When Michael Finegan returned from four years managing dairy farms in New Zealand to take over the family farm in 2005, he wasted no time in developing a new focus for the 260 acre farm near Slane, which was a mixture of tillage, drystock and dairy goats. Zooming in on the goats he decided, in his own words, ‘to produce a cheese you would never forget’ - and, soon afterwards, Boyne Valley Blue was born.
Using the milk of their own herd of 300 goats, he and his wife Jenny now make this magnificent unpasteurised semi-hard blue veined goats cheese, which was launched onto the market in 2010 and started making its mark with style in 2011, with awards including a bronze in the Irish Cheese Awards and a thumping Two Star Gold at the Great Taste Awards.
Developed with the assistance of renowned local cheesemaker, Peter Thomas of the wonderful Bellingham Blue, it is the only one of its kind in Ireland and is matured for at least 3 months before sale, allowing it to reach the right blend of flavours when the goats milk flavour balances with the blue.
Those who like a really robust cheese will enjoy it best at six months and, although it has a masterful presence on the cheeseboard, Michael commends it especially as a cooking cheese - with pasta, perhaps, or for the classic steak and blue cheese combo.
Boyne Valley Blue is a founding member of the Meath Food Trail and visitors are welcome by appointment.