Triple cream cheese from Northern Irish dairy farm
A farmhouse triple cream cheese has been developed by Ballylisk Dairies in county Armagh, Northern Ireland. Ballylisk Triple Cream Cheese is said to be made from pasteurised cow’s milk sourced entirely from its own herd.
Dairy farmer Dean Wright has created the new cheese as the first in a planned number of products, including butter, on the 200-acre farm. His family has been farming in the area since 1820.
Wright says, “Food critic Charles Campion tasted the Triple Cream cheese in early 2017 and advised us of some changes. It was then launched at the BBC Good Food Show in Belfast in November 2017 and was also a success during the Food NI presentation at London’s Borough Market in March.
“I made sure I listened to the experts and I think what we have now is pretty special” he continues. “It is a rich, decadent cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk with added cream. It has a white mould with its full flavour balanced by salty, lemony notes. There is nothing else like it on the market.”
The Triple Cream has recently gone into commercial production and is aimed at delis and speciality food suppliers across the UK and Ireland and then to export markets.
The cheese is made on a daily basis in a purpose-built facility nearby, acquired in June 2017.
Wright’s aim is to utilise the entire two million litre pool of milk within three years, particularly as the facility is designed to cope with expansion. His focus is on the dairy and the further development of more cheeses, including a blue version of the Triple Cream, a soft creamy Brie and a gourmet butter.
“I think there is definitely room in the market for these kinds of cheeses,” he explains. “We also want to produce a traditional artisan butter – again small batch made in the time-honoured way as simply and as purely as possible.
“Our culture starts with the soil on farm and goes right through to the customer eating the product. Everything has to be done in such a fashion. Honesty and integrity are the standard bywords of our production.”
Wright took over the farm in 2007 from his father and since then has almost doubled in size. There are currently around 200 Friesian dairy cows, 50 dairy replacements and another 200 Aberdeen Angus and Belgian Blue beef cattle.
“Everything born on the farm stays on the farm to preserve the herd’s high health status. To do something fully traceable is very important to me,” he says. “Everything we do is based around provenance and herd health.
“We don’t buy in any cattle because we want to keep disease out and also show 100 percent provenance and traceability,” explains Dean. “A healthy herd of cows, a good farm and great raw material is the core of what we do.”
The diversification into cheese production followed an extensive period of market research to identify new business opportunities in dairy.