5 Fun Facts About Irish Cheese
Cheese lovers belong to an elite sub-group of foodies—the ones that spend hours crafting the perfect charcuterie board, order triple cheese on their pizza, and shrink in disgust at the thought of a dairy-free diet. Most importantly, these are the kinds of people that can tell the difference between cheddar cheese and Irish cheddar cheese. Because there is a difference… a huge difference.
In honor of National Cheese Lover’s Day and all the cheesy festivities that come along with it (see what we did there?), we’re going to give you a rundown of 5 fun facts about Irish cheese.
1. It Starts With the Cows
Well, duh! We all know that most cheese comes from cow milk, but has it ever dawned on you that cheese varies from cow to cow? The old trope “You are what you eat” rings true with cows and the milk produced by them. Ireland is known for having one of the longest grass growing seasons in the world, which means its cows are able to graze on yummy, healthy grass, for more days a year. This grass is free of growth hormones and full of beta-carotene, which makes Irish cheese more flavorful (and colorful).
2. Irish Cheesemakers Win Awards
If you’re skeptical about trying out Irish cheddar, take it from the cheese experts. In 2018, Ireland won 14 gold medals at the Artisan Cheese Awards in England. Think of this competition as the cheese version of the Golden Globes. It’s a big deal. Winners and losers aside, the big takeaway is that Irish cheddar is nudging its way into the cheese world. It is a source of discussion, education, and tasty meals—and it’s good enough to win a few awards!
3. Irish Cheddar Goes Well with Whiskey and Ale
Food pairings are hot right now. Food and beverage experts are always trying to find new ways to invigorate the taste buds with crazy, unexpected food + drink combinations. When it comes to cheddar cheese, most people default to wine. Believe it or not, Irish cheddar pairs well with whiskey and ale. Swap your wine glass for a pour of whiskey or ale on the rocks. You won’t regret it!
4. Ireland has a Long Cheesemaking History
There’s a common misconception that the Irish were late to the game of cheesemaking. In reality, Irish cheesemaking has been around for over 1,000 years! Irish cheese made a big comeback in the 1970s, though, and that’s why it’s often mistaken as a late start.
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5. Ireland is a Low-Key Major Cheese Exporter
Irish cheese is in higher demand than you may have thought! Out of all the cheddar cheese exported to the UK, about 47% of it comes from Ireland. Whether it’s the golden, dewy look of it or the rich, nutty flavor, Irish cheddar is quickly becoming a hot commodity amongst the cheese lover community.
Cheese lovers, January 20th is your day to shine! Put your new knowledge to the test by trying out a Truly Grass Fed Irish cheddar (or two), and don’t forget to pair it with your favorite drink of whiskey or ale. Happy National Cheese Lover’s day from our cheeseheads to you and yours!
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