Galway Farmhouse Cheesemakers Scoop Honours At The CÁIS 2024 Irish Cheese Awards

Galway Farmhouse Cheesemakers Scoop Honours At The CÁIS 2024 Irish Cheese Awards
Portumna-based Farmhouse Cheesemaker, Marion Roeleveld (left), of Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, being presented with the Gold award in the ”Hard Cheese (Flavour Added)’ category at the 2024 Irish Cheese Awards by broadcaster and MC for the event, Bobby Kerr (right). Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke

Two Farmhouse Cheesemakers from Galway were honoured last week at the 2024 Irish Cheese Awards during a prestigious ceremony hosted by CÁIS, the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers.

Between them, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese from Portumna and Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese from Loughrea took home a total of four awards.

The biennial celebration of Ireland’s farmhouse cheesemakers, now in its tenth year, named winners across seventeen distinct categories, culminating in naming one winner as this year’s ‘Supreme Champion’.

This followed a rigorous judging process that was undertaken by a high calibre panel of Irish and international cheese experts at Teagasc’s Ashtown Food Research Centre last month.

Together, the thirteen judges tasted 175 different cheeses produced by forty-three businesses located across the island of Ireland; from Dart Mountain to Durrus, and Arklow to Aillwee Cave.

Each cheese was individually scored on aroma, flavour, body, texture, and overall appearance in order to select this year’s worthy winners.

Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, which is made in Portumna, scooped two Irish Cheese Awards.

Their ‘Killeen Goat Fenugreek Cheese’, a Gouda style goat’s cheese that has a fresh, clean milky flavour accented by fenugreek seeds throughout, was named the winner (Gold award) of the ‘Hard Cheese (Flavour Added)’ category.

Additionally, in the ‘Hard/Semi-Hard Cheese Under 6 Months’ category their ‘Killeen Goat Mature Cheese’ picked up a Bronze.

The heart of Killeen Farmhouse Cheese near Portumna in south Galway is their 50-acre goat farm, where Dutch natives, Marion Roeleveld, and her husband, Haske, have been hand-making a range of traditional cheeses using milk from their herd of 200 goats since 2004.

All the grass and silage on which the goats feed is grown there, supplemented by meal mixed on-site, containing beans, peas, beet pulp and oats, meaning that the Roeleveld’s know exactly what their animals are eating and thus, what goes into their cheeses.

Jasmin Astl left Teresa Roche centre and Maura Larkin right all of Loughrea based Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese. Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke

Galway was also proudly represented at the 2024 Irish Cheese Awards by Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese, which also took home two awards.

In the ‘Hard Cheese (Flavour Added)’ category, their ‘Kylemore Blossom’ cheese, which has organic edible flowers on the outside that act like a herb and impart a lovely aroma, was awarded a Silver.

And, their ‘Coolfin’ cheese picked up a Bronze in the ‘Mature Hard Cheese Aged Over 6 Months’ category.

Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese is produced directly on cheesemaker Teresa Roche’s farm in Loughrea, made using milk from her own grass-fed pedigree herd of dairy cows. Her unique award-winning cheese is inspired by cheeses from the Swiss Alps.

It is only produced from April through to October and is matured for a minimum of 5 months, resulting in a natural washed rind cheese that has a creamy, nutty, and buttery flavour.

Galway Daily