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Burren Gold Cheese at Aillwee.

    Burren Gold Cheese at Aillwee.              

Aillwee Burren Experience is located along the Wild Atlantic Way. In the heart of The Burren, overlooking Galway Bay, it is home to the award-winning Burren Gold Cheese. Visit The Farmshop and learn all about our cheese, its history, how we make it and why.  

Aillwee, a family run business opening in 1976, began as Ireland’s Premier Show Cave. In 1985, as milk quotas were placed on Irish Dairy farmers, Aillwee saw an opportunity to begin cheesemaking. Collaborating with our neighbours at Caherconnell Dairy Farm, we agreed to buy their excess milk and the production of Burren Gold Cheese began. Gaining hands on experience in Holland, we adopted both the methods of Gouda Style and Traditional Farmhouse cheesemaking. That opportunity has had a massive impact on Aillwee as we have been making Burren Gold Cheese every year for thirty-nine years and counting! 

Photograph by Eamon Ward

Our milk has continually come from the Holstein Friesian herd at Caherconnell. The farm is located 5km from Aillwee. By milking the cows once a day, our partnership with Caherconnell Farm allows us to sustainably produce a premium product. Our cheese making season is annually, from April to October. These months are when the herd grazes exclusively on grass, wild herbs and flowers in the heart of The Burren, producing milk with a higher fat content, thus resulting in a much creamier gouda style, semi hard cheese.  

Our cheese maker keeps the processing to a minimum and follows a series of steps to create our cheese. These include pasteurizing the milk, cutting and separating the curds from the whey; packing these curds into molds which then sit on the Cheese Press. Coming off the press and removed from their molds, the cheese is left to soak in a salt bath. Once dried, the cheese is coated with wax. It is then moved to our maturing room. Our cheese needs at least two months to mature before being available for tasting and selling. Our youngest cheese matures for two months, while our oldest cheese matures for two years. The taste profiles of our young and mature cheeses really vary as their flavours develop over time.  

We are one of the last remaining cheesemakers who traditionally smoke our Burren Gold. Naturally smoking cheese has always been a difficult process and it requires a very skilled cheesemaker. When done correctly, the results are exquisite.  

Our Burren Gold Cheese has won many awards and certifications since 1985. Our trophies include multiple Bronze, Silver and Gold accolades awarded by both the Irish and British Cheese Awards.  

Burren Gold is also a certified GEOFood as it is produced, from Farm to Fork, within the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark. Multi-generational Farmers, producing the region’s finest milk, collaborating with a family run Food Producer. The result – creation of Burren Gold, together and exclusively within The Burren Region. 

A visit to the Farmshop will be both educational for you and a delight for your taste buds as you sample your way through all our cheese! You will taste young creamy cheese all the way to our very mature cheese. It has lovely nutty and caramel flavours. The more mature our cheese becomes, the more intense and saltier the taste. The cheese becomes harder and denser in texture with bold flavours that can be sharp, salty, sweet, nutty and caramelized.  

Come and taste all our cheeses which range from Plain, Smoked, Garlic & Nettle to Cumin, Piri Piri and Black Pepper.