Paddy Berridge has always been passionate about cheese and the cheese making process. Paddy started to make cheese when he was a young boy in the kitchen with his mother. Later in life he decided to take his passion to a new level and travelled to Normandy. There he worked with some of the finest French cheese producers. In 1982 Paddy returned to Ireland and moved into his parents farmhouse which they had purchased in 1960. The original farmhouse dates back to the 1700s and it was here that Paddy began making his own brand of cheese, Carrigbyrne.
Today Paddy and his wife Julie continue to run Carrigbyrne Farmhouse Cheese in Co. Wexford. Julie worked for many years as a chef and shares a passion for food with her husband
‘’I decided to make Camembert our St.Killian Cheese and St. Brendan our Brie cheese. Camembert had been made in Wexford previously but for various reasons it wasn’t successful. The milk wasn’t clean enough and they were charging far too much for it. I made the cheese myself for the first year. It was a huge learning curve. I had to throw out 4 tons of cheese at the start, I never mind throwing out a batch if I learn from went wrong and I certainly did during that first year. I learned that there was a gap in the market for farmhouse cheese and I also learned that I needed to hire a professional!’’
I advertised for the job in France, 5 French men answered my advert and I went to Paris to meet them personally. Two turned up for the interview I hired one man who went on to work for me for 30 years.
Recently we developed a cheese using the bark from our trees here in the garden. It’s not good to take bark off a live tree because you will kill the tree so we took the bark off vertically so it wouldn’t kill the tree. At the beginning we were making this cheese for ourselves but as we went on making it we decided to commercialise it. We started to get the bark strips from France. This bark gives the cheese the most amazing flavour. ‘’When I am describing the intense flavour of this cheese I compare it to the Greek wine Retsina’’ says Paddy.
We milk the cows at 8am and 4pm. We have 350 cows here, we have frisian crossed with jersey cows. Any milk that is left over after the milking process goes to Wexford Creamery.
“We make all cheese to order. Soft cheese doesn’t have as long a shelf life as hard cheese.”‘
We came up with the name Humming Bark for this cheese. It’s a semi-soft cheese with a strong nose and full-flavoured taste. Aged in spruce bark and produced with only the finest milk, this cheese has already been awarded Reserve Champion at both Irish Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards in 2014.
We wash the cheese every second day, this encourages the good mould to grow. There is a lot of TLC with this cheese. It is very time consuming but worth it!
Chefs from all over Ireland & England want to serve my cheese in their restaurant including Tony Carty (head chef in Ferrycarrig Hotel)
1. Get milk in the day before at 3 degrees, it rises overnight to 7 degrees and we add some good bacteria to populate it
2. We pasturise it
3. Then it gets pumped in to the cheese rooms baths and we add the rennet
4. It settles for 40 minutes and its cut
5. We bucket the curds manually into the moulds, the next day we strip off the moulds then they go in to a dry room then 10 days later they are dispatched.
‘My daughter, son in law & son are coming home early next year to take over the business and the farm. We are delighted that Carrigbyrne cheese farmhouse will be staying in the family’ Julie.
“Here in Ferrycarrig Hotel and Reeds Restaurant we are delighted to be working with fantastic local producers around Wexford delivering great food from great people. With our unique location we guarantee a superb experience at Reeds restaurant where perfect taste flows’’ Derek Coyne (General Manager Ferrycarrig Hotel)