Taste of the Week.
Carraignamuc is the first cheese from the Lost Valley Dairy and Creamery near Inchigheela. It is a semi hard cheese made in a Tomme style and is our Taste of the Week.
Tomme? You may well ask. Tomme is an old name for cheese and you'll find lots of it in Eastern France in hilly and mountainy areas. It has a mild creamy flavour that is pleasant and lasts in the mouth. When we and the kids used to visit France on holidays, Tomme (usually de Savoie) was always on the shopping list. We liked it and, importantly when on holidays, so too did the kids.
The Lost Valley make it from the raw milk of their four cows (Gertrude, Tilda, Kate & Daisy), a mixed herd of Irish shorthorns and Droimeanns (some of you may remember the old song An Droimeann Donn Dilis). The cows are low yielding "and hardy, great for our rocky land".
"Our farm is spray free and we don't use chemical fertilisers. The land is managed in line with organic practices. ..we also keep goats, pet lambs, pigs, cats, dogs, some useless scrawny hens, ducks, geese and bees. Our pigs are reared on the waste whey from the cheesemaking."
Mike Parle and Darcie Mayland are the couple that run the farm and you can follow them on Instagram at thelostvalleydairy. Cheeses (they have a second - Rí na Mumhan) are available at various farmers markets, via Neighbourfood (where I got mine) and also online here.
By the way, I'm not alone in praise of this one. Carrignamuc won the Gold Medal for Hard/ Semi Hard Cheese Under 6 Mths: Cow Milk, at the CAIS Irish Cheese Awards on the 9th (a couple of hours after I had completed (or thought I had completed) this little write-up!