Produced by Jeffa Gill in Co. Cork, Ireland, Durrus is a semisoft, washed rind, cow's milk cheese.
A former fashion designer, Jeffa left the city life in 1979 and first started making cheese in a pan on her kitchen stove using the milk of her eight cows.
The cheese quickly became popular and a permanent dairy was constructed, complete with a copper cheesemaking vat and maturing rooms. In 1990, finding that she was getting busier and needed to concentrate more on cheesemaking, Jeffa sold her cows. Milk is now sourced from two neighboring farms whose Friesian cows graze the hills above Dunmanus Bay. It takes approximately two gallons of milk to make each cheese.
For production of Durrus, milk is coagulated and the curds are cut with a Swiss harp (cutting tool) that is rotated through the curd in a particular way. Curds are put into molds and drain naturally, which helps to retain moisture in the cheese. After unmolding, the cheeses are brined and then turned and washed up to five times a day before making their way to the maturing rooms.
Cheesemaking takes place four days a week and Jeffa produces between 80-90 cheeses each day.
Durrus Irish farmhouse cheese has become known as one of the finest examples of modern Irish cheeses made using artisanal methods. Like most washed rind cheeses, the aroma of Durrus is much more pungent and assertive than the flavor of the cheese.
The texture of Durrus is semisoft, with occasional small holes, or "eyes." Flavors are balanced with notes of bacon, almonds, fruit and spices. The rind is edible but quite strong and tastes slightly of barnyard.