Edam good deals as Tesco shoppers stock up for a very Dairy Christmas

Sunday, 21st December 2014: After strong cheese sales in the run up to Christmas, Tesco Ireland expects to sell the equivalent of five weeks of speciality and farmhouse cheese sales during Christmas week. Tesco stocks over 400 cheese products and the range is overseen by former cheese maker Barra McFeely, Cheese Buyer for Tesco Ireland. To date, the top selling cheeses in Tesco Ireland’s 148 stores this Christmas include:

1.French brie

  • A soft cheese named after the French region Brie, where it was originally created

2.Red cheddar

  • Cheddar is a hard cheese with a distinctive rounded flavour and a natural hint of sweetness. This cheese acquires a sharper taste as it matures over a period of time between 9 to 24 months.


  • Named after a Swiss village, Gruyere is a creamy semi-soft cheese with complex flavours; first fruity and then earthy and nutty.  


  • Stilton cheese has an EU protected name and can only be produced in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. This cheese features distinctive blue veins radiating from the centre of the cheese.

5.Boursin with garlic herb

  • Boursin is a herb-flavoured French cream cheese that pairs well with dry white wine, fruity red wine, salads, pasta or as an appetiser.  

6.Smoked Gouda

  • Gouda is a famous Dutch cheese that accounts for approximately 50% of the world’s cheese consumption. Smoked Gouda is smoked in brick ovens over flaming hickory chip embers. This hard cheese pairs well with beer, fruit, nuts and dark chocolate.


  • Comte is a French cheese produced in the Jura Massif region of Eastern France  and was one of the first cheeses to receive an AOC (Appellation d’origine controlee) status in 1958. This hard mountain cheese is matured in the darkness of special caves where the cheese gets its unique taste, texture and colour.

8.Sliced red cheddar

  • Making a second appearance in the top 10, this is a sliced version of the popular red cheddar cheese. Cheddar is a hard cheese with a distinctive rounded flavour and a natural hint of sweetness. This cheese acquires a sharper taste as it matures over a period of time between 9 to 24 months.


  • Manchego comes from the La Mancha region in Spain and is one of the most popular cheeses from Spain. This sheep’s milk cheese pairs well with sherry and has different flavour variations depending on the aging period; Semi Curado which is aged for three months, Curado which is aged for six months or Viejo which is aged for up to a year.

10.Port Salut

  • Port Salut comes from Brittany in the Loire Valley in France. This semi-soft cheese, also known as Port du Salut is made from pasteurised cow’s milk.

Just missing out on the top ten were Goats Cheese, Halloumi, Wensleydale and Cashel Blue. Commenting on the sales trends, Tesco Ireland’s Cheese Buyer, Barra McFeely said “We can’t brie-lieve the response to our ‘3 for €10’ special offer that is currently available on 90 cheeses in our range. Brie remains the top selling cheese but we have noticed customers branching out from traditional Christmas cheese board purchases of Stilton, Brie and Cheddar and trying Gruyere, Gouda, Comte and Manchego. Additional orders have been placed with suppliers to cater for this increased demand particularly for Irish farmhouse cheeses, sales of which are up 50% from last Christmas.”

Barra McFeely, Tesco Ireland’s resident cheese expert is an award winning cheese maker with over 20 years’ cheese experience.  Barra studied agriculture and food engineering at college and during a term break he worked with cheesemakers Veronica and Norman Steele in the Beara Peninsula in West Cork who are well known for their Milleens cheese. This summer job inspired him to switch to a two-year masters in cheese making. Barra has since travelled the world mastering his craft and has ‘cut the cheese’ in no fewer than 12 countries. Over the course of his travels he learned to speak seven languages and how to make over 40 of the main commercial cheese in the world.


For further press information or images of the top selling cheeses please contact:

Amanda Farrell, Consumer PR Manager, Tesco Ireland 


Notes to the editor:

  • The ‘3 for 10’ cheese special offer runs until February 22nd and includes 90 specially marked cheese products.
  • Figures based on cheese sales from Monday, 8th – Sunday, 14th December 2014 inclusive
  • The top twenty selling cheeses include:
  1. French Brie
  2. Vintage Dubliner Cheese Block 200g
  3. Tesco finest* Reserve Swiss Gruyere 195g
  4. Mature Blue Stilton
  5. Boursin Full Fat Soft Cheese with Garlic Herb 150g
  6. Tesco Dutch Smoked Gouda 230g
  7. Tesco finest* Comte 200g
  8. Charleville Select Red Slice 300g
  9. Finest Manchego
  10. Port Salut
  11. Chevre (Goat’s Cheese)
  12. Tesco Halloumi 250g
  13. Wensleydale with cranberries
  14. Tesco finest* Mature Blue Stilton 215g
  15. Pilgrims Choice Extra Mature 350g
  16. Tesco finest* Mature Cashel Blue 180g
  17. Bavaria Blu (Blue Brie)
  18. Wicklow Beechwood Smoked Cheese
  19. Cashel Blue Foil Wrap 175g
  20. Oak Smoked Cheddar 200g