Frank and Gudrun Shinnick have been making cheese on their farm near Fermoy since 1996, and now produce a range of eight cows’ milk cheeses varying from soft to mature hard cheeses - all produced from the milk of Frank’s herd of pedigree Holstein Friesians, and using traditional rennet.
The long grazing season on the fertile pastures of the Blackwater River valley produces the very best of raw milk - the perfect ingredient for Gudrun, who has wide experience in cheesemaking on the continent and has earned acclaim for a number of her Fermoy cheeses.
The Shinnicks’ best known cheeses are St Gall, a semi-firm cheese made in 5kg wheels with a natural rind and mild when young 6-8 weeks), maturing to develop a sharper flavour; St Brigid, which is made in a 2.5kg loaf and semi firm with a mild, buttery flavour; Cais Dubh, a hard, smooth black waxed cheese with a mild tang made in a 5kg wheel and also available with fenugreek; and Ballyhooly Blue, a creamy blue made in 8kg and 0.75kg wheels and sold at 3-4 months.
Other cheeses in the range are St Brigid Beag, Emerald, Corkotta - and the wonderful Hibernia, which is a hard cheese with a firm yellow paste made in big 12kg wheels and aged for at least 12 months before going on sale. It is much sought after for its depth of flavour and piquancy, but availability is limited.
Sold at speciality outlets, including The Pig’s Back at the English Market.