Thanks to the Butler family, who farm near Castlebar and run Cuinneog Dairy Products, Mayo is home to some once familiar dairy products, which had all but disappeared but are now beginning to be made again - Irish farmhouse country butter and natural buttermilk.
Started by Tom and Sheila Butler in 1990 and originally known as ‘Sheila’s Country Butter’, the business was later re-launched as Cuinneog, which is Irish for ‘churn’.?It was originally made in a traditional wooden churn (which they still have) and, although stainless steel churns are now used, the product is unchanged and still made by traditional methods.
This smartly packaged fuller-flavoured butter and natural buttermilk is distributed nationwide and widely acclaimed. The butter, especially, has caught the public imagination, because country butter was once made routinely on most small-scale Irish dairy farms. So a product like Cuinneog, which has a unique flavour and is part of the long tradition of butter making in Ireland, has filled a niche and has attracted a lot of well-earned praise ?
It was the reason that the Butlers were selected to for an EirGrid Euro-Toques Food Award in 2010, for example, and other accolades include Gold in numerous Great Taste Awards (2006 and 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).?And Cuinneog butter was even served at the table of Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of the State banquet in her honour during her 2011 visit to Ireland.
Both Cuinneog Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Cuinneog Natural Buttermilk (which is a by-product of the butter-making process) are available nationwide, in branches of Superquinn, SupeValu, Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Asda, Centra, Spar & Londis.?You will also see them credited on some restaurant menus.