A Taste of Ireland: Corleggy Cheese

Silke Cropp, Corleggy Cheese

Ok I am a Fermanagh man and very proud I am of it (especially today when my old school St Michaels won the Mc Rory cup [Ulsters premier schools GAA champonship] for the third time, yours truly was on the team 20 yrs ago when we won it for the second time) , but let me introduce this article saying that much of the milk this fabulous cheese maker (who lives in Belturbet, Co Cavan) makes is from her neighbours in Fermanagh just a stones throw away in Brookboro.

Belturbet Irish: Béal Tairbirt, meaning “mouth of the isthmus

Is located at one of the best places for crossing the River Erne (which flows through my home county Fermanagh into Cavan). This (let’s face it, useless fact to most) was not lost on the Anglo-Normans who tried to conquer Cavan in the early 13th century, using Belturbet to cross the river Erne. And why not I say, Belturbet is very scenic, in fact the perfect place for a horde of muderous Normans to go into Cavan, but also in modern times the perfect place to take a cruise boat into Cavan from the Fermanagh lakelands and then onto the Shannon waterways.

Today Belturbet a very lively, thriving town just across the border from Fermanagh and is home to one of Ireland’s most striking and unique cheeses, Silke Cropp’s Corleggy cheeses. I say cheeses as the Corleggy range now consists of the original Goats milk ‘Corleggy’ cheese, a sheeps milk cheese called ‘Creeny’ and a cows milk cheese called ‘Drumlin’. Silke originally from Osnabruck in Germany near Holland, came to Ireland 31 years ago to teach Art in Cavan but grew up with good cheese and was always a cheese lover. Frustrated that she could not source good local cheese, Silke decided to make her own, armed only with a cheese making book and her taste buds, Corleggy came about via trial and error ‘more error than trial’ says Silke, but after much ‘playing’ she finally ‘got it! ‘I feel the word playing is a very important word for Silke, I say this as Cheese making is a difficult business and even more so if you have been doing it by yourself. However if one has a passion for something then the hard work is never a chore, it in fact becomes play, the trick, I believe, in life is to truly find what we enjoy and then make it our life’s work, our reason for being. Silke Cropp has done this, she is one of the lucky few who are doing exactly what they want to do and doing it so well. One only has to look at the attention to detail and love Silke puts into each and every cheese, each one hand made, hand wrapped and tied like a little present with a piece of twine and finally labelled with a hand printed label.

Silke Cropp discussing cheese over tea with your’s truly.

As for taste, Silke’s cheese is second to none. Made from raw milks, to preserve all the superior health benefits and superior taste these are really top quality products. I say health benefits and I know we have used the term raw milk, so let me explain a fact. Raw milk contains bacteria, good bacteria, natural bacteria, take a comparison in actimel, actimel well marketed with a huge advertising budget has made us aware of the fact that bacteria is good for our health and quite rightly so, and yes many of us take it in the morning to start our day. I will now pose a question,

Why not eat Corleggy cheese to get our gut flora in good health? Why not it does the same thing!

Silke not only makes this fabulous cheese but she is also now running courses in cheese-making

For one day only! Sunday 6 may 2012 @10 am to 5pm, Breakfast lunch and wine provided.

But BYOB ‘bring your own bucket.’

Learn how to make 1kg of your own your own cow’s milk cheese. 150 euro a head or 250 euro for two heads. I`ll be there (any volunteer`s for my second head???)

For more info see Silke’s website http://www.corleggycheeses.com


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