Best Irish Cheese Farmhouses in County Cork
With a name like Erin, it's hard not to have family in Ireland. Last month, I was on an Aer Lingus flight to County Cork to see the Irish brethren, and along the way stopped at some cheese farmhouses. Most are teeny-tiny, with more sheep and cows than actual humans on property. Hardly any have formal visiting hours, but given the country's push for high-speed broadband net services, most farmers actually have email and are happy to orchestrate mini tours! (Fresh, free samples—what?)
In honor of St. Patrick's Day next week, here's our guide to the best rural cheese farmhouses in County Cork, Ireland.
About the author: Erin Zimmer, our Washington, D.C., correspondent, is a new media analyst and frequently writes for Washingtonian, DCist, and other local publications. While Georgetown's food columnist, she investigated the cafeteria's omelet station, Hoya coffeeshop's cultish pumpkin muffins, and what exactly the basketball players ate.
Address: Coomkeen, Durrus, Co. Cork, Ireland.
Phone: +353 (0)27 61100
Description: The coral-colored rind protects a semi-soft cow's milk cheese with a funky (but good funky) flavor—hints of the Atlantic, wet grass and the Irish soil. Works well for fondue.
Contact Info for Tours: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Gubbeen House, Schull, Co. Cork, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)28 27824
Description: Award-winning throughout the country, the semi-soft cheese (also in an oak-smoked flavor) gets a lot of TLC from the farm owners, the Ferguson family. Husband-and-wife team Tom and Giana, with their son Fingal, wash the cheeses daily, as well as run the Smokehouse with chorizo, salami and "rashers" (Irish bacon).
Contact Info for Tours: email@example.com
Ardagh Castle Cheese
Address: Ardagh, Co. Cork, Ireland
Description: Goat's milk cheese, pressed and matured for a minimum of eight weeks, slightly crumbly like feta.
Contact Info for Tours: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Milleens, Beara, Co. Cork, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)27 74079
Description: A soft washed-rind cheese (pinkish-orange on the outside) made of cow's milk. While they still mooed, these cows were grazing on the Mishkish Mountain slope, overlooking the Atlantic.
Contact Info for Tours: email@example.com