Friday, August 10, 2012

Product of the week: Gubbeen Farmhouse Produce...

Over the past number of weeks, I have been doing my bit to spread the word about Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012 which is the Slow Food Movement International gathering in Turin, Italy. It was at this event in 2008 where I first came across Gubbeen produce, who are the true pioneers of the Slow Food Movement in Ireland.

Gubbeen Farm Produce  was formed in 1979 by Tom and Giana Ferguson on their 250 acre farm in Schull, County Cork. All milk used for their produce comes from their own herd of dairy cows, which is a mixture of several breeds; British Friesian, Simmenthal, Jersey, and Kerry. Gubbeen Farmhouse Produce is made up of their Farmhouse Cheese and their smoked house charcuterie. 

Gubbeen cheese is a semi-soft washed-rind cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk. The secret of Gubbeen’s flavour lies in the interaction of the mushroom-scented rind and the semi soft, buttery body within the cheese. Giana describes her cheese as having 'a taste and scent of mushrooms and forests, nuts and a real buttery milky taste especially when young. The texture is buttery and soft'. Gubbeen also produce a smoked Gubbeen range which is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese which is slowly smoked with oak and beech. A black wax is then added to protect the cheese as it ages. The flavour is buttery and mild with a very subtle touch of smokiness on the finish. 

Aside from producing cheeses, Gubbeen set up a smoke house which is run by Fingal Ferguson since 1989. Fingal, a lover of strong bold flavours, has strong principles of not using any ingredients that are not necessary including MSG, phosphates or sulphurs. One of the most famous of all their smokery produce is their 'Gubbeen Cherizo' which can be found on the menus in some of Ireland's finest restaurants. Cherizo is a fermented cured smoked sausage usually made up of chopped fatty pork, seasoned with chili, paprika and garlic. It is the perfect partner with a soup, in a pasta dish or in this delicious recipe from Ballyvolane House.

Ballyvolane House Warm New Potato and Gubbeen Chorizo Salad:

(Serves 4)

Shopping List:

- 1 lb 5 oz/600g baby new potatoes

- 7 oz/200g Gubbeen chorizo (or another good quality chorizo)

- 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

- 2 oz/55g/1/2 cup spring onions, finely chopped

- 1 handful rocket leaves

For the dressing:

- 8 fl oz/225ml/ 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (or rapeseed oil)

- 2f l oz/50ml/ ¼ cup white wine vinegar (or natural cider vinegar)

- 2 fl oz/50ml / ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

- 2 tbsp/ 21/2 US tablespoons maple syrup (or orchard syrup)

- salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. First make the dressing: Place the olive oil in a jug with the vinegars and maple syrup. Season to taste and whisk until an emulsion is formed. Set aside until needed.

2. Next, steam the baby new potatoes for about 10 minutes until tender, then set aside and allow to cool completely. Cut into slices.

3. Heat a frying pan. Slice the chorizo and then cut each slice in half again. Add to the heated frying pan and cook for 5 minutes until the chorizo oil has started to bleed into the pan and the chorizo is crispy.

4. Add the cooked potatoes to the chorizo and mix through for a few minutes until heated through. Add the spring onions and cook for a further minute to soften the spring onions.

5. Add the parsley at last minute to the salad with enough of the salad dressing to coat. Season to taste and mix until well combined.

6. Arrange the salad on plates and use some of the remaining dressing to dress the rocket leaves. Arrange a small pile on each salad to serve.

A full list of stockists and more information on Gubbeen can be found here. Gubbeen Farmhouse produce can be found every Thursday at Mahon Point Farmer's Market.