By Stephen Cadogan
Killeen Farmhouse, Co Galway, was the big Irish winner at the 2018 British Cheese Awards which took place at the Royal Bath and West Show in Somerset, England.
Their Killeen Goat Mature Cheese won both the awards for Best Modern British and Best Cheese of a member of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
There was a big win also for Dairygold Food Ingredients Ltd, with their American Style Soft Cheese, named the Best Fresh Cheese of the show.
The Best Irish Cheese award went to Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese for Boyne Valley Bán.
Carbery in West Cork won the coveted DuPont Danisco Grand Prix award for Best Maker of Finest Mature Cheddar, with its Carbery Cracker Cheddar Cheese.
A multitude of medals for Irish cheeses in the class awards provided proof of their high standing.
These included gold medals for Dairygold’s American Style Soft Cheese; Boyne Valley Bán; and Killeen Goat Mature, before all three went on to win overall show awards.
There were also gold medals for Carbery’s Extra Mature White Cheddar, Dairygold’s Mature White Cheddar; and Gubbeen Gold, also from Co Cork. There were silver medals for Carbery’s Mature White Cheddar, Vintage White Cheddar, and White Reduced Fat Cheddar; Dairygold’s Irish Emmental; St Tola Ash Log 500g made in Co Clare; Wicklow Blue Brie; and Cashel Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers’ Crozier Blue.
There were bronze medals for Carbery’s Mature White Cheddar, White Reduced Fat Cheddar, Red Leicester, and White Cheddar with Red Chilli; and for Cashel Blue; Extra Mature Smoked Gubbeen; Burren Gold Black Pepper cheese from the Aillwee Cave Co in Co Clare; and Mount Leinster Cheddar from Coolattin Cheddar, Co Carlow.
Now in its 25th year, the British Cheese Awards attracted over 1,000 entries this year.
Jerry O’Sullivan, Carbery Group Cheese Production Manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved such a high success rate at this year’s British Cheese Awards, including the tightly contested Grand Prix award.
“The fact that we entered just 14 cheeses and won with nine of them from a field of over 1,000 entries is a wonderful testament to the superb quality of the cheeses we produce in Ballineen.
The Carbery cheese facility at Ballineen is the largest single cheese-producing facility in the country, producing almost 25% of Ireland’s annual cheese output.