When Jeffa Gill began making cheese on her farm in 1979, she started it as part of her pioneering spirit to provide for her family from her own small holding in West Cork and to capture something of the beauty of the area in her unique hand-crafted cheeses.
Today, more than 37 years later, her cheeses are still made by hand using traditional techniques on our farm in the beautiful valley of Coomkeen just beyond Durrus village in West Cork. They are a small family business dedicated to producing the highest quality product while staying true to the principles from which they were founded…which were sustainability, quality and enjoying the work that they do.
Durrus is a semi-soft washed rind cheese made using raw cow’s milk from the Buckley family’s neighbouring herd. This arrangement allows Jeffa to manage the characteristics of the milk she requires for cheese making without having to take direct control of the herd.
Jeffa’s cheese has a mottled pink-orange rind and a semi-firm creamy paste that has a tendency to bulge slightly when cut. The aroma is one of hay, undergrowth and wet soil, in short it smells of the hillside in Coomkeen. The flavour is long, round and earthy, a flavour which is uniquely and unmistakably Durrus. This is what Jeffa describes as a deep, complex flavour which captures the elemental nature of this part of Ireland. Jeffa reckons the cheese is best at around 6 weeks old and is not overly affected by seasonality because the milk comes from staggered breeding.
Durrus is one of the great Irish farmhouse cheeses. Try it on toast, in place of raclette or with pears or chutney. In terms of wine matches pair it with “full bodied” whites such as Albarino, Gewurztraminer or lighter reds such as Beaujolais. Jeffa has recently added the semi-hard Dunmanus to the her range.
Circular Dimensions: 19cm (W) x 4cm (H)