When most people think about cheese from Ireland, the first and often only cheese they think about is cheddar. While Irish cheddar is delicious, there is more to discover. Although other types of Irish cheeses are slightly harder to find in the United States, these unique and complex cheeses are worth seeking out for you next cheese plate.
- Coolea - County Cork, Ireland
The Irish version of Gouda, this raw cows' milk cheese is sweet and sharp and usually fairly mild.
- Dubliner - Ireland
This sweet and pleasant cows' milk cheese is aged 1 year and is the easiest to find; most regular grocery stores now sell it.
- Durrus - Country Cork, Ireland
The cows' milk is raw and the rind is washed, but this cheese isn't overly pungent unless it's over-ripe. The flavor is fruity and slightly musty.
- Gubbeen - County Cork, Ireland
Another washed rind with slightly more punch. A cow's milk cheese with a pinkish colored, unevenly shaped rind. This cheese tastes like the fields Irish cows graze on: earthy, grassy and mushroomy.
- Cashel Blue - County Tipperary, Ireland
A raw cows' milk cheese that is creamy and almost runny if left at room temperature long enough. The mild and slightly sweet flavor makes it the perfect blue to serve after dinner instead of dessert.
- Cahill's Whiskey Cheese - County Limerick, Ireland
You'll notice a sweet, fruity hint of whiskey in this creamy cheddar but the flavor is mild enough that it will be loved by people of all ages. Cahill's also makes Irish Porter cheese, which is made with plain Irish porter brewed by Guinness.
Serving Irish Cheese
When serving Irish cheese, consider these pairing tips for your cheese board:
- Serve Irish soda bread. The sweet taste of soda bread contrasts nicely with cheese. Slice it thinly and serve next to the cheese plate.
- Or, serve Irish cheese with plain crackers
- Pair Irish cheese with Irish porter, instead of wine
- Serve a small bowl of chutney next to the cheese plate. The sweet, spicy flavor will pair deliciously with the cheeses. Either make your own or try one like McQuade's Celtic Chutney
- Or, serve dried fruit (like cherries or apricots) with Irish cheese
How Is Cheddar Made?
Irish cheddar is made using the same cheddaring process that is used to make all types of cheddar. When cheddar is made, the curds are cut up and then pressed together into slabs. The slabs of curds are then stacked on top of each other. This process of cutting, pressing and stacking the curds continues until enough moisture has drained out. Called "cheddaring," this is what gives cheddar a crumbly, layered, dense texture.