The cheese is made in round slightly bulging small cylindrical wheels a little in the style of a French Tomme.The flavour has a little earthiness, but also hints of sweetness, with some caramel and even pear like tones. It is ready for eating from around 3 months onwards, but can continue to improve up to around 12 months of age.
Barry Cahalan and Lorraine Davis (from Borrisokane, north Tipperary) are a young couple who wanted to start a viable farming enterprise after they finished college. They opted for milking sheep, and built a sheep shed on the land owned by Barry’s family . In the spring of 2013 they started to milk their first ewes, and this first summer, were milking 46 animals. Barry and Lorraine are friends with Marion and Haske Roeleveld, who produce Killeen Cheese at their farm in Portumna, Co. Galway, and Marion agreed to produce a cheese for Lorraine and Barry called Cais na Tire. In 2013 Marion made around 15 cheeses per week for them and hopes to double this amount in 2014 when there will be 100 head of sheep being milked.
Marion’s own Killeen Cheese is made in the gouda style and retains a lot of moisture in the paste even though it is a hard cheese, but for this sheep’s milk cheese they wanted to do a different style, and so the paste is a little drier, and slightly flakier in texture. It is the process of leaving the curd unwashed for this cheese that results in the flakier more open texture. The flavour has a little earthiness, but also hints of sweetness, with some caramel and even pear like tones. Cais na Tire makes a versatile wine matching accompaniment, great with a steely white such as a Chablis, but also lovely with a ripe easy going red such as a valpolicella or a tempranillo. Also a good match with a medium dry craft cider.