Showing posts with label Cashel Blue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cashel Blue. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Bridge Bar. Fine Wine, Craft Beer, Top Spirits, Tasty Food, Music.


The Bridge Bar
Fine Wine, Craft Beer, Top Spirits, Tasty Food, Music


It is the last day of August and very wet as we reach Bridge Street in Cork’s Victorian Quarter. We didn’t complain too much about the rain after such a fine summer - remembering that we were praying for it a few weeks back.

In any case, we were going indoors, into the warm and snug Bridge Bar. Here, a few yards from Patrick Bridge, they serve fine wines, classic cocktails, craft beers and some really cracking gins (including quite a few Irish ones).

They also do a great pre theatre offer of a bottle of wine with a sharing board of light bites for two for €25 which is well worth a try judging by our experience. And if it’s just a drink you want then this long and narrow bar is perfectly situated if you’d fancy a drink before or after the show at the nearby Everyman or when dining on McCurtain Street. 

They also do a great Aperitivo & Nibbles, available Monday to Saturday 5 - 7pm. Enjoy two Gin & Tonics or Aperol Spritz with nibbles for €12.

When we were seated at the bar, we had a quick look at the wines on offer, quite a few very tempting indeed. The Spanish Ayud Chardonnay is unoaked and organic and, on the red side, I spotted the delicious Samurai Shiraz from Australia.

But beer won out in the end. They have the usual main stream beers and also quite an array of craft beer on tap as well including Blacks of Kinsale, Yellow Belly, Kinnegar, White Hag, and Franciscan Well. And more keep coming according to manager Gavin.

We enjoyed the Kinsale Pale Ale and also the Ale from Sligo’s White Hag. In the meantime, we had a look at the food board. They have Valencia Salted Almonds and Olives Marinated in Chili with Thyme and Garlic as nibbles. There’s a very tempting meat and cheese board for sharing for €15.00.
White wines

The value is excellent here as we found out when we shared the Antipasto Board with cheese and no shortage of bread. The cheeses were Coolea and Cashel Blue and came with lots of little bowls including three tasty dips/spreads (including a beetroot hummus), a dish of artichoke hearts, a fine mix of marinated olives and a few other bits and pieces, all for a tenner! Top class stuff, as you can see by the cheese offerings, very tasty indeed and amazing value.

We were in early on Friday and the place gradually began to fill. Back in the spring of the year, we called in there much later in the evening and the Bridge was packed, great craic, and music playing. The Bridge is now heading into its second winter here and the frequency of live music events will increase as the daylight decreases. 

You’ll also see they do talks on everything from whiskey,  to local foods and Big Sporting events on the large screen too. Handy spot too for a party. Indeed there is a free White Hag beer tasting on this evening. Check them all out on Facebook @thebridgecork and Twitter @thebridgecork. 

6 Bridge St
Cork
Message: m.me/thebridgecork 
Call (021) 239 6185 
The Bridge (pic by The Bridge)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cork’s SpitJack. Making A Difference on Washington Street.


Cork’s SpitJack.
Making A Difference on Washington Street.
Camembert, for sharing 

When you’d like something that little bit different, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then head to the SpitJack on Washington Street. Number 34 is a lovely old building the food (based on local produce and generally given the rotisserie treatment) is excellent and the staff are very helpful and friendly.

There were four of us in for dinner the other evening and we absolutely enjoyed the buzz - the place was full - the ambiance and the food. The expertise of the team and quality of the food combine to make the lovingly restored old venue conducive to enjoying a good night out in comfort.

And the drink. They have much to offer here, including spirits galore and a tempting cocktail list. One of us enjoyed the smooth 8 Degrees Knockmealdown Irish Stout (5.0% Abv) 5.5 with its espresso and molasses aromas. The rest shared a mouth-watering bottle of Abadia do Seixo Albarino (32.00). 
Calamari

Choices made and starters delivered. Lets begin. A pair of us shared the Rotisserie Melted Camembert (€15). This was studded with Rosemary and Garlic and came with Crusty Bread, Chilli & Tomato Jam. Quite a plateful and none went back. A lovely dish and not often seen in these parts.

Sounds of approval too from the others. The Ballycotton Prawn Pil Pil (€9.90 ), a dish of Chilli & Garlic Prawns, Warm Country Baguette, Allioli, was highly ranked as one of the best of its kind and the same rating was garnered by the Ballycotton Crispy Calamari (€8.50) tossed in Home Made Allioli,  with Sautéed Chorizo, Red Pepper Coulis, Mixed Leaves.

One of a couple at a nearby table were celebrating a birthday and the staff joined in with a little cake and a song so we helped with the chorus and the applause.

The main event followed and two decided on the Ballycotton Pan Roasted Hake with Butter Bean, Chorizo & Kale Broth, Shaved Asparagus, Fennel & Radish Salad, Potato Mousseline (18.50). Both were well pleased, each remarking on the flavoursome broth. Another winner from the kitchen. Ballycotton was doing well too and everything from there went down well at our table.



Duck

Back to the rotisserie for my friend who gleefully demolished the Big Jack Burger, a North Co. Cork Aged Striploin Beef Burger, Cashel Blue Cheese, Baby Gem, Home-Made Pickles, The SpitJack Relish, Brioche Bun (€16.95). By the way, she asked for it without the bun. I could understand that, as most of the time, I usually eat just one half of it.

Meanwhile, I was tucking into a dish that was that little bit different, the confit and Rotisserie Roasted Duck Leg Salad with Pearl Couscous, Roasted Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Carrot, Mixed Leaves, Tarragon and Orange Dressing (€17.95). Must say I loved it, every little bit.

34 Washington Street
Cork
(021) 239 0613
Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Twitter: @theSpitjack 




Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Taste of the Week A Sheridan’s Cheese and Jam Double


Taste of the Week
A Sheridan’s Double

Sheridan’s get the credit for our current Taste of the Week. It’s a double and features one product bought in their Galway store during a recent visit to the City of the Tribes and another product bought in Bradley’s of Cork but distributed by Sheridan’s.

The product from Bradley’s is a semi-circle of Cashel Blue made, as always, by the Grubb family in Tipperary, but selected, matured and distributed by Sheridan’s.

So there I was one lunchtime with that Cashel Blue at hand and wondering how I’d enhance it. And then I remembered being served Black Cherry jam with sheep’s cheese in the Basque Country. I had the very thing in the cupboard: a big pot of artisan made Confiture Cerise Noire (my purchase from Sheridan's).



A perfect pairing and a delicious Taste of the Week. Lots of that jam left, so it looks as if I’ll be heading to Bradley’s for more cheese. Indeed, I may well also keep an eye out for that new hard sheeps cheese by Velvet Cloud.

By the way, I also found another match for the cheese, a bottle of Gerard Bertrand’s Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (from O’Brien’s Wine). Not the whole bottle, mind you, a little sip will do! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Looking for a sure thing? Mikey Ryan’s has the answer


Looking for a sure thing?
Mikey Ryan’s has the answer.
Crisps.

On the M8 and feeling peckish? Call in to Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel and they’ll sort that out for you. They have a lovely outside area at the back but the glass lined interior restaurant is also bright, not least because of a series of skylights. Lots of horsey pictures around here too and, if you keep your ears open, you might well pick up a tip and cover the cost of your nosh.

Just thought I’d let you know. Because if you are strolling down the main street, you wouldn’t give tuppence (about 2.5 cent) for it. Not that it looks dowdy; far from it, but the exterior does look like a thousand other pubs in Ireland. 
Exterior

Inside is where the magic happens and you’ll see it at work as you pass the kitchen area on the way to your table. We got there for lunch recently and thought we’d start with a few nibbles. The Sweet Potato Crisps with smoked chili salt and the Mixed Olives would fit that bill, we thought. Portions are generous in Tipp. If the quantity was up then so too was the quality. A very enjoyable start!

Our main courses were arriving now. CL went for The Nourish Bowl, one of a few dishes that comes in two sizes. Colours, flavours, and crunch galore in this mixed salad of spiced chickpeas, smashed avocados, herb tofu, pickled beets and sauerkraut. No holding her back after that.
Fish Cakes

I was well pleased too after my Castletownbere crab cakes served with wild rocket and celery heart salad with lemon and dill dressing. Enjoyed the textures and the flavours there and, yes, there was no shortage of crab meat.

Spotted a White Gypsy tap in the bar on the way in. They also serve the local Tipperary whiskey, Bertha’s Revenge gin and Kalak vodka (another local drink). In the garden, you may order your drink, including cocktails, from the Horse Box Bar (it is a horse box). 

Good news too on the wine front as the list at Mikey’s “has been carefully curated with a focus on small estate, mostly organic and biodynamic wines. We are interested in showcasing wines from makers who believe in minimal intervention and take a natural approach to the process of wine producing.” 
Power-pack!

Artisan food producers are also supported here and you’ll see Toons Bridge, Cashel Blue, Galtee Honey, Gubbeen, KIllenure Castle (dexter), The Good Herdsmen, Annie’s Organic Farm and Comfrey Cottage Cashel among those mentioned. 

Reflecting the food philosophy of Chef Liam Kirwin, the menu “is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care”. My kind of restaurant and very highly recommended.

* Do check out the toilets, they are high class, as good as you’ll get in a five star hotel. And keep listening for those racing tips!


Mikey Ryan’s
Main Street
Cashel 
Co Tipperary
tel (062) 62007




Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Other Side of Monk's Lane


The Other Side of Monk's Lane
Temple of Good Food and Drink in Timoleague
Perfect Pork

A country classic, for sure. (McKenna’s).

Those in the know happily take a drive out from Kinsale and Cork city to enjoy Michelle O'Mahony and Gavin Moore’s lovely restaurant. (Georgina’s Campbell’s Ireland Guide).

I have seen the future and it’s in Timoleague. This is a pub that manages to be utterly unpretentious but which also ticks every conceivable box.. (Irish Mail).

Most of you know by now that Monk’s Lane, a gastro-pub in Timoleague, is a must visit. But did you know, that across the lane, they now have a Gin Bar and a private dining area. And, indeed, in the lane itself, there is a beer garden, part of it covered, an inviting summertime venue.
Just some of the good beer (and cider) available here.
That Gin Bar is well endowed and serving a long list of Irish and English gins. The Irish list is as long as your arm, the English almost as long as the other one.

And another distinguishing factor here, since they opened, is the craft beer menu. No  messing here with a token bottle or two. Quite a few by draught and even more by bottle. We were there the other night and I enjoyed Roaring Ruby Red Ale by the West Cork Brewery, one of the best red ales I've come across, fantastic body and flavour all the way from Baltimore (not too far really!).  CL's pick was the Black's 1601 lager.



Here too you may have an aperitif, White Port and tonic for instance. Wine of the Week perhaps? A white from Italy, from Puglia, a Garnacha from Navarra. And there are three  cocktails on offer: based Black’s of Kinsale gin, a Longueville Mór Martini and a Gunpowder Gin du Jour. Wines, by the way, come in five different sized servings, starting with a convenient 100ml.
The burger and salad

You'd never know by these opening paragraphs but we did come here for the food and glad to say it is as varied and as good as ever, local produce well cared for, well cooked and neatly presented and delivered to the table with care and a smile. And at a fair price too.

So let us start! There are eight or nine starters to choose from and also a trio of sharing plates, virtually all featuring local produce. CL picked the Crozier Blue, apple and candied pecan salad. Hard to go wrong with that combination and it was superb, that creamy blue, those delicious nuts.

Mine was a bit more exotic: Lamb Quesadillas, with salsa fresca, salad and lime yogurt. That, with a couple of dips, one cooling, made the taste buds sit up and take notice! Have to say too that the salad leaves in both starters were as fresh as could be and well dressed, simple stuff, simply well done. By the way, each of these starters was also available in a large size.
Crozier Blue salad

On then to the mains and again we were picking from a good long list, everything from Haddock Fish and Chips, to Sea Trout, to 10 ounce sirloin. Garlic and Thyme Marinated Pork Medallions (17.95) was one of our picks and it was served with spring onion mash, char-grilled red onions, apple and raisin chutney and a cranberry gravy. Silence reigned while that was being demolished!

I wasn't doing too much talking myself either as I made my way through quite a delightful plateful: Chorizo and Rosemary Infused Wagyu Beef Burger (18.50) , on a flour bun, topped with melted buffalo mozzarella, homemade aioli, tomato chutney, sautéed onions, hand-cut chips and salad. Some wild garlic in there too. All good, the beef outstanding, loved the chutney, the chips of course and again that salad played a key role providing colour, flavour and crunch.
Be sure and check out the lane to the left!

We were feeling fairly full at this point and dessert was being turned down until we were “persuaded” to share the Rhubarb and Ginger Cake with ice-cream and cream. It didn't last long, the ginger adding a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the combination! 

Just goes to show that one ingredient can lift and distinguish a dish. We had seen it earlier with the chorizo in the burger, the candied pecan with the cheese. Get the big things right and use something small to make the difference. Looks like they do that here a lot. Worth a trip not to mind a detour.

Monk's Lane
15 Mill Street
Timoleague
Co. Cork
tel: 023 884 6348
Web: http://monkslane.ie/ 

See other recent posts from this area:
Courtmacsherry Hotel
The Lifeboat Inn
Monk's Lane


Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Lifeboat Inn. Courtmacsherry's Gastro Pub Up and Running


The Lifeboat Inn.
Courtmacsherry's Gastro Pub Up and Running

The Lifeboat Inn in Courtmacsherry is not open a year yet but is making quite an impression in the village. Serving good local food, much of it from the nearby waters, in a casual atmosphere has been the aim of David O’Halloran and chef Martin Buckley since they started here last summer and already it is paying off for them. 

Indeed, they have “expanded” across the road where an inviting terrace has been set up with views over the water. I reckon that will be buzzing in the months ahead. So, a tip for motorists: drive slowly here and allow that server (it may well be David as he looks after front of house) get across the road!

We were there recently and the menu , as promised, has lots of fish and seafood: cod, black sole, John Dory, crab claws and prawns. And quite a bit more as well. The menu is short enough but I prefer to see a short list and high quality, and that's what you get here.

Surprisingly enough, the wine list is a long one with lots of choice. The outstanding Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc features but the New Zealand wine is one of just a few from the New World. We enjoyed the Tandem Wines Casual Rosé and an Albarino, both from Spain, two of about ten whites available by the glass. 

A few more from the New World in the reds, where I spotted the lovely Finca Florencia Malbec from Argentina; some excellent European offerings too, ranging from 22 euro to 130. And there is a bar right there in the middle offering the usual suspects plus an outstanding local craft beer by Blacks of Kinsale.

We had five starters to choose from and my choice was their Prawns in garlic and white cream with crispy sourdough on the side to soak up the cream. A simple enough dish, delicate and delicious and pleasurably dispatched. 

CL’s opener had more texture, more flavours, also a little bit more robust, and the warm Haulie’s Black-pudding salad served with apple, walnut and crispy hen’s egg was also a winner.

Aside from the fish dishes, the mains may also include a Beef Burger in a Brioche Bun with Gubbeen Cheese and Tomato or a Sirloin Steak with all the trimmings.

My choice though was the Wild Mushroom Risotto with herbs and shaved Parmesan. This was one of the best I've had, just perfect and, at €14.00, good value also.

CL meanwhile also struck gold with her Cod with a Parmesan crust, baby potato, roast cauliflower, and wild garlic (no doubt from the local wood where we had earlier walked through swathes of it in flower). The fish was pristine, the whole dish a delicious combination of textures, flavours and aromas (19.95). Go for this if it is on when you visit!.

We were tempted by the desserts but eventually decided to share the cheese board. And we got a generous selection - Milleens, Hegarty’s Cheddar and Cashel Blue - served with an outstanding pear and fig chutney and plenty of bread and crackers. Another one to look out for!

Probably not surprising that the offering is so good here. Both David and chef Martin have put in long years learning the trade in London and Dublin before settling in Courtmacsherry. Their Gastro Pub is truly up and running and well worth a call, even if it is just for a glass of wine or beer on the terrace.

While we were among just a few diners - we were in very early - it would be advisable to book ahead, especially if you are going down just for the meal as they tend to get full early on at the weekend.

The Lifeboat Inn
Main Street
Courtmacsherry
Co. Cork
Tel: (023) 886 4656
Twitter: @the_lifeboatinn 
Web: www.lifeboatinn.ie 

Other recent posts from this area:
Courtmacsherry Hotel


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Out of the Blue. And only out of the blue!

Out of the Blue

And only out of the blue!

Out of the Blue, the restaurant with the colourful beach-hut style frontage on Dingle’s waterfront, is a fish restaurant. Nothing else. So, if there’s no fresh fish, there is no opening. They have a few sample menus on their tidy website but you won't know what is really on offer until you get there, indeed, they themselves profess not to know until the boats come in. So it is always something of a surprise, but never a let-down.

Do book in advance though especially when there is a festival in town. We were there last weekend and reserved a table for Friday night, the night that the Food Festival launched. You don't get a menu in your hand. A large blackboard is positioned on a nearby chair and you are given plenty of time to consider the long list, everything from mussels to lobster, from pollack to black sole. We made our choices as we sipped a glass of cool prosecco.
Curried plaice

If the outside looks like a hut, the inside is solid and comfortable, lots of paintings hanging there, including a lovely Currach by local artist Liam O'Neill. We had time to look around before the starters arrived.

Pan fried curried plaice fillet with mango salsa was CL’s choice. And mine was the Duo of home cured and smoked salmon with citrus dressing. Indeed, it was an agreed choice and we went half and half. Both were excellent, the salmon smooth and easy, the plaice enhanced by the mild curry treatment.
Salmon

Jean Marie Vaireaux has been chef here for the past ten years - he has been in Dingle for much longer - and we noticed that was demoing his Scallops flambéed with Calvados on the following day. We didn't pick that as a mains as we thought we’d catch him at St Jame’s Church, the demo venue for the festival. But we got side-tracked by the Taste Trail!

Back to Out of the Blue and the mains, where there were many choices. Mine was the Char-grilled Halibut fillet with garlic butter. An excellent dish, superbly cooked and delivered to the table.
Halibut

I enjoyed that and CL was very happy indeed with her Pan fried Plaice fillet with Ratatouille Provençal, another simple dish, superbly executed.

Oh, almost forgot, We have wine. The list is large enough to cover most tastes and the majority of the wines are European.  Not a great fan of Picpoul de Pinet but the Cave L’Ormarine Preambule from the Languedoc could change my mind! Crisp, smooth, fruity, and mouth-watering, it proved an excellent match all through.

Dessert? Tempted yes, but in the end settled on a share of the cheese offering that featured Gubbeen and Crozier Blue and we finished off with that and a glass of port. Delicious end to a lovely evening and then a short stroll back to the hotel.


See Also:



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cork’s Ambassador Hotel. Hitting the Heights in More Ways than One

Hitting the Heights in More Ways than One

Cork’s Ambassador Hotel
The Ambassador, with the decking to the left.

Did you know you can get one of the best views of Cork City from your balcony at the Ambassador Hotel? One hundred and eighty degrees, from beyond Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the east to beyond St Fin Barre’s to the west, other landmarks, such as the RH Hall Silos and the Elysian in between. This view emphasises their claim that the hotel is very convenient to the city and its attractions.

The view inside isn't bad either. And if you’re there on business, well they’ve been talking to you, know what you want: a station to do a bit of work with a good chair, a flexible light and, wait for it, your own Espresso machine, all in your room.
Room with a view
Staying with business, they have rooms to suit all kinds of meetings, catering for ten to 250. The biggest room, the Bellevue Suite, is quite impressive, fully equipped, Wi-Fi and Air Conditioning included.  And if you need to keep that conference going through lunch, there is a range of refreshments and food (up to a 3-course lunch) available. Bellevue, also equipped with its state of the art lighting system and a dance-floor, is ideal for weddings and other large celebrations.

Aoife Lohse, Sales and Marketing Manager, took us through the hotel the other day. It has been extensively refurbished since the McGettigan takeover just a few short years ago. But not all the old stuff has been discarded. Some beautiful furniture, stained-glass windows, even gorgeous (and efficient) radiators, are to be seen throughout the wonderful red brick Victorian building. The impressive facade gives a sense of the rich history of the St Luke’s area and a clear example of 1870’s Irish architecture at its best.
It is not all corporate here, of course. Take the family bedroom, for instance. This, with no less than three beds is big, big enough for a big family. And you and the kids will be well placed to enjoy the surrounding area, the waterside towns of Cobh (known for the regular visits of huge cruising liners) and Kinsale are not too far away. And then there’s Fota Wildlife Park. Indeed, the hotel is only minutes away from the Dunkettle junction where you can choose to go east, or south or west or north. Cork’s your oyster. 

And after a busy day enjoying yourselves (or working!), why not relax on the new south-facing decking, with large awning and its state of the art barbecue. And if the weather is not great, then indoors you have the McGettigan’s Cookhouse and Bar.
Bring the family!

Your own Espresso
And after our tour of the hotel and its facilities, including a fitness room (very busy in the morning and early evenings, according to Aoife), it was to McGettigan’s that she brought us for lunch, a very enjoyable meal indeed.

The dining room is “library” themed, very comfortable. We weren't reading the books though but a very extensive menu that caters for everyone from child to adult, everything from steaks to pizzas, from super-salads to sandwiches. The McGettigan's brand by the way is not just local; you’ll find it in locations such as Dublin City centre, Wicklow, Wexford, Limerick, Donegal, Galway, New York,  Dubai and Singapore.
Duo of fish

Even though the menu is wide-ranging, you also have have a specials board. Immediately, the Catch of the Day caught my attention: Duo of Wild Atlantic Hake and Turbot, with Clonakilty Black Pudding whipped potato, white wine and saffron sauce. Enjoyed every little bit, along with a glass of Drostdy-Hof Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

CL went for the Roast of the Day: Roast leg of lamb, with scallion whipped mashed potatoes, slow roasted beef tomato, roasties and red wine jus. Perfectly cooked down to that very tasty tomato. Wine here was the house red, a very quaffable Sangiovese from Tuscany. 
Cheeseboard

We finished off in style with a “small” version of the cheese plate. Durrus, Gubbeen, and Cashel Blue were among the cheeses featured and there were some very appropriate bits and pieces as accompaniment, including a delicious apricot chutney. A very enjoyable lunch indeed!

* The Ambassador is just one venture of the McGettigan Group, one of the country's biggest hospitality businesses, set up more than 50 years ago.
Night, night

Monday, December 12, 2016

Brewmaster muses on Beer and Cheese

With Cork Cheese Week on (big weekend coming up at Cork International Hotel), thought you might like to read this 2016 post on Cheese and Beer, featuring Garrett Oliver, the renowned brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery.
Brewmaster on Real Beer and Real Food
Garrett Oliver in Oxford Companion to Cheese
Garrett Oliver

“You need real tomatoes to make tomato sauce.” 

Garrett Oliver started a Ballymaloe LitFest talk and beer tasting, with this line. Soon, he would delve into bread and cheese, including fake bread and fake cheese. 

Garrett played a key role as the brewing/culinary pairing concept reached a critical turning point in 2003, according to the newly published Beer FAQ by Jeff Cioletti. That was the year that Garrett's book, The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, saw its first publication. He was also the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer.

So it no surprise to see the dapper brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery listed as one of the 325 contributors to the just published Oxford Companion on Cheese.

Yes, you read correctly. Three hundred and twenty five contributors! A few Irish among them, including Darina Allen (right) and Gianna Ferguson, Timothy P. Guinee (Teagasc), Alan Kelly (UCC), P.L.H McSweeney (UCC) and Colin Sage (UCC). 

But Oliver, tasked with pairing beer with cheese, is in his comfort zone. And, as in Ballymaloe, he first refers to the 20th century industrialisation of food and beverages “into nearly unrecognisable facsimiles of themselves” before craft began to restore “variety, subletly and life”.
Gianna and Fingal
Ferguson of Gubbeen
And so, in speaking of pairing, Garrett is talking craft and artisan. And he outlines the reasons why beer and cheese go so well together and, as always, he doesn't fail to boot wine down the list as a contender! In Ballymaloe, he said champagne comes in a beer bottle, not the other way round!

In quite a hefty contribution, he goes through all the types of beer, from light ales to Imperial Stouts. You’ll have to get the book to see all the possibilities but let's have a look in the middle of the list under the heading Wheat Beers and Saisons.

“Wheat beers..are slightly acidic, fruity, spritzy, and refreshing as well as low in bitterness. In contrast, the Belgian farmhouse saison style tends to add sharper bitterness, often alongside peppery notes. These beers make great matches for tangy fresh goats cheeses, and can be a great way to start off a cheese and beer tasting.”
Brewer's Gold from Ireland's Little Milk Co.
I presume some of you will remember the processed cheeses of our childhood, packaged in single serve portions, often foil-wrapped triangles. Names such as Calvita (the word apparently a mix of calcium and vitamin), Galtee, Whitethorn, come to mind. Well, the book reveals that the first such cheese (1921) was the French Laughing Cow.
In the Basque country - Brebis with black cherry jam.
At home in Ireland, I use loganberry jam.

This book is huge and is very inclusive indeed with no less than 855 entries and claims to be the most comprehensive reference work on cheese available. It is well written, well edited and both the expert and professional will find something of value. But it is not the type of book I’d read from start to finish.

It is one to dip into and that is what I’m doing here, just to give you a flavour. So if you want to look up kashkaval, you’ll find it is a hard cheese from the Balkans. Preveli is a semi-hard Croatian cheese.
Coolea
Want to get technical? Did you know that “stewing” is part of the process? That “stretching” refers to the traditional method of making Mozzarella? That “green cheese” refers not to a cheese that is green in colour but rather to a new, young, as-of-yet unaged, or underripe? That the holes in Gouda or Edam are not called holes but “eyes”?

And it is not just technical. There are many practical entries. Perhaps one that we could all read is under Home Cheese Care. Here you’ll read that the fridge may be bad for your cheese as it can be too cold for some aged styles.

And there are quite a few entries on the history of cheese around the world, including the Americas. Indeed, the book is published in the US. Was it Irish monks that first brought cheesemaking skills to St Gallen in Switzerland? Nowadays, in a possible reverse, you can get a lovely St Gall from the Fermoy Natural Cheese Company.

And how come it is only over the past forty years or so that Irish cheese is on the rise, Irish artisan cheese that is. In the Ireland entry, you read that by the 17th century, many distinctive aspects of Irish life and culture, including the Gaelic Farm economy and the native cheesemaking tradition, had been killed off by decades of oppressive English law. It took us an overly long time to recover!
Mobile Milking in Swiss mountains

Cashel Blue, as far as I can see, is the one Irish cheese to get an entry to itself. Cheeses, most of them famous, from all over the world are highlighted, including from places such as Turkey and Iran. 

Hundreds of cheeses then but here are just a few of the better known ones that you may read about: Camembert, Chabichou, Cheshire, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyere, Jack, Livarot, Mont d’Or, Ossau-iraty, Parmigiana Reggiani, Pecorino, Raclette, Reblochon, Stilton, Tomme, and Wensleydale.

And, by the way, Garret Oliver didn't get the matching field to himself! There is also an entry on wine pairing by Tara Q. Thomas!

The Oxford Companion to Cheese (December 2016), is edited by Catherine Donnelly, published by the Oxford University Press. Price: £40.00.

* The book also lists cheese museums around the world. None in Ireland, yet!


See also:

Veronica Steele. Pioneer in Irish cheese. Focus too on County Cork