Meet The Cheese Makers – Helen Finnegan

Helen is the local representative in this Meet The Cheese Makers event on 5th April and what a great one to have with her award winning goats cheese.

The extra special Ardkeen Stores in Waterford put up this video of Helen so thanks guys 🙂


More information and booking here.


Meet The Cheese Makers – Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith

Siobhan is one of the 3 cheese makers we will be chatting with on April 5th.

St Tola won the Supreme Champion award for Irish farmhouse cheeses at Bloom in June 2013 and in the video below shot on the day she shares the story of her cheese.


Meet The Cheese Makers – April 5th @ 6pm

Next up is cheese. Obviously a strange one for me as I haven’t tasted cheese since 1990 but it is the food I miss the most 🙂

Date: Saturday 5th April 2014
Time: 6pm (sharp’ish) for 2 hours or thereabouts.

Venue: Highbank Orchard – You will also be able to sample and buy from the wonderful range of Highbank Ciders – Proper, Medieval and Drivers.

Map showing entrance to Highbank –

Link to buy tickets (only €5 to join us)


Meet The Cheese Makers Biabeag

From right to left:

Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith – St Tola: Irish Organic Goat Cheese, Co Clare
Siobhan’s approach to cheese is probably best captured in this piece from the McKennas “The cheeses can seem to taste entirely elemental, for Ms ni Ghairbhith uses organic methods, and doesn’t pasteurise her milk.”

Tom Burgess – Coolattin Cheddar: Mature Raw Milk Cheddar, Co Wicklow
Tom’s Mature Raw Milk Cheddar is a  a gourmet experience of aroma, texture & full flavour which develops slowly from sweet fruit to a full nutty note.


Helen Finnegan – Knockdrinna Cheese: Mature Raw Milk Cheddar, Co Kilkenny
Helen is a local hero and most recently her Knockdrinna Gold semi-hard goats cheese at the 2013 British Cheese Awards where it was named ‘Best Modern British’.


[Thanks to Aoife, TheDailySpud for permission to use her shot of Helen]

What happens on the night?
We will get to hear from each of our guests who will share their stories and passion for cheese with you, the audience, driving the questions and discussions. While we talk we will get to taste some samples of their award winning cheeses while their makers explain the subtle tastes of each one.

The makers will also have cheeses available to buy downstairs while you are enjoying the Highbank juices and ciders.

Curious about what the evening might be like? We had Meet The Bakers on 25th January



Its €5 to join us. Click here to book.

If you want to be sent an email when events are scheduled click here


Some fun with the winners – Blas Na hEireann 2011

I really enjoyed my attendance (for the first time) at the Blas awards last night in Dingle.

While I was live tweeting on the night and so making the winners available as they happened there is a full and accurate list up on the Blas website here.

For the fun of it I took the text from that page, stripped out repeated phrases like Gold, Silver etc and ran it through Wordle. This is what it produced:

Conclusions from that (with the most frequently used words in largest font sizes):

* Chocolate and Bacon are two favorites in Ireland and we like our food Smoked.

* Aldi dominated these awards from the multiples perspective with Supervalu coming in second.

If you click on the image it will bring you through to a larger version on the Wordle site.


Irish winners in the British Cheese Awards 23rd Sept 2011

A number of Irish farmhouse Cheese brands did really well in these awards – The British Cheese Awards which were announced yesterday in Cardiff).

Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese

This one was special – it was the Top Dog 🙂 The Kilkree cheese from Knockdrinna scooped the Supreme Champion overall award as well as the Best Irish and Best Semi-Soft. Its produced here in Kilkenny by Helen Finnegan and her team.

This is Helen at the Savour Kilkenny food festival 2010. I have known Helen for years and she is passionate, hard working and supportive of her fellow producers. Well deserved.

Meanwhile best Goat Cheese was won by the Galway based Killeen Farmhouse Cheese.

Great to see artisan food producers from Ireland consistently winning overseas – says so much for the strength of this sector in Ireland


Dingle Food Festival next weekend (30th Sept to 2nd Oct 11)

I am looking forward to attending the Dingle Food Festival – my first time in Dingle (that I can remember) and definitely my first time at the Blas na hEireann awards which are held on the Saturday.

I like food festivals because of the opportunity they give to meet loads of food producers in one place – and in Dingle the addition of 2 special visits will make it really good. Thanks to Aoife (on behalf of Irish Food Bloggers Association) for organising the special food bloggers schedule for us.

Here are the events I will be going to:

Friday 5 – 7pm: The Dingle Brewing company holding an event where they showcase their first beer (Tom Crean) and also products from local producers such as Ted Brown Seafood, Thomas Bric goat cheese and milk, Maja Binder cheese maker, The Little Cheese Shop, Reel Dingle Fish & Chip Shop, Gerry O’Sullivan Blasket Island Lamb, Lispole Free Range eggs and Baccus Bakery

Saturday 10am: Ice Cream Masterclass with Kieran Murphy

10 – 2pm: Farmers Market taking over the entire town and including regular stallholders alongside Blas Awards entrants.

And then 2 Blas events – a 1pm to 3pm networking event with producers, judges, retailers, press and us food bloggers. Leading onto the awards ceremony from 6pm to 8pm that night.

Let me know if you are going to be around for the weekend?


2 Kilkenny artisan food businesses share Joint National Organic Award

Just had a call from a delighted Julie Calder-Pott (Highbank Orchard Syrup) who told me that herself and Kitty Colchester (Second Nature Oil) have just won a joint Best Grocery Product Award in the Bord Bia National Organic Awards which were announced today.

Julie at the Amazing Grazing event in Waterford yesterday

Kitty at the same event

A worthy runner up in the same category was Pat Lawlor of Kilbeggan Organic Porridge fame.

You can see Pat in a recent post here.

Great news for the Klkenny duo :-). Congrats all