Tag Archives: Irish

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Cheese of the Week: Coolea


On a recent trip to my old stomping grounds in Santa Monica, CA, I wandered down Montana Avenue and into a delightful, relatively new cheese enterprise, Andrew’s Cheese Shop. Not only was the Andrew on hand, along with some hearty cheese tasters, he personally recommended a Coolea cheese from Ireland’s County Cork. “Outfreakingstanding” was his word for it, and he was right.

Coolea (pronounced Coo-LAY) is hand-made on a small Irish farm (near the town of Coolea) by the Willems family, which is now into its second generation of cheesemakers. The family emigrated to Ireland from the Netherlands, and they employ their wonderful Dutch methods (and recipe) to produce a cheese that is indeed Gouda-like. It’s nutty and mild, with a nice semi-firm texture and a very pleasing mouth feel. Other flavors begin to come through as it sits on the tongue. There’s a hint of the Irish farm, of the earth, sweet grasses and flowers, which Andrew says make this cheese an outstanding example of Terroir — of its taste bearing the land from which it was produced. If that weren’t enough, a nice caramel note comes on from the back of the mouth, along with more earthen tastes, something a little damp.

This is a very nice cheese. It’s solid, with a medley of meadow-y flavors. Because of the caramel aspect, it pairs especially nicely with grapes or with my favorite cheese-partner, a Warre’s Otima 20-year Tawny Port. Andrew recommends having it with an Amontillado Sherry. You could also go the ale route, to bring out the sweetness of the cheese and the uniqueness of the terroir.


Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Cheese of the Week: Irish Dubliner with Stout


With its deep green wax rind, Irish pedigree, and addition of Stout, could there be a better cheese with which to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? This cow’s milk cheese could be mistaken for Cheddar’s smooth cousin. Its buttery texture hits you slightly ahead of its taste, which is pleasingly mild, but also has a noticeable bite. The Stout adds a note of sweetness to the nutty Dubliner, making this a more complex cheese than might appear at first glance, or first bite. It’s a fine cheese for melting onto a sandwich, or serving with water crackers and a fruit spread like Dalmatia Orange Fig Spread. It can also stand up to strong, plain fruit, such as blackberries.

Happy St. Patrick’s!

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