Well my trip to Westport in County Mayo came and went in September of this year. So many great eats, awesome goat photo ops and good craic with friends in the Old Irish Goat Society. I can’t believe it took me this long to get you all caught up, but such is life. Anyway, I ate goat cheese everywhere I could from Shannon to Galway to Mulranny. The absolute best I had was eaten not 4 blocks from where the OIG breeding herd is housed. The cheese did not come from them, although there are plans in the works to introduce this breed back into commercial production in small holdings one day.
At the Helm, on The Quays down by the water, I had a toasted goat cheese log on a home made ciabatta style bread. It was amazing. All of the good at the Helm is excellent, and of course, they are especially well known for their fresh seafood, but I had recently indulged in so much fabulous seafood chowder everywhere I went that I took a pass and went for the goat cheese instead. It was not a mistake.
Although the cheese did not come from Irish goats, or even Ireland for that matter, it did come from a small producer in Spain. The waitress kindly brought me a slip of paper with the information written on it concerning the cheese and its origin. The maker is Dolosal and the product was listed as Rulo de Cabra (roll of goat cheese) maturado con moho. I noticed that there there are many makers of this product in Spain. However, Dolosal appears to offer only a hard cheese online, so this particular product may only be available commercially.
The closest match I could come up with was through the GourmetFoodStore (currently out of stock). Their site mentioned the specifically unique natural sweetness of this cheese. It was a very noticeable feature, and after roasting gave the cheese a slight hazelnut tone. The GourmetFoodStore sells this product for about $19.00/lb. I highly recommend giving this a try at home.
Although this cheese was probably a product of the Murciana or another Spanish breed (and the Murciana will be the next installment in this blog), I could not pass up the opportunity to share this dining experience with you. Above is a picture I took of some of the fine ladies of the OIG breeding program and below is a photo of the dish, with the cheese on the bread, and the always essential mashers on the side. I took it standing on the seat of the booth I was in, while the Irish wait staff just smiled (they’ve probably seen weirder behavior in this popular bar and restaurant) and the tourists just stared.
If you are in the neighborhood… https://www.thehelm.ie/