MasterChef 2016 winner champions Fivemiletown Cheese

Jane Devonshire helps Dale Farm celebrate the re-launch of the Co. Tyrone handmade cheese at a unique cheese tasting event in The Merchant Hotel

To mark the re-launch of Fivemiletown speciality cheese, Dale Farm invited MasterChef 2016 champion Jane Devonshire, to a special celebration at The Merchant Hotel. In June 2014, Fivemiletown was rescued from financial difficulty by Dale Farm, the UK’s largest dairy cooperative owned by 1,300 local farmers.

At the event, Dale Farm unveiled Fivemiletown’s modern new look for its award-winning handmade cheeses – Ballybrie, Ballyblue, Ballyoak and the smoked Oakwood cheddar. The refreshed packaging of this much-loved range of artisan products gives the cheese an outstanding on-shelf presence.

Jane was joined by Simon Dougan, owner and head chef of Yellow Door, who treated guests to a unique interactive tasting session, introducing fresh flavour combinations to pair with the Co. Tyrone craft cheeses.
Dale Farm is firmly focused on continually building its brands and ultimately sales for its dairy farmers. Speaking at the event Group CEO, David Dobbin told guests, “Dale Farm’s purchase of the Fivemiletown Creamery demonstrates the company’s strategy to support the local dairy industry and to grow its branded portfolio of quality consumer products.”

David continued, “Our new packaging makeover reflects Fivemiletown’s reputation as Northern Ireland’s top speciality cheese brand, whilst paying homage to its 100 years of expertise, heritage and tradition. We’re delighted to say that since the acquisition the creamery has boasted improved sales and growth, and this event really is a celebration of the skill involved in making the cheese, and its award-winning quality.”

“To have Jane, the current MasterChef champion advocate for our brand is very special. Also Michelle McIlveen joining us as the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, demonstrates the importance of quality local produce for Northern Ireland and beyond.”

Speaking at the event, Jane Devonshire said:

“I think my time on MasterChef showed my passion and commitment to local produce and how I try to incorporate them into my cooking. To be invited by Dale Farm to talk about Fivemiletown cheese – an amazing Northern Ireland product with real history – and celebrate something I absolutely love is an honour and a joy. The heritage, care and attention spent making these cheeses is so apparent when you eat them. I can honestly say they are utterly delicious. Someone asked me recently what my desert island food would be and I said cheese, of course. So to Dale Farm for ‘pairing me’ with Fivemiletown cheese – thank you – I am a huge fan.”

Finally, DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to attend a celebration of our locally produced Fivemiletown Cheeses. In Northern Ireland we have a wealth of high quality, safe and wholesome foods, produced with world leading traceability and safety controls, in addition to farms with a strong track record in quality assurance systems and high animal health and welfare standards.

“As we progress through our Year of Food and Drink it is important that we harness the benefits of our successes and continue to drive quality, innovation and creativity to explore new market opportunities for future sustainable production within our food and drink sector.”