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Cheese awards are coming to Cork!

Thursday, 17th October, 2019 8:49am

Cheese is a passion of mine – so much so that I have made it for the last 30 years since I learned how in Turkey.

The upcoming Irish Cheese Awards by CÁIS are especially close to my heart this year as I am organizing the awards ceremony – a big responsibility, as cheesemakers deserve to be celebrated for their hard work and great achievements.

The event is taking place in the Metropole Hotel Cork and head chef Stuart and I have come up with a mouthwatering menu that includes winning cheeses from the 2017 awards.

It is quite easy for chefs to incorporate cheese into their cooking so I have asked a few chefs to share their recipes, which you can find on

The judging of the awards took place last week in the Bord Bia building in Dublin and we had some amazing judges secured like Ross Lewis of Chapter One, Catherine Fulvio, Patrick and Russel of GastroGays, Dr John McKenna as well as the Ornua expert cheddar grader Enda Howley among others.

225 cheeses were tasted and our judges were deeply impressed by the high standard and excellent of Irish cheeses (we have also international judges on the panel). This didn’t make the task of finding the best of the best any easier as the majority of submitted cheeses deserve recognition.

For the first time, CÁIS is inviting the public to cast their vote on their favourite cheese. Head over to to be in for a chance to win two tickets to the award’s night where the winners will be announced.

Keep Thursday 7 November free if you would like to rub shoulders with the best cheesemakers in the country, be the first to know who won and enjoy some delicious food. Early bird tickets for €59 (includes a five-course dinner incl. wine) are available now on Eventbrite.

Being a judge on the panel of any award isn’t easy but it is especially difficult with cheese. We all have our own likes and dislikes, which need to be left behind at the tasting. Appearance, texture, aroma are as important as the taste.

Personally, I love gooey and strong cheeses – this type of cheese can look quite rough while young cheese has a very appealing appearance while flavour would be too mild for me.

I always recommend going to a cheesemonger and trying cheese before buying (you can’t do that in a supermarket). The people in a proper cheese shop are trained, have tried the cheeses and will be able to tell you about each one.

Start with the milder ones – pretty soon you want to try others and the world of cheese will open up to you.

One way of starting is to join us at the dinner in November (just a very subtle hint here!). The Irish Cheese Awards are sponsored by Ornua, Bord Bia and Pallas Foods.

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