Showing posts with label Febvre Wines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Febvre Wines. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2015

Strawberry Tree. Prize and Surprise.

Strawberry Tree. Prize and Surprise.

Your salad in a tin. Your berry soda hidden among daisies. Your cheese just 90 minutes old.


Last Thursday, I enjoyed the superb Organic and Wild Food Tasting Menu at Strawberry Tree restaurant in Macreddin Village, County Wicklow. For close on three hours, we enjoyed the culinary adventure, ten courses in all, a staggering array of delightful dishes.

Though we had read the menu in advance, each course had an element of surprise. And the dinner itself (plus a bottle of their Irish Crystal Gin) was a prize that I won in an online competition by Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchard, Ireland’s only organic orchard. So I was on a winner for the night!

Wild duck crackers (left) and 90 day cheese
As we made the short way from our room in the Brooklodge Hotel, also part of the Macreddin village, we met the hens on the lawn, a reminder that this is Ireland's only certified organic restaurant. It is also rather plush with gold framed mirrors a dominant feature.

Eight courses were detailed on the menu (and so too were all their suppliers). Our first plate was a “surprise from the local fields”, a wild duck cracker with a mushroom foam and mushroom dust. Delicate and delectable, a tasty surprise indeed.
Smoked salmon

Then we were on to a smooth and tangy Field and Farm, their own fresh 90 minute old cheese (made 90 minutes before service), Baby greens and rapeseed oil. Sea and Shore was next, their own Smokehouse wild salmon, wild seagreens, laverbread and cod’s roe spread. This was a quite a plate, a superb one too.

Wood and Field followed, this a Wild Leaf Salad, fermented garlic, pickled ramson seeds and more. The surprise here was that your salad came in a tin that you shook yourself to mix the elements and then spread onto to your plate that had been prepared with the garlic and seeds. We happily crunched our way through this completely delicious mix and then took a break for five minutes, the first of a few.


Salad in a tin!
Apples featured strongly in Hedgerow and Orchard which was Wild Crab Apple and Dabinett, Three Ways: Spiced, Chilled and Mulled. Instructions were to start with the spiced and that was followed quickly with the chilled to modify the hot spice. And then we finished with the calming mulled Highbank Orchard cider. A super trio.

And there followed yet another surprise insertion and a really gorgeous one, a wild venison consommé topped with a beetroot foam. Quite a flavour sensation to sip the hot venison soup through the beetroot as both flavours came together so well. Simple idea but a superb duo.

Wild venison consommé
Time then for the main events. First up was the inventive Sea and Wood: Pan Fried John Dory, Hogweed, Ground Elder, and their own Pancetta. Once again all the elements gelled together so well and the greens proved a marvellous match with the fish. By the way, everything cooked here on the night was done to perfection and the presentations were excellent.

The Farmer and the Butcher were not to be left out, of course, and they gave us 35 Day Aged Seared Beef Sirloin, slow cooked shin, horseradish cream, Butternut squash and jus. I think that jus contained some bone marrow. In any event, the dish was perfect, a beautiful mix of meat and veg, every element playing a part, nothing superfluous.

Apple three ways
John Dory and, below, filet

We had been taking the odd break and now called another one, the better to enjoy the wine. Hard enough to pick one to match everything here but we were very happy with the performance of the Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner 2011 (biodynamic).


And now we were on to a sweeter drink, another surprise. This was called Just the Hedgerow, a real wild berry soda. The surprise was that it came, both bottles and their glass straws, in a wine box full of grass and daisies. But we found the bottles (not too difficult!) - the soda included some sloe gin - and enjoyed them, a bit of delicious fun, another treat from the vast repertoire here.


Find your berry soda!
 The main dessert was called simply The Wood: a wild sorrel lemon curd, meringue crust, shortbread biscuit. You wouldn't normally expect to find wood sorrel in a dessert but by that stage we were prepared to trust the Strawberry Tree (and they trust Anna’s Desserts). And that trust was repaid with the sweetest spoonfuls! Terrific finish to a memorable meal. Great service too, informative, chatty and time for a joke or two as well.
Dessert
The Strawberry Tree Tasting Menu €75.00
Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner €37.00



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market
Filling a few bags as well!
Immaculate King Oyster from Ballyhoura Mushrooms
Looks like quite a few of the traders from the Midleton Farmers Market are heading to the City Hall on Monday for the Cork Kerry Food Forum and Artisan Fair. The afternoon session, from 12.30pm on, is open to the public and you’ll have  a chance to sample and buy the products.

In the morning, there might well be a question or two about rulebook regulation hampering the development of small producers. That was certainly a topic in Midleton on Saturday. There is agreement that regulation is needed but so too is common sense.
Heaven's Cakes

The difference between shopping at a market and elsewhere was heavily and pleasantly underlined for me on Saturday. So many stops, so many chats, even a recipe from one producer. Bought one of Frank Hederman’s smoked mackerel (I know lots of you love the fillets but you must try the whole fish smoked on the bone) and Frank himself gave us a few tips on making the best use of it.

Cobh's Just Food started off at a corner of a stall in Midleton and it was great to see Deirdre Hilliard back in the market and supporting the stall-holders. She’ll be in the City Hall on Monday as will Jane Hegarty of Ardsallagh Goats. I was gossiping away to Jane as she handed out samples and one of them stopped me in full flow. It was a mature cheddar, four years old, delicious. She hasn't much left though and when its gone….

Deirdre’s nieces, Lilly and Roisin Higgins, were ”breakfasting” at the market but I don't think they got too much at all as their kids weren't inclined to leave any of the gorgeous pizza after them! Had a chat too with Lucy from Ballyhoura Mushrooms but forgot (too much gossip going on) to go back and buy some. Next time Lucy!


Mackerel, smoked on the bone.

Bumped into Colm and Aoife McCann from Ballymaloe and Peter Corr of Febvre Wine, and children. Colm is busy as usual lining up great wine events for Ballymaloe and has high hopes for the visit of the amazing Riedel Wine Glasses Show in November. That’s a long way off but there’ll be plenty of tastings and so on in between and we’ll let you know as soon as Colm has confirmed.

Also stopped to say hello to Noreen Conroy of Woodside Farm. They now have two stalls in the market, the second selling their delicious hot food.

We did manage to buy a few other bits and pieces, including (under instructions from Mr Hederman) some Ballycotton spuds from Willie, irresistible strawberries from Rose Cottage Farm  and, of course, bread from Arbutus. Another chat (French themed!) here of course with Declan and Deirdre before we retreated back to the city with one of their delicious Almond and Saffron Rings in the bag. Half of it is gone already and I don't think it will last the day!

Almond and Saffron by Arbutus



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super Saturday. Castlemary Farm. Midleton Farmers Market. The Food Emporium.

Super Saturday

Castlemary Farm. Midleton Farmers Market. The Food Emporium.

Olive and one of her goats.
This super Saturday started with a visit to Castlemary Farm. Great to meet up with the hard-working Olive Hallahan and her goats (who have a very comfortable life, especially Dan the Man!). Olive’s small shop on the farm opens every Saturday morning and today, for the first time, she had her Smoked Goats Cheddar on sale.


Frank Hederman did the smoking here so that cheese was top of our list but we also got a  few other bits and pieces including a Goat Cheese Fruit Yoghurt and a lovely brown loaf made with goat buttermilk! She also sells produce by the neighbours, including honey and eggs. The smoked cheese, by the way, tastes like a success, the smoking very finely judged indeed.
Olive meets another Billy

You may also buy Castlemary products at the regular Friday Country Market in Midleton and at the nearby shop recently opened by Helen Aherne. Olive tells me that Helen is a talented baker and her cakes also feature in the Midleton shop.

From Castlemary, I made my way to Midleton and to the regular Saturday morning Farmers Market. We were still reasonably early but O’Driscoll’s of Schull were rapidly running out of fish. Still we managed to get some fresh cod. Mushrooms from Irish Shiitake, Smoked Mackerel from the aforementioned Mr Hederman, and a lovely sweet Almond Brioche ring from Arbutus Bread were among the other products to find a way into the sturdy shopping bag. Lots of choices for lunch and later!
Gurnard
The sunshine was giving way to rain as I headed downtown in the afternoon to the Food Emporium at Brown Thomas. Lovely to meet Darina Allen who was signing copies of her most recent book, 30 Years at Ballymaloe (with over 100 new recipes), and to renew acquaintance also with Anthony Cresswell of Ummera Smoked Products who had samples of his brilliant produce for tasting.

Ballymaloe have a pop-up wine shop here and some of their wines were open for tasting with Peter Corr of Febvre Wines doing the honours and opening some terrific wines including a Vacheron Sancerre, a lovely pure white wine, mineral rich and zesty, produced by biodynamic farming.

That was good but the star of the show was undoubtedly the 2008 Raveneau Chablis. It was a rare pleasure to sample this Classic Chablis 1er Cru from Reveneau’s Butteaux vineyard.




The tastings here are of a very high standard indeed and that will continue next Friday evening at 6.00pm when Chris Forbes of Taylor's Port, one of the oldest of the founding Port houses, and Sarah Furno, of the magnificent Cashel Blue and Croizier Blue Cheeses, are the distinguished visitors. Should be a lovely evening.
Darina Allen, Ursula Bosman (Brown Thomas) and Yours Truly at the
Food Emporium.







Thursday, November 7, 2013

Try the Taste of the Week at Brown Thomas this Saturday.

Taste of the Week
Smoked Chicken @ Urru Culinary Store by CorkBilly
This smoked chicken, from Ummera in Timoleague, is a top top product. And very versatile too,. We used it in a paella last weekend and it was a treat. There are quite a few more recipes on the Ummera website here
If you are in Cork City this very Saturday, November 9th, Ummera will be up on the 2nd Floor of Brown Thomas in their new Food Emporium offering tastings as Darina Allen signs copies of her new book, "30 Years at Ballymaloe". Peter Corr of Febvre Wines will be tasting a selection of wines from the classic French wine regions. Time: 2pm to 4pm