Louis and Jane Grubb returned to the family farm in Tipperary, Ireland in the late 1970s. Prior to this they had been working in agricultural research in the west of Ireland. Their initial intention was to establish a commercial dairy herd but in light of changes in European Agricultural policy, and after some experimentation in their kitchen, they started making Cashel Blue. At the time there was no blue cheese being made in Ireland. They were a part of the resurgence of Irish farmhouse cheesemaking which had been underway since the late seventies.
In 2003 their daughter Sarah and her husband Sergio took on the running of the business. Geurt van den Dikkenberg is their cheesemaker. A feature of their dairy is inventive and intelligent use of machines, which ease cheesemaker stress, allowing them to focus on curd quality. The family are conscious of resisting mechanisation that could harm the unique characteristics of the cheese. All the work in the vat is done by hand still.
Cashel Blue is made all year round using a combination of the milk produced on their own 200 acre farm and bought in milk from a maximum radius of 25km from the cheese house. We select cheeses which we can mature for three to four months. This longer maturation helps to develop its rich, creamy texture and well-rounded flavour.
It can sometimes be hard to know how much cheese to buy. If you are at all unsure please give us a call for some advice. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend roughly between 100 and 150 grams per person for after dinner, and a bit more if cheese is the focus of the meal.
If you are buying cheese to serve over a couple of days or as part of a buffet, it is advisable to buy a few larger pieces. This will both look better and keep better than many small bits.
To help visualise weights, a good tip is to consider that a regular supermarket pat of butter weighs between 200 and 250 grams.
Farmhouse cheese is handmade and thus varies with each day’s production and changes as it matures. As such it is necessary to apply a common sense approach to cheese care and respond to the cheese you have in front of you, as opposed to following rigid guidelines. Here are some pointers which will help you to ensure you eat your cheese at its best.
We sell our cheese wrapped in waxed cheese paper, which achieves the best possible balance between maintaining humidity around the cheese and allowing it to breathe. We are happy to provide some extra cheese paper, you can add some to your basket by visiting “accompaniments“. If you wrap your cheese in cling film or foil, it can cause the cheese to sweat which will negatively affect the flavour.
Cut pieces of cheese should be kept in the refrigerator to slow the growth of mould on their cut surfaces. However, it is important to be aware that refrigerated cheese is more likely to dry out, particularly if it is not wrapped. The best option is to keep the cheese wrapped in its waxed paper within a box in the fridge. The container will help to prevent the cheese from drying out and prevent the cheese from absorbing flavours.
It is very important not to serve your cheese when it’s too cold as cold cheese can taste bland and inert. As a general rule of thumb you should bring it out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to serve it. You should keep your cheese wrapped whilst it is coming up to room temperature, to avoid any risk of it drying out. If it is especially warm you should reduce the amount of time the cheese is out of the fridge accordingly.