Showing posts with label International Wine and Food Society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Wine and Food Society. Show all posts

Friday, February 27, 2015

IWFS Launch 2015 Programme at Jacques. Ardsallagh Cheese The Five Course Star

IWFS Launch 2015 Programme at Jacques
Ardsallagh Cheese The Five Course Star

Dessert, with Ardsallagh!
A totally unexpected gift from a travelling salesman started Jane Murphy’s long term love of goats and led to the beautiful Ardsallagh cheese that so many people know and love today.

Back in the late 70s, that insurance salesman in County Carlow wasn’t getting the best of receptions from Jane. During the conversation, he noticed, “couldn't help but notice”, that her children had ecxema and said that goals milk would be a help. Jane said thanks very much for the tip and sent him on his way.

An hour or so later, she sighed as he returned. This time with a gift. He lifted a goat out of the boot, presented her to Jane and carried on his way. She never saw that salesman again but the goat led to greater things, she recalled, as she introduced her current cheeses at the launch of the International Wine and Food Society Munster branch 2015 programme at Jacques restaurant in Cork on Wednesday evening.

With the help of a library book, Jane started rearing goats for their milk. Then she had too much milk and that led to cheese production. Then she had too much cheese and started giving it away. In the 90s they spotted a farm and a large goat herd for sale in East Cork and with the help of her “enthusiastic husband”, Ardsallagh was created.

This small family run business has grown steadily, and you can buy their products not only in local farmers markets, but also in national supermarket chains. Ardsallagh products can also be found on the menu of many well known restaurants across Ireland. The whole family contribute toward the smooth running of the farm and dairy. They use the ladle method, slowly and carefully, making a beautiful cheese that is easily digestible.

Oh, by the way, the eczema cleared up!

The Ardsallagh cheese was highlighted by Jacques with no less than five different plates of it presented, starting off with a Baby Gem Cup with Ardsallagh, apple, green onion, and Highball Orchard Syrup. Next up was a delightful Middle Eastern Beetroot, pureed with a little potato and yogurt and cumin and topped with Ardsallagh and Hazelnuts.

The dishes just got better. The guests were next impressed with Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with soft herbs, red onion, and Ardsallagh with Spicy Granola. No skimping by Jacques and soon we were tucking into the delicious Lamb Cutlet, tapenade, Salsa verde and Ardsallagh.

What would the innovative Jacques team come up with for dessert? Another delicious surprise: Medjool Date stuffed with Ardsallagh, Almonds and a full circle of Blood Orange. A beautiful sweet note to finish the evening.

It was a well attended encouraging launch for the local IWFS committee that consists of Colm McCann (chair), Eithne  Barry (vice chair), Beverley Mathews (secretary), Richard Scott (treasurer) and Billy Lyons (PRO). Next event is the Beer v Wine Smackdown at L’Atitude (Mar 19th), featuring Caroline Hennessy and Colm McCan.

Other events, dates to be confirmed, include A Day (and meal) at Lismore Castle, a visit to the Belvelly Smokehouse, a visit to the Leinster Branch, a summer road trip, a harvest visit to Longueville House, and an Italian Evening at the Farmgate Cafe. Don't forget to return your membership forms to Branch Secretary, Beverley Mathews, International Wine and Food Society, c/o L’Atitude 52, 1 Union Quay, Cork.

See also: IWFS 2015 Programme
Interested? Email or complete this Contact form

Monday, July 7, 2014

International Wine and Food Society On Tour

International Wine and Food Society On Tour
Joined fellow members of the Munster Branch of the IWFS on tour last Friday and we headed west for a trip that included two cheese stops, one brewery call and a terrific meal in Heather, the new Gap of Dunloe restaurant.
Did someone say cheese?

Remarkable Toons Bridge Dairy
First port of call was to the Toons Bridge Dairy near Macroom. Here we heard how a pub conversation, between Toby Simmonds of the Real Olive Company and farmer Johnny Lynch, led to the acquisition of a herd of Water Buffalo. A few years later, they are gradually getting the herd numbers up to an amount that will enable them manage an even supply of the remarkable cheeses, including the freshest Mozzarella you’ll ever taste, Halloumi, Ricotta and, wait for it, Buffalo Blue.

We had a gorgeous caprese salad here, followed by a plateful of cheese and charcuterie and there was even dessert. Must say I love the organisers’ idea of a “light lunch”. A tour of the dairy followed and then farmer Johnny Lynch took us to see the herd. The big placid animals wowed the visitors but Johnny kept the best 'til last and there were uncountable oohs and aahs as the "little" calves, one just four days old, were revealed in their stalls.

Some of the IWFS group
Coolea wheels in brine
 Coolea Country

Soon we were even deeper into the countryside as the next stop was at Coolea Cheese up in the hills above Ballyvourney. Here our host was Dicky Willems, who told us how, in the late 70s, his parents moved to Ireland and eventually to Coolea. Dicky, then a ten year old, joined in with the local community and was soon fluent in English and Irish, Irish that has not gone rusty as the kids now keep him up to date.

The cheese venture came about because the Willems couldn't find any cheese here other than cheddar and his  mother started on a very small family scale with a little pot. But now Coolea is a big name and much of the output is sold at the famous Neal's Yard in London while in Ireland Sheridan’s are the major customer.

The 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.

It is a lovely cheese and we enjoyed the tasting. I preferred the 18 month mature one but quite a few loved the creamier seven month version.

Tasting time!
Brewer Gordon turns tour guide.
The saint, the deer, and a brand new beer

St Gobnait is the local saint in Ballyvourney and, like St Vincent in wine, may yet become the patron saint of craft brewers. Certainly, the infant brewery set up by Don and Gordon, has hopes of help from on high and their name, the Nine White Deer, is based on a Gobnait story which had her traipsing around Ireland to find a place with nine white deer and, you've guessed it, that place was Ballyvourney, long a land of song and legend.

Legends aside, the new brewery is very very impressive, loads of space and state of the art equipment, including a streamlined efficient brewing line and also an on site bottling and labeling facility.

Already, their gorgeous ale is gaining fans locally and gained a few more on Friday when the visitors tasted Stag Ban. We’ll be on the lookout for the bottles further afield and also for their other beers in the future; a stout (with oatmeal from Macroom Mills) is among those planned. Soon, they’ll have a shop at the brewery, another excuse to stop on the Cork-Killarney Road. Maybe, like Gobnait, you’ll linger a while.

Don tells the 9 White Deer story
Smoked mackerel starter in Heather
 Wined and Dined in Heather at The Gap

Denis Pio and his wife Ailish welcomed us to Heather, the new restaurant at Moriarty’s in the Gap of Dunloe. The chefs had put together an exciting tasting menu to “show off the best of our seasonal and local produce” and Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines had carefully selected wines to match.

I was at Heather a few weeks back and was delighted with the visit and food as you can here. They don’t normally do evening meals but Friday’s special showed that the Heather team is more than capable. Already, they have added a Sunday brunch to their options and customers can expect evening specials from time to time. And all will be based on terrific local produce coming from producers in both Kerry and Cork and indeed from their own polytunnel.

I don't want to bother you with too much detail of the meal but can genuinely say that it was top class from start to finish and well done too to Donie O’Brien for his choice of wines. All the dishes were superb. The hake was class but perhaps my favourite was the rather unusual lamb dish, the unusual cut and the yoghurt marinade a delight.

The Menu
Quinlan’s Smoked Mackerel with homemade Rhubarb chutney and Brown Soda Bread.
Leitz Riesling.
Pan Fried Atlantic Hake with Fennel, Roasted peppers and Salsa Verde.
Huber Gruner Veltliner.
Ring of Kerry Lamb steak marinated with Valentia Dairy Yoghurt and served with homemade Wild Sorrel tabbouleh
Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva.
Gubbeen Charcuterie and Knockatee Cheese platter
Terra Noble Carmenere Gran Reserva
Classic Lemon Tart served with fresh Farranfore strawberries
Santa Sofia Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2007.

Hake at Heather

The Wine and Food Society are planning their next outing and if you would like to become a member then contact Aoife (treasurer) Other officers are Richie Scott (assistant treasurer), Beverley Matthews (secretary) and Greg Canty (chairman).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International Wine and Food Society

International Wine and Food Society 10th April – 7:30PM “Celebrating Local Tastes” L’Atitude 51 (opposite City Hall)

Join us for the first event in 2014 of the Munster Branch of the International Wine and Food Society.
This informal and fun evening will include finger food carefully prepared using ingredients from some of the best local suppliers and accompanied by a selection of wines carefully selected by proprietors and wine enthusiasts Beverly Mathews and Emmanuelle Legrand.
The International Wine and Food Society is for people with a shared passion for food, wine and fun! The event is open to members, guests and those interested in joining the society.
Cost: 20 Euro’s per person (payable on the night)
To book please confirm directly: