Showing posts with label Taste of the Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taste of the Week. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Taste of the Week. Glendalough Beech Leaf Gin

Taste of the Week
Glendalough Beech Leaf Gin

You may have to hurry if you want to get your hands on our latest Taste of the Week, the Beech Leaf Gin from Glendalough Distilleries. They haven’t made much of the latest addition to the award-winning range! It is a limited edition with a “beautiful colour”.

During last month’s walk in the woods with Geraldine Kavanagh, their official forager, we passed a few beech trees and were interested, having been earlier introduced to their Beech Leaf Gin. But we didn’t pick any. Geraldine: “There is just a small window between late Spring and early Summer when the leaf is at its best, when they are soft and good.” 

The soft, downy leaves from the mountain beech around the distillery are picked then at their best and added to the botanical gin, resulting in a complex and herbaceous gin. Colour is rich, reminiscent of the beech leaves in autumn. Hints of apple and nutty tones on both the nose and the palate, the Glendalough Beech Leaf Gin is great neat, in cocktails or with Fevertree Ginger Ale and a slice of lime.

Check out the Celtic Whiskey Shop where it sells at €52.50 per bottle; it will be on their website any day now. Also available at these Dublin pubs: Drury Buildings, PMacs, and  JT Pims.

For more on that foraging walk, please check here 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Taste of the Week. Raw Honeycomb from S Bees

Taste of the Week

Raw Honeycomb from S Bees

Stefan
Raw honeycomb is a real delicacy of nature and our Taste of the Week. It is also one of the most efficient ways of storing the honey and I picked up my most recent honeycomb at the Killavullen Farmers Market. It is delicious plus any superlative you’d like to use.

Stefan Buzoianu was the man selling them. Based in Fermoy, he is the man behind S Bees and also sells hive products and gives beekeeping advice and may be contacted at stefan.buzoianu@gmail.com

While he was selling me my honeycomb, he was also feeding bits of another one to a box of bees he had on display on his market stand. This was to compensate them in some small way for the fact “that they were missing a good day's foraging.”

Stefan supports “healthy common sense living” and is worried, like many of us, about the decline in the bee population. Life would be better if we take better care of the bees and encourage them. What happens if the bees die? Check out this video here

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Taste of the Week. Coolea Cheese

Taste of the Week

Coolea Cheese
Coolea in brine

I’ve often heard of the camaraderie and support that exists between artisan producers. And I saw it in action at Schull Market on a recent Sunday morning. 

I was looking at the cheese selection on the Gubbeen stall when Tom Ferguson began to sing the praises (not of their own Gubbeen, which is worth a song or two) but of a two year old Coolea. He followed up by offering me a sliver. It was every bit as good as he said so I bought a wedge and it is our current Taste of the Week. No big surprise really. Coolea were one of the pioneers and the cheese is sought after at home and abroad.

The cheese venture came about because the Willems family, wh had come from Holland, couldn't find any cheese here other than cheddar and mother Helena started, in 1979,  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 firm and smooth, a pressed uncooked Gouda style cheese. Early on the flavours are caramel, nutty and floral but they become more robust as time goes on, sweeter if anything and still carrying traces of its delicate youth. A gorgeous cheese and well worth watching out for.






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taste of the Week. Kinsale Bay Shepherd’s Pie

Taste of the Week
Kinsale Bay Shepherd’s Pie

This Shepherd’s Pie, from the Kinsale Bay Food Company, looks splendid in its new packaging. It is also full of flavour and is our lovely Taste of the Week.

It is a classic lamb pie with chunky vegetables in an aromatic gravy topped with a creamy mash potato. The lamb is100% Irish; the pie is Gluten Free and high in protein.

And that aromatic gravy is more than an advertiser’s imagination. Much more. It is really aromatic, so much so that the puppy got really interested and tried to get up on the table to check it out.


I gave him the almost empty carton (heat in the oven rather than the micro wave, by the way) and he licked it so much that he could see his own reflection. That made the vote for Taste of the Week unanimous. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taste of the Week. Chocolates by the Hungry Crow

Taste of the Week

Chocolates by the Hungry Crow

 Niamh O'Reilly and Mark Stewart are the people behind Clonakilty’s 'The Hungry Crow’ and they make quite unusual and very delicious chocolate. The chocolates are missing just one ingredient: guilt! This ‘Free from’ policy helped them win the 2016 Listowel Food Fair ‘Best Emerging Artisan Food Product’.

And their Free From raw and vegan treats taste every bit as good as they look. Niamh makes her own nut butter and fruit is a very important ingredient.  Hungry Crow produce has no refined sugars, grains or dairy.

I had a few samples of the chocolate at the launch of A Taste of West Cork Artisan Book in the County Hall last week and more again this week when I called to see Mark at the start-up stall in the English Market.
He told me they are about half-way through their six week tenancy so you still have lots of time to call in and try the absolutely delicious chocolate treats, mostly featuring fruit and nut butter, perhaps the best chocolate I have tasted in a long long time.

My favourites are the bigger ones. They are normally built around either figs or dates (no ordinary dates either, these are the highly rated Medjool dates, Hungry Crow get theirs from Palestine). They are irresistible and are our Taste of the Week.

Stay in touch with Hungry Crow on their Facebook page 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Taste of the Week. Cascade by Cotton Ball Brewing

Taste of the Week
Cascade by Cotton Ball Brewing
Cascade-ing at Cork Summer Show
A lovely pint from Brian.



Cascade is a relatively new addition to the Cotton Ball Brewing Company’s  portfolio and I made its acquaintance at the Cork Summer Show at the weekend. It’s a beauty and our Taste of the Week.

It is a well balanced celebration of the hops of the same name, a single hop beer with terrific flavour, slightly spicy too but with flavour galore and the ABV is just 3.8%. Well done guys, a superb Pale Ale for the summer sessions and indeed any session.


There is a picture of Humphrey Lynch, the original owner of the Cotton Ball and grandfather of current owner Jack, on the brewery's bottles. His is a fascinating story and includes fighting in the American Civil War and dealing in cotton (hence the name for the pub he bought on his return to Ireland). More here.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taste of the Week. Arbutus Bread

Taste of the Week
Arbutus Bread 

Sourdough Bread has fed humanity for 4000 years. That’s an opening statement on the Arbutus Bread website. The company itself doesn’t go back that far!

Declan Ryan founded Arbutus Bread in 1999, after selling his previous business [Arbutus Lodge Hotel]. “I knew that retirement would not suit me, and that I had to be active . So I converted a small two car garage in front of my house into a tiny bakery. My first customers were Isobel Sheridan of On the Pigs Back in the English Market and my brother Michael at Isaacs Restaurant in MaCurtain Street.” 

Now Arbutus has customers all over the country, many outlets for their bread, baked in the Cork suburb of Mayfield. Whenever I’m in Mahon (or Midleton) market, I get a loaf or two. 

The most recent purchase was a wholemeal sourdough,. a denser style of bread “with less holes!” It comes in mild and strong versions. The mild was my pick this time and it is excellent, very flavoursome, great for a sandwich and our Taste of the Week. 

You can see all the different types of loaf on the Arbutus site https://www.arbutusbread.com/ 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taste of the Week. Ballintubber Vodka and Blueberry Cheese From Cahill’s Farm

Taste of the Week
Ballintubber Vodka and Blueberry Cheese
From Cahill’s Farm


Cahill’s Farm are in County Limerick and they make a 100% pure and natural, full-flavoured cheese, handcrafted in the traditional Irish way, and made with only the freshest, wholesome, natural, ingredients. 

They are well known in the world of cheese and are regular award winners including at Blas, the British Cheese Awards and World Cheese Awards.


This particular cheese is basically their Cheddar, with the addition of Vodka and Blueberries. It is a marvellous combination of creaminess and flavour and our Taste of the Week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Taste of the Week. Double Delight from Iago

Taste of the Week

Double Delight from Iago
Doubly Delicious

Taste of the Week is another double, this time from Iago in Cork.

I was in there to get some of their renowned fresh pasta and, while waiting, had a look at the well stocked cheese counter. The Durrus caught my eye and, on the counter top, they had various suggested accompaniments for cheese including a Fig and Almond Slice.

I bought some of each and it was a match, a heavenly one, even if introduced in Princes Street, Cork, just across the way from the English Market.

The rich creaminess of the famous cheese from West Cork, made there by Jeffa Gill since 1979, is a well-appreciated delight, as is the salty tang at the finish, but the soft-grain sweetness of the figs and the crumbly crunch of the nuts enhances the experience no end. And, by the way, they have many other excellent products in Iago’s.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Taste of the Week. The Hot Choc & Coffee Combo

Taste of the Week

Hot Choc & Coffee Combo

Taste of the Week this time is a little bit different. It takes two to tango and our perfect partners are Skelligs Dark Chocolate with Chilli and Pink Peppercorn along with The Golden Bean’s Veracruz Coffee.

The chocolate is 70%, intense with a fiery kick of chilli heat and a lasting finish of the pink peppercorn. Hot stuff and lovely on its own but even better I think with that excellent coffee from Columbia.

The chocolate, along with more from the Skelligs Range, is available from Bradley's North Main Street while I bought the coffee at the Golden Bean stall in Mahon Point Farmers Market. Quite a duo! Let's go tango.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Taste of the Week. Oisin Goats Cheese

Taste of the Week
Oisin Hard Goats Cheese

Picked up a wedge of Oisin Hard Goats Cheese at the Gubbeen stall in the Mahon Point Farmers Market the week before last and a few hours later made it my current Taste of the Week. Hard goat’s cheeses are usually made in a good summer when there is a surplus of milk.


Don’t know a great deal about this but it is one of the organic goat’s milk cheeses made at a farm run by a Dutch couple in Kilmallock, County Limerick. This hard cheese is very close to pure white, is creamy, mild and full of flavour. It is a sublime eating cheese.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Taste of the Week. Brown Soda Bread by Dooley’s

Taste of the Week
Brown Soda Bread by Dooley’s

Dooley’s Bakery and Café  is in Rathcormac, on the main street, neatly painted in a pale green, with an old bike outside. 

We knew the bread box at home was bare so we stopped there yesterday and, despite the temptations of the sweet things in the cabinet, bought one of their brown soda breads.

But what a soda bread! A little warmth when I took it out of the bag - it was fresh, great aromas too and above all terrific flavour and texture.


I know it costs almost twice as much as a supermarket effort but well worth it; this is the real thing and Taste of the Week.

Maybe I should have lingered a while, enjoyed a Badger & Dodo coffee with one of those pastries; maybe go all the way and buy a lotto ticket - it is also the Post Office!


Back at home, a few slices of the bread, slathered with some Apple & Blackberry Jam by ‘G’, was a nice reward for a long walk around nearby Corrin Hill (including a visit to summit). Simple pleasures!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Taste of the Week. Chicken Inn’s Chicken Stock

Taste of the Week
Chicken Inn’s Chicken Stock


If you’re passing the Chicken Inn in the English Market and see a line-up of tubs of chicken stock, grab one, or two, and you’ll have our Taste of the Week.

Tim Mulcahy’s stock is chock full of flavour and a great base. There are tons of recipes on the internet and you can adapt them as you please and depending what you have to hand, just as we did (above).


Noodles (pasta is an alternative) are a terrific accompaniment and you can throw in a selection of the following: pieces of left-over chicken, diced carrots, sweetcorn, celery, onions, and pak choi. If you’d prefer a precise recipe, then go to Google!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Taste of the Week. CakeFace Pastry

Taste of the Week

CakeFace Pastry
It was love at first sight in a crowded Kilkenny cafe on a Saturday morning. I had eyes only for The Jaffa Orange, one of many sweet sensations created in the shop by CakeFace Pastry in Irishtown under the shadow of the cathedral. Couldn't wait to get her home and demolish that dark choc and orange mousse, with an orange centre on a crunchy base. Was that dark one my Taste of the Week?

Maybe. Because once Jaffa was over, I turned my attentions to the blonde, the Cherries Dark Forrest, a Luxurious White Choc Mousse and Kirsch mousse on a sour cherry jelly and chocolate sponge. Taste of the Week?

And there are many more Tastes of the Week where this delicious duo come from: Raspberry velveteen, Rhubarb Rose, Passionate Tart. Neither you nor I can lose here. Of course, you may eat your choice in the cafe and the coffee is good too. 

16 Irishtown
Kilkenny City

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Taste of the Week. From the Bula Bus

Taste of the Week

From the Bula Bus
Smoked sausage and pickled cabbage

The Bula Bus is a restaurant, in a bus, a double decker. They cook downstairs, serve you upstairs. It is an old bus from Manchester that doesn't go anywhere anymore. It is parked up, permanently, in the backyard of Billy Byrnes pub in Kilkenny.

But they do have a stall at the local Farmers Market every Thursday and it was there that I got fed last week and found my Taste of the Week in their Czech style Smoked Sausage.

Six euro bought me street food at its best. A big choice of sauces and condiments and the large sausage was served with Californian style pickled cabbage, a faster version of Sauerkraut. 

The sun was shining as I sat down on a public seat nearby and tucked into my substantial and very tasty lunch. I could have been in California or Prague but Kilkenny’s Parade was cosmopolitan enough for me.

It is easy enough to catch the Bula Bus crew and their out of the ordinary food - they are open most days behind the pub. More info here.


A brief account of a 2014 visit to the bus: it was time for lunch so the group (about 14 strong) headed off to the Podge Meade’s Bula Bus, a former unit of the fleet in Manchester city but now parked up at the back of Billy Byrne’s pub. The kitchen is downstairs and the upper deck is laid out as a restaurant, serving wild and foraged street food. Venison, mushroom and rabbit (which I enjoyed) featured on the menu.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Taste of the Week. Cinnamon Cottage Ratatouille

Taste of the Week
Cinnamon Cottage Ratatouille
Irish diners used to have mixed opinions on Ratatouille, mainly because earlier versions weren’t much more than an anonymous mess on the plate. And then very few were eating aubergines and peppers in 1970s Ireland.

Irish Ratatouille and we Irish diners have come a long way since then and there are some terrific examples of the dish around nowadays, both in homes and in restaurants. One of the best I came across recently came from Cinnamon Cottage.

This is a brilliant mix: aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes and more. Fantastic textures and flavours, a dash of spice too, all combining to make a Ratatouille with attitude and our Taste of the Week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Taste of the Week. Skelligs Chocolate

Taste of the Week
Skelligs Chocolate

The current Taste of the Week comes all the way from the beautiful St Finian’s Bay area of Ballinskelligs in County Kerry: ten delicious Irish handmade chocolates truffles. 

Just five flavours in the box but something gorgeous for every taste. Off to a promising start with the Citrus Delight, then Strawberry and Champagne. Are you getting the picture? And still to come are the Vanilla Ganache, the Hazelnut Praline and, perhaps my favourite, the Dark Irish Whiskey, all creamy, all made with love and each dispatched with love as well.

Great to see the County Kerry firm bounce back so well from the fire of 2010. Did you know they overlook the UNESCO World Heritage site Skellig Michael? Well they do and, better still, they'd love to see you come and visit. Think I’ll take that invitation up myself when I'm in the area in a month or two.


If you can't make it down there anytime soon, they have many stockists: check the list here.  I got mine in Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork, and, of course, you may also buy from their online shop here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade

Taste of the Week
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade came tops in the New Cheese Section at the Irish Cheese Awards in 2011. It is still going strong and our Taste of the Week. 


It is a soft goats cheese with cranberry: 100% handmade, 100% natural, 100% local and 100% delicious, even on its own.

Came across a striking way to use it during a meal in Jacques some time back when dessert was Medjool Date stuffed with Ardsallagh goats cheese, with Almonds and a full circle of Blood Orange. A gorgeous summer combination.

This small family run business in East Cork has grown steadily, and you can buy their products not only in local farmers markets, but also in national supermarket chains. I got mine at the Roughty Stall in Cork's English Market. 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.

Ardsallagh Goats Products
Woodstock
Carrigtwohill
County Cork
021 4882336

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Taste of the Week. Bertha’s Revenge Gin

Taste of the Week
Bertha’s Revenge Gin

“Most important of all for us was the desire to produce a gin that other people would enjoy as much as we do.” So says Justin Green who, with Anthony Jackson, founded Bertha’s Revenge Milk Gin in 2015. The marvellous gin, which walked off the shelves of one leading Cork drinks store over Christmas, is our rich and smooth Taste of the Week. Any week!

The gin is named after Bertha, the oldest cow in the world, who died a few weeks short of her 49th birthday. The Whey spirit they use is made by Carbery in West Cork.

The producers - the tiny distillery is in Ballyvolane House - are so happy with the complexity and smoothness of this milk based gin that they really enjoy sipping it with a “splash of water”.

But they add “she works very well with a good quality tonic”. And she performs well also in a martini. Bertha, shaken with ice and a suggestion of vermouth, poured into a chilled glass with a simple zest garnish delivers “a gloriously smooth and precise cocktail experience”. Try it for yourself - stockists here - about 50 euro per bottle. You’ll also find it in various mixes in leading bars and restaurants.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taste of the Week. Gubbeen Smoked Pork Ribs

Taste of the Week
Gubbeen Smoked Pork Ribs

Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Somekouse has become a well respected smoked meat producer; he has over 50 products and a fascination that grows each year with the arts and science of charcuterie. Here, you’ll find superb chorizo and salamis, smoked bacon and more, even that famous cheese is smoked.

Fifty products and growing. One of the latest, Gubbeen Smoked Pork Ribs, is truly mouth-watering and our Taste of the Week. Like all his products, this comes from quality ingredients to which time and care have been added. The result is a “marriage of traditional methods and modern flavours”.

This latest product, I got mine at Mahon Point Farmers Market, means you can have a barbecue anytime you like. The BBQ sauce ingredients include pimento, olive oil, harissa, garlic, herbs and spices and it all adds up to one of most flavoursome meals imaginable. It is ready to eat but we did heat ours up a bit and tucked in. The succulent meat more or less fell away from the bones but using your fingers and teeth (the traditional way) adds to the primal pleasure. Oohs and aahs all the way! And yes, the odd grunt too.

Gubbeen Farmhouse Products, Ltd.,
Gubbeen House,
Schull, Co. Cork.
Ireland.

Cheese Telephone: 
00 353 (0)28 28231
Smokehouse Telephone: 
00 353 (0)28 27824