A week in Durrus

By Natasha Acosta

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My name is Natasha and for the past month I have been an Intern in Sheridans Cheesemongers store in Galway. I came to the beautiful island of Ireland this past January to learn about Irish Culture and about its cheese. As I started in the store I was introduced to the first Irish cheeses of Ireland. One of them being a fresh milk cheese called Durrus. A raw cow’s milk cheese with a hand washed rind. As this round semi-soft cheese melts in your mouth, the flavours of creamy butter develop more and more giving a hint of acidity that lingers in your mouth much like the humble characteristics of the land where it is made.

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For a week I was offered to visit the beautiful county of Cork, on the farm of one of the first female Irish Cheese producers of the 20th Century, Jeffa Gill the maker of Durrus Cheese.  As she took me in for a week I managed to see her dairy and work along with her and her team.  Every night Ms Gill receives milk from her neighbour to produce the morning cheeses. This is different to back in the day when she would have had her milk directly from her own cows originally.

As my first morning came, Jeffa heated the milk in a copper vat and added the rennet. As I watched her keep an eye on the Ph. balance and temperature, the milk magically firmed up to a consistency almost gelatin like. I was amazed how it only took minutes to coagulate. On came the cutting process, for which Jeffa uses a beautiful Swiss cutting harp. Cutting is a serious job, a two woman job from side to side and a lot of arm strength. As the women cut pieces of curd of about 1/2 oz. each, the cutting process was done. On to putting the curds into molds where the whey would drain off by its own weight and turn into cheese. This process led to an end result of about 280 cheeses. A batch of small Durrus “Óg” meaning young in Irish, and a 4-9 week more mature Durrus in a small and large wheel.

Then came cleaning, which is very important for cheese production and you could see it in Ms Gills Dairy, impeccable. As some cleaned I had the honour of turning the cheese. I was ecstatic for this job, really any, related to the production. Hand turning cheese seems like a simple task, but one that requires skill. You tilt the cheese in your hand as you hold the mold on the other and flip the cheese back into the mold. This keeps draining the weigh from the cheese and give it’s nice round shape. That would be done three times and a fourth held later at night. I would say turning is a very important part of cheesemaking, it allows proper drying of the cheese and air circulation. Consequently turning would be done through all the cheese process into the selling.

For the second day the previous days’ cheese where taken out of the mold and left to mature. While another day of cheese making took place. By now I felt like a pro with some experience. I could anticipate what was to be done next.

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For my third morning I got to brine the cheese where they are put in brine for 2 to 5 hours depending of the size and desired maturity of the cheese. Brine is basically a bath of salt and water, for added taste and limiting bacteria growth.

For the fourth day the brining was done for the second batch of made cheese while the first batch would be washed in a brine solution that would begin to develop the nice pinkish color on the rind. For my fifth morning came the curing of the cheese. Where it seems like a spa for the cheese to maintain the humidity, appearance and sanitation. While watching out for any particular development that happened through the last 4 days, this being molds, or bruises. The cheese is taken in one hand and with an exfoliating glove scrubbed. Here it will remain in the curing room, being turned each day for a couple of weeks, until it reaches its maturity and gets packed and sold.

While cheese was being made on my fifth day I managed to escape to see the making of Sheridan’s crackers. That lovely cheese companion, ranging from linseed to mixed flavours. The warehouse was about an hour from Durrus Village in a village called Lissavaird in West Cork. This small artisanal warehouse had ten employees, consisting of two shifts. As I arrived at 10:30 in the morning, greeted by the first shift bakers responsible for Sheridans crackers. These bakers had been in from 5:30 am in the morning; around the schedule time the batter is made. Around 10:30am they where in their second batch of cookies. After the preparation of the cracker dough, it gets separated, measured and rolled by hand into a 450g log. This l og is then laid into a dough sheeter into about a milimeter thick. It is rolled about 4 times each to get the desired thickness. After it is carried to a baking sheet to be cut by hand into small rectangular crackers, removing any disfigured crackers. Afterward they are placed in a 12-row trolley to be baked in a closet size industrial oven for around 20 to 25 min. After baking the crackers are to be packed and sealed. What I thought to be done by machine was a very artisanal part of the production. Packing the crackers into little plastic trays is done manually while weighing each tray to 120g to be exact. My job came to an end here. What was missing was the plastic wrap and seal, done through a machine held by another employee. As I left I thank them all for a wonderful day and left happy to understand the crackers are very much artisanal, nonetheless they seem perfect every time.

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After my day in the crackers warehouse I returned to the lovely Durrus village where I would say goodbye to the whole production of cheese, including Jeffa’s warmth. I travelled back to Galway with a head full of knowledge, a story of cheese making, the fresh Durrus and its beautiful landscapes. With this experience I get to share more with the customers at the store and I manage to transport myself both to Durrus and the crackers every time I have them.

RECIPES FROM RTE RADIO ON SEAN O’ROURKE SHOW 01/11/2013

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Kevin Sheridan from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers brought in breakfast, lunch and dinner to the nice folks in RTE Radio  – real food, from real people!

 

Kevin’s Recipes

Porridge ideas

There are lots of porridge types and brands out there, the main thing is to pick a non processed type, I recommend cooking on the hob but lots of people successfully use the microwave; there are always instructions for both on the pack.

You can make porridge using only water or you can use a mix of milk and water.

There are an infinite number of foods that you can add to the cooked porridge to give extra flavour and nutrition, for sweetness instead of sugar try sweet fruits like mashed banana, stewed apple, pear or even a local honey. Other ideas are toasted seeds, dried fruits such as raisins, apricots and prunes, when in season fresh fruits such as raspberries and blueberries.

Kevin’s Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin Soup (serves 6 – 8)

I medium pumpkin or 2 butternut squash
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
Knob of butter and splash of olive oil
2 litres of vegetable and beef stock or chicken stock
2 teaspoons of marmite, optional!
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c

Cut the pumpkin into large sections, removing the seeds and any stringy flesh. Place the pumpkin sections skin down on a baking tray and loosely cover with a sheet of tinfoil. Roast until the flesh is soft and allow to cool

When cool peel off the skin

Roughly chop the onion and garlic

Melt the butter and oil in a heavy bottom pot on a medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Cook until soft and golden

Add roast pumpkin flesh to the cooked onion, add the stock and marmite.

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes

Blend and season to taste.

Serve with brown bread and butter

 

Durrus Tartiflette

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1kg potatoes,
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 thick rashers of smoked streaky bacon, diced 1.5”
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 100mls Irish Craft Ale (We used 8 Degrees) or 1/2 glass white wine.
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 350g Durrus cheese, wipe the rind with a damp cloth, and dice the cheese.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 5.
  2. Peel and dice the potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Boil for 3-5 mins. Drain.
  3. In a large heavy pan heat a good splash of rapeseed oil. Fry the potatoes lightly
  4. Add the diced bacon and onion. Cook until the bacon has begun to crisp.
  5. Add the white wine, stir and then add the cubed cheese
  6. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Choose an ovenproof earthenware dish and rub it well with the halves of garlic and some rapeseed oil. Empty the contents of the pan into the dish and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and begun to crisp.
  8. You can also add some thick spinach, chard or asparagus along with the cheese.

 

Traditional Irish Brown Bread

Recipe provided by Maura Sheridan

Ingredients:

250g plain white flour
200g wholemeal flour
1 level teaspoon bread soda
1 level teaspoon salt
2 large free range eggs
250ml Yoghurt (or Buttermilk)

Method:

I turn on the fan oven at 200 – 250C to preheat while I prepare the mixture.

First, prepare baking tray or ceramic pot- I use an old Le Creuset pot to bake the bread in. I line it with the wrappers from butter, but you can use greaspeproof paper.

Beat the eggs very well, add the yoghurt and beat again –leave aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flours , bread soda, salt). Make a well in the centre of the bowl.

Add most of the liquid and using your hand start mixing the flour in from the centre out with a light touch.

When the mixture comes together, form a round and place on a floured baking tray or in a heavy bottomed ceramic dish such as I use.

Place in the centre of the oven.

Note on temperatures and times: Ovens vary. I have mine at 200 – 250C for 10/15 minutes. Then turn down to 190/180C for the remainder of baking time – total baking time 1 hour.

To ensure that the bread is cooked, turn upside down, tap the bottom, and a hollow sound lets you know that it is done.

When cooked, wrap in a tea towel and leave to cool.

 

Franckie’s Brewer’s Gold Chicken’n’Tag

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A Great new beer washed rind cheese from Kilkenny that reminded me of some gems from the North of France like Maroilles, pungent and perfect for this unusual yet comforting January dish.

 You’ll Need:

  • 1 x “Fat” shallot/ 1 x Red onion
  • 250ml x of Irish red ale
  • 6 x prunes, soaked in tea
  • 1 x heaped tsp honey
  • 2 x chicken breasts
  • 250g x Brewer’s Gold
  • 4 x Nests of tagliatelle
  • 1 x 50g of butter aka “a wee bit”

How To:

On a clean chopping board, make a lateral incision to the chicken; insert a cigar shape of the Brewer’s Gold and roll tightly. Set aside on a plate. Chop thinly the shallot or red onion. Before placing the chicken on a hot olive oiled pan, pre-heat the oven to 180c. Once the chicken starts browning, put on a baking tray and bake for 15-20min. Add the shallots and drained prunes  to the pan with butter and let it sweat before adding the red ale; let the lot reduce until thickish with a bit of honey towards the end. Boil salted water and cook the tagliatelles for 3 to 4 minutes. Sauté the pasta in the sauce, slice the chicken and serve with the prunes on the sides. A glass of red ale to go with this dish is just perfect.

Cheese of the Month – January

by Kevin Sheridan

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Firstly I hope you all had a great Christmas and enjoyed some lovely food including some good cheeses; I am also hoping that there has just been a big enough gap for your appetite to have recovered and you will be able to enjoy four more cheeses.

We have four cheeses for you this month which we selected purely on the basis of which cheeses were in the best condition; January can be a difficult month for cheese as stocks are low after Christmas and new cheeses have often not reached us yet. I am really happy to say that three of these cheeses are Irish and one fantastic Swiss; it is a great sign of the continued development of Irish cheese.

We have chosen two cheeses from Helen Finnegan at Knockdrinna; Helen does not farm but buys in cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk from different farmers and makes a great variety of cheeses. We have selected Knockdrinna Meadow; Helen’s sheep’s milk cheese purely because it tastes so good! There is a particular flavour that develops in good mature sheep’s milk cheese, it is almost greasy but in a pleasant way like a really good lamb stock, and this flavour changes and intensifies from the centre of the cheese until just under the rind, I would encourage you to try. The second cheese from Helen is a new one, just released at the end of 2013; Brewer’s Gold. This is a collaboration with The Little Milk Company; a group of organic cow’s milk producers; and Irish craft Brewers who have provided the Beers and Ales to wash the rind. Washing the rind of a cheese with alcohol is not a new development, spirits, wines and beers have been used to wash the rinds of semi-soft cheeses for centuries. The general effect is firstly keeping the rind damp which allows the pinkish cultures to develop, the alcohol can help keep some unwanted moulds at bay and the particular drink can add a very subtle flavour.

The third cheese is another new cheese; Kearney Blue. This is the first cheese we have sold which comes from Northern Ireland, so that is a positive step. Paul McClean has been developing this new blue for several years and production is now in full swing but at on a very small scale which is the way Paul likes it. It is quite a little cheese, each one weighing just over 500g. The flavour is quite delicate and it has a great moist texture.

The final cheese is Etivaz from high in the Swiss Alps. One of the lovely things about eating cheese in winter is that the flavours and nutrition we receive are often captured from summer pastures by the cheese and released to us when we most need them. This is certainly the case with Etivaz; it is made only in summer months when the snows on the alpine slopes recede and allow wild and diverse pastures to flourish.

I hope you enjoy the cheeses we have selected for you and a happy and peaceful New Year to you all.

Cheese of the Month – December

by Kevin Sheridan

Christmas Cheese

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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; still better 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.

Over the past few decades we have imported our cheese eating culture from mainly France and Italy and with that we have taken the idea that wine is the ‘correct’ accompaniment to cheese; there is no denying that good cheese and wine is a sublime combination but just as valid and often more to our taste in Ireland is some good beer with our cheese. And the lovely thing is we now have great beers in Ireland, lots of them; small breweries have sprung up across the country. These independent Irish owned enterprises concentrate on unique flavours and quality rather than marketing campaigns; instead of a Sancerre with your Brie de Meaux try a hoppy larger, rather than a Claret with your Crozier Blue try a Porter.

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!

The important thing to remember is good cheese is there to enjoy at any time. We have selected the four cheeses this month not on any particular theme but what we think are four of the best cheeses we can recommend; we have two Irish and a classic from both England and France. From Ireland we have Crozier blue and Dunmanus. Crozier is the sheep’s milk version of Ireland’s most famous cheese; Cashel Blue. It is quite similar but the sheep’s milk allows for a longer ripening and so a richer fuller flavour. The Dunmanus is quite a special cheese made by Jeffa Gill at Durrus Farmhouse; this cheese is made only with summer raw milk from the fields over looking Dunmanus Bay; it is semi-hard, similar to many very traditional European mountain Tommes, with a subtle earthy flavour that when given time reveals complex long flavours. From England we have Westcombe cheddar, one of the few cheddars still made traditionally; from raw Somerset milk and matured in a cloth and lard bandage rind on the farm; it is our favourite cheddar at the moment balancing a little sharpness and a lovely nutty flavour. The final cheese is Brie de Meaux from the Donge Family. Almost all Brie de Meaux is now made by huge food companies but this one is still family owned and run and you can tell from the quality. It has a richness and complexity of flavour that you just don’t get with other Bries, it is not overly strong but carries that lovely fresh mushroom aroma and sweet milk and cauliflower flavour.

We hope you enjoy your cheese this Christmas, hopefully you get to share it with loved ones; we are so proud that our cheeses have become part of so many Irish families Christmas tradition, we will raise a glass in thanks to all our customers on Christmas day.

Wine of the Month – December

By Enrico Fantasia

Rosso Piceno “di Gino” 2010 FATTORIA SAN LORENZO

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Genius: an exceptionally intelligent person or one with exceptional skill in a particular area of activity.

If we agree with the definition of genius given by the Oxford Dictionary then Natalino Crognaletti, the driving force behind Fattoria San Lorenzo, is definitely a genius.

He has no particular secrets to craft his unique wines, but lot of very personal and sometimes extreme ideas. So extreme that every time I spend few days with him I always leave with the same doubt: either I know much less about wine than I think, or he is gloriously messing me around telling me bizarre stories….

Biodynamic ante-litteram as this is how they always did it since his great grandfather started growing grapes: take a walk in the vineyard with Natalino and you’ll be amazed by the incredible amount of ladybirds, butterflies and bees “working” with him. And if you compare with the desolate “death valley” landscape of the neighboring chemical-sprayed vineyards, the difference is striking.

The farm is also self-sufficient and pretty much everything they need is home grown or produced (they basically buy only flour, sugar and coffee).

It’s difficult for me to pick a favourite from the vast range of wines Natalino produces, but the Rosso Piceno “di Gino” is consistently one of the best reds he makes, and possibly one of the best value for money I ever found.

A blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese in a 60:40 ratio mainly aged in steel vats (only 10% of the wine sees oak, just to soften a bit the natural acidity of the two grapes and to add a extra layer of complexity), this wine is rich, deep, funky, complex, ripe but never overpowering. It’s also full of black cherries, red fruit, spices, liquorice and tobacco. And just in case you were wondering, it is age-worthy and at the same time has that sort of please-give-me-another-sip drinking feel that I know you like.

Anything else you need to know about it? No.

So, get it now! You’ll make your turkey happy this Christmas…

Pear and Blue

Franckie’s Poached Pear in Verduzzo

With Blue Cheese and Toasted Panettone

Pear and Blue

You’ll need:

  • One “hardish” pear per person
  • 1 x bottle of Verduzzo or dessert wine
  • 150g of crushed nuts
  • 1 x Panettone (or Brioche)
  • 1 x tbsp of honey
  • 100g/ person x of your favourite Blue

How to:

This is very “Chefy” looking but in fact very easy to make. I have come up with this recipe 10 years ago and it is a huge crowd pleaser. 1st, peal the pears and put them in a large pot with the whole bottle of dessert wine. Add a bit of water if necessary to cover ¾ of the pears. Let it simmer until soft. In a dry pan, toast the crushed nuts of your choice (almonds, hazelnuts or even walnuts). Careful now, don’t go away. Set aside in a bowl. With a glass, cut the necessary amount of panettone (or Brioche) and toast them under the grill. Place them on the respective plates and soak with a table spoon from the wine still cooking. The pears should be ready, slice them at the bottom so they can stand. Reduce the wine to almost a caramel. Crumble or create a ring with your blue cheese and place on top of your panettone ring. Cover the plate and pear with the caramel like syrup, and a bit of honey over the blue; sprinkle the crushed nuts over everything. Enjoy immensely!

 

 

Cheesy Musings – Your Christmas on a board

By Elisabeth Ryan

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Its that time of year when cheese gets its proud outing on tables across the country.  What follows is mostly a monger musing  on helping you get the right selection of cheese and find great things to accompany your cheese  as opposed to a hard and fast set of rules. When we mongers help you select  you christmas cheeses for yourself or as a gift, we want to know above all that the cheeses will be thoroughly enjoyed; whether that’s  a fairly stinky oozing washed rind or a rather more general purpose crowd pleasing easy going comte or cheddar type, so when it comes time to buy, if you don’t have any definite choices in mind –  tell us what types please you the most and we’ll help you work the rest out.

Definitely experiment and try new things and of course, above all else listen to your mongers advice, but – like a wedding haircut its important to hold on to what you know will make you happy!!!

With all this in mind its worth remembering when selecting a cheese board for a variety of guests that not everyone loves the more hardcore cheeses – balance is the key!!

Some people associate strength and force with their uber board for christmas. Try to suit the selection to encompass all your guests’ needs , not just a select few.

If in doubt, best to play it safe with a couple in the selection, and get larger quantities of these. Then,don’t forego the others, but just get smaller quantities of them instead.

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CLASSIC CHEESE BOARD SELECTION MANDATES A SOFT, A HARD, AND A BLUE and then most people add in a fourth for fun. I’d suggest keping it to four as a maximum, couple of reasons for this:

Firstly; you can have nice big chunks that look really great and impressive rather than buying 5 or 6 and having smaller pieces where you don’t get the same visual drama.

Secondly; you don’t then have too may opposing flavours.

In  terms of quantities, a very general rule of thumb is 100g per person total.

I often recommend limiting a board to just two cheeses and then adding in interest and contrast with the accompaniments and wine matches; which brings me nicely on to my next topic…

Some specific matching advice

Wines can be tough, as often it is difficult to pick one wine which goes well with all the cheeses on your board and despite what many think, in my experience whites tend to be a better match for cheese than reds, this can be tricky though as by the time it comes to cheese time, most people have switched over to red to accompany the meat course that went before.

Nonetheless, don’t feel you can’t switch back to white or even try a dessert wine or port. Or support Irish and match a craft beer or two with your cheese course!

Blues: Wines of choice are generally sweet like a Verduzzo and the bigger blue cheeses can stand up to Ruby, LBV or Tawny Ports. Food accompaniments,  likewise think sweet; try candied nuts or quince paste. Sweet jams or onion maramalade can be great. Rich chocolatey Irish craft porters can also be a great match.

Bloomy Rinds (Camembert / Brie types): Work great with richer styles of champagne or Cava, but also nicely with any rich but not oaky style of Chardonnay, also often good alongside juicy ripe reds like Cotes du Rhone or a juicy Valpolicella or Spanish Tempranillo (not a heavy tannic style of red though). Food accompaniments which work well include sweet chutneys, fig compote and  bloomy rind cheeses are great with a really good sourdough bread toasted. Irish craft beers can be trickier to match with these types but the lightest style of ale can pair pretty well.

Rind washed cheeses (the orangey/pinkey  coloured pungent ones):These work particularly well with more floral styles of wine such as Alsace Gewurztraminer or a Pinot Gris. Unusual  flavours like cawaway seeds often work well. These cheeses can be surprisingly versatile and the stronger ones will even hold up to a dark beer or whiskey, but a red beer is usually most versatile as a catch all craft beer match.

Fresh cheese or goats cheese:A crisp style of sauvignon blanc, generally from the old world regions such as the Loire Valley in France makes a super match. Figs, both in their fresh form or pressed in cakes or in compotes or jams are truly great with most goat’s cheeses.

Goat’s cheeses of all types can be lovely with a dry craft cider.

Hard cheeses:Generally the easiest to match with a variety of red wines, a very classic combo is traditional cheddar with an aged Bordeaux red. But again richer whites will work well here too. Food matching tends to also be more versatile with harder cheeses; quince paste again works well as do the fig compotes, and all types of chutneys, also try cherry jam – especially good with hard sheep’s milk cheeses. As far as beer goes red beer or heavier pale beers generally work a treat, especially with aged goudas, which can often even work beautifully with a porter.

Finally, for all the advice about matchings and pairings and what does and doesn’t work, feel free to ignore it all and eschew the monger advice, pick what you like and what you enjoy it with. Nothing works better than something that makes you happy!

A few tips on minding your cheese and how to serve…

  • When it comes to looking after your cheeses a few key points to remember as follows:
  • Store in the vegetable compartment of your fridge (or a cool pantry if you’re luck enough to have one!), wrapped in cheese paper or greaseproof paper.
  • Prior to serving – allow the cheeses to come to room temperature for a couple of hours (not hot kitchen emperature, but actual advised room temperature (approx 20 degrees celcius). For very soft and delicate cheeses, they can be served a little cooler again, maybe just an hour or so out of the fridge, so as not to lose their shape and melt!
  • If you have larger pieces of cheese designed to last through a few occasions, just take what you need from the piece and bring this up to temperature, rather than taking the whole piece in and out several times.

To Rind or not to rind

As a rule of thumb for softer cheeses the rind is an integral part of the cheese, and you may miss out if you don’t parttake, and for harder cheeses the rind is generally a protective coating to the cheese and doesn’t get eaten.

Once again though, do what makes you happy, and even if that means cutting the lovely bloomy rind or squishy pinky rind off and focusing on the interior – then go ahead and do it – the aim is for you to get maximum enjoyment

Final Tips

Buy your cheese from a cheesemonger with a dedicated member of staff and a cheese counter where they cut from the block, one who will let you taste on the spot and provide advice.

If you choose to buy online from us, feel free to mail us with any queries before you buy for the same help and advice as you would get in person!

To be brutally honest,we mongers often sigh a little (entirely inwardly of course) and  resignedly think to ourselves that like like puppies – cheese is not just for christmas – what we ask above all is that you remember to select your favourites and what you like rather than chosing the classics or what seem to you the scary ones  just  for the sake of it! And also of course as an aside that you remember to  buy lots  of cheese  (and look after puppies) all year round!!!

 

Wine Extravaganza 30th November @ Our Meath Shop

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Franck and Darryl here from our Meath shop inviting you to our Wine Extravaganza with Enrico Fantasia this Saturday.

Come taste some of our Christmas wine selection which includes our TYDY Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, Our Lastone Valpolicella, Our Monteraponi Chianti and our I Campi Soave.

Our Saturday market will also be in full swing with Richard Hogan and his Organic Veg, Flood’s Butchers, Bakealicious, Lola & Bo, Vera will be cooking up her delicious Bacon and Sausage rolls, Hazel will have her delicious selection of Chocolates, Yvonne will have her local free range eggs, cordials and relishes and more…

Wine of the Month

Rosso di Monteraponi II MONTERAPONI

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It is an interesting contradiction that Tuscany, the region that in the collective imaginary more represent the traditional Italian wine, is the first region guilty of selling its soul to the standardisation of taste, with the indiscriminate use of “international” grapes to create wines to appeal the “international” palate.
Few high quality peaks, more often mundane wines lacking in character, always overpriced.

Banning the use in the Chianti blend of white grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia – traditionally used to soften the sometimes edgy Sangiovese – in favor of Merlot, Syrah and Co. was the last act of the regional globalisation.
So now, the Rosso di Monteraponi, one of most truly traditional Chiantis cannot be called Chianti anymore.
Another interesting contradiction.

Made on the hills of Radda in Chianti by the young Michele Braganti, this wine is a blend of organically grown Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino (the Chianti Triad of Grapes…) with a dash of Trebbiano and Malvasia.
It is also as naturally made as possible: spontaneus fermentation without added yeasts, no oak, no filtration. Sometimes less is better…

It’s full of red berried fruit, with hints of minerals, and with an enticing floral character due to the use of the white grapes. The palate is jucy, moderately tannic, fresh and the degree of “yumminness” is dagerously high.

Use it copiously with your steak, with roast beef, grilled lamb. It will work also with pasta dishes with tomato and meat sauce, or with semi hard cheeses and charcuterie. And considering the fast approaching festive season, it would a good option for your turkey or your glazed ham.
In fact, the Rosso di Monteraponi is an incredibly versatile wine.

Just a word of warning. It can be addictive.

Seasonal Mantra by Enrico Fantasia

on the shore of Carra

“Can you believe it? It’s that time of the year again!!!”: this phrase, with some minor variations, can be heard now pretty much everywhere. A sort of seasonal mantra that will last few weeks and generally proceeds the last minute shopping panic.

Despite Minister Noonan’s efforts to make 2013 Christmas tipple the most expensive in Irish history, a bit of planning can save you a fair amount of money.

Many are the pre-Christmas offer available at the moment, and many the wine sales.

For example, keep an eye on the Sheridans Weekly Wine Specials, where we offer two wines, a red and a white, at 20% discount. Also, if you by 12 or more bottles (that can be mixed to your liking) you will receive an interesting 12% discount.

If you are looking for something somehow different to spice up your festive meals, maybe the wines hereafter can give you some inspiration.

On the white side, the Edalo Blanco 2012 CONTRERAS RUIZ can be an interesting alternative to the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc. Produced in the south of Spain with the obscure, indigenous grape Zalema, this wine is fresh, floral, delicately fruity and with citrus aromas and with an Albarino-like minerality and intense sapidity that makes it the perfect aperitif.

Another great and somehow unusual white is the Vorgeschmack 2012 ARNDORFER.The young Martin Arndorfer, one of the rising stars in the Austrian wine world, blends Gruner Veltliner and Riesling to create a fresh, mineral and gently aromatic wine, and incredibly easy drinking.

Staying in the Mitteleuropean area, we have one more great find. Produced in the Slovenian Vipaska Dolina by Primoz Lavrencic the Malvazija “Petit Burja” 2012 BURJA shows the typical pepperiness and warm fruit of the grape, balanced by an intense minerality and a citrusy freshness, and an almost Burgundian elegance. Splendid with glazed ham.

In the red department, the Portuguese Little Odisseia 2011 is rich and full without being overpowering, and with a spiced character that makes it unbeatable with turkey.

If you prefer something somehow lighter, the Marzemino “La Rua” 2012 ROENO, with its aromas of violets, red berries and the spices, is definitely a wine to try. Loaded with yummy juiciness, it’s a great all rounder.

And if you decide to treat yourself (it’s Christmas, babe…) the Rosso di Monteraponi II MONTERAPONI is the wine for you. You’ll find all you need to know on this same newsletter as wine of the month.

In case an Italian-style Christmas is on the agenda, it’s a must to finish with dinner with panettone, leither the traditional with candied fruits or the new variant with cherries. Either ways, the wine will be Moscato d’Asti 2012 ODDERO: light, sweet and very refreshing. Available only in magnum, as the regular bottle is never enough.

 

Lentils with Crispy Bacon and Bleu De Gex

photo (9)

You’ll need:

  • 250g of green or Puy lentils
  • 2 carrots chopped in small cubes
  • 2 cloves of garlic whole
  • 1 large onion chopped finelly
  • 150g of Bleu de Gex cheese
  • 6 slices of good bacon grilled to a crisp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley for contrast
  • Olive oil

How To:

In a hot olive oiled pan, sweat the carrots, garlic cloves and onions with just a little salt to help them release their flavour. Reserve seasoning at the end as the lentils could get a bit bitter. Add the lentils and stir gently. Top up with water and allow to gently simmer until cooked. In the oven or under the grill, get the whole slices crispy but not burnt and slice before serving. The lentils should be ready (25-30 minutes should do the trick). Before serving, add the slices of crispy bacon, 75g of bleu de Gex and salt to taste. Serve in a bowl or on a plate, with the rest of the blue crumbled on top and freshly chopped parsley. A real winter’s treat.

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