One of the best days of 2018 was in November when we heard that our semi hard sheep’s milk cheese Rockfield by Velvet Cloud had won a Silver in the World Cheese Awards. These awards are organised by the Guild Of Fine Foods in the UK and over 3 500 cheeses are entered from across the globe, they are judged by an independent panel of 230 experts from 29 countries, so winning a silver in our category – Semi Hard Sheep’s Milk cheese is HUGE for us. Especially since we are a very new producer of cheese in Ireland and we were up against some cheese makers who have been producing for years.
If you are a real cheese or food expert the text below will be important to you, if you just like your cheese its interesting to see how our cheese can be described.
A semi hard sheep’s milk cheese made on the farm of Michael and Aisling Flanagan in Claremorris Co Mayo from pasteurised ewes milk. The milk comes from the Flanagan’s flock of Friesland and Lacaune ewes, grazing an abundance of grass and clover pastures for almost the entire year.
One of only of a very small number of sheep’s cheeses made in Ireland, Rockfield is a full flavour nutty, robust tasting sheep’s cheese covered by a thick creamy/grey rind. Aged for a minimum of 90 days the ivory hued pate is supple and creamy, when young often with small eyes (holes), slightly crumbly and becomes more firm as the cheese ripens. It is creamy and buttery in the mouth with slightly sweet and nutty undertones. The cream coloured interior of this cheese becomes firmer and darker as the maturing period is extended, and the flavour becomes nuttier.
A full list of stockists is available here on this website. Some stores stock our 130g wrapped wedges some stores buy our full rounds and cut it to order for the customer. You can also buy it online at Ardkeen.com. If you are trade ( a chef or a shop owner contact us directly, we are also listed with La Rousse Foods and Irish Independent Health Foods.
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.