Toons Bridge Dairy

Enjoy delicious range of cheeses expertly prepared by this Co. Cork cheese maker.

Read Our Review

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The Toons Bridge Dairy Range

Expert cheesemaker Franco Picciuolo from Capua in Southern Italy is at the helm as Head Cheesemaker at Toons Bridge Dairy. Franco has re-developed the entire range of its cheeses produced from Irish cows and even sheep's milk. He has created a beautiful Fior di Latte - Fior di latte cow's milk mozzarella is made with raw milk that is cultured with whey starter, fully acidified and then stretched by hand in a traditional mastello. It is slightly drier and firmer than the buffalo version, with less acidity. Fior di latte means flower of the milk and it is incomparable to the tasteless direct acidification version that is sold in supermarkets. This is the mozzarella of choice for pizzerias in Naples as well as Toons Bridge as it melts to a softer and stringier mass.

Shop & Eat

Toons Bridge Dairy, Co. Cork, Irish Food, Good Food Ireland

Buy from Toons Bridge Dairy

Cheese enthusiasts can buy cheese direct from Toons Bridge Dairy as they open to the public Friday to Sunday. At the Toon’s Bridge Dairy Shop, which is in the same building as the café but has its own space, you’ll find the whole range of Toons Bridge cheeses, plus a serving counter packed with olives and home made deli items. Shelves hold a wealth of kitchen ‘must haves’, like Macroom oats and flour, good olive oils and vinegar and other store cupboard items.Wine to go with all this food is sourced by Jenny Rose, who looks for the unusual labels. All wines are organic, so you get something different when you pick up a bottle. You can also buy local craft beer from this region and locally produced apple juice.
Toons Bridge Dairy, Co. Cork, Irish Food, Good Food Ireland

Enjoy Woodfired Pizzas at Toons Bridge Cafe

A delicious cafe menu features Toons Bridge Dairy’s famous handcrafted cheeses, Fior di Latte, Caciocavallo, and Straw Smoked Scamorza from local Kerry Cow's milk, or Pecorino from local sheep's milk. To complement these, find little nibbles and bites like good olives, sundried tomatoes, pesto sauce and other Mediterranean deli items with home made flatbreads fresh from the wood fire oven. There’s always a home made seasonally representative soup on offer, plus several salad and sandwich options. Also extremely popular here are the freshly cooked stone baked pizzas from the wood fired oven in the garden, made from fresh hand formed pizza dough, using traditional Italian Caputo flour for the bases.

Our Review of Toons Bridge Dairy

West Cork has long been a trailblazing region for new artisan food production. Toons Bridge Dairy takes its name from the nearby bridge over the River Toon, in a small and picturesque hamlet in the Macroom countryside in West Cork. Cheese is made at the small dairy on site, from cows and sheep's milk from local farmers. Cheeses made here are continental in style, based on an idea from Toby Simmonds, the pioneer of importing Mediterranean products and olives for his stall in the English Market and various outdoor markets around the country.

Expert cheesemaker Franco Picciuolo from Capua in Southern Italy is at the helm as Head Cheesemaker at Toons Bridge Dairy. Franco is the fifth generation of his family to become a Head Cheesemaker. Since his move to Toonsbridge, Franco has re-developed the entire range of its cheeses. He has created a beautiful Fior di Latte - Fior di latte cow's milk mozzarella is made with raw milk that is cultured with whey starter, fully acidified and then stretched by hand in a traditional mastello. It is slightly drier and firmer than the buffalo version, with less acidity. Fior di latte means flower of the milk and it is incomparable to the tasteless direct acidification version that is sold in supermarkets. This is the mozzarella of choice for pizzerias in Naples as well as Toons Bridge as it melts to a softer and stringier mass. Jenny Rose Clarke, co-owner of Toons Bridge, is very excited about this cheese,made from prime quality milk from Ireland's protected Kerry cow breed, which she describes as a mozzarella style but drier, and melts divinely on her homemade wood fired oven stone baked pizzas, now very popular in the little cafe at Toonsbridge. Kerry Cow's milk is also used for Caciocavallo and Scarmorza cheeses. Scamorza is straw smoked to give a subtle savoury taste and the fragrance of an Irish meadow.

Local ewe's (sheep's) milk forms the basis for wonderful Pecorino. Toby Simmonds says 'Our pecorino is made in Toons Bridge by cheesemaker Vincenzo, to a family recipe from his native Marche region. Vincenzo has a small flock of sheep in nearby Carrigdangan and brings the milk three times a week to Toons Bridge where he makes the cheese. Vincenzo also works in the dairy assisting Franco when he has time!'

A new cheese maturing room on site will allow for the ageing of a range of Franco's handcrafted Italian hard cheeses, which will mature for anything between 8 weeks to up to 12 and 24 months. As we said, West Cork has long pioneered great local food production. Once again, it has embraced this exciting range of authentic Italian cheeses, made by hand with care and dedication from local milks, in this little rural dairy in deepest West Cork! All Toons Bridge Dairy cheeses are available from the deli and shop on site.

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