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St Tola Cheese

St Tola is a soft, moist, crumbly cheese made from unpasteurized goat's milk curdled with vegetarian rennet.

It is made in Inagh in north-western County Clare, Ireland. It was first made by Meg and Derrick Gordon, in the early 1980s. In 1999, sold out to and cross-trained a neighbour, Siobhán Ni Ghairbhith, who in 2000 began making it along with a John McDonnell. The company is called "Inagh Farmhouse Cheese Limited."

The milk comes from their own herd of goats, which as of 2009 consists of Saanen, Toggenburg and British Alpine breeds.

As of 2005, the cheese products came in several forms:
    • A log that develops a rind is most well-known one. It has 29% fat;
    • Small cheeses called St Tola Crottin, just a few bites per each small round. The small cheeses firm up as they age and develop a soft white velvety rind. They have 29% fat content and weigh 120 g each;
    • St Tola in Oil: a log cheese cut into pieces, packed in small jars in grapeseed oil, each jar weighing 150 g. The grapeseed oil can be used fresh for salad dressings or in cooking.
    • St Tola Hard Cheese: an aged gouda-style cheese made in hard rounds. It has 20% fat content with sizes ranging from 200 g, 450 g and 2.2 kg.

By 2009, they had dropped the log cheese pieces in oil, and added a vacuum-packed small slice of the cheese log, as well as a feta-style cheese made in 1kg sizes. The company now (2009) prefers to brand its cheese as "organic."

History Notes

On 28 August 2001, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) recalled St Tola Cheese when E-coli 0157 was found in it. St Tola disputed the results, and said they had mixed up their results. The ban on the cheese was lifted on 31 August 2001 when St Tola agreed to pasteurize some of its milk.

In 2006, they extended the existing cheese house and goat housing and other facilities to allow for expanded production. [1]

In 2007, the company was awarded a grant by the Clare County Enterprise Board of €3,750.00 to help them develop the export potential for the cheese. [2]

2002 British Cheese Awards: Gold Medal for Supreme Organic Cheese Champion
2003 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards: Silver Award for Soft and Blue Goat and Sheep Cheese
2004 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards: Gold Award for Soft and Blue Goat and Sheep Cheese; Supreme Champion
2004 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards:
2005 IFEX Awards: Bronze Award for Speciality Farmhouse Cheese, Soft and Semi-Soft
2005 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards: Gold Award for Soft and Blue Goats and Sheep Cheese
2005 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards: Bronze Award for Hard Cheese – Goat and Sheep
2006 British Cheese Awards: Gold Medal Award -Crottin for Bronze Medal Award - Hard Cheese
2007 (Irish) National Organic Awards: 1st Place Chilled Goods & Best Overall Organic Product
2007 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards: Gold Award Soft and Blue Cheese; Silver for Hard goat or sheep milk cheese; "Best Irish Farmhouse Cheese 2007."
2007 British Cheese Awards: Bronze Award - St Tola Mature Crottin & Bronze Medal Award - St Tola Fresh Crottin
2008 Great Taste Awards: Gold Medal for St Tola Hard Cheese
2008 Irish Farmhouse Cheese Award: Silver Medal for St Tola Crottin
2008 British Cheese Awards: Silver Medal for St Tola Log
2008 World Cheese Awards: Silver Medal for St Tola Crottin

Language Notes

St Tola is the name of a local saint, buried 7 miles away beside Dysert O' Dee Castle.


[1] Clare County Council Planning Applications: Planning Applications Granted From 01/12/2006 To 31/12/2006. 22 January 2007. File #: 06/1677 Application Received 24 July 2006 from Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith.

[2] Clare County Enterprise Board. Annual Report 2007.

Anderson, Nicola. Toddler hit by E Coli bug sparks consumer alert. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Independent. 25 August 2001.

Condon, Deborah. Cheese recall due to E-coli. Irishhealth.com. 8 August 2001. Retrieved August 2005 from http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=2818.

Irish Food Board. Bord Bia Announces Winners of Ireland's Inaugural National Organic Awards. 02/09/2007. Retrieved April 2009 from http://www.irishfoodboard.com/eventsnews/press/2007/Pages/BordBiaAnnouncesWinnersofIreland%E2%80%99sInauguralNationalOrganicAwards.aspx

Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association. Winners of the 'Shiela Broderick Memorial' - National Farmhouse Cheese Competition, Listowel, November 9th 2007. Retrieved April 2009 from http://www.irishcheese.ie/HT-04-Listowel.htm

Email communication from Grainne Casey, Marketing Manager, writing on behalf of Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith to CooksInfo.com 14 April 2009.

See also:

Goat's Milk Cheeses

Banon Cheese; Brie de Chèvre; Brousse du Rove; Capricorn Goat's Cheese; Chèvre Frais; Chevre Noir; Chèvre; Chevrot Cheese; Cotija Cheese; Gevrik Cheese; Goat's Milk Cheeses; Humboldt Fog Cheese; Pantysgawn Cheese; Pavé Blésois Cheese; Pavé de Chirac Cheese; Picodon de Chèvre; Saint-Loup Goat Cheese; Selles-sur-Cher; St Tola Cheese

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Oulton, Randal. "St Tola Cheese." CooksInfo.com. Published 02 July 2005; revised 23 April 2009. Web. Accessed 06/23/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/st-tola-cheese>.

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