Rosemary O’Shea from Tullahay Farm was awarded the Bronze “New Cheese: All Types” for its Farm Fresh Soft Cheese.
Three Irish Farmhouse Cheese producers from Tipperary were presented with awards at the 2021 Irish Cheese Awards on Tuesday night.
The Tipperary cheese producers received four awards recognising their stellar contributions to the sector, including:
•Cooleeney Cheese from Moyne, received the Bronze “Soft White Cheese: All Milk Types” award for its Cooleeney cheese
•Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers from Cashel received the Gold and Bronze awards in the “Blue Cheese: All Milk Types” category for its Cashel Blue Cheese and Crozier Blue Cheese
•Tullahay Farm from Carrick-on-Suir received the Bronze “New Cheese: All Types” award for its Farm Fresh Soft Cheese
The awards were announced at the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemaker’s prestigious gala organised by Cáis, the association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers.
The bi-annual event, which took place at the esteemed Kilruddery House in Bray, Co. Wicklow, celebrates Ireland’s vibrant and thriving farmhouse cheese sector.
Now in its ninth year, the all-island event, which is the only dedicated competition for the sector, received entries from over 50 companies which entered a total of 220 cheeses - the largest number of entries ever recorded for the event.
The keynote address at this year’s awards ceremony was delivered by Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD.
He said: “The CAIS Irish cheese awards showcase all that is great and good in our sector. I offer my congratulations to all those who have been nominated as well as those who receive awards. An astonishing 220 cheeses, from mature to mild, which have been entered by 50 cheesemakers, have been judged which shows just the depth and breadth of talent in the sector.
The wide range of cheese that is produced in Ireland is incredibly important in terms of increasing added value to our cheese sector. The quality of Irish milk produced from our sustainable grass-based production system contributes enormously to the success of the Irish cheese industry.
“I again congratulate the winners as well as those who were nominated. Their hard work and dedication to the craft of cheese mongering is one of the main reasons Ireland has such an impressively successful cheese sector,” he added.
The cheeses entered were judged by a team of 15 experts with products assessed under the following criteria: aroma, flavour, body and texture, and overall appearance.
Judging for the competition is ‘blind’ with all packaging and labelling removed allowing each cheese to speak for itself.
Tom Dinneen of Bo Rua and Chair of Cáis said: “For Irish farmhouse cheesemakers the Irish Cheese Awards is an important date in our calendar, as we come together as a community to celebrate our achievements. This year the judges had the particularly difficult task of putting the eclectic variety of 220 cheeses entered to the taste test to identify their chosen worthy award-winners.
“While the Irish Cheese Awards recognise individual excellence, every farmhouse cheesemaker can take an equal share of the credit for the outstanding contribution that the sector continues to make to Irish food culture, our rural communities and the dairy industry,” he added.
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