MILLEENS Cheese won Gold at the ‘World Cheese Awards’, which have just been announced in Norway.
There were a record-breaking 3,500 cheeses from every corner of the globe lined up in the judging hall at Bergen’s Grieghallen and the winning entry Milleens Céad 100gm from Eyeries on the tip of the Beara Peninsula was selected by an international panel of 230 experts from 29 nations.
‘To receive an award like this for the Céad 100gm is like winning the long-jump in the Olympics,’ said Quinlan Steele, who has been running the family business since 2003.
Quinlan took over from his parents, the late Veronica Steele and Norman Steele, who is still active in the business.
Veronica was credited with being the matriarch of the Ireland’s artisan cheese industry because she not only produced a cheese that world-class chefs wanted, she also taught and trained an array of artisan cheese makers in the late 70’s and early 80s’.
Sadly, Veronica, who had MSA, passed away in January 2017, but Quinlan said: ‘I believe she would be proud of the fact that the company continues to be successful.’
In 1997, Milleens was awarded the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards and Veronica and Norman travelled to the UK to receive the accolade.
‘To win the Gold Award in the World Cheese Awards is a fitting tribute to her legacy,’ said Quinlan, ‘and it has put our product firmly on the world stage.’
The company, which is based in Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula, currently employs six people. Most of its sought-after produce is snapped up in Ireland, although some special orders do make it out of the country to places like Dubai, Singagpore and Malayasia.
‘This award means that we will have to press ahead with our plans to increase production, but that is not an easy task,’ said Quinlan, ‘especially when you consider that there were 900 dairy farmers on the peninsula in my parents’ day and there are only four today.’
Quinlan said: ‘Our business may not be big in terms of size, but it still has the ability to produce a world class product.’