It's not a metaphor. It's just cheese.
We were in Dublin over the weekend, and I should be writing about running or something cultural, but I'm writing about cheese.
Sarah and I went to Sheridan's Cheesemonger's in Anne Street South. They made us an amazing four-tiered cheese cake (i.e. cake of cheese) last year for our wedding and shipped it up to Co. Donegal for us.
How many French cheeses can you name? How many Italian?
Now in an island with this number of sheep and cows ... how many Irish cheeses can you name?
Our little traditional producers are finding it tough to beat the commercial competition. We must be the only nation in Europe where most people can't name a traditional cheese of our own. So let me introduce you to four smelly friends ...
First, we have Mount Callan, an aged cheddar-style hard cheese from Co. Clare. It's made of milk from a single herd of Montbelliard cows. It's very sharp, take a bite, chew ... wait for it, wait for it - boom, tastes boozily punchy.
Then we have Ardrahan from Co. Cork, oat-smoked and soft, it's a washed cheese which means it's smelly and oozy and yummy. Despite the whiff, the Corkonian actually tastes quite mild and nutty.
Next up, we have Crozier Blue from Tipperary. Like it's cow's milk cousin, this ewe's cheese is veined with dusty blue mould, tangy and ripe, bathed in a creamy soft meltedness. It's a Gaelic Roquefort.
And to finish it off, then there's a cheeky little St. Tola sitting on top, a French-style soft goat's cheese, again from Clare.
But try getting any of these in Tesco, Temple Bar or Sainsbury's here in Derry! Or anywhere in Derry, for that matter. So when in Dublin, we just had to drop into Sheridan's to reacquaint ouselves :)
So, support local produce, learn that Ireland has fantastic cheeses to rival France and Italy, and give those arteries a good work-out, visit http://www.sheridanscheesemongers.com/.
Now to research local Irish beverage-producers!