Superlative Dairy Products
Alan and Valerie Kingston are at the helm of this outfit, which produces some of the best natural dairy products in Ireland. Alan, traditional West Cork diary farmer, works land around the old farmhouse his family have occupied for generations. Valerie has a degree in Food Science and Technology from University College Cork, and put it to good use here when the pair decided to maximise earning potential from their small herd of fifty cows. The original products were originated by Valerie in 1997, and sold via local farmer's markets. But of course, when you make things this good, news spreads very fast!
The range grew, and with it the need to expand production facilities. In 2002, a cheese house was built in the yard, near to the milking parlour, which meant milk could be transferred directly, ready for production. And so the business grew. But it seemed that the more this pair created, the more demand arose! Having outgrown the home environment and then the initial dairy facility, a new extension was commissioned in order to up production once more. The work was completed in 2008, and the Glenilen brand goes from strength to strength. (A viewing area in the new production house is accessible during working hours.) Glenilen's wonderfully creamy milk is the basis for the superlative dairy products made here and the Kingston's ethos of ''firmly believing in unprocessed foods' certainly shines through. Delicious, light as a feather cheesecakes include Glenilen fromage frais and double cream and only the best pure fruits like mixed summer berries, strawberries or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Sensuous Irish Cream Liqueur or Cappuccino have a more ''grown up' taste. Raspberry mousse is low fat, around 9%, made with a mix of yogurt and cream and pure fruit.
And for this writer, a morning isn't a morning without Glenilen yogurt and fruit compote. These are pure delight in a pot - or should we say dinky glass jar - with a layer of fresh fruit compote - plum, apple, rhubarb, or crushed strawberries or raspberries (our favourite), topped with natural, unsweetened yogurt. Some people like to mix the fruit into the yogurt before eating. But we reckon nothing beats digging the spoon down to the bottom to get to get at the fruit and yogurt in one go. Two different tastes and textures on the spoon - and you can appreciate the purity of both ingredients in one heavenly mouthful! The farm also produces rich clotted cream, rare and wonderful double cream, quark, fromage frais - and the best ever country butter, made in the traditional churn, cut into slabs, and wrapped in greaseproof tied with string. This truly is yesteryear on toast.
As you can imagine distribution has increased over the years so Glenilen Artisan Dairy Products are now available not just in native West Cork, but throughout Cork county, and Kerry, Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford, Galway and Laois via selected SuperValu and Dunnes Stores and small independent food shops such as fellow Good Food Ireland members Urru in Bandon, Donnybrook Fair and you can also find their delicious butter, double cream and yoghurts served at the Ballymaloe House Restaurant.