The Art of Cheese

 
From Summer's Milk

What makes Ireland's favourite brand of cheese so unique?

Put simply, it is about two vital elements: the quality of the milk and the unique & dedicated
Kilmeaden grader process.

1
Summer's Milk

Kilmeaden Cheese is made only from Fresh Summer Milk
supplied from Glanbia Quality Approved farms.

We only use Summer Milk because the cows are fed on fresh,
lush grass, which gives it the best taste possible.

 

2
The Unique Cheese Making Process

Ripening the Milk

Ripening the Milk

When the milk arrives, it is pasteurised and put into huge cheese vats each with a capacity of 31,500 litres. At this point we add our unique culture to ripen the milk for about an hour.

The Separation

The Separation

Once ripened, rennet - a complex of enzymes - is added, which separates the milk into solids (Curds) and liquids (Whey). The curd is then cut to the required size and cooked with continuous stirring to achieve the right consistency.

Forming and Cooling

Forming and Cooling

The Whey is then drained away and the cheese is formed into large blocks approximately 20 kgs in size. These blocks are then sealed and each block individually weighed and labeled and conveyed to the Rapid Cold Store, where the cheese is cooled for approximately 24 hours.

 
Cheese Grading

Grading the cheese

Kilmeaden Cheese is subjected to the most stringent grading process. First tasted 9 to 10 weeks after it is first produced, it is then tasted
every 3 months by an Expert Grader to ensure it fits the Kilmeaden taste profile. Any cheddar deemed outside this profile is not
selected hence the Kilmeaden promise, 'we select the best & do away with the rest'.

Neven Maguire
 

The Grading Process

Throughout the process, 4 of the 5 senses - touch, taste, sight and smell - are used.

1 Sight

The first part of grading is a visual check to ensure the cheese appearance is the correct colour & texture.

 
2 Touch

Next, a cheese iron or trier is inserted into the cheese and turned to create a core. This action gives a very good indication of the block's firmness and texture.

 
3 Smell

Then we remove the core from the cheese and smell it to check the balance of aromas. The back of the iron is now checked for any smearing of fat or moisture. The amount of smearing defines the age of the cheese.

 
4 Touch

A small sample is removed from the iron to check the body and texture are appropriate.

 
5 Sight

A further visual check is now undertaken to make sure that the cheese meets the required standard for Kilmeaden and there are no inconsistencies in its appearance.

 

Grading the Cheese

The Cheddar is kneaded-down to warm the cheese which helps emphasise the flavours and aromas. The Grader then tastes the cheese to ensure it delivers an intense flavour consistent with the Kilmeaden Taste profile. This is the most important step in the process,

only cheddars with that unmistakable Kilmeaden taste will be approved by the master grader. Kilmeaden Cheese is typically matured for 10 months & is continuously graded throughout that time to ensure it delivers the distinctive flavour of Kilmeaden.

 
 

“I've had the pleasure of working on Kilmeaden for 35 years
& learnt everything I know from my predecessor,
the master grader Dick McGrath. Cheese Grading is not
something you can learn from a book. It's a genuine craft
using time honoured expertise & skills & handed down
from one grader to another”

John Dunne Master Grader