Photograph of Smoked Gubbeen
Map of Ireland showing the location of Schull, West Cork

A silky, pliable texture and a light smoked flavour.

Made using cows' milk Made using pasteurised milk Suitable for vegetarians Suitable during pregnancy.

Gubbeen House is the home of Giana and Tom Ferguson and is found on the blunt peninsula to the west of Schull. The Fergusons have been farming there for five generations. Giana, who is part Hungarian and who was brought up on a Spanish mountain, first encountered cheese-making whilst at her uncle's house in France. After marrying Tom and settling down in Schull she was inspired by the abundance of milk to consider cheese-making. After studying at college she made her first attempt in her kitchen, encouraged by Veronica Steele, maker of Milleens cheese. Two decades later she is still making her cheese and has built up a good reputation and a thriving enterprise.

Gubbeen is made from the milk of Fresian, Guernsey, Simmenthal and the local but rare black Kerry cattle. The milk used was at one time unpasteurised but now they have converted to pasteurising the milk as have the majority of Irish cheese-makers. During maturation the cheeses are regularly washed to prevent the growth a B.linens (a bacteria encouraged in many cheeses since it produces lively flavours and aromas) with a substance known as 'goo'. The cheeses are also regularly turned. The whole cheese-making process is so time consuming that Giana has to employ a team of ten to help her (a high number for such a small operation but with employment scarce in that part of Ireland Giana considers her social role as important as the potential financial gain).

Some of the cheeses made are sent to the smoke-house. They are oak-smoked for a short time giving them a light smoky flavour through which the original flavour of the cheese is able to penetrate. The cheeses are then coated with a thin yellow wax and allowed to mature for three months.

Each cheese is 15cm in diameter, 5cm in height, weighs 900g and has a fat content of 48%. The cheese is also available as a mini-truckle weighing 400g.

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Domaine de la Croix 1998 red wine
Brown Brothers 1999 red wine


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