My Irish and Italian ancestors are staring at each other across the Elysian fields, and the Italian ones are laughing: I ate lasagna on Saint Patrick’s Day (and it was delicious).
But I preemptively made up for it at lunchtime with a beautiful wedge of Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar. I discovered it while prowling my local fancy fooderie last Friday, and asked the man at the cheese counter about it. “It’s good. It’s like cheddar. It’s made with port,” he said, and looked to cheese man no. 2, who said “It’s made with Guinness.” I’ll add that these guys are usually very helpful and rarely off the mark.
Cahill’s Irish Porter is cheddar and is in fact made with porter, a dark ale that the Cahills brew themselves from an old Limerick recipe. (My cheese man wasn’t too far off: an earlier incarnation of Guinness was once classified as a porter.) A garnet- and cream-colored slice looks more like the work of a lapidist than a cheese maker, but “too gorgeous to eat” was never my saying. The porter adds a mild sweetness to the tangy cheddar, with a darker tinge of toasted malt at the end; it’s lovely with bread and a sip of porter or Guinness (”too much of a good thing” isn’t really my saying, either).
Cahill’s also makes elderberry wine and Irish whiskey cheddars. If someone tries them, please write and report.
Now, in honor of its home county, I’ll send a wedge of Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar to the first person who sends me a really brilliant limerick about it. In keeping with tradition, mild ribaldry is acceptable…but please be respectful of the cheese.