Last night I was writing about Durrus cheese but all week I have been eating Milleens in my sandwiches. I finished it off today and may not be able to get my hands on any more until next summer.


Milleens is made on that part of the Beara Penisula that is part of County Cork. Although it is not that far away we have never really made it onto the Beara having just skirted round the edge on the odd trip to Glengarriff. But the Beara is a great dark brooding presence on any walk that takes you up to the spine of the Sheep’s Head and onto the north side. It looms up on the other side of Bantry Bay almost always shrouded in grey.It is vastly bigger than the Sheep’s Head so on old maps the two penisulas almost merge into one.

One of the reassuring aspects of the Sheep’s Head is that you are never away from being able to see the sea. I suspect that within the bulk of the Beara and its mountains the sea can disappear and that will make it more difficult to maintain your bearings. It will be a remoter and more far away place.

Something of that remoteness carries through in the cheese. Milleens is less refined than Durrus and Gubbeen. There is a real earthiness about it as if it has spent time lodged in some deep corner of half rotten soil. The smell of it sticks to the fingers after a slice has been cut. I am going to miss it.

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