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  • The story of cheese

    Ireland enjoys ideal conditions for cheese-making: abundant rainfall, green grass and richly flavoured milk.

    However, until the first wave of modern cheese-makers began their revival in the 1970s, the Irish farmhouse cheese-making tradition had been largely dormant since the 17th century, when butter’s considerable commercial value made it a more viable dairy product.

    Historically, it is thought that early Irish monks tried their hand at cheese-making and that the Romans may have brought their cheese-making skills to these shores. By medieval times, Irish cheese-making was so sophisticated that the names of several types of hard, soft, pressed and even flavoured cheeses are recorded in old Irish literary texts.

    Today Ireland boasts over 60 small-scale cheese-makers creating some 200 individual cheese varieties. Two thirds of these are clustered in Munster, and are predominantly produced from cow’s milk, although excellent goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses are also available countrywide.

    St Tola’s goats cheese filo parcels with spiced beetroot & pear chuntney

    St Tola goats cheese

    Quantity Ingredients
    240g St Tola's goats cheese mature log
    1 packet filo pastry
    2 tsp chives, chopped
    ¼ lime zest
    ½ lemon zest
    1 pinch cracked black pepper
    For the chutney:  
    1 raw medium sized fresh beetroot
    2 pears (hard)
    2 tomatoes
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    3 sprigs thyme
    ½ bay leaf
    ½ red onion
    1 small cooking apple
    10  raisins
    6 sultanas
    ½ green chilli, finely diced
    For the syrup:  
    2 tsp honey
    4 tbsp brown sugar
    8 tbsp cider vinegar
    3 tbsp wine wine
    ½ star anise
    ¼  cinnamon stick


    1. Mix cheese, chives and zests together, season with pepper and shape into small balls about 20g each.

    2. Defrost the filo pastry and cut into squares 10cm x 10cm (store under damp cloth to prevent drying out).

    3. Brush one square with butter and place another on top.

    4. Put a cheese ball in centre of the square and brush around pastry with butter. Pull up pastry to form parcel and press firmly with fingers to seal. Leave on floured tray, repeat 11 times more.

    5. When ready to cook, bake in a hot oven until golden brown.

    6. Put all the chutney and syrup ingredients in a pot, cover and cook for 1 hour on a very low heat stirring frequently.

    7. When all the liquid has evaporated and the chutney is of a spooning consistency, place in a sterilized jar. Cool and store in fridge.

    8. Serve the parcels with the chutney, dressed mizuna leaves, toasted seeds and a slice of pear.

    Did You Know?

    ... that Ireland boasts more types of farmhouse cheese per capita than our French neighbours?

    230x100 Siobhan-Ni-Ghairbhith Original

    Find out more about the creator of this delicious recipe.

    Read more about Food Champion Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith

    St Tola’s cheese is very versatile and can be used in a wide range of recipes. The mature log used in this recipe is full flavoured, sweet and floral with a honey undertone.

    Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith
    St Tola Cheese, Co Clare