“Wonderful Life” A staff trip to West Cork

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As you probably may know, we have opened our new Sheridan’s Cheesemongers counters in a couple of Dublin’s Dunnes Stores, Stephen’s Green and Rathmines, a bit before Christmas and what an amazing exciting set up. A chance to reach more people about what our company is all about, and what we are about is providing good cheese and a great personal service. With a busy set up and Christmas we didn’t have the chance to introduce the new staff to some of our cheesemakers. So Kevin gave me the job of taking some of our new staff; Emma, Philippa and William to where it all started, a land where life is good, wonderful even! “Best place to live in Ireland” I have heard in a recent study; that may well be, but if you are into artisan food in general and farmhouse cheese in particular, you may well be on to a winner here! Plus, West Cork is not only gentler when it comes to our insular climates; it is also quite easy on the eye…

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I picked up our crew in strategic Tallaght, I travelled from the most western part of Meath, cleared the M50 before 7am, straight for Saggart, Rathcoole and we were on our way, the M7, Portlaoise, the M8 and a dusting of snow on the Galty Mountains. We were heading straight for storm “Imogen” and once out of the Jack Lynch tunnel, it looks like we would reach Gubbeen Farmhouse by lunch. I understand now why people say that you are half way there when you get to the outskirts of Cork city! The N71 to the west, to Schull is as long as it is beautiful.

I parked the car in the yard and we stretched our legs. Giana Ferguson was waiting for us on the porch of the dairy with a big welcoming smile, apologising for the chaotic morning they had, a tree fell, luckily between the two buildings, the clutch of Tom’s van went “ Slán leat” and one of their wonderful staff was off sick. I was reassured to see that “Mondays” can also affect the most Western and idyllic parts of the country.

We all geared up for the legal health and safety uniform and protection and started the visit of the cheese making area, where the curd was already in moulds; quite a shock from outside, as the air was warm and humid, with the comforting smell of fresh heated milk, curds and whey… The atmosphere was jovial, with great camaraderie and elegance, careful routines repeated over and over through the years with the same patient respect…We finished the tour in the packing room, with a taste of cheese of course, questions and answers while I kept trying to capture emotions with my camera. Fingal, clearly hungry, concluded the first visit with a simple “Hackett’s for lunch”? We all jumped in the car for a quick stroll down to the local legendary pub where the blackboard invited you to everything Gubbeen, cheese, bacon, salami… You name it. Toasted Gubbeen cheese BLT for everyone! Nice. As we were about to leave, another legend walked in: “Hi Bill!” as I respectfully shook his hand a hello and good bye. Another cheesemaker I explained, he made parmesan style Desmond and Gabriel! The colourful characters of Schull…
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After visiting Fingal’s Gubbeen Farmhouse products, of smoked salami, chorizo, and bacon, experiments and things to come, we left the Farm with cheese and saucisson before heading for Durrus village, down below Mount Gabriel we climbed and descended, as the glimmering lights of this stormy day started to fade behind sheep’s head. We quickly stopped in Bantry for a spot of shopping; on the self-catering menu tonight, Sally Barnes “Woodcock” smoked tuna, brown bread, butter and lemon, followed by a Gubbeen Tartiflette, 100% Irish made! Needless to say, we slept well that night!

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Tuesday morning was much calmer; bright and early we drove up the heather road to Coomkeen, home to Durrus Farmhouse cheese where we were treated to a lovely fry, brown bread and marmalade laid by Mother and Daughter Jeffa and Sarah, my former colleague in my early years in Dublin… I couldn’t help smiling at the third generation looking at us slightly perplexed. “If you are interested, I am about to add the rennet now!” said Jeffa, with her calm and meticulous sense of organisation; we geared up again and this time, we got to see the whole process, the gentle purring of the warm vat, gently and patiently cutting the curds and where a human hand and eye remain the best judge. The curds were ready to be transferred into moulds, small and large, extra-large for the more matured to be Dunmanus… A tasting, a chat about micro-gardening, penicillium and local yeast around one last cup of tea, we headed back on a 500kms journey home toward Dublin and Meath. As we passed the last Cork roundabout, I checked my two colleagues in the rear view mirror, in Morpheus arms while my co-pilot and I discussed and shared anecdotes about the origins of a still palpable cheese revival in Ireland… And the amusing fact that we would be hitting the “Red Cow” at 5:30pm…

 

 

Story and photos by Franck Le Moenner, our Meath Retail Manager

 

Our Christmas Opening Hours

Dublin
Thur 17th and Fri 18th Dec                        10 am — 8 pm
Sat 19th Dec                                              9.30 am — 7 pm
Sun 20 st Dec                                             12 am —  6 pm
Mon 21nd to Wed 23rd Dec                       9 am —  9 pm
Christmas Eve                                            8.30 am — 4 pm
Christmas Day to Monday 28th                       Closed
Tuesday 29th Dec                                     10 am — 6 pm
Wednesday 30th Dec                               10 am — 6 pm
Thursday 31st Dec                                    10 am — 6 pm
New Year’s Day                                                Closed
Saturday 2nd Jan:                                     Open at 11.30 am

Meath:

Thursday 17th to 23rd Dec                         10 am — 6 pm
Christmas Eve                                            10 am — 4 pm
Christmas Day to Monday 28th                       Closed
Tuesday 29th Dec                                     10 am — 6 pm
Wednesday 30th Dec                               10 am — 6 pm
Thursday 31st Dec                                    10 am — 6 pm
New Year’s Day                                                Closed
Saturday 2nd Jan                                      10 am — 6 pm

 

Galway: 
Shop:

Thur 17th and Fri 18th Dec                         9 am — 8 pm
Sat 19th to Wed 23rd Decrd                       8 am — 8 pm
Christmas Eve                                             8 am — 4 pm
Christmas Day to Monday 28th                       Closed
Tuesday 29th to Wed 30th Dec                   9 am — 6 pm
Thursday 31st Dec                                       8 am — 4 pm
New Year’s Day                                                Closed
Saturday 2nd Jan                                    Regular  Sat hours 9am – 6pm

Wine Bar:

Thur 17th and Fri 18th Dec                        11 am — 11 pm
Sat 19th Dec                                                  10 am — 12 pm
Sun 20th Dec                                               4 pm – 11 pm
Mon 21st – Wed 23 rd                                10 am – 11 pm
Christmas Eve                                             10 am — 7 pm
Christmas Day to Monday 28th                       Closed
Tuesday 29th to Wed 30th Dec                10 am — 11 pm
Thursday 31st Dec                                      10 am — 7 pm
New Year’s Day                                                Closed
Saturday 2nd Jan                                    Regular  Sat hours 12 pm – 12am

 

Waterford: 

Christmas Day to Monday 28th                       Closed
New Year’s Day                                                Closed

Cheese and Christmas

The winter feast has a long history in many cultures; a time to break from the darkness and cold and the lean times, to celebrate life and plenty almost in spite of the darkness. Central to this feast has always been the preserved foods stored from the summer and autumn, kept from rotting and decay through salting, drying, smoking and pickling. One of the most ancient and most successful ways of preserving the goodness of plentiful times is cheese. A wonderful and almost magical process that turns rich nutritious fresh liquid milk from lush summer pastures into a firm food that keeps its nutritional value and can be aged and matured for months and even years. Not only of such practical use; we have developed ways to make countless delicious varieties of this miracle food.  And so cheese is central to the winter feast; in Ireland we forgot for many generations but it has returned as part of a new Christmas tradition. Maybe twenty years ago only a ‘posh’ house would have some Stilton and maybe vintage Cheddar with Port after dinner on Christmas day but now so many households have their favourite cheeses and very often their favourite Irish cheeses.

Every year I gather my favourite cheeses on the way out the door of the shop on Christmas Eve; looking forward to enjoying them after dinner the next day, I think only once did I manage to actually eat them at the Christmas dinner table, who has space after several delicious courses to start on a plate of cheese. Mostly they get brought out on Stephens’s day while watching a movie; and I have to say I love my Stephens day cheese feast!

 

Winter: Baked Mont D’Or

Taken from Counter Culture: Sheridans Cheesemongers Guide to Cheese by Kevin & Seamus Sheridan and Catherine Cleary. 

The seasonality of this cheese, together with the convivial nature of how the dish is shared, makes it one of our favourites for a cold winter evening. It can be served at the end of a meal to replace the cheese board or as a main course, if accompanied by plenty of winter salads and cold meats.

You can use Swiss or French Mont d’Or and you can also adjust this recipe to suit other washed-rind cheeses. Our favourites are Durrus 360g or Gubbeen 450g. Because they don’t come in boxes, you need to make the following adjustments – rather than score the rind, cut a thin lid off the top and put your garlic and thyme into the paste, replacing the rind lid. Place the cheese in the centre of a sheet of foil, bring up the corners of the foil, covering the cheese, but leave a ‘chimney’ in the centre, formed with the foil. Pour the wine in through the chimney and leave it open during baking.

 

Serves 6 after dinner, 4 as main course

 

500g Mont d’Or in its box, with lid on

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 sprigs of thyme

½ glass of whatever white wine you are drinking

crusty bread to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut an ‘X’ through the rind of the cheese from edge to edge. Using your thumb, press the sprigs of thyme and the clove of garlic through the centre of the x and into the paste of the cheese.

Pour the wine over the cheese.

Fit the wooden lid back on to the cheese and place it on an ovenproof dish or baking tray to catch any leaks.

Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes.

Remove from the oven, take off the lid and peel back the scored rind to reveal the warm gooey paste.

Place in the centre of the table so that you and your guests can scoop out the melted cheese with chunks of crusty bread.

Harvest Market 2015

P1040270As part of the Boyne Valley Food Series, Sheridans Cheesemongers are hosting the Harvest Festival on Saturday 5th September. We will celebrate food grown and produced within a 50 mile radius at our Virginia Road Station headquarters in Carnaross, Co. Meath,  between 10 am and 6 pm

 

Bring your excess Fruit and Veg or some jam or chutney you made with your produce. No amount too little or large; one bunch of Rhubarb or a trailer of Onions, once you grew it yourself. Come to sell, come to buy, come to swap, come for the fun.

 

 

ApplesNo charge and no fancy festival stuff, just lots of local food. Be there before 10 am if you want a stall.

 

Come along to meet the producers and taste some delicious local food.

‘’We want this small festival to celebrate the diversity and quality of food being produced on a small scale in our area and to highlight this to the community.’’
– Kevin Sheridan

 

For updates check out our Harvest Market Event on our Facebook page

Festival Applications 2016

 

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For 2016 we are changing our stall selection and application process.

Applications shall be made online. The application forms will be on our website soon so keep an eye on out for them here on our website.

 

The date for the Food Festival 2016 is penciled in for Sunday May 29th 2016.

 

Watch this space for 2016 Application Forms

PREVIOUS NATIONAL IRISH BROWN BREAD COMPETITION WINNERS

Details of all of our National Irish Brown Bread Competition winners since 2013:

NATIONAL IRISH BROWN BREAD COMPETITION WINNERS 2015

brown bread comp poster a4The 2015 overall winner Maria O’Reilly used Dunany Wholemeal Flour, Odlums Wheatgerm, Donegal Pinhead Oatmeal, and Monaghan Co-op Buttermilk

Carnaross National School TEAM 2 – won the onsite bake-off 

The judging panel were RTE’s Ella McSweeney, Seamus Sheridan and Kristin Jensen from Edible Ireland then of course, the woman who inspired the Sheridan brother’s love of brown bread, their mam Maura!

See the Full Winners List from the 2015 National Brown Bread Competition below or Download the Prize Giving Sheet 2015

Continue reading “PREVIOUS NATIONAL IRISH BROWN BREAD COMPETITION WINNERS”

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Christmas Fair

We’re holding our annual Christmas Fair at our Head Quarters in Co Meath

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on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December – 10am to 6pm.

There will be loads of local craft and food stalls as well as all of Sheridan’s Cheeses, wines hampers and great foods. It’s a fun and festive way to do your Christmas shopping in a relaxed way – we’ll have mulled wine, and music too!

Among the producers (but list by no means exhaustive!) will be Clayotic, Bakelicious, Newgrange Gold Oils, What’s for Pudding, Floods Butchers, Richard Hogan Fruit & Veg, Rogan’s Smokehouse, Boyne Valley Blue Cheese, Cole’s Home Bakery, Kilconny House Preserves, Pollock’s Pickles, Annie’s Bakery, Paul Gallagher’s Handmade Cards, Scott Cider, Moran’s Jams, Delish Donuts, Cockagee Cider, Caulfield Boards, Klara Dechant Angel Stars, Jackie Gavin, Bridget’s Mantle Scincare.

Continue reading “Christmas Fair”

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Bakealicious – New addition to our Meath shop

We here in Sheridans Virginia Rd Station shop in Meath are extremely excited to welcome Eimear of Bakealicious into our shop. Bakealicious have opened a new ‘Pop-up Tearooms‘  and will offer a great selection of cakes and bakes Thursday – Friday from 12pm – 6pm and Saturday from 10am – 6pm. So why not pop by and try some of her delicious treats. I highly recommend the ‘Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie’ – all the goodness of two desserts rolled into one, delicious. And guess what? All of Eimear’s cakes and bakes are made from Organic Spelt Flour.

Continue reading “Bakealicious – New addition to our Meath shop”

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Cheese of the Month – May 2014

This month we have four lovely cheeses from Piedmont, Italy, three from the one producer. We have always had a great relationship with Italy in Sheridans and especially Piedmont. It was the first place outside of Ireland that we went ‘hunting’ cheeses. Seamus took a trip there only a year or two after we first set up our cheese stall and he found himself on a wonderful journey, making friends and discovering new foods like only Seamus can. We have always had more success though with foods other than cheese and with great wines of course. Apart from our Parmigiano Reggiano from Cravero and our Buffalo Mozzarella we have never been fully satisfied with our supply and have changed quite a few times down through the years.

Continue reading “Cheese of the Month – May 2014”

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