Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Okay, so it’s actually a couple of days away, but it IS the perfect time to offer some cheesy good options for the party. Sure there’s the standard Irish Cheddar with its sweet, tangy flavor that goes perfect with corned beef and cabbage, but wouldn’t it be fun to have some lucky surprises on the cheese plate this year? Move over, Kerrygold aged cheddar and make room for the new lassies on the block!
First up is this pretty wedge of Gleann Oir from Breda Maher, owner of Cooleeney Cheese Company in Tipperary, Ireland. This fromage may be a youngster, but it packs a powerful punch. Nose up to the natural white rind and breathe in all the pungent dirt aroma (this is a good thing, don’t be scared). Tangy goat’s milk with undertones of citrus and grass give Gleann Oir the perfect taste of spring. A great balance of crumbly and creamy, this cheese is great for crumbling over a spinach salad to start off the St. Patty’s Day feast.
Next up is the original cheese from Cooleeney Cheese, the aptly named Cooleeny Mini. Breda and Jim Maher wanted to get away from the standard hard cheeses of Ireland and went in the completely opposite direction. Using cow’s milk, they created this bloomy-rind, soft-ripened gooey goodness. The intense mushroom flavor and buttery texture glide over the taste buds yet grab on with a sneaking spark of sweet. Spread over some old-fashioned Irish soda bread for a decadent delight.
The final selection is a fun and funky blue from Jane & Louis Grubb of Cashel Blue, also in Tipperary, Ireland. Hand formed from sheep’s milk, this new-to-market Croizer Blue is making its mark in the world with its sweet grass and salty sea flavor. Mild and creamy when young yet hearty and crumbly as it ages gives this seasonal cheese more versatility than most blues. Toss some Croizer Blue in with a pot of boiled potatoes for a twist on the Irish classic.
Whatever Irish pot of gold is on the St. Patty’s Day table this Thursday, enjoy and remember…Erin go Bragh!
All of these selections are great options to brighten up the green beer festival, but get to ordering because they are going fast. Check them out at Murray’s Cheese or look for them at your local cheese shop.