Calling all Cheese Lovers…
Our May blog featured chef Ruairí talking about his passion for the raw materials of his trade. "…the golden thread linking everything we do - the provenance of our product. It’s all sourced as locally as possible from suppliers with whom we’re on first name terms. Farm to fork may be a bit of a gastronomic cliché but it’s the aspiration and inspiration for all we do."
That was the moment we decided to get out to discover even more about our suppliers. In October we visited Eoin Sharkey and his forage fed, pasture reared, free range turkeys from our Christmas menu and this month we’re calling all cheese lovers to share our visit to Mullagha Farm in Slane, Co. Meath.
We met Michael Finegan on his 280 acre family farm in the Boyne Valley on a sunny autumn morning. The milking was done and Michael took some time out to talk to chef Ruairí about his goats, renovating a stone outhouse to house an artisan farmhouse cheese business and the production process he follows on cheese-making Mondays!
Mullagha Farm has been in the Finegan family since the early 1930’s and Michael and his wife Jenny run the goat’s milk and farmhouse cheese production business together. They met milking cows in New Zealand and started their goat’s milk business in 2007 and introduced their blue cheese in 2010. Most of their goat’s milk goes to Glenisk for goat’s milk and yoghurt production but they retain about 20% of the milk produced by their herd to almost 300 milkers to make their Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheeses.
The goats are milked twice a day at 6am and 4pm and on cheese making Mondays Michael starts production at 8am after the milking is finished. He took us through the impressive production, ripening and packaging facility he has housed in a stone outhouse on the farm. Their cheese making story started with what is now an award winning Blue Goats Cheese and they have since developed a Bán or white goat’s cheese – both delicious unique artisan farmhouse cheeses.
Ruairí was in his element! He’s already using the Blue on cheeseboards, in salads and on steaks but he came away with lots of ideas for the Blue and the Bán of the Boyne Valley!
Extraordinary Catering Awaits