Say Cheeseeeeeeee.... - Jen's Kitchen

Say Cheeseeeeeeee….

Today, being theory day, was focusing on cheese and yoghurt production. I am a massive fan of cheese, and it was great to see that so much could be made on a domestic level.  We had Eddie O’Neill, from Teagasc, to instruct us in best practice when producing milk, cheese and yoghurt on both a domestic and commercial scale.  The highlight for me was Eddie’s cool tie!

Dairy Tie
Dairy Tie

When I studied food micro with Dr Upton in UCD all those years ago, I never thought, 20 years later I would be remembering the spelling of Lactobacillus thermophilus!  We spoke about lots of cheeses, and it particular Darina mentioned the “brown” cheese much eaten in Scandinavia- Brunost.  This cheese is made from caramelising the whey, and has a very specific taste. I read up on it tonight and came across an interesting story about it;

In January 2013, the Bratli Tunnel at  Tysfjord, Norway, was damaged when a lorry load of caramelised brunost caught fire. The high concentration of fat and sugar in the cheese caused it to burn fiercely at sufficiently high temperatures that the fire was still burning five days later!

Darina Allen and Eddie O'Neill
Darina Allen and Eddie O’Neill

I am not sure about making  cheese- it really involves an enormous amount of work- hats off to the artisan producers- but yoghurt, definitely, and maybe I’ll try my hand at butter.  As an aside if you are visiting the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore at any stage (HIGHLY recommended), the smoked butter is to DIE for.

Some cottage cheese and herbs made this morning by Darina
Some cottage cheese and herbs made this morning by Darina (NB it had been attacked by students

The morning flew, and we were all glad to partake in the obligatory tasting of the tray bakes.  My personal favourite was the raspberry and coconut one.

Beautiful traybakes prepared by the talented Tracey
Beautiful traybakes prepared by the talented Tracey

After lunch we were onto wine lecture 2.  Everyone was really looking forward to it, as Peter and Colm make it sound fun, while imparting an enormous amount of knowledge at the same time.  We covered a lot of material, and had 5 tastings.  For me, the surprise of the afternoon was how much I enjoyed the New Zealand Riesling. A sweet wine, Seifried Nelson “Sweet Agnes” Riesling, has transformed my jaundiced view of sweet wine (too much pouring of muscat de beaume de venise while waitressing in Truffles all those many years ago).  This wine bears no resemblance to the sickly sweetness, and syrupy mouthfeel often associated with sweet wines.  I will definitely be looking for a bottle (all donations gratefully accepted”)


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