PRESENTER and food writer Donal Skehan hit West Cork recently in search of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich for his new show.
Along with food star Nico Reynolds, they hit the road in a vintage camper van for the programme which has launched on the RTÉ Player, and visited the home of Durrus cheese, as well as Gubbeen and Ballydehob.
Called Donal and Nico’s Cheesy Road Trip their aim was to find the best cheese combination for their ultimate Irish cheese toasties. This film showcases the best artisan cheeses Cork and Ireland has to offer. Nico and Donal are ambassadors for the EU-funded Cheese your Way campaign managed by the National Dairy Council.
Donal said: ‘I really enjoyed working on this mini-film with my pal Nico, I am a passionate advocate of Irish cheese and our farmhouse cheeses are some of the best in the world. It was the ultimate staycation to travel around the beautiful parts of West Cork and the real prize was making a perfect grilled cheese at the end of the trip. Nico and I used our individual inspiration to create our signature sandwiches with a few quirky ingredients thrown in for good measure.’
West Cork is home to some of the best Farmhouse cheeses in Ireland – the film starts at Gubbeen Cheese, where the Ferguson family have worked the farm for many generations now. The guys then head off to Ballydehob to pick up more groceries for their cook-off at Mizen’s Galley Cove, before sampling the famous grilled cheese sandwiches form Ron D’s food truck in the heart of Ballydehob. They then set off to Durrus Cheese to meet the cheesemakers and sample the various cheeses on offer. Started by Jeffa Gill in the 1970s, the company is situated on hillside valley of Coomkeen near Durrus. The cheese is produced using age old artisanal methods, with a Swiss cheese ‘harp’ to cut the curd by hand in a traditional copper-lined cheese vat.
Nico Reynolds is a pop-up chef and owner of Caribbean café Lil Portie in Dublin 6. He makes regular TV appearances. ‘Being half Caribbean, I had to add my signature flavours to my grilled cheese sandwich and I included coriander and lime to elevate it to another level,’ he said. ‘I’m a huge barbeque fan so it was great to be able to cook the sandwiches on our portable barbeque on the beach at Galley Cove and then we had to have a swim too!’
Donal and Nico’s Cheesy Road Trip is available to stream on RTÉ Player and you can also watch it on Donal Skehan’s YouTube channel.