slate | Kerrygold Irish Dubliner

“The classic flavor combination brings out the sweet, nutty, rich flavor of Dubliner and swirls and tumbles it together with the malty, caramel, bitter flavor of a perfect ping of Irish Stout.”

Yes, it does indeed do all that.

Cows roam freely on emerald pastures allowing for rich milk for cheese (and of course my house butter, Kerrygold). Like all other Kerrygold cheeses, Dubliner is made with summer milk from grass-fed cows, using traditional methods. Aging for at least a year, the cheese develops the elements of a mature Cheddar, the sweet nuttiness of a Swiss and the piquant bite of aged Parmesan. It’s a little cheddary a little smooth–all with a rounded flavor and a bit of sweetness. With a pint of your favorite microbrew or cider it is simply lovely for a plougman’s lunch on a rainy Sunday by the fire.

Region: Ireland

Milk: Cow

Age: 12 months

Pairing: Stout (beer)

Images: Kerrygold.com

Additional ideas:

Ploughman's sandwich2

PLOUGHMAN’S SANDWICH (via Kerrygold)