My love affair with Neal’s Yard Dairy and all it produces has been well documented here on The House Mouse. Just about every cheese I have tasted, from the light and fresh Ticklemore to the funky and sweet Stinking Bisho have been gobbled up with glee. My most recent tasting, however, Irish Gubbeen, was a bit hard to swallow.
Said to be the most mellow of the washed-rind cheeses offered by NYD(which seemed confusing since it is rather intense), Gubbeen has a semi-soft paste and a nutty, earthy, and strong mushroom flavor. The edible rind produces an intensely pungent smell which grabs the front taste buds with an acidic bite and continues on through the mouth in a surprising and not altogether pleasant way.
Cheesemakers Tom and Giana Ferguson have been producing Gubbeen since 1979 using five different cow breeds (Friesians, Simmenthals, Jerseys, Shorthorns, and black Kerrys) to create the cheese’s unique flavor.
I love smelly, assertive cheeses but Gubbeen just seemed to miss the mark. Maybe it was that my sample was at the end if its aging (Gubbeen grows more intense with time) or my olfactory senses were on high, but I just did not love it. The high acidity of the rind mixing with the strong mushroom center just did not marry well and actually seemed to be battling for dominance in my mouth. Perhaps I need to revisit Gubbeen again when I find a it in a younger state to see the difference in flavor, but for now I think I will stick with my Stinking Bishop as my Neal’s Yard washed-rind favorite.