I do often come across a bit of ignorance from our mainland European gourmands regarding Cheddar. A cheese named after a little village in Somerset, UK; a few miles from Wales. It also refers to a very particular type of cheese making. Unlike camembert from Normandy, the name Cheddar is not really protected so it can be found well outside its original region of production and therefore, due to obvious historical reasons, is found in all shapes and forms in Ireland. Shape wise, it is mostly square, rectangular, white or red (due to a carotene type dye); not really exciting, I’ll give you that, but then again, neither are a lot of main brands of Camembert, chalky, dry versus “boing-boing” plastic. “Tomaytoes-tomatoes”, same difference my friends! The truth is, real cheddar is a bit like some famous French cheese, from Auvergne, like Salers, Cantal or Laguiole. They are not covered with cloth, but their texture and taste can be pretty similar. I even have a theory that they might be related through old French monks’ migrations to England, the same way Wensleydale is related to Roquefort… But that is a debate for another day.
Last Saturday, I visited my local butchers, like a modern yet nonchalant hunter and gatherer, I was getting my weekly food shopping of course, but also having an opportunity – an excuse – for a bit of craíc and banter, a chance to catch up with the local news (some might call it “gossip”, but I will not lower myself to that level… Anyway, keep that for yourself, I’ll tell you later…).
I got taken by their latest creation, a Pork and Apple burger. I didn’t want to just put it in a bun; after all, a lot of effort went into designing this dish. The previous night I had made some lovely mash potatoes, with some grated Coolea cheese from Cork, a two year old Irish Gouda if you prefer, sweet and parmesan like somewhat. That was half the battle…
For the sauce, I decided to do a creamy apple juice sauce. I had a small bottle of Karmine apple juice from Tipperary, “The Apple Farm”. It is sweet with a hint of tart, perfect for a family dish like this; its execution is actually quite easy, just a bit of preparation will go a long way. It is also a great wink to both Brittany and Ireland: they love their apples, in whichever form they come into. Pictures and recipes below.