Well Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you little internet leprechauns out there! It’s your international day of Irish pride – celebrating that fateful day in history where all the snakes of Ireland got together, started playing pipes, and rode a Skittle rainbow into a green pot of gold and sailed down a Guinness river and straight into our hearts. That’s right. You’ve got Irish snakes in your heart….
I should probably preface this blog post by saying that there is absolutely not one drop of Irish heritage in my system. Grandmama never sat around kneading soda bread talking of the “old country,” listening to U2 makes me nauseous, and I don’t really care for potatoes in any other form apart from French. (Although once, I did once make a milkshake using Bailey’s Irish Cream, and after I pooped my pants, I realized I was actually in fact having a pretty great time…) I don’t really know anything about Ireland. Something about emeralds. That one actor dude. Gangs of New York? So, I apologize in advance if I say anything ridiculous and outlandish and insult someone on the internet. Because I’m sure this post will definitely be the first time that I do anything like that (see here, here, and probably a little bit here). BUT, what I DO know a lot about is cheese. And at the Bedford Cheese Shop we definitely carry some excellent cheeses that come directly from the majestic fjords and succulent forests of Ireland. No? I have no idea where Ireland is…
SO GET READY! Buckle your shamrock seatbelts and prepare to be taken on a journey through the hills, dells, and dairies of Ireland, as I tell you about some of the delicious Irish cheeses we provide – and SURPRISE – it’s enough to make a rich and hearty cheese board! Pair it with a pint of green Corona and a Shamrock Shake, and we can call it a day.
Alright lads and lassies. First up on our magical mystery cheese tour of Ireland is a behemoth of a cheese. The one, the only, the waxed, COOLEA. It comes from the remote area of Macroom in Country Cork – a land full of Irish mystery. Made by Dickie Willems + his Dutch Family (which sounds like a 70′s Soul Train band…) using an old world recipe, this is essentially an Irish Gouda. Only about a year old, Coolea is on the younger side of “gouda,” and is smooth and mellow. Flavors of caramel, cream, salt, and (maybe it’s psychosomatic) hints of earth and potato. Less creamy in texture than other younger goudas, this cheese is delicious. In fact, I hear it’s Liam Neeson’s favorite!
The farm also has a delightfully late 90′s website, which I hope they never change because it brings on the mega-LOLZ as well as nostalgic sighs for Thundercats and slap bracelets…
Next up on the hot air balloon cheese tour of Ireland is the famous ARDRAHAN. Here is a special video I found about Ardrahan…
Have I mentioned recently that I love Mary Burns? A creamy, washed rind stinker, this cow’s milk cheese tastes like an old man’s smoking jacket. Buttery, creamy, tobacco-y, leather-y, fruity, and full of stank, this is an amazingly consistent and delicious cheese. The damp Irish climate lends itself perfectly to making washed rind, stinky cheeses, and the rich milk of their Fresian dairy herd makes this cheese SO GOOD ALL THE TIME. While strong, it’s definitely approachable and a crowd pleaser. And, like the video says, this cheese is great with Irish whisky, as well as beer and wine. It lurves boozin. So. Much. And it loves to get all over your cheesemongers hands and leave a “I Just Spent 20 Minutes Playing With a Dirty Dog” smell on your skin! So fun, y’all! So, we’ve got Coolea + Ardrahan. What’s next on this Irish tour, eh?
Hey, you there. Have you ever heard of a delicious Irish cheese called Gubbeen? Well, guess what. Now you have. Moving on.
Just kidding. Gubbeen is another example of a delicious washed rind Irish cheese – a land perfect for stinkers. I mean, have you ever seen Colin Farrell? Created all the way back in 1979, this cheese comes from a mixed herd of Fresians, Simmenthal, Shorthorns, Jersey, and Ireland’s very own breed: Kerry Cows! This blend of milks creates a delightful balance of creaminess, butterfat, and protein. Named after an anglisation of the Irish word “Gobin,” or “mouthful,” this cheese is mushroomy, buttery, earthy, and not as stinky as it looks! And there is an awesome boar on the label, so you know this cheese is Liza Minelli style cray-zay. Try this with a light Scotch to bring out the peaty notes and put it on a dark, crusty loaf full of CRAISINS. Or just dump it in your bowl of Lucky Charms. I don’t care. I bet those little marshmallows will go reallllll good with all that cheese.
Alright. So, we are winding up our tour of Irish cheeses. Almost done here. But, before we get there….let’s take a little IRISH VIDEO BREAK! Time to get up, stretch it out, and enjoy some high quality entertainment….Irish style…
WHAT IS THIS. I know this is Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, whatever. But LOOK AT THIS. A.) Michael Flatley…the “LORD OF THE DAHHHHHNTTTHE.” His outfit. It’s like he is wearing rejects from Whitney Houston’s wardrobe from “The Bodyguard.” WHAT IS THAT LITTLE BLAZER! It’s so sparkly! And those leather pants! I die! And the closeups on his face. I mean, if you are going to do drag makeup, go for it. This is like so half-assed and lazy. And did he lose his shirt backstage? I die. B.) What. Is. He. Doing. He is literally just running back and forth, doing “White Guy at a wedding” dances and then grinding up on his fiddle players. And then commanding his gay clone army of tap dancers who are going to take over the world and use their rhythmic feet and immobile arms to stomp all over your face. C.) The lighting. I’ve seen Pride Parade Floats that are more demure. D.) THE CROWD! Michael Flatley is clearly a necromancer or witch or something because these people are going BANANAS! Like. Losing their shit. Pulling out their hair, screaming, crying, clawing at their skin…out of JOY! I mean, has that crowd been photoshopped in or something? E.) Are they just playing Turkey in The Straw over and over again? Because literally…that’s what it sounds like. Actually, if you close your eyes, you can hear the screams of the souls being tortured in this special corner of hell. F.) All the female dancers look like Nomi Malone. G.) THAT FIDDLER IS WEARING A ZENTAI SUIT. I’m pretty sure that is bondage wear. And then Michael Flatley rubs his sweaty, leather-clad groin on her lower back like he is at the Middle School Spring Formal. I could literally go on about this forever. Apparently there is a plot? I really don’t understand this. It’s actually….I can’t think about it any more. I feel like I’m going to have terrible tip-tapping dreams all night long to the music from Zelda. Oh god….my poor brain from watching this video about 9 times in a row….
Let’s get back to the cheese. Anything to distract from THAT.
So the last people you have to pay attention to are a husband and wife team all the way over in County Tipperary. You know the one. Having a long family history of farming in County Tipperary, Jane and Louis Grubb are rulers of a mini cheese kingdom that includes both Cashel and Crozier Blue. Both mild and creamy, Cashel is made from the milk of a herd of Fresian cows, and Crozier is made from sheep’s milk – something unusual in Irish cheese production. Coming in a gold cylindrical drum, Cashel is named after the Rock of Cashel – a medieval castle that was once the seat of the Kings of Munster (I SMELL ANOTHER HISTORICAL BLOG POST!) and is supposedly the hot spot where St. Patrick started the pog craze of the mid 90′s or something.
No, but for reals. He started the Irish conversion to Christianity using a shamrock. THAT’S ALL. So this cheese is named after that castle. Pretty kewl! It’s creamy, meaty, minerally, tangy, and lactic. It’s great for snacking and cooking, and super easy to get all year round. Their second blue, Crozier, is a little tricker to get. Made from the sheep’s milk of a neighboring farm owned by Jane & Louis cousin, this cheese comes in a smaller silver cylinder. Slightly more crumbly than Cashel blue, this cheese isn’t as approachable because of the complexity of both the sheep’s milk and the blue molds. It’s roquefort-esque, but fattier and more austere. Not all French-in-your-face…. Sheepy, slightly wooly and fruity, tangy, lactic, bright, and with hints of hazelnuts, this is one of my most favorite cheeses at the Bedford Cheese Shop. A must try for anyone who likes to eat cheese and drink SWEET DESSERT WINES!!!!!!!! Yeah gurrrrrrrl.
So there you have it! A grand tour around Bedford Cheese Shop’s version of Ireland! Hey nonny nonny! So come on down, try them out, then go home and drink a lot of whiskey and Guiness. Just. Don’t do it in reverse. I don’t want you puking up anything green on my wood floor…
And…the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The namesake for this blog….Ireland’s very own bald ruby in the rough….MISS SINEAD O’CONNOR!
Oh God. It kills me every time. I LOVE YOU IRELAND! You and your serpents and shamrocks and Sineads. Keep doin’ you. And don’t you ever change. No. Seriously. Don’t. Until next time, love bugs! XOXO/ 1 Comment