Milleens - made from the milk of cows and the salt of the earth!
Milleens is a soft, washed-rind cheese made from cows’ milk on the rugged Beara peninsula of South West Ireland. The complex and delicate cheese is made from the milk of Friesian cows grazing the mountains and pastures of the peninsula. The Steele Family are generally credited with producing the first modern Irish Farmhouse cheese in 1976 and continuing to improve it over the following years, making Milleens the longest established Irish farmhouse cheese. It is still going strong; it is a regular award winner and features regularly on the cheese board of top class hotels and restaurants.
The cheese should be kept refrigerated and allowed to come to room temperature before eating. It continues to ripen and soften for up to three months after being made.
Milleens is a full fat, washed rind, cheese made from the milk of Friesian cows grazing the mountains and pastures of the peninsula. It has a mottled peach or sometimes orange, washed rind and within is a paste that goes from semi-firm to spilling cream. Milleens cheese matures within four to ten weeks after it is produced. The flavour is a complex mix of delicate herbs along with a spicy tang.
"A washed rind whole milk cheese from the mountainous Beara Peninsula of West Cork . . . rich, floral taste . . . sweet taste . . . and firm to creamy texture . . . real depth and body . . . wonderful pink orangey rind."
Juliet Harbutt, the Specialist Cheese Makers' Association Guide to the Cheeses of Britain and Ireland
Everything concerning Milleens cheese is done by hand. The filling of the vats and the mixing with starter and rennet. The straining of curds from the whey, the moulding and draining, the turning and, finally, the packing in cellophane and the labelling. Everything.
In 1997, Milleens Cheese was the winner of the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards held at Chelsea Barracks. In 2009 Milleens won Gold in the Great Taste Awards, and Silver in the World Cheese Awards.
It has been Supreme Champion of the British Cheese Awards and of the Royal Dublin Society Spring Show.
It was awarded best soft European Cheese at the London Cheese Show.
Food writer Ernie Whalley wrote: "It is quite simply the best cheese anyone, particularly anyone living in Ireland could buy. Uniquely wonderful aroma and flavour and stands for a symbol of our cheese making heritage since the 1970s. Utter fidelity to the cause of provenance and uncompromising quality. Without the pioneering work of Veronica, Norman et al we'd still be eating bloody Calvita. Not a big fan of awards but any accolade Milleens has ever won is richly deserved.”
Allow Milleens to come to room temperature before serving. Milleens is a fine cheese to use in cooking as it contains little or no lactose and therefore does not catch, burn, or brown. Use it in sauces, soufflés or other recipes involving cheese, such as pizzas or toasted rabbits.
In the cheese shop the Milleens is unwrapped on arrival and cosseted thereafter. For example, the retailer might wash the cheese in a saline solution (A teaspoon of salt to a half pint of water). He or she would certainly turn the cheese daily until ripened to their customers’ taste which very often corresponds to their own. Attempts by foreign moulds to colonize the cheese are thwarted by a sharp knife or the like.
Milleens measures 9 inches in diameter and weighs about three pounds (1.5kgs). We also make 4 inch Milleens, or Dotes which weighs about 200gms. 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit is the most suitable temperature at which to ripen. For storage purposes 4 degrees Celsius (Well wrapped to stop it drying out) is best. Wrap the cheese in a breathable material to stop it sweating too much.
Norman, Quinlan and Deirdre Steele
Milleens Cheese Ltd.,
Telephone: +00 353 (0)86 2105267