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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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
Tel: (023) 886 4656
Monday, May 7, 2018
Cronin Sisters Walk The Walk
As Old Butter Roads Festival Steps Up A Gear
Quite a few tributes were paid to the women behind the Old Butter Roads Summer Féile at the 2018 launch in Blarney on Saturday. Two of those women are the Cronin sisters who spoke honestly and eloquently about the importance of local produce.
Having talked the talk, the sisters, Tricia and chef Martina, showed they could walk the walk at a multi-course meal in their Square Table restaurant on Sunday night. Local produce was right, left and centre as the courses came to the table.
The festival lasts all through May. The spotlight was on Blarney last weekend but will shift to Macroom, Kanturk and Mallow, Mitchelstown and Fermoy, to villages Aubane, Watergrasshill, and Whitechurch and to other parts of the general North Cork area. Check the website link below and also their Facebook page.
|Ballinwillin Farm wild boar and mushroom tortellini, onion purée|
|K. O'Connell's pan-fried hake, Bertha's Revenge Gin, |
Jerusalem artichoke and mussel
|Michael Twomey Butcher Angus aged rib eye, Tom O'Brien's free range egg|
béarnaise (not shown but exquisite!), McCarthy's beef dripping chips,
and onion confit.
|Longueville House apple brandy chocolate mousse,|
buttermilk foam, expresso ice cream
|Hegarty's cheddar and new Templegall (comté) cheese and Toonsbridge|
scamorza , served with Follain relish and Longueville house apple brandy
and fig chutney and house crackers.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
A Bit of Banter
At Old Butter Roads Launch in Blarney
|Joe McNamee with, from left, Martina and Tricia Cronin and Lenka Forrest|
“Sometimes you need to be broken to get stronger”, said Martina Cronin, Chef at the Square Table where her twin sister Tricia is front of house and manager, at the launch of the 2018 Old Butter Roads Food Trail in The Church Of The Resurrection Blarney on Saturday.
Martina was responding to journalist Joe McNamee whose gentle prompting drew some terrific answers from the chefs and producers on stage. Martina paid tribute to her mother: “The house was very food oriented.” But she was in transition year before she made her mind up to be a chef.
Ciaran Scully, teacher and chef, “had me ready for Dublin” where her education continued under top chefs Ross Lewis and Graham Neville. One of the things she learned along the way and which she and Tricia implemented at the Square Table was to use local as much a possible. “This way we met and got to know the local producers and that in some ways led to this festival.”
Joe asked Tricia how customers reacted to local produce. Her years in Jacques gave her a good grounding and introduced her to local produce. “I enjoy engaging with the customers on local produce and local producers. But you do need to know your stuff. There’s a lot of homework to be done, especially with new dishes. I find too that now locals and international customers are talking about the Old Butter Roads.”
Lenka Forrest who runs the Old Blarney Post Office Café in the village started here about two years ago and immediately “clicked” with the Cronin twins and Maire, the chair of the Old Butter Roads. “It is important to promote the great food that's within this area to locals and tourists. I was happy to get the call to join the OBR. And happy too to see how Irish food has changed over the past twenty years.”
|Victor of Bluebell Falls|
Lenka, originally from Czechoslovakia (“the Czech side!”), didn’t really have a food background. But spotted the closed-up Post Office and rented it. “I didn’t know anything about the business, about the margins. It is a tiny place - you can see us make everything. We use the right ingredients and give good customer service. I like sharing food and love to see people enjoying our food.”
Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Enjelvin is helping Dan Hegarty of Whitechurch make his great cheese for the past two years or so. He admitted he had no idea about Irish cheese but soon discovered “other amazing cheese makers, Gubbeen, Milleens, Coolea”. Hegarty’s are long renowned for their cheddar but Jean-Baptiste told us that the range is expanding, a Comte/Gruyere style, and had some delicious samples to share.
Zwena McCullough of the nearby Hydro Farm Allotments said she is passionate about growing. “We share everything in the allotments, including the fruit cage. It is organic, no chemicals, we have a great community from tiny tots to the quite elderly. A great variety of nationalities including a Moroccan lady who makes a great tagine! We help educate by running courses and so on.”
Victor from Bluebell Falls was also on the platform - they weren't all up together! And he told Joe his story. We visited his farm recently and you can see all the details here.
|Hydro Farm Allotments|
Pat Mulcahy from Ballinwillin Farm told us his business includes deer, wild boar, and goats, B&B, lunch, evening meals. He has about 40 meat products, all through organic farming. He found lots of obstacles at the start: “You need to be determined, lots of walls to jump.” Now he works with many chefs to get his food message across.
And while he meets some of the biggest names in the industry it is often at home that he feels the big pride. “The chest expands,” he admitted, “when I’m sitting around the breakfast table with guests from many countries enjoying the farm food as was the case this morning.” You’ll probably be hearing more from Ballinwillin about wellness and the link with food as they are seriously looking at the influence of quality and authenticity on good health.
|All together now!|
Pat also imports his own wine from Hungary. “Some of the best winemakers in the world are in Hungary but they don’t sell. We were lucky to get into partnership in a cellar and now bottle and import our own range of wine. Growing grapes is like farming - that's what attracted me."
The Aubane community seem to be ahead of the posse on the Old Butter Roads as they celebrated the 250th anniversary 20 years back and Celeste Buckley told us on Saturday about another celebration on May 18th next, the 270th, with a five course meal at the local community centre to be followed by music and dancing. “We have a very exciting menu for the event and are really looking forward to the night.” Details on here.
Kanturk too will be involved and we heard from Timmy McCarthy, the 5th generation butcher from the town. “We can't move forward without taking inspiration from the past. We have a rich array of producers and it all needed direction. This is a platform to promote the area!”
Joe McNamee then officially declared the event open. “This is a tremendous initiative. Food and tourism are intertwined and contributed to the country's recovery. The quality of the food and the movement of small premium producers led to this. But don’t reserve your support for special occasions. Support these producers in your weekly shopping.”
Chairperson Maire Ní Mhurchu, a founder member, then invited us to sample the trays of tasty bites laid out for us and so we did. “We all have a passion about food,” she said earlier. “We are a cooperative group and intend to show the area at its best. Our new website has been launched. As you know our logo is the Milk Churn.”
|Joe McNamee launches the 2018 event.|
“This is a great unspoiled area, yet very close to the city. There is a great heritage here and that shouldn't be forgotten either and the Aubane celebration is part of it as it the cart outside built by the local mens shed.”
Soon the celebrations began. Indeed, I suspect they had already begun in nearby Blairs Inn. Next stop after the church opening was Lenka’s cafe where Pat Mulcahy was roasting one of his wild boars. Lots of events coming up over the month so do stay in touch with the website and also their Face book page.
Also of interest:
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Great Variety at City Hall Food Fair
Hard to Beat Cork & Kerry United
|Clair and Jo|
Made an early start to Saturday’s Cork Kerry Food Fair at the City Hall. Just as well, as the aisles soon filled up, the punters keen to sample the wares and hear about the many products, some of them new, on display in the 70 or stalls. It was great to meet up with some new producers and also to say hello to some that we’ve come to know over the past few years such as Timoleague’s Anthony Cresswell, a terrific supporter of local food and well known for the delicious stuff that comes from his Ummera Smokehouse.
Had heard good things about the Busy Botanist, the winner of the 2017 Listowel Food Fair Best Emerging Artisan Food Product Competition which is sponsored by Kerry LEO. The Glenbeigh company was established earlier this year friends and herbalists, Clair Kelly and Jo Arbon.
The overall winner of the Kerrygold Listowel Food Fair Cheese Competition was a garlic and thyme flavoured goats’ cheese. Cordal are the producers and they too were in the City Hall but were busy when I passed and I forgot to go back later on.
While it was a pleasure to meet Clair and Jo for the first time, it was lovely too to link up again with the likes of Mella and her amazing fudge - it just seems to get better and better. And the same could be said about Hegarty’s Cheese from Whitechurch. Got a taste of their 12-month cheddar from Jean-Baptiste and it was just exquisite, as always, a classic.
|Kinsale Bay's Aoife ad Lorna|
It has been quite a year for Kinsale Bay Food Co with their products becoming more readily available with every passing month. Manager Tommy Doyle has quite a crew in the Little Island facility and Aoife White and Lorna Conroy were keeping the flag flying last Saturday.
Melanie Harty’s 100% Irish jellies, savoury and sometimes spicy, are well known all over the country and we meet Melanie, herself well known all over the country selling her produce! If you're on the road that much, you have a particular interest in the weather and she told us about her experiences during the recent storms and said that Brian with the heavy rains caused her more problems than the windy Ophelia.
More spice down at the end of that line where Athula had a stand. Athula, who works out of the Cork Incubator Kitchens in Carrigaline, is well known for his sauces, particularly his Piri Piri range with which he started, and you’ll also see him in local Farmers Markets. You’ll see his doing tastings in lots of local SuperValus and at events like the City Hall. If you want to know how best to use these sauces, check his website here.
TLC Fine Confectionery, from Mallow, will probably be known to you through the Auntie Nellie Sweetshops around the country. Here you’ll see the large range of Katie’s chocolates and, just recently, they have been joined by Wilkies Chocolates. Willies are a bean to bar producer and Shana Wilkie will continue, and probably expand, along those lines.
More sweet stuff at the Marshmallow Factory. I had already sampled the Strawberry one, it was taste of the week not too long ago (see here). I took advantage to stock up on the others, the Mint and Passionfruit. Melt in the mouth delicious.
|Katie's + Wilkies = lots of chocolate|
Munster Brewery are Youghal based and well known in the craft beer market. Now they have added another company producing a Kombucha called Hola. There is loads of info on this organic drink, a fermented tea and sugar drink, on their Holorganics website. The twins, Padraig and Adrian Hyde, are serious about their beer and about this, intending in the long run to establish a retreat to help people who are racing to stand still.
Many of you will have heard of Gookies, a handmade wheat free, gluten free cookie dough roll in various flavours that is refrigerated and can be frozen.They are produced by Bia Gan Breise a company located in the heart of West Cork. Tasted some of the finished product at their stall. Impressive!
Monica of Rosscarbery’s Fish Deli (great supporters of these events) was in top form as always. They had some more good news recently when they won a national honour taking the Irish Quality Food Award for Best Prepared Fish and they had it on display in the City Hall. So well done to Monica and Peter and all the crew.
Another West Cork company, Milseán, was a popular stop. This chocolate company had no shortage of samples and they were just flying off the saucers!
After all that hard work sampling all the good things, it was time to move on over to the separate Craft Drinks section and first stop was the Cotton Ball who we had seen collecting their beers from the brewpub earlier in the morning. Alongside, were Youghal’s Munster Brewery, the other half of the Kombucha venture!
Ballyvourney's 9 White Deer Brewery were highlighting their Gluten Free range and I was told they had a great time down in Cronin's Crosshaven the previous evening when they launched Ireland's first ever Gluten free draught stout.
Blacks of Kinsale were all set up with special six packs available at a very good price indeed. Next door were the West Cork Brewery from Baltimore with their unusual oval shaped bottles (all the way from Italy, they told me).
Rupert, of Longueville House Drinks, is another terrific supporter of this kind of event and he had their ciders and apple brandy available for tasting. Indeed, I noticed a nicely packed trio of the two ciders and the brandy (the trilogy, Rupert called it) that would make a lovely Christmas present. Stonewell Cider were also displaying their range and neighbours Kinsale Mead, who have been getting their lovely product into more and more stores, were across the way with the newcomer Beara Ocean gin and Hyde Whiskey alongside.
I wasn't doing tastings myself - a bit too early I thought. But Justin of Bertha's Revenge “ambushed” me. Before I knew it, I had a sample in my hand. That wasn't going to waste so I tasted and was immediately reminded that this is a lovely “sipping” gin. So, if you’re out of tonic, don't worry. Just pour a drop of Bertha’s and sip it nice and easy.
Time then to say goodbye to the event for another year, another tasty and flavoursome one ahead by the looks of it!
Thursday, September 7, 2017
The Perfect Serve.
Ferrit & Lee on Distillery Walk.
It is a bright and lively room. No gourmet gravitas here. But Ferrit and Lee know their food and produced evidence aplenty at Wednesday night’s A Taste of East Cork 2017, one of the events of the current FEAST Festival in the area.
The FEAST emphasis is very much on local. Ardsallagh, Jameson, Ballycotton, Leamlara, Jim Crowley, Hegarty’s Cheese, Rostellan Chocolate, are all name-checked on the menu (below). I’ve often maintained that the small things on the menu, in the meal, can shine a light. And so it was here.
Take the crumble, for instance, the foraged berries in particular. What a splendid burst of juice and flavour! It immediately reminded me of picking a few blackberries at the edge of a warm Rougrane cornfield. Local and brilliant. Not flown in from Guatemala or Mexico.
Staying in the hedgerow. How about that elderberry jus with Jim Crowley’s feather-blade? Absolutely outstanding. And the humble mackerel was the highlight of one of the early dishes. Maybe not so humble anymore. They told me here they are scarce this year confirming what Bayview chef Ciaran Scully mentioned a couple of weeks back.
But back to the meal itself in a full and buzzing restaurant, previously known and loved as Raymond’s and now taken over by former employees Pat Ferrit and Stephen Lee. They have a welcoming crew out-front also, mixing East Cork smiles and chat with a calm efficiency throughout a busy evening.
The whiskey, ginger and lime cured salmon, with local crab and pickled fennel, was the perfect Jameson serve. The Ardsallagh cheese, an East Cork food icon at this stage, was perfect too with the honey and lime while the beetroot relish added a wee bit of piquancy.
And then came that marvellous mackerel with a delicious roast beetroot (another humble ingredient that has been “rediscovered” in recent years); great too to see the Leamlara micro greens making yet another appearance on local menus.
Oh, forgot to mention, there were two glasses of wine including in the meal, both from Liberty Wines and both made by New Zealander Graeme Paul in the Languedoc in the south of France. We started with his white, the Baron de Badassiere Sauvignon Blanc 2015. This was superb and Paul is in danger of putting some of his fellow Kiwis out of business with this quality. And that standard was maintained with the red, a fruity and spicy Baron de Badassiere Syrah 2016.
The feather-blade is by now quite popular in the Cork area and Ferrit and Lee’s version is in the very top rank, so tender and tasty. That shallot added a sweetness to the dish and the jus crowned it. That little croquet by the way, with Hegarty’s famous cheddar, also played a delicious supporting role.
|Salmon and crab|
And then not one but three desserts. The crumble, with those berries and the judicious use of ginger-nut, was more or less perfect and the Jameson panna cotta was pleasurably dispatched. I kept the chocolate dark and handsome, ’til last, leaving me looking forward to more good things to come from the Rostellan producer.
By the way, if you are free this Friday evening, a FEAST event is taken place in the courtyard of the chocolate shop in Rostellan. Lobster and prosecco, and chocolate of course, are on the menu. Ferrit & Lee will be one of eleven local restaurants in the big tent as the festival reaches a climax in the streets of Midleton tomorrow (Saturday). All the details here.
A Taste of East Cork 2017
Jameson, Ginger and Line Cured salmon, Ballycotton Crab cake and pickled fennel.
Honey and Lemon Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese Bon Bons, Beetroot relish and bacon.
Pan-fried Ballycotton mackerel, roast beetroot and Leamlara Micro Greens.
James marinated Jim Crowley’s feather-blade of Beef, caramelised shallot, carrots, Hegarty’s Smoked Cheddar croquette and elderberry jus.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Veronica Steele. Pioneer in Irish cheese. Focus too on County Cork in new Oxford Companion to cheese.
Veronica Steele. Pioneer in Irish cheese.
Focus too on County Cork in new Oxford Companion to cheese.
|A buffalo on Johnny Lynch's farm, near Macroom|
Pioneer cheesemaker Veronica Steele is credited with the development of modern Irish artisanal cheese and County Cork cheese in general gets a section to itself in the The Oxford Companion to Cheese, due to be published on December 1st.
The 1084 page book, edited by Dr Catherine Donnelly, is the first major reference work dedicated to cheese and contains 855 A-Z entries in cheese history, culture, science and production.
In the early 1970s, Steele and her husband, Norman, a lecturer in philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, decided to leave the city and the academic life in favour of raising a family on a small farm.
Veronica first experimented to provide an alternative to processed cheese for her family and to preserve the excess milk from their one cow. She eventually evolved a soft and pungent washed rind cheese called Milleens. It was a great success and by 1981 was selling in shops and restaurants throughout Ireland and as far away as London and Paris.
Steele was also inspired by cheesemaking as a route to viability for a rural area struggling with high unemployment. Today, Veronica and Norman’s son Quinlan carry on the tradition of making Milleens, but the book says that all of Ireland owes Veronica Steele a debt of gratitude for her vision and generosity of spirit.
The big breakthrough for Milleens came when Declan Ryan and Myrtle Allen tasted her cheese and enthusiastically featured their discovery on the cheese boards of two of Ireland’s most renowned restaurants, Arbutus Lodge and Ballymaloe House.
The West Cork washed-rind cheeses Milleens, Durrus, Gubbeen, and North Cork’s Ardrahan, each has an international reputation, and were all created by remarkable, spirited women, most inspired by Veronica. The flavour of Milleens is reminiscent of Munster (not the local Munster!).
Jeffa Gill started to make her semi-soft, washed-rind Durrus cheese on her hillside farm in Coomkeen on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in 1979. She too was one of the first generation of Irish farmhouse cheese-makers. Using artisanal methods, Jeffa and her team, gently and slowly craft a cheese that is closely linked to the land and the mild and humid climate.
Gubbeen farmhouse cheese is made from the milk of Tom and Giana Ferguson’s herd of Friesian, Jersey, Simmental, and Kerry cows. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Gubbeen cheese is the unique type of microflora on the rind, which has now been identified and given the name Microbacterium gubbeenense.
Ardrahan, made by Mary Burns near Kanturk in North Cork since 1983, is possibly the feistiest and most pungent of all the washed-rind cheeses of County Cork.
Although the washed-rind cows milk cheeses have the highest profile they are by no means the whole cheese story of County Cork. Other fine cheeses, made from both cows milk and goats milk and now buffalo, round out Cork’s contribution to cheesemaking.
Dick and Helene Willems started making Coolea cheese in 1979 as a way to use up excess raw milk from their own herd of cattle and to provide the Gouda cheese that they were craving from their native Netherlands. Their son Dicky continues to make the superb cheese using milk from two local herds.
Dicky told me an interesting story on a recent visit. Their cheese was to be called Milleens after the local townland but that was knocked on the head as the Steeles, further west, on the Beara peninsula, and living in a townland of the same name, had just started making a cheese called Milleens. And so the Coolea brand was born.
|St Gall, by Fermoy|
Frank Shinnick and his German wife, Gudrun, began making raw-milk cheese in 1996 from their own dairy herd outside Fermoy, in North Cork. The cheeses are made in a 396-gallon (1,500-litre) copper vat procured at considerable effort from Switzerland. Fermoy cheeses are part of the Slow Food raw-milk cheese presidium.
There are many other cheesemakers in the Cork area, such as the O’Farrells in Carrigaline and the Hegartys in Whitechurch, both well established.
“I love the smoked cheese”, declared Padraig O’Farrell during a visit. “It is indigenous to Carrigaline. The milk is local, and the wood, old beech, is local. And we smoke it out the back.”
Hegarty’s make cheddar and their more mature versions are in great demand. The oldest is indeed the more popular though, according to Dan Hegarty, his bank manager would prefer if the youngest was in top position!
Goats Milk Cheeses
Jane Murphy, a microbiologist by profession, is perhaps the queen of goats milk cheese in County Cork, having started to make cheese on the Ardsallagh farm in 1980. At the other side of the city, Orchard Cottage thrives as does Blue Bells Falls in Newtownshandrum in North Cork.
In Kilmichael, you’ve got the Sunview goats. Further west, on Cape Clear Island off West Cork, the remarkable blind cheesemaker Ed Harper makes small quantities of cheese from the milk of British Alpine goats that graze on his beautiful rocky farmland.
|Franco, cheesemaker at Toons Bridge Dairy, near Macroom|
A few years back, neighbours Toby Simmonds and Johnny Lynch imported water buffalo and began making Toons Bridge mozzarella. A “parting” saw Johnny continue to make and sell the cheese, but now under the Macroom label.
There followed a burst of creativity at Toby’s Toons Bridge dairy and a few interesting Italian style cheeses emerged, including Cacio Cavallo (traditionally tied in pairs and transported to market by pack horse). And thanks to an Italian living near by, who has a small herd of sheep, Toons Bridge also began to make Vicenza’s Pecorino.
|Cacio Cavallo (mainly) in Toons Bridge|
And two new cheesemakers have emerged in East Cork this year. You’ll find the cheddar style cheese from the farm of Bó Rua used in the 12 mile menu at Midleton’s Sage Restaurant and on sale generally. Not too far away, Stephen Bender produces a delicious Gouda style cheese called Ballinrostig.
Looks like there’s no end to what Veronica Steele started!
The Oxford companion, the most comprehensive work on cheese available, has drawn on an astonishing 325 authors (from 35 countries), from cheesemakers and cheese retailers to dairy scientists, microbiologists, historians and anthropologists.
It is a landmark encyclopaedia, the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, and reliable reference work on cheese available, suitable for both novices and industry insiders alike.
* Cork has a butter museum. Time now for a cheese museum?
Cashel Blue featured in new Oxford Companion to Cheese
* Cork has a butter museum. Time now for a cheese museum?
Cashel Blue featured in new Oxford Companion to Cheese
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Longueville House Cider
And Apple Brandy At Electric
|Sangria, Cider, Apple Brandy|
The dishes at Sunday evening’s supper in Electric South Mall had unusual pairings: the ciders and apple brandy from Longueville House, presented by Rupert Atkinson who surprised many with his declaration against ice in your cider!
“No ice! It waters down the flavours and kills the carbon. Enjoy this like a wine, in a wine glass.” So we sipped this naturally cloudy cider and we did enjoy it very much indeed with our starter: Butternut Squash Salad (with Roast Red Peppers, Crumbled Feta, and Spiced Peanuts).
There was a big welcome from Rupert as we arrived and he soon had us seated with a tall glass of Cider Sangria in our hands. Outside, summer hadn't quite broken through as forecast but inside we enjoyed this very refreshing drink.
|Harvest time at Longueville|
Many of you will know that the Electric version of Fish and chips is an excellent example; the fish is not smothered in batter. Oh yes, they do use a batter and Sunday's was featherly light and the delicious fish was immediately apparent, not hard to find in a large pocket. The full description: Cider & Dill Battered Hake, Leek and Pea Purée, Chips and Tartare Sauce.
We would finish with a flourish. Hegarty’s Cheddar was paired with the Longueville House Apple Brandy. “This is made in Whitechurch and is one of Ireland's best cheeses”, said Rupert; it was served with apple, relish and crostini.
Like all the ciders, the brandy comes from apples grown in the orchards of Longueville. We enjoyed the 2009 vintage and it was quite a while in the making. Its story started with the 2006 apple crop. Three years later, the cider is doubled distilled and then the brandy spends a minimum of four years in French red wine casks.
“No mixer needed,” Rupert emphasised. “It is very smooth, no burning and good for digestion, best after a good meal. If it feels a little cool, just warm it in the palm of the hand.” So lots of good advice, good food and good drink all added up to a very enjoyable evening at Electric.
Click here to read all about my visit to Longueville House and its orchards last autumn.
Click here to read all about my visit to Longueville House and its orchards last autumn.