Although once common practice on farms everywhere, artisan cheesemaking was a craft lost to Northern Ireland for many years, until Damian and Susan McCloskey established The Causeway Cheese Company in 2001.
Now, in the village of Loughgiel, near the Giants Causeway and the Glens of Antrim, they make a range of five cows' milk cheeses, using locally produced pasteurised milk. Easily recognisable by their distinctive hexagonal shape (reflecting the rock formations of the Giants Causeway) they are named after nearby townlands, emphasising their individuality: the original cheese, Drumkeel, is seasonal (mild and crumbly, made only in summer) and Castlequarter is a mature cheddar style cheese.
There are also three flavoured cheeses - Ballyknock (black pepper); Ballybradden (herbs and garlic); and Coolkeeran - this is an interesting cheese, flavoured with the seaweed, dulse, which is a traditional food and abundantly available along this coast.
They also make a clean-flavoured hard goat's milk cheese, Ballyveely.
Online sales are planned, meanwhile Causeway cheeses are showcased in restaurants and sold in speciality food shops throughout the region. Visitors are welcome by arrangement and cheeses can be tasted on site; cheese making takes place several times each week in season (April-September).