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Sheep's Milk Yogurt - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them

Velvet Cloud

Georgina Campbell

There is only one sheep’s milk yogurt produced in Ireland and it is made by Aisling and Michael Flanagan on the Flanagan farm in Co Mayo, where the family have been farming the land for generations.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, given its special qualities, their Velvet Cloud Irish Sheep’s Milk Yogurt has grown in a very short space of time to be one of the most talked about new products - and it was a winner in the prestigious Euro-Toques EirGrid Food Awards in 2016.

Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt is a very pure food - the ultimate free-from product, it is made with only two ingredients (fresh sheep’s milk and live probiotic yogurt culture) and ‘there is nothing added or nothing strained away’. Luckily, it is also very tasty, with a creamy texture and mild, slightly sweet flavour.

Velvet Cloud

Explaining the reasons for this chefs association’s Award for “excellence and innovation in dairy”, the Euro-Toques judges said, “The properties of sheep’s milk give a particular taste and mouth feel that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and withstand higher temperatures, which is why this West of Ireland yogurt has become such a favourite with chefs.”

Given the health benefits and cooking qualities - and the number of sheep on this small island - it is astonishing that there are so few sheep’s milk products available here. Sheep’s milk is not only highly nutritional but it is also very palatable - and suitable for many people who are intolerant to cow’s milk. Sheep’s milk production has been growing in New Zealand and the UK and Velvet Cloud is now doing great work to develop this dairy category in Ireland.

Look out for this seasonal product in selected SuperValu stores and in speciality food shops such as Nolans of Clontarf, Mortons of Ranelagh and Donnybrook Fair in Dublin, and other champions of good food like Country Choice in Nenagh and Ardkeen Quakity Food Store in Waterford (full list on their informative website).

And, with a new sheep’s milk cheese in the pipeline too, there will soon be more good news to come from these enterprising people.

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