Slow Food

Ireland at Cheese 2009

Italy - 25 Jun 09

Ireland is one of the stars of Cheese 2009, with many events dedicated to the country’s cheesemaking. During the Taste Workshops cheesemakers, affineurs (cheese agers) and buyers plus Slow Food experts will guide you through a tasting of a selection of cheeses. You will receive direct information about the products, compare them, sample them, discover the best pairings and refine your senses so that you can make conscious choices. Here are the ones starring Ireland: Saturday September 19, 7 pm at Scuole Maschili International Blues and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena - LC018 Explore the unusual pairing of these two extraordinary natural products, both of which rely on the slow action of specific bacteria and the skill of artisans to reach their full potential. You’ll sample a selection of blue cheeses from Italy, France, the UK and Ireland, paired with traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena aged for at least 25 years, presented by Luca Gozzoli, “Gran Maestro” of the Spilamberto-based Guild of Modena Balsamic Vinegar. To drink, wines and special spirits imported by Fazi Battaglia. Sunday September 20, 1 pm at Liceo Scientifico Giolitti Five European Affineurs and Their Favorite Cheeses - LC020 Five of the best international affineurs at Cheese will introduce you to the cheese that best represents their work. Five exceptional examples will show you the heights that cheese can reach. Representatives from Neal’s Yard Dairy in the UK, Hervé Mons in France, Manuel Maia from Tradifoods in Portugal, Poncelet in Spain and Sheridans Cheesemongers in Ireland will talk about how they search out, select and age cheeses, and present their own cheese alongside its perfect pairing. The Presidium Ireland will be featured in the seventh Cheese with Irish Raw Cow’s Milk Cheese, a Slow Food Presidium that will have an exhibition space in Via Principi di Piemonte, the street dedicated to showcasing protection, promotion, consultation and support projects put into practice by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in Italy and abroad. Ancient texts naming and describing the cheeses once made in Ireland’s lush green pastures date back to the 8th century. Irish cheesemakers once produced a wide variety of cheeses: Tanag and Grus were hard pressed skim milk cheeses, Faiscre Grotha was a fresh type of pressed curd cheese and Tath was made from sour milk curds. The diversity of the products can also be gauged by the coagulants referred to in old texts: animal rennet, both calf and lamb, was used, but also Irish moss (carraigin) and bog violet (mothan).
In the 1970s a loose association of artisan producers reintroduced cheese-making on a small scale in rural Ireland and this soon grew to thirty small dairies. Driven by a mixture of idealism and the need to make a living from their farms, this new generation of cheese-makers drew upon skills and knowledge from all over the world. Using the same raw materials that served the ancient cheese-makers of Ireland so well, they made a diverse array of new cheeses from local, fresh raw milk. Each cheese-maker developed products that reflected their own personalities, experiences and interests, and today these cheeses are not only associated with a particular place but with an individual cheese-maker. 
Irish specialist cheeses have won international acclaim, but only a handful of the “new traditionalists” still use raw milk in the production of their unique cheeses. The Presidium will celebrate the distinctive merits of these cheeses and, by working to protect them for future enjoyment, continue the revival of this island’s cheese-making traditions. 

The Presidium is made up of eight artisan producers each with their own distinctive style of cheese-making but who share a common commitment to producing a safe, high quality product using raw milk sourced from their own or nearby herds. Amongst the criteria included in this protocol are that dairy herds feed principally on pasture for eight or nine months of the year; that each batch of milk for cheese making should comprise no more than three milkings; and that the distance between milking parlor and dairy should be kept to a minimum. 
The purpose of the project is to encourage and support raw cow’s milk cheese producers throughout Ireland and to widen appreciation for this product. The objectives are to raise awareness among consumers, retailers and food policy experts of the quality of raw milk cheeses, and to defend the right of small producers to make raw milk cheese in Ireland. 

 Production Area 
 The entire Island of Ireland Presidium Coordinators Kevin Sheridan

 Colin Sage

 Jeffa Gill,