Showing posts with label The Golden Bean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Golden Bean. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Peaceful evening in Youghal

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all three free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
The Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery



Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Barnabrow

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.


If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.
Bramley Lodge



Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Fota House and gardens


Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to newly renovated Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.

Sonia

Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here, including the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty years in business.
Cobh traffic jam!

There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.
Sage
Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.

The Cafe at the Stephen Pearse pottery in Shanagarry also serves Golden Bean and is now gaining quite a reputation. And, of course, there is the pottery itself!

Sculpture exhibition on lawn at Ballymaloe House

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
Cobh's Titanic Bar & Grill. Al Fresco

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater.

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours.

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater


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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Café At Stephen Pearce Pottery.

The Café At Stephen Pearce Pottery
At The End Of The Lane
I was sitting in the Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery when I heard them. I looked up at the sloping ceiling, up beyond the many paintings of fruits and vegetables, expecting to see a swallow or two. But, no. The bird sounds were coming from the room next door, from a couple of lovebirds.


There were other happy sounds from that quarter too, from children playing with a lump of clay on a worktop with a wall in front decorated with the prints of lots of little hands. So here the kids are engaged while mum and dad enjoy the food and drink next door.


And if the weather is fine, you will hear the birds and other little creatures as you sit and dine in one of the two quite attractive outdoor areas, each surrounded by wind-stopping trees and bushes.

But all these desirable extras aside, it is the food you come from. Chef Christine Crowley won't let you down, whether you've come for brunch or lunch or just a cup of the Golden Bean coffee and one of her delicious cakes. Actually, if you're going to confine yourself to just one cake, make it the absolutely delicious Carrot and Walnut. Then again…..
We were there for lunch recently, arriving just as they changed the boards. That gave us a chance to see the Brunch Menu and that too is very tempting. Lots of drinks here too, teas and coffees, waters and juices. And a short wine list that includes Cremant d’Alsace to add a little sparkle to your visit.

I had heard good mention of the Steak Sandwich (€10.00) so I picked that. It was one of the best of its type I’ve come across. The ingredients are simply stated: sourdough, steak, caramelised onions, garlic mayonnaise and dressed leaves. Simply delicious, as someone famous down Shanagarry way would say!
Virtually everything on your plate is local. The sourdough is by Pana, the steak from Frank Murphy Butchers. Other names on the list include fish smoker Bill Casey (a next door neighbour), The Village Green Grocer in Castlemartyr, Rosscarbery Recipes, Jack McCarthy Kanturk, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, East Ferry Farm, Darren’s Eggs Ballymaloe, Wilkie’s Organic Hot Chocolate and Golden Bean Coffee.

CL’s pick was the Bruschetta with roasted red peppers, hummus, grilled gourgette, served with dressed leaves. This eye-catching palate-pleasing plateful cost just €8.50. Excellent eating, excellent value.

Then it was time for coffee and that Carrot and Walnut cake! If a whole flock of swallows had flown in at that moment, I wouldn’t have heard them, such was my concentration on that superb wedge of moist sweetness in the lovely café at the end of a Shanagarry boreen.
The Café at Stephen Pearce Pottery
Shanagarry
County Cork
Tel: 086 199 6934
Email: thecafeatspp@gmail.com
Twitter: Twitter @TheCafe_SPP

Thursday, May 12, 2016

House Café. In the middle of our town

House Café
In the middle of our town
Mega mushrooms
The shows come and go but The House Café keeps performing in the Opera House, just a few yards from Patrick’s Street. So central, so good.

We called to this friendly place for lunch this week and enjoyed it from the start to finish, the welcome, the friendly informative service, the little chats and, of course, the food. Food that is based for the most part on top notch local produce: Crozier Blue, Knockalara, Ballyhoura, Coolea, O’Mahony Butchers among those featured.
Falafel
We could have had one of the soups (carrot, ginger and coriander looked tempting. Or one of the sandwiches (Coolea cheese with wild garlic pesto caught the eye). But once I saw the Creamed Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms on sourdough toast with Parmesan and organic leaves, I was hooked. It is one of the best expressions of these fabulous mushrooms (much in demand by the country’s top chefs) you're likely to come across. Go in and try it!

CL too cleaned her plate, every little bit. Her choice was the Spiced Chickpea and Sweet potato Falafel with hummus, tahini sauce and salad with a roasted pide (a Turkish bread). Her dish cost nine euro, mine two euro more. Both were vegetarian but we didn't even think about that, just good food, and that’s the way it should be.

Since we had skipped the soup, dessert was on the cards. I went for one of the specials and it was very special, again worth a call if available. This was the Carrot and Pistachio cake (3/50), toasted and served with butter and cream. It was so good! Too good in fact. CL got very interested and I had to give over fifty per cent, On the other hand, I got fifty per cent of her lemon Drizzle Slice (3.50), and quite a superior Lemon drizzle it was.

Sp we relaxed and finished off our Golden Bean coffees (2.30) before settling up at the counter (cash only, by the way!) and heading off to Pana (the local name for Patrick Street).

House Café
Opera House
Emmet Place
Cork
Tel: (021) 490 5277
Email: housecafecork@gmail.com

Twitter: @HouseCafeCork

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Golden Bean. Kingston Making A Mark

The Golden Bean
Kingston Making A Mark
From the opening Cascara to the closing Espresso, the Munster Wine & Dine visit to Marc Kingston’s Golden Bean Coffee roastery in East Cork was an eye-opener.

The Cascara, surprisingly low in caffeine, is made from the dried skins of the cherry of the coffee. Once regarded as waste, the cherry is now used to produce this unique drink, more like a tea than a coffee. But not quite a tea either. More a fruit tissane as suggested here.

Marc, and his assistants Blair and Ciaran, had us up and running and demo followed demo, the highlight being a roasting session on the impressive Giesen machine and then tasting the coffee from that fresh batch!

The machine may be impressive, with a high tech control panel alongside. But high tech or not, it still needs the intervention of a human, a human like Marc, who knows what he’s doing. The coffee picked for roasting was from the Dutra family owned farms in the Matas de Minas area of Brazil.
Blair (left) and Ciaran
It was also the coffee used for our Cold Brew sample. This went down very well indeed and, if you are at the Lit-Fest in Ballymaloe next month and the sun is shining, you may well find it on the coffee menu. Marc’s roastery is in the grounds of Ballymaloe House.

Lots of questions and answers throughout the entertaining evening. All Golden Bean coffees are single estate - he doesn't do blends! - and will be that bit different from year to year. Store your coffee in a cool, dark and dry place.

That gorgeous smell you get when grinding is something of a mixed blessing, as that smell means less flavour in your cup. Many people used electric mills but the blades hammer the beans. Marc reckons the manually operated mill may be best, “good and slow”. And one more tip: don't forget to stir your little cup of Espresso. It will enhance the flavours.
 On mixing other fluids with coffee, Marc is not that keen. “Alcohol kills coffee!” With milk and sugar in it, “it doesn't taste like coffee”. But he did admit to being partial to the odd Espresso Martini!  He did stress that water quality is very important. “We are lucky here in Ballymaloe to have a nice soft water. But in heavy limestone areas, best to use mineral water, a mineral water with a low mineral content.”

Blair guided us through a Colombian tasting, a Finca Camilia from the Santa Barbara Estate owned by the Echeverria family. This company is well known, up there with “the Oscars of the coffee world”. In fact, many of the farmers that Marc buys from are well established and the prices are usually higher than Fair-trade. This was a gem, “peach, toffee, molasses…”

Back to Marc then who told us that your Espresso has “far more antioxidants available” and is processed through your body much quicker, in about 30 minutes. So you can enjoy one after dinner and not be awake late into the night. And, believe it or not, a six month old baby can process Espresso, in proportion, as quickly as an adult!

If using milk, use pasteurised but not homogenised. They use Glenilen (they have a stall near them at the market) and McCarthy’s and, from the bigger names, Clona and Avonmore.


Now the roasting was coming to its climax and Marc, with notes in hand, was taking control as the cracks were heard. Finally, it was done and the now dark beans (they had started off with a light green colour) poured out into the pan before being taken over to our two baristas.

Soon, they were serving us that coffee made from those freshly roasted beans. First up was a filter sample. Excellent! But the class cup was on the way. That Espresso, with gorgeous crema, was my pick of the bunch! A marvellous cup to bring the lovely evening to a close.

So a big thank you to Marc and his assistants for their patience and knowledge and the excellent coffee. The next Wine & Dine event is scheduled for May 27th and will include a visit to Cashel Blue and a farm tour, wine tasting and dinner at Ballinwillin House. Members are requested to keep an eye on emails for updates. If you’d like to join the fun, then send an email to mwdcircle@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Taste of the Week. Santa Isabel Coffee

Taste of the Week
Santa Isabel Coffee
via the Golden Bean
I recently bought a pack of new crop Santa Isabel Coffee beans from Golden Bean at the Mahon Point Farmers Market and have been enjoying cup after delicious cup. It is nearly finished now, unfortunately.

The beans come from the region of Coban (around the city of the same name) in Guatemala and are grown at a height of 1400 to 1600 metres. The Valdes family have put the emphasis on quality in recent decades and the result has been two placings in Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence.

This current coffee is full of flavour with a bright acidity and is our Taste of the Week.

For tips on making the perfect cup of coffee, check out the Robert Roberts website. For me, the best way to enjoy the full flavour is to take the Espresso route. In addition, I always stir the cup as I think the flavours concentrate in the bottom otherwise - probably no scientific basis for this, but it works for me!