Semi-soft, washed-rind Irish Farmhouse cheese with a delicately pungent flavour. Made in West Cork. Cow’s milk.
Jeffa Gill has been making Durrus at her hillside farmhouse in West Cork since 1979. Since then Durrus has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded of all the Irish farmhouse cheeses, collecting many prizes and accolades along the way. West Cork has long been associated with milk production in Ireland, making it an ideal location for cheesemakers. The region’s wet, saline sea air makes the area eminently suited to washed-rind cheese production.
Durrus is a semi-soft washed rind cheese made using raw cow’s milk from the Buckley family’s neighbouring herd. This arrangement allows Jeffa to manage the characteristics of the milk she requires for cheese making without having to take direct control of the herd. Jeffa’s cheese has a mottled pink-orange rind and a semi-firm creamy paste that has a tendency to bulge slightly when cut. The aroma is one of hay, undergrowth and wet soil, in short it smells of the hillside in Coomkeen. The flavour is long, round and earthy, a flavour which is uniquely and unmistakably Durrus. This is what Jeffa describes as ‘a deep, complex flavour which captures the elemental nature of this part of Ireland.’ Jeffa reckons the cheese is best at around 6 weeks old and is not overly affected by seasonality because the milk comes from staggered breeding.
Durrus is available in three different sizes, the large 1.5 kg wheels, 360 g Durrus minis (only online) and the small 225g Durrus Ogs, which differ slightly in flavour whilst retaining a discernable ‘Durrus’ essence. Durrus Ogs are small and flat, almost the size of a petit Reblochon. These cheeses are designed to be sold from 10 days and are at their best at 2-4 weeks. The flavour is more linens dominated than in larger formats, and the texture of the paste is a little softer.
Durrus is one of the great Irish farmhouse cheeses. Try it on toast, in place of raclette or with pears. In terms of wine matches pair it with ‘full bodied’ whites such as Albariño, Gewurztraminer or lighter reds such as Beaujolais Jeffa has recently added the semi-hard Dunmanus to the her range.