The renowned chef Jp McMahon is a great supporter of Irish artisan products and uses Velvet Cloud in all three of his restaurants. In today’s The Irish Times magazine (150619) he gives us a shout out and shares some great ideas for using yogurt. As well as the usual straight out of the pot or with granola he asks us to consider it as a summer sauce for fish.
Here at home we use Velvet Cloud all the time on the side with baked salmon or breaded haddock or as a clean but creamy salad dressing.
JP sometimes seasons it with rapeseed oil and sea-salt to match some grilled langoustines, or gently smoked to pair with some couscous as a tapa.
To smoke yogurt you can buy a small camp smoker online or just use smoked seal salt if your stuck !
Yogurt and herbs work well together, JP suggests adding some chopped fennel or dill and serving with grilled lamb chops. A diced cucumber will also give the sauce a refreshing zing.
Finally some frozen yogurt. 500g yogurt 100 ml whipped cream and 125g honey (our favourite is Sliabh Aughty Honey & Natural Irish Skincare). Fold all together & freeze, whisking the mixture every hour until its smooth & frozen (or use and ice-cream machine if you have one)
It seems a bit mad that I am only putting
up our first blog post three years into setting up our business. But if any of
you are involved in or know anyone involved in a small start up business you
know how hard it is to juggle everything, so blogging had to take a back seat
to, the more serious matters or making sheep’s yogurt and cheese, selling it
and keeping up with customer enquiries and trying to build awareness, never
mind the small matter of raising a family of four kids!
It’s clear however from reading all the best practice on how
to build awareness on line that the more information you give you customers on
line, the greater the chance that they will find you on line and hopefully
convert to a customer. So my first blog
post is going to be a summary of the most common questions we get asked and the
answers we give to those questions. In future blog posts I’ll write more about
the daily grind of a small food business and some of our highs and lows.
HOW DO YOU MILK A SHEEP?
We honestly get asked this all the time, for some reason
people seem a bit embarrassed when they ask this, as if it’s a stupid question.
It’s not, so much so we actually say on our pack of yogurt, “If you want to know how do you milk a sheep,
we’d love to hear from you”. We milk our sheep exactly as cows are milked
nowadays i.e. with a milking machine. The only difference is the machines are
smaller and a sheep has two teats on her udder instead of four teats which a
DO SHEEP’S MILK PRODUCTS TASTE VERY DIFFERENT?
After the “how do you milk a sheep” question, this is the next most common question. Some people don’t even ask the question they just make what we call “The Sheep Face” when we ask them would they like to try a sample. We think this is because people think there is going to be a strong taste and or aroma similar to that which you get from goat’s milk products. Or people who have grown up on or near sheep farms think it will taste like “the smell” of sheep!. 99.9999 % of the time if we can convince someone to taste they are ALWAYS really surprised at how creamy and mild it is.
WHY IS SHEEP’S MILK SO GOOD FOR YOU?
There are links to scientific papers and lots more
information on the home page of this website, but the summary is:
Sheep’s milk is higher in solid content than cows’ milk,
which makes it thicker and creamier.
Sheep’s milk has a higher nutritional profile than cows’
milk, it is significantly higher in calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus and
Sheep’s milk suits many people who have reactions and a
sensitivity to cow dairy. This is because of the molecular make up of sheep’s
milk and because the molecules are smaller and therefore passes through the gut
quicker (is digested quicker) causing less of a reaction.
Sheep’s milk is naturally homogenised, this means that the
fat globules are naturally floating around in the milk. We don’t have to
mechanically homogenise (i.e. break up the fat globules) in our sheep’s milk
before using it. However most of the cow’s milk you find on supermarket shelves
must be mechanically homogenised before its bottled, because the manufacturers
don’t want the cream separating out from the milk.
Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk products come from sheep, who are
raised on grass, they graze on grass and clover pastures, in the unpolluted
fields of Co. Mayo.
Velvet Cloud Sheep’ milk yogurt has NOTHING ADDED and
NOTHING STRAINED away. It is unusual
nowadays to find yogurt on a supermarket shelf that hasn’t be strained or had a
thickener or a sweetener of some sort added to it.
Velvet Cloud Sheep’s milk yogurt has LIVE PROBIOTIC cultures
Velvet Cloud Sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese have unusually high levels of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. This is according to the Department of Biological Sciences, in University College Limerick who have tested our milk and yogurt.
WHERE CAN I BUY YOUR YOGURT AND CHEESE?
There is a list of both yogurt and cheese stockists here on
this website, we sell directly to these stores. You can also buy our products
on line from Ardkeen Food Stores along with a range of other fabulous food
producers. We also sell to a distributor
who then sells on to health food stores all around Ireland, so if you can’t
find us in your local store and have a health food store near you ask them to
order it in for you. You can tell them it is stocked by the distributor Irish
Independent Health Foods and there should be no problem getting it in for you.
WHY IS VELVET CLOUD NOT AVAILABLE IN MY LOCAL STORE?
We often get asked why can’t you sell it in our local shop,
or how come it’s not available in this area/shop. As a small business selling
chilled product, distribution (i.e. getting the product into shops) is our
greatest challenge. We have to drive around in our own chilled van or pay
someone (our distributor) to this for us.
If a shop is not on our delivery route or is hundreds of kilometres from
us here in Mayo it is often not commercially viable for us to send a van to
that shop. The diesel would cost more than the sales to the shop, not to
mention the time. As we grow, we are hoping that some of the large retailers in
Ireland will buy from us under what is called central distribution. This means
that we will deliver to one depot and the retailer will do the distribution.