Showing posts with label Fermoy Natural Cheese Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fermoy Natural Cheese Company. Show all posts

Monday, December 12, 2016

Brewmaster muses on Beer and Cheese

Brewmaster on Real Beer and Real Food
Garrett Oliver in Oxford Companion to Cheese
Garrett Oliver

“You need real tomatoes to make tomato sauce.” 

Garrett Oliver started a Ballymaloe LitFest talk and beer tasting, with this line. Soon, he would delve into bread and cheese, including fake bread and fake cheese. 

Garrett played a key role as the brewing/culinary pairing concept reached a critical turning point in 2003, according to the newly published Beer FAQ by Jeff Cioletti. That was the year that Garrett's book, The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, saw its first publication. He was also the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer.

So it no surprise to see the dapper brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery listed as one of the 325 contributors to the just published Oxford Companion on Cheese.

Yes, you read correctly. Three hundred and twenty five contributors! A few Irish among them, including Darina Allen (right) and Gianna Ferguson, Timothy P. Guinee (Teagasc), Alan Kelly (UCC), P.L.H McSweeney (UCC) and Colin Sage (UCC). 

But Oliver, tasked with pairing beer with cheese, is in his comfort zone. And, as in Ballymaloe, he first refers to the 20th century industrialisation of food and beverages “into nearly unrecognisable facsimiles of themselves” before craft began to restore “variety, subletly and life”.
Gianna and Fingal
Ferguson of Gubbeen
And so, in speaking of pairing, Garrett is talking craft and artisan. And he outlines the reasons why beer and cheese go so well together and, as always, he doesn't fail to boot wine down the list as a contender! In Ballymaloe, he said champagne comes in a beer bottle, not the other way round!

In quite a hefty contribution, he goes through all the types of beer, from light ales to Imperial Stouts. You’ll have to get the book to see all the possibilities but let's have a look in the middle of the list under the heading Wheat Beers and Saisons.

“Wheat beers..are slightly acidic, fruity, spritzy, and refreshing as well as low in bitterness. In contrast, the Belgian farmhouse saison style tends to add sharper bitterness, often alongside peppery notes. These beers make great matches for tangy fresh goats cheeses, and can be a great way to start off a cheese and beer tasting.”
Brewer's Gold from Ireland's Little Milk Co.
I presume some of you will remember the processed cheeses of our childhood, packaged in single serve portions, often foil-wrapped triangles. Names such as Calvita (the word apparently a mix of calcium and vitamin), Galtee, Whitethorn, come to mind. Well, the book reveals that the first such cheese (1921) was the French Laughing Cow.
In the Basque country - Brebis with black cherry jam.
At home in Ireland, I use loganberry jam.

This book is huge and is very inclusive indeed with no less than 855 entries and claims to be the most comprehensive reference work on cheese available. It is well written, well edited and both the expert and professional will find something of value. But it is not the type of book I’d read from start to finish.

It is one to dip into and that is what I’m doing here, just to give you a flavour. So if you want to look up kashkaval, you’ll find it is a hard cheese from the Balkans. Preveli is a semi-hard Croatian cheese.
Coolea
Want to get technical? Did you know that “stewing” is part of the process? That “stretching” refers to the traditional method of making Mozzarella? That “green cheese” refers not to a cheese that is green in colour but rather to a new, young, as-of-yet unaged, or underripe? That the holes in Gouda or Edam are not called holes but “eyes”?

And it is not just technical. There are many practical entries. Perhaps one that we could all read is under Home Cheese Care. Here you’ll read that the fridge may be bad for your cheese as it can be too cold for some aged styles.

And there are quite a few entries on the history of cheese around the world, including the Americas. Indeed, the book is published in the US. Was it Irish monks that first brought cheesemaking skills to St Gallen in Switzerland? Nowadays, in a possible reverse, you can get a lovely St Gall from the Fermoy Natural Cheese Company.

And how come it is only over the past forty years or so that Irish cheese is on the rise, Irish artisan cheese that is. In the Ireland entry, you read that by the 17th century, many distinctive aspects of Irish life and culture, including the Gaelic Farm economy and the native cheesemaking tradition, had been killed off by decades of oppressive English law. It took us an overly long time to recover!
Mobile Milking in Swiss mountains

Cashel Blue, as far as I can see, is the one Irish cheese to get an entry to itself. Cheeses, most of them famous, from all over the world are highlighted, including from places such as Turkey and Iran. 

Hundreds of cheeses then but here are just a few of the better known ones that you may read about: Camembert, Chabichou, Cheshire, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyere, Jack, Livarot, Mont d’Or, Ossau-iraty, Parmigiana Reggiani, Pecorino, Raclette, Reblochon, Stilton, Tomme, and Wensleydale.

And, by the way, Garret Oliver didn't get the matching field to himself! There is also an entry on wine pairing by Tara Q. Thomas!

The Oxford Companion to Cheese (December 2016), is edited by Catherine Donnelly, published by the Oxford University Press. Price: £40.00.

* The book also lists cheese museums around the world. None in Ireland, yet!


See also:

Veronica Steele. Pioneer in Irish cheese. Focus too on County Cork





Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Taste of the Week. St Gall Cheese.

Taste of the Week

St Gall Cheese
Fermoy Natural Cheese Company is a small family farm run by Frank and Gudrun Shinnick. The farm uses raw milk from their Friesian cows to produce several varieties of cheeses, yogurt, kefir, labneh, and raw milk. Gudrun learned her cheesemaking skills in her native Germany and later in Switzerland.

St Gall, it is said, was an Irish monk who brought cheese-making skills to Appenzell in Switzerland. And this Fermoy cheese, available at On the Pig’s Back in the English Market, is based on a recipe for the Swiss cheese.

St Gall is hard and dry, with a pale golden colour and scattering of small holes. In the mouth it is smooth with a creamy sweetness, a very lovely taste with a slight herby flavour. A delightful cheese and our Taste of the Week.

I certainly enjoyed my few slices at lunchtime but the guidebooks recommend using this cooked hard cheese in fondues and sauces. You might also consider grating it in recipes which call for grated gruyere. St Gall is a good cooking cheese as it keeps its flavour well when melted.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Superb Kale, and so much more, at Killavullen Market

Superb Kale at Killavullen Market
"Throw in a few beans, please!"

Delighted I made it to the Killavullen Farmers Market last Saturday. Brought the bags, as usual - no point in going to a market unless you bring bags - and filled them up.

A big welcome and lots of good things to eat and drink here. Rory and his Kildinan Farm organic stall caught the eye and not just because of his colourful vegetables (including yellow courgettes and black and yellow beans) but also because of his selection of great looking kale.
He had three types for sale but we eventually went for the Nero di Tuscano. Glad we did. It is terrific. Big dark leaves, beautiful texture and oh so very tasty.

We used the Kale and the beans (the black goes green, the yellow white, when cooked!) with a beautiful piece of hake from Yawl Bay Seafoods (enhanced with some of that amazing IASC seafood butter, of course!), a lovely dish.

By coincidence, I came across this recipe on Twitter this morning: Maple Drizzled Strawberry Kale Salad. What do you think? If you're doing it, why not use the Highbank Orchard Syrup.


The Killavullen market is held about twice each month in the Nano Nagle Centre  on the Mallow-Fermoy Road and it is appropriate that organic produce features highly. The centre’s mission now “is to promote a vision of eco spirituality” and it runs a 32 acre organic farm here. Directions to the centre and the market here.

Indeed, the Nano Nagle centre has its own stall in the market and here we got some very flavoursome organic tomatoes. All of the stalls are indoor, sheltered under a large polytunnel so the market is weather-proofed. Great idea.

Much to buy here. We got a few bars of the gorgeous Clonakilty Chocolate (including my Himalayan Salt favourite!) and  a lovely Spelt and Honey loaf from a well stocked bakery stall. And of course who could pass the Fermoy Natural Cheese stall? Not me. Enjoyed a lovely chat with Gudrun Shinnick as I sampled the cheese and bought some of her famous Cais Dubh and also some of the same cheese embedded with fenugreek seeds. She also has milk and kefir on sale here.

Fermoy Natural Cheese
A quote from the market site just to give you a better idea of what is available: The products available are numerous including local fresh organic vegetables and eggs, imported fruit and vegetables from small producers to complement the local, potatoes and preserves, award winning cheeses, apples and apple juice, bread and baking, flowers and plants, knits and crochet, jewellery and candles, natural soaps and organic essential oils, environmentally friendly cleaning products, personalised poetry and greeting cards, charity bookstall, recycled paper products and fair trade products available at tea and coffee stall. The market received a Cork Environmental Award in 2009.

Kathy and her skin care stall
Last Saturday was also a special Arts and Food Celebration so there was even more to enjoy, including a pottery-making stand where you, or at least the kids, could get hands-on experience.

We came across a vibrant looking herb stall on the way out and saw a pot of basil with smaller leaves than usual. If I remember rightly, it is a Greek basil. Correct name or not, it is now standing on the kitchen windowsill.

Peace on the Blackwater. The river flows by the Nano Nagle Centre
You can also have a cup of tea or coffee and some home baking, maybe before or after the market or perhaps after taking one of several walks through the centre. We did the Cosmic Walk and that took us past a very large and impressive sundial.

Then we strolled through the animal enclosures, a couple of donkeys grazing, two pigs poking in the dust with their snouts and grunting happily and a community of hens clucking. Down  a few steps then to a field where a curious calf stared back and a few minutes later we were on the peaceful banks of the lovely Blackwater. After the walk, it was back to the car and a quiet cross country drive through the drizzly hills as we returned to the city.

Sundial.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fermoy Natural Cheese Company

FERMOY CHEESE
Met Frank from the Fermoy Natural Cheese Company at the Cork Good Food Week and meant to get around to their products before now. The small company is found in Strawhall, Fermoy and makes Raw Cows Milk Specialty Cheese. Frank and Gudrun Shinnick are members of Good Food Ireland and CAIS (Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association).

They make five different cheeses: Cais Dubh, Cais Rua, Saint Brigid, Saint Gall and Hibernian. Hibernian is not easy to find but the others can be bought at the farmers markets (at Mark Hosford's stalls) and at the Pig’s Back in the English Market. Nash 19 also use them in their restaurant.

And indeed it was Mairéad from Nash 19 that directed me over to the Pig’s Back where I bought a wedge of St Gall. This is a hard Swiss type cheese and was certainly a hit in our house and I immediately added it to my short list of favourites.

St Brigid didn't go down as well – let’s say we had a disagreement. It is a semi-hard smeared ripened cheese and, though described as mild, is somewhat more pungent than St Gall. I certainly didn't find it overpowering, or anywhere near it, and would love to have it on my plate at anytime. Still, if forced to make a choice I would go for the five and a half star St Gall.

The Gudruns are an award winning couple as they picked up a Gold Medal double in the 2008 World Cheese Awards. The cheese is made from the milk of their pedigree Friesians who graze in the fertile valley of the Blackwater.
Now for the Cais Dubh and the Cais Rua!

Check out my review of Fermoy Natural Cheese Company - I am cork - on Qype