In light of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday, I turned my head toward Ireland this week. Actually, I turned my car toward Surdyk’s, where I purchased Ardrahan Farmhouse cheese, but same diff.

And for someone who is not at all familiar with Irish cheeses, I was quite pleased with the Ardrahan. A semi-firm, cow’s-milk cheese made in County Cork by cheesemaker Mary Burns, Ardrahan was born out of a desire of Mary and her family to eat higher-quality dairy products. The washed rind gives it the heady aroma that cheese lovers come to expect from these cheeses, and it gets more and more intense the longer you let the cheese sit at room temperature. And since I like my cheeses as gooey as possible, mine was pretty pungent by the time I sampled a piece. The cheese had begun to liquify near the edges, just as I like it, but the middle kept its semi-firm texture. The flavor was a little earthy but not overwhelmingly so.

While Brooklyn’s Bedford Cheese Shop states that Ardrahan Farmhouse is “great with anything remotely alcoholic,” the Burns family recommends a full-bodied Shiraz, Sancerre or Port. Of course, Irish whiskey would be a natural pairing as well. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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