Showing posts with label Kinsale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinsale. Show all posts

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Kinsale Mead Company. Up and Running.

Kinsale Mead Company

Up and Running.

Kate does a check

The Kinsale Mead Company was officially launched last Friday (13th) but owners Kate and Denis Dempsey have been working away since the spring in their meadery in an industrial unit in the Barrack Lane area of the town. Indeed, they already have two products on the market and a third due any day now.

Note the distinctive bottle shape
Atlantic Dry Mead is a traditional mead type, white in colour and with a refreshing citrus orange honey flavour. Its primary ingredient is raw orange blossom honey from southern Spain. Kinsale’s history is of course uniquely linked to Spain and the battle of Kinsale in 1601. This mead is best served chilled, or over ice or with tonic water and a thin slice of orange. Atlantic Dry Mead is lovely with olives, herby pasta dishes or with a dessert like raspberry and white chocolate tart.

Their Wild Red Mead is a melomel or fruit mead type, made from a Spanish dark forest honey, tart blackcurrants and sweet cherries to produce a zesty fruity aroma and long finish, perfect to have chilled or at room temperature. This Wild Red Mead also pairs very well with a cold meat platter, cheese board or sticky barbecued ribs.

The pair, both with an ABV of 12%, are available in local bars and restaurants and in the 1601 off-licence in Kinsale, also in O’Brien’s, Matson’s and Bradley’s and in SuperValu via the Food Academy. Mead is more a wine than beer, with a final alcohol level anywhere between 10 and 18 percent. Each of the Kinsale bottles is rated 12%.
The business end of the meadery
The newest version is a Six Berry mead. It is not in bottle yet but we got a taste from the tank when we visited last week. It has a red berry nose (raspberry and strawberry), fruity on the palate and again with that distinctive off-dry finish.
A crossflow filter

Local water is an important ingredient but honey is the essential, and expensive, component and indeed accounts for about thirty per cent of the ingredients. The Kinsale company are using Spanish honey while the country’s other meadery (at the Lough Gill brewery in Sligo) are also importing it. 

The process itself, including fermentation, with good temperature, environmental and hygiene control, takes four to five months before the mead is ready for bottling.

Initially, the honey has to be heated but “not too much”. They use a honey pump to purify it and then mix it into the water (local) with a large whisk! A Cotes du Rhone yeast is then added. For the red, the frozen fruit added consists of the marvellous blackcurrants from Mr Jeffares of Wexford and cherries from Sunnyside in Rathcormac.

When the primary fermentation, usually at about 17.5 degrees, is complete, the temperature is reduced to 3 degrees to stop the action of the yeast which flocculates to the bottom of the tank. There the mead sits for a few days and then it is racked off the lees and into a new tank. A filtering process, using an Italian crossflow filter (more normally seen in a winery), also takes place and the now crystal clear mead is allowed mature for a few months.

Hygiene is an intrinsic part of the meadery and Kinsale Mead give it a very high priority from start to finish. When the mead is ready, the bottles are cleaned using a Ferrari engineered device. They are filled, corked (by hand, at present) and then labelled, all on site.
Ferrari in the meadery

Kate and Denis have indicated various uses for the mead (see opening paragraphs). But they also asked various people around Kinsale for ideas. Jamie from Haven Seafood suggested adding a few drops to an oyster. And there was a general guideline to use the white mead in situations where'd you would use a white wine.

And a corresponding guideline applies to the red. You could try adding a dash to venison dishes. Use in sauces for Barbecued ribs or similar. And ever inventive local chocolatier Frank at Koko has used the red as a main ingredient in a dark Madagascan chocolate truffle.

Kate and Denis have quite a bit of space in their unit with a welcome room and bar at the front. The eye-catching counter was crafted in Carrignavar from timber between two and three hundred years old. Next year, you’ll have a chance of seeing it yourself as the company intend to start doing tasting tours. 
The bar counter
More details on the company here



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One. And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One
And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel
Three sails power this boat to harbour. View from the Trident bedroom
Pier One is the main restaurant at the refurbished Trident Hotel in Kinsale and we enjoyed a lovely evening meal there recently. If you'd prefer something more casual then downstairs at the Wharf Bar is the spot to go, a lovely room with food all day long. And drink too, of course. 

Indeed, if you’re one of the many that likes a drink outside these summer days then, between car park and the harbour, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.
Duck confit

There was a coach load of visitors dining in Pier One when we arrived. But it was no bother to the efficient well practised crew on duty and the service at our table was top notch all through. We had menus, breads and water as soon as we seated and then got on with the “work” of making choices!

And we had plenty to choose from. Here, they buy local “as much as possible” and we could see that, from the breakfast in the morning to the drinks at night. Drinks featured included Blacks of Kinsale, Franciscan Well, Stag Ban, Killarney Brew, Stonewell Cider, lots of Irish whiskeys, gin by Dingle and Kinsale and also Kalak vodka. 
Crab

I enjoyed a Crested Ten (one of Ireland’s most under-rated) in The Wharf, excellent service here too by the way, and they too were busy with people dining and drinking, some watching the British Open. The bar has a nautical feel – designed by local yacht designer, Rob Jacob, to resemble elements of an old sailing ship, it is complete with portholes, decking, vaulted panel and beam ceiling and rope-wound galleon masts.

But back upstairs to Pier One. Once we took our eyes off the collection of Knuttle on the walls and the activity on the water outside, the boats coming and going, we made up our mind. My mains would be Roast Crispy Duck (a half!), with wild berry, apple compote and citrus jus while CL went with the Seared Monkfish with carrot crisps and a Vermont Cream Butter Sauce. 
Duck

The duck was surrounded by orange segments and I certainly enjoyed this more exotic style, very well cooked by the way. And so too was the monkfish, a more simple dish though with a most gorgeous sauce, and another excellent combination. The side dish, of lovely vegetables, included courgette, celery, carrot and leek on the side. And all the while I was sipping my Kinsale Pale Ale by Black’s.

The starters had been excellent also. My Pan fried crab claws, with garlic and coriander, were as good, if not better, than any I've come across previously. And The Trident style Duck Confit was dispatched, with no little pleasure at the other side of the table.
Monkfish

The high standard was maintained with dessert. This time there was no sharing as we each picked the delightfully presented Rosscarberry Strawberry Shortcake, Crème de Menthe cream, Vanilla and Raspberry Sauce. Quite a plateful and a great sweet way to finish.

We would be back in Pier One for breakfast. They lay on quite a spread here, with real cheese and ham included. Loads of fruit too, plus breads and cereals. And a choice of hot dishes of course, including the full Irish (and any variation you wish) and a fish option. We both went for the Eggs Benedict and, with the local Barrett rashers and the eggs by Riverview making a lovely impression, that set us up for the day.
Dessert

The 75 newly refurbished bedrooms include an executive wing comprising 30 rooms and a penthouse floor of 9 luxury suites, all with breath-taking views of the harbour and enchanting town of Kinsale. The hotel has a private marina, onsite parking and a wide range of state of the art facilities for conferences and is an unforgettable venue for family occasions.

We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and, with the sun obliging both in the evening and morning, we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
The Foredeck Bar, with some of Trident rooms on far right

The hotel is three-sided (the water's edge completes the square) and all rooms  have a view of the harbour. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Room with a view


Lots to visit here, most notably Charlesfort. But don’t forget the wine museum in the smaller Desmond Castle. One of the new attractions is the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum, a community effort alongside the Old Head itself. Good stories here and also splendid views over the ocean and the land, especially over the old head itself.
The Old Head of Kinsale, with Lusitania Memorial Garden in foreground

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Black's and Man Friday Highlights of Kinsale Day. Munster Wine & Dine On Tour

Black's and Man Friday Highlights of Kinsale Day

Munster Wine & Dine On Tour
The sun came too as the Munster Wine and Dine members headed for Kinsale last Friday. The major calls were to Black’s Brewery (and Distillery now) for a tasting and tour and, after a drink at The Spaniard, dinner at the Man Friday (long established but with a new kid on the block).

The Blacks have been making gin for the past two years or so and there were many versions before Maudeline felt happy with it. Think we all felt happy with it, after the on-site tasting on Friday. “Angelica and orris root combine with liquorice, juniper and coriander whilst distinctly citrus notes linger at the end to enhance a dry finish” is the official tasting note.It is available in Dunnes Stores and at many independents as well.
Maudeline, who instigated the gin-making, and husband Sam have quite a range of beers but the 1601, named after the famous local battle that had national implications to say the least, is their first lager. Sam explained a few things about lager as we sipped the flavoursome drink. “A different type of yeast is used, it is cold fermented, takes longer to mature and this one is also gluten free”.

Sam then took us around the brewery - the gin is in the same building but in a separate compartment which we saw a little later. We would also sample their best seller, the Kinsale Pale Ale. “Hops add flavour here and also counteract the sweetness of the barley”.
Sam Black
As the tour went on he answered questions on the functions of the various tanks and so on. People wanted to see the bottling but that is contracted out. Canning though is done on a regular basis by a mobile canning machine that calls to the site.

He acknowledged that the craft scene is a nice industry where everyone gets on quite well together. He is pretty confident about the future. “The rebate we craft brewers get allows us to compete and if the proposed legislation enabling small brewers to sell their beers direct to on-site visitors gets through, that will be a good thing. We employ six here and we’ll have one extra for the summer.”

Heather and verbena may be among the local botanicals in the gin, he hinted when we reached the distillery. “Each batch may be that little bit different but it is always good,” he promised. By the way, his alcohol is whey based and comes from Carbery in West Cork.

Not too sure he promised wife Maudeline that he’d stop taking kit from the kitchen. The hair-drier has been used to heat surfaces so that labels can be applied to the gin bottles and a food mixer had also been pressed into use. He did promise that we’d be drinking his rum in three years time! And that is just one development that this inventive and busy couple have up their sleeves!
We gathered outside the gable end of The Spaniard ahead of crossing the road into Man Friday where son Daniel is continuing his take-over in the kitchens. There is a great view from the part of the dining room where our group of thirty plus were seated but soon all eyes were on the plates.

We nibbled away on some very tasty charcuterie as we studied the menu and sipped the wines. My starter was the New Season Asparagus with Stonewell Cider Hollandaise and edible flowers. All eminently edible! Also enjoyed around me were Sea Bass Carpaccio with mango, baby coriander & lime and the Bruschetta with Macroom Mozzarella n’duja, courgette, rocket and fennel.

The high standard continued with the main course where my pick was the Local Cod with cauliflower purée, shaved asparagus, fennel, radish, peas, chilli oil and a beurre blanc. Great reports on the Slow Cooked new season shoulder of lamb with wilted spinach, roast Jerusalem artichoke, agresto and crème fraiche.

The finalé was the Almond and Rhubarb Tart with vanilla ice-cream and then Daniel was persuaded to make an appearance to take a well deserved round of applause.

Sam, with MW&D member Richard (right)
The next event on the calendar will be the Super-Valu Wine Selection Panel in L'Atitude 51 on Wednesday May 24th.
Cod at Man Friday

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kinsale’s Supper Club. Good Food. Friendly.

Kinsale’s Supper Club
Good Food. Friendly Faces.
 Great to see the Supper Club up and running in Kinsale. It’s a friendly place with very good food too of course. And a terrific selection of cocktails. If you like your gins, they've more than a few here. 

They can take singles and couples and larger groups and, on fine days, they have an outdoor covered area available. And, at present, they are open seven days a week from 6.30pm.

You’ll notice on one of the blackboards that they support local producers and you’ll also notice a few specials boards around the place. Conveniently though, they have the specials listed on a page in the menu so you can spend a little time studying them. And the list, includes a highlighted pair of wines and also a special drink.



 So okay. I’ll admit I started with that night's special drink. Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Poachers Tonic (with rosemary and orange) and, to make the whole glass sing, a little sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange were added to make the perfect mix. There was also the option of taking the excellent Kalek vodka instead of the gin. Next time! So local gins and local beers and cider too. Most of the beers come in bottle but you may have the 9 White Deer beers, Stag Ban and Stag Rua, on draught.

And the food. As soon as you begin to read the menu, you'll note that quite a few dishes come in small and large sizes and that can be very convenient indeed.  CL choose the Duck Spring Roll, House Salad, Hoisin and orange sauce and was very pleased with it. And I was most impressed with my Herb Crumbed Egg, Asparagus, Smoked Bacon, Dijon Hollandaise. Very tasty indeed and that little bit different!


Onto the mains then and her pick was the pan-fried fillets of sole, chorizo, bean and tomato sauce and fondant potato, one of the evening's specials and a very special combination indeed.

My choice was from the regular menu and was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sesame Crusted Sweet Potato, Pak Choi, Star Anise Jus. It wasn't on the bone by the way but a delight to dispatch. And one other tip, the sides here are brilliant and worth the few euro extra. I had the aubergine cassoulet, full of bright flavours and juicy to boot, a dish in itself and indeed a larger version features on the list.

Not that much room for dessert after all that so a decision was reached to share the Passionfruit and Lime Tart and its crème brûlée topping. The decision was amicable but we should really have had ordered two!

Service was excellent, not overly formal, nice and friendly yet efficient. And a discreet watch kept on the tables - your water was refilled promptly, the window was closed if you shivered (even before), they checked if a plate or drink wasn't going down well. So pro-active but not in an in-your-face way. So go in and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel very welcome here.
Some of you will be familiar with the Cork Street venue as this is where Crackpots were based.

The Supper Club
3 Cork Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Phone: +353 21 477 2847
email : thesupperclubkinsale@gmail.com
Twitter: @kinsalesupper

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Twisted Kinsale. You Send Me!

Twisted Kinsale. You Send Me!
Halibut and Lobster Risotto. Mains
When Sam Cooke released Twistin’ the night away back in the 60s day, the B side was You Send Me. The titles might well sum up Twisted in Kinsale. Cooke’s Twist was new and, in Kinsale, Spanish Head Chef Guillermo Carrión Garcia has put a new twist on the menu and, well, it sends me!

Don’t know what It sends me means? This is what the Urban Dictionary says: It describes a feeling of love so deep, it takes you to another world.

Twisted is a Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Kinsale, opened by Maushmi Arun and Christophe Moreau over 12 months ago. Started as Tapas and Wine but evolved into a full scale restaurant and the tapas are large, doubling as starters. I think one would be called ración in Spain.
Octopus starter
So let's start on the new summer menu in this long, narrow place, with its casual decor of sides of wine boxes on some wall surfaces and also its big black wall with the Specials chalked up and also the names of the international team.  

They have a tempting cocktail list. And a really classy wine list, much of it organic and available by the glass. If you're looking for white, Bodegas Menade Verdejo or Cuvee de Conti Semillon and Muscadelle from Bergerac are excellent. On the red side, I was delighted with the Massaya Classic Red (Lebanon) and the Volubilia rogue, a Moroccan blend from Domaine Zouina. But you’ve lots to pick from and hard to go wrong. The staff will help you choose.
Peppers stuffed with lamb; mains
You may stick with the Tapas here for the evening; there are usually three or four specials to vary the mix. You may also enjoy various boards to share, including meat and cheese. I might well go that route next time as they have top notch Iberico Belloto ham, and cheeses, such as Ossau Irraty (got lost up there once - blame it on the Sat-Nav!) from the Pyrenees and Gubbeen from West Cork. Indeed, you can have a board of cheese and meat.


Didn't get to all the starters but did try five! The Rabbit Leg in a Mediterranean sauce is gorgeous, the sauce especially so, and do try also the Prawn and Sea Spaghetti Spring Rolls that come with a chilli mayonnaise.
Turbot and purple potato
Fresh Calamari and Aioli Sauce with Organic Lettuce is simply delightful. The Baby Octopus with Gallego sauce on a bed of potato is both spectacular and delicious. And the Beef Cheek croquettes with Port sauce and sweet onion is amazing and very popular too.

On to the mains then. There was the Skeaghanore Duck Leg Confit that comes with Sarlat style wild garlic potatoes. Add in a fig sauce, a white peach froth, and an amazing apple and walnut salad and you have quite a treat on your plate!
Rabbit starter
 Just as well, everything can be shared here - they leave a few extra plates for that very purpose. Otherwise there’d be a fight when the Lobster and Halibut Miloja appears. The fish is in a puff pastry pocket and served with a squid ink risotto, pak choi, local samphire and roasted cherry tomatoes.


And the sharing goes on. The Wild Turbot comes with purple potato, bilbaina of chanterelles and more, quite a presentation! And our next joint venture involved the Piquillo Peppers (sweet taste, no heat). Here, they are stuffed with creamy minced Irish lamb, with a Vizcaina sauce, and served with couscous, zucchini pearls, cream of celery, sweet potato squares, baby carrots, baby leeks. Superb. No wonder it’s an in-house favourite!
Duck
 Boozy, decadent, velvety are words used to describe the desserts, mostly all together and all true! Love my sweet wine, so when I saw a glass of Jurancon with those Bordeaux treats, Canelé (bite-sized custard filled cakes), I just had to say oui. And my treat was matched on the other side of the table by Chocolate Truffles with Pietri Geraud Banyuls Rimage Mademoiselle O. Just had to be nice to Mademoiselle to get a taste of that sweet red!

And, after experience, there is yet one more dessert to recommend. Considering where the chef hails from, there was no way we could leave and not try the Santiago Almond Tart, mascarpone ice-cream and fresh mango. Magic!

Cheeks
And the Twisted service? Very friendly, very informative and helpful. You get a warm welcome and soon the water and menus are on your table and a mini-copy of the specials board as well. And they don't leave it at that. They’ll explain the specials and answer any other questions, help you with the wine as well. 

All in all, something new and refreshing in this gourmet corner of Ireland. Something very welcome and Very Highly Recommended.
Santiago Tart
Twisted
5 Main Street, Kinsale, County Cork
Tel: 086 810 0157
Hours: Daily - 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Email: twistedkinsale@gmail.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/twistedkinsale5mainstreet/?fref=nf
Twitter: @TwistedKinsale

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nine Market Street. Loved the Lunch here.

Nine Market Street
Loved the Lunch here.
Lamb burger
A big lunch was required and we found it in a small narrow street in Kinsale, in Nine Market Street to be precise.

A big welcome later and we were studying the menu. A man could do with a burger, I was thinking. And so too was CL - well, she was thinking a woman could do with a burger!

We would both be happy.  I went for the regular Macroom Wagyu burger, served with crunchy slaw and skinny fries (€15.50). Man-sized and full of flavoursome meat and I shared some of the chips with herself.

She was very happy with her Spicy Lamb Burger (man sized too!) and that came with big sweet potato wedges (ideal for sharing, of course!). Both plates were cleaned out! The Lamb was a special, at €13.95

We were driving so had to leave the wines, the craft beer and the Stonewell cider behind. Lots of other drinks here too include a series of Fentiman's sodas. Tea and all the coffees too.


Restaurant front, cakes

And we did have a big cup of Maher’s coffee with the sweet bits, shared again. Quite a choice on the Specials Board, placed over the counter, including Lemon Cake slices and Chocolate Caramel squares. These were gorgeous.

I had been tempted to have a starter, mainly because I would have a slice of their special brown bread, made with Beamish stout. I’m sure the soup (curried celeriac and potato)  and the chowder (we tasted that at the recent Chowder cook-off in Acton’s Hotel) would have been superb. On another day, perhaps!

The restaurant opened early in 2015 and seems well established already. They open at 10.00am and open late Thursdays to Saturdays. Now dinner there could well be a good idea. You could start with their Market Sharing Platter or maybe the popular Smoked Salmon and Prawn Cocktail. They have steak and hake in the mains and the Curried Buttermilk Chicken with the Mango Salsa appeals to me! And keep an eye on the Specials Board.

This is a comfortable spot with good food and friendly service right in the centre of the town. Well worth a call.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Koko Chocolate Kinsale

Koko Chocolate Kinsale
Frank's Answer to Recession
So there you are, after the recession and wiped out. Not the time for a knee jerk reaction. Count to ten, maybe. Well Frank Keane’s count to ten took him eight months and his decision took him from shock to choc!

For twenty one years before the recession left him high (low, maybe) and dry, Frank had dealt in collectable ceramics in Kinsale, in the same premises where he now makes Koko chocolates. Things were good but, like many another, he got ambushed when the Tiger’s roar died, going backwards before the final “wipe-out”.

What would he do now? What could he do. He looked to the kitchen. Under his mother’s influence he had always loved the kitchen. But, at fifty, he didn't want to start at the bottom with someone half his age telling him what to do.
Giant chilli caramel
Chocolate was the answer that came to him. And so, four years ago, he took a short two day course with Benoit Lorge in Kenmare and has been learning ever since, and enjoying life, even if the commitment is huge - seven days a week.


Citing Mast Brothers of Brooklyn and London as an inspiration, he “learns new stuff every day”. It helps that “chocolate is a very forgiving substance. If something doesn't turn out well, you can melt it down and start again.”

Ireland is a good place to make chocolate but even here the weather can be a problem. “On a wet day, especially with high humidity, the excess moisture can be a problem. And on a hot summer’s day, it is impossible to work."

My favourite. Well, one of many!
 “Chocolate should be fun,” he says. “Put a smile on customers faces, adults as well as kids! I am often asked, Can you do this? I say I’ll give it a go and if it works it works”.


He had an unusual request over the recent Bank Holiday weekend. His premises were to be one of the calls on a James Bond theme arranged by a wife as part of her husband's 40th birthday celebrations. The party group were split into fours and at least one group was calling to Koko where they would find a chocolate grenade and hidden inside was 007’s favourite drink, the Martini (shaken, not stirred). I had an envious look.


Milk chocolate ganache
 Frank makes the chocolate upstairs. We were sampling as we spoke and one that really caught my attention was the Ginger-Honey-Seaweed combination, a marvellous concentration of flavours and a very long finish indeed. Superb and as Frank pointed out, all three ingredients are good for you!


His own favorite - it changes weekly! - is the Rum Truffle. “You can't go wrong with a Rum Truffle, particularly if you have enough rum!”
Halloween choc and awe!

Kirsch is another liquor that Frank uses. He uses Balkan Cherries, stones out, stalks on, and soaks them for ages in a big bucket of Kirsch. Then they are dipped in dark chocolate and are divine! He also uses the likes of crystallised orange and ginger.

Christmas, fast approaching, is a peak time for Koko. And, as Frank relies on local customers (he doesn't do wholesale), he is always hoping for reasonable weather in the two weeks before the holiday, so that people can comfortably use the roads and get to Kinsale.


 And everything here is fresh. “Everything you see here was started in the last two days. You get fresh stock, nothing is old here, it just turns over.” Quite a commitment but he gets great satisfaction from his work and loves having his own business.


By the way, he is right in the heart of the town, opposite the main car park alongside the tourist office. So do call in and take a look and while you are there you may also have a cup of coffee, maybe a hot chocolate? And, buying or looking, you are assured of a hearty welcome from Frank.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Rising Tide on a High. Winners of Kinsale Chowder Cook-Off

The Rising Tide on a High
Winners of Kinsale Chowder Cook-Off

Winners: Sandra and Craig of the Rising Tide
It was the first chowder that we tasted and we knew it was a good one. The Rising Tide's Sandra Murphy, with Head Chef Craig Guiney alongside, greeted us with a big smile and that smile got even bigger later on when the Rising Tide were declared the winners of the ‘Cork Heat’ of the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off.  

This hugely popular competition, sponsored by Clóna,was the opening event of the Kinsale Gourmet Festival, and was hosted by the Kinsale Good Food Circle at Acton’s Hotel last Friday.

Quite a few strong contenders emerged as we made our way around the room. Quinlan’s Seafood Bar were making their debut here and confidence was high as they been crowned Supreme Champions for their fresh crab-meat at the recent Blas na hEireann Awards in Dingle.
Cornstore (left) was busy as was Clon's Richy
The White Horse Bar, from Ballincollig, was one of our first calls - we had arranged a “date’ on twitter. Cockles were in the mix here and it was gluten free. Indeed, I’m told the popular restaurant takes good care of people looking for gluten free. So there’s a tip for you.

The Electric Fish Bar featured mussels in their chowder and that too tasted as if it would be a contender as did Ricky's from Clonakilty, also offering mussel in their bowl. Ballycotton Pier 26 had one of the more colourful offerings, smoked fish in the mix, while the Pink Elephant had prawns.

The Poacher’s Inn had another good one with Star Anise among the flavours while runners up Bastion featured Saffron (which went down very well with CL). Ballydehob’s Budds emerged as a place to watch. Their regular chowder was good and they also had a vegan one on hand. They make great use of seaweed and their seaweed butter was a very tasty example indeed.
A warming chowder from the White Horse crew
Graeme Campbell, executive head chef at the Celtic Ross, had recruited the formidable Sally Barnes and they had another excellent chowder, accompanied by some of Sally’s smoked mackerel paté.

Actually, quite a few of the accompaniments were tasty. Didn't taste all the brown bread available but I thought the one from Nine Market Street in Kinsale was outstanding. Perhaps the top “side” was the drink offered by Cornstore, a Jameson Black Barrel, basil and rosemary infused whiskey sour. Thanks to local brewer Sam Black for the heads up!

Cornstore were the holders and they made a terrific effort to make it two in a row with an excellent chowder containing smoked haddock, mussel chowder, bacon and dry sherry and a vegetable mirepoix.
Budd's of Ballydehob and their vegan chowder (smaller pot)
The line-up in the Kinsale Suite at Actons featured:  Cornstore Restaurant, Budds Restaurant, Ballydehob, The Rising Tide, Glounthaune, The Fish Bar at Electric, Cork City, Bastion of Kinsale, The Pink Elephant, Kilbrittain, The White Horse, Ballincollig,  Richy’s Restaurant, Clonakilty, Poachers Inn, Bandon, Pier 26 Restaurant, Ballycotton, Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, Quinlans Seafood Bar, Cork City, Nine Market St, Kinsale and The Speckled Door, Old Head.

The winner will represent Cork at the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale next April, and subsequently travel to Newport, Rhode Island to be part of the Great Chowder Cook-off in June, 2017.