Monday, August 8, 2011

At the Cheesemaker's: Visting Milleens

At Milleens
This was our morning field trip, across the road, to the right of the graveyard and up the hill. Milleens is the magical, soft floral cheese that we've eaten with our supper most nights. It also appears to be the favorite cheese of the royals - as was evident during their visit to the English market in Cork this year. Everything about the geography of this place, the men (the women were out of town) who make the cheese, and the taste of the cheese itself seems out of a storybook from another era.

One of the things that interested me the most was an aside when Norman mentioned that we were also standing in a place called Milleens which included his house, his son's house, the cheese-making cottage, and a swatch of pasture land. Like Anam Cara, we were about a fifteen minute walk from the village of Eyeries, but clearly not part of the village. It struck me that this is how villages, towns, and cities are born. Somebody builds a house, then his son (in this case) builds a second house...Perhaps this is too obvious to be of interest, but I've never been inside the experience before.

I also learned that they keep the milk at "blood temperature" as they add just a minuscule amount of rennet, that when finished, the cheese is cut with an instrument called a "harp." I also learned how clearly cheese-making is a way of life filled with incredible beauty but also the real dangers of pasteurization, and how much science goes into the process.

Milleens is world famous. They make one type of cheese in two sizes. That's it. It's like a poem of cheese. Norman, the cheese maker lives in a modest house next to the cheese making cottage. The planters outside his house are cast off cheese making machinery. It does my heart good to know that art and commerce can live so harmoniously here.
The cheese, the cheese maker, and me

Check out the cheese on the bottom, right. Make that the south side.

Basket of Irish products given to the Queen at English Market, Cork


  1. That must have been a fascinating trip. I've never had the pleasure of meeting a cheese maker.

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  3. Love reading about your trip! Miss you!

  4. Kelli, you need to visit Ireland, too. I think Anam Cara is in your future!