Cheesemaker Jean-Baptiste Enjelvin from Hegarty’s Cheese who was awarded the title of Supreme Champion for Templegall at the 2021 Irish Cheese Awards. Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke

9 cheesemakers honoured at Irish Cheese Awards

Nine Irish farmhouse cheese producers from Cork were presented with awards included the most coveted title of the night Supreme Champion at the Irish Cheese Awards 2021, the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemaker’s prestigious gala.

Organised by CÁIS, the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers, the bi-annual event celebrates Ireland’s vibrant and thriving farmhouse cheese sector. Now in its ninth year, the all-island event, which is the only dedicated competition for the sector, received entries from over 50 companies which entered a total of 220 cheeses - the largest number of entries ever recorded for the event.

The keynote address at this year’s awards ceremony was delivered by Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Charlie McConalogue. He said: “The CÁIS Irish cheese awards showcase all that is great and good in our sector. An astonishing 220 cheeses, from mature to mild, which have been entered by 50 cheesemakers, have been judged which shows just the depth and breadth of talent in the sector. The wide range of cheese that is produced in Ireland is incredibly important in terms of increasing added value to our cheese sector.”

Award winning cheeses

From Cork, 23 awards were presented to Irish farmhouse cheese producers, recognising their stellar contributions to the sector, including:

Macroom Buffalo Cheese Products won silver and bronze awards

Ardsallagh Cheese from Carrigtohill received a silver award and two gold awards

Bluebell Falls from Charleville received a bronze award

Fermoy Natural Cheese received two silvers, a gold and a bronze award

Gubbeen Farmhouse Products from Schull received a silver award

Durrus Cheese from Coomkeen received two gold, a silver and a bronze award

Coolea Farmhouse Cheese from Mileeny received two silver awards

Hegarty’s Cheese from Whitechurch won The Supreme Champion award, a gold and a bronze award

Lost Valley Dairy and Creamery from Inchigeelagh received a gold award

An appreciation award was presented to Michael Horgan of Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies for his enormous contribution of Irish farmhouse cheese down through the years.

The cheeses entered were judged by a team of 15 experts with products assessed under the following criteria: aroma, flavour, body and texture, and overall appearance. Judging for the competition is blind with all packaging and labelling removed.

Tom Dinneen of Bo Rua and Chair of Cáis said: “For Irish farmhouse cheesemakers, the Irish Cheese Awards is an important date in our calendar, as we come together as a community to celebrate our achievements. This year the judges had the particularly difficult task of putting the eclectic variety of 220 cheeses entered to the taste test to identify their chosen worthy award-winners.”

Chef and MC Rory O’Connell said: “I feel immensely proud of the work of these wonderful artisans whose products play a key role in my cooking life. Cheese is almost unique in that it can seem appropriate to eat and any time of the day. Both at home and abroad there are few things that giving me greater pleasure than introducing my students and guests to the world class cheeses made here at home in Ireland.”

For a full list of awards and winners see