Showing posts with label Wilkie's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wilkie's. Show all posts

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Taste of the Week. Treat from The Chocolate Shop

Taste of the Week
Treat from The Chocolate Shop

The Chocolate Shop in Cork’s English Market is a treasure trove, packed with good things. And good people there too in Rose and Niall who’ll help you get exactly what you’re looking for.

I was on the lookout for a Taste of the Week. In truth, I could have had closed my eyes, put out a hand and anything I touched would have fitted the bill. But I asked them to fill a little box with some delicious pieces, some by Wilkies Chocolate from Midleton and the others by Skelligs Chocolate from County Kerry. I had my Taste of the Week, on the double!

They opened in 2000. They know their stuff - were very impressive at a recent Chocolate/Whiskey matching event in the River Lee Hotel.  They are independent of any single manufacturer or franchise and therefore free to source only the best quality chocolate from the best artisan chocolatiers throughout the world.

You’ll also find related items, such as Nougat. And they also sell Hadji Bey’s Turkish Delight, a long standing favourite in these parts. Check them out and find your your own taste of the week!

English Market
Cork
021-4254448
Email : info@chocolate.ie

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Electric Breakfast For Taste Cork. Producers, Restaurateurs Pull Together

Electric Breakfast For Taste Cork
Producers, Restaurateurs Pull Together


The local plate!

Taste Cork, set up with supports from the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, and other state agencies, held a Breakfast Seminar at Electric in the South Mall yesterday morning.

The goal of Taste Cork is to help the county nurture its enviable status as an iconic food brand and that was underlined with the produce on the breakfast plate: Jack McCarthy’s bacon, O’Flynn’s Breakfast sausage, Rosscarbery Black pudding, Ballyhoura mushroom, East Ferry Fried eggs and Ballymaloe Relish. Electric’s own brown bread went down well while other highlights were Wilkie's Organic Hot Chocolate and Bean Brownies Banana Bread.

Taste Cork, fronted by Rebecca O’Keeffe, is determined to get Cork produce the exposure it deserves, to help the local producers as much as possible. And one practical way is the opening, in a few days, of the Cork Incubator Kitchen in the Carrigaline Industrial Estate (on the Crosshaven Road).

A breakfast highlight (above) and
another, Wilkie's hot chocolate, below.

Brendan Russell has taken on the management reins here and told the full house of producers and restaurateurs in Electric that the facility will have two kitchens. One is the Bakery Kitchen, fully equipped, with a state of the art triple deck oven the highlight. The other is called the Catering Kitchen. This will be for preparation work in volume and equipment here includes a quick vacuum packer and a sealing machine.

The website will soon be up and running and that will make it easy to register. Brendan, who has spent 16 years as a chef, has a good understanding as to why businesses succeed (and fail) and education will also feature under the following headings:
1 - Theory of Practicality;
2 - Business Understanding;
3- Catering Skills;
4 - Work Relations.

The event was opened by Sean O’Sullivan and he was delighted that funding had been provided for the full-time position in Taste Cork. Both he and Rebecca are looking forward to getting everyone “to start looking locally”. And so say all of us. You can see my motto on the site here: Buy local, fresh and fair. The more we pull together, the further we will go.


Kevin Aherne is one man who has been doing exactly this for the past five years and his innovative 12 Mile Menu was recognised by his peers on Tuesday evening in Killarney when his Sage Restaurant in Midleton won Restaurant of the Year in Cork.

Kevin spoke later at the seminar and we’ll have a post on that tomorrow. Mary Daly (Food Safety Company) also spoke in Electric and she too stressed the importance of local: “Provenance is hugely important. Taste Cork can play a big role.” More too from Mary tomorrow. Part Two is now up and running and you can see what Kevin and Mary said here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Taste of the Week. Wilkies Tumbes Chocolate Bar

Taste of the Week
Wilkies Tumbes Chocolate Bar




“The chocolate we produce at present is made from single origin organic criollo cocoa beans from Peru.  Criollo beans are considered a delicacy.” And this one, with beautiful flavours and smooth velvety texture, is certainly a delicious delight for the chocolate lover and is our Taste of the Week.

The beans come from the Tumbes Farm and are organic.  Shana Wilkies, based in  Midleton (County Cork), ensure that the small farmers receive a fair price. Shana also use beans from the Amazonas Farm from which they make two bars; both are good but one, with cocoa nibs added, is highly recommended.

Read all about Wilkies Bean to Bar chocolate here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bradley's Have The Country Covered

Bradley's Have Your Food and Drink

Michael has the country covered

Amazed at the selection of Irish foods now available in Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork. The customers are obviously enjoying it all and so too is Michael Creedon, a Bradley himself. It is turning out to be quite an adventure and Michael loves meeting the small producers and seeing what they have to offer. New ones are being added all the time; Wilkie’s Chocolates and the Amodeo Salad Dressing are among the latest arrivals.


From the south
Bradley’s started out as a dairy in 1850 but, in more recent years, became well known as one of the best drinks specialists in Cork. Wine or Whiskey, Vodka or Gin, Bradleys was and is yer only man. Then along came the craft beer revolution and the small producers soon found they had a friend in Michael and his collection of beers just grew and grew. Now they all talk about the famous “wall of beer”.

And just as Michael extended a friendly hand to the local brewers, he was at the same time doing the very same with regard to food producers. “The small producers have time to talk, take the trouble to ring back. The contacts are personal and encouraging.” And the result is that he is well on his way to covering the whole country. And remember, you can shop online.
The eastern bloc!
I picked, more or less at random, a few baskets during a recent visit. These photos represent only a small part of the offering of beers and foods (and, by the way, are not meant to be matching suggestions!).

In the South selection, you’ll see bigger names such as Gubbeen and Atlantic Sea Salt along with that new Amodeo dressing. Mella’s Fudge is a personal favourite as is that fabulous Lisanley Honey from East Cork. Seymour’s Biscuits, Cookies of Character and Ballybrado’s Crisp Breads are all recommended. And for drinks, you're spoiled for choice and we had room for very few in the shot.
West by North West
Let’s now have a look at that packed basket from the East. Not much room for beer but we did squeeze in a couple from the packed shelves. Second Nature's Rapeseed OIl and the versatile and delicious Highbank Orchard Syrup are prominent and then you've got the tasty products of Big Red Kitchen, Dalkey Mustard and Just Delicious. Goodness from the grain by Ballybrado and Ballyminane and, after all that, you might like a cuppa from Niks Teas or maybe one of the beers!

No shortage of beers in the North West selection with an explosion of brewers in Galway, Roscommon and Donegal. The Foods of Athenry are well represented with their granolas and crackers and no shortage of seaweed products by Carraig Fhada. And, of course, that well known Donegal Rapeseed oil.

Quite a selection, I’m sure you'll agree. But there is much more in the shop, so do drop in and have a look.


Thirsty now after all that but what beer will I have? Such a choice!



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

All About Farmers at Ballymaloe, Port. Cheese, Chocolate.

All About Farmers at Ballymaloe

Port. Cheese, Chocolate.
It was all about farmers at Ballymaloe last Thursday evening, appropriately enough in the week that the East Cork food destination celebrated the 90th birthday of Myrtle Allen.  Myrtle turned her front room into a restaurant fifty years ago and the rest is food history, still evolving. And Ballymaloe is still a farm, of course.

Thursday was also about Port, cheese and chocolate. The only real farmer on stage was Dan Hegarty whose family in Whitechurch make the well known and well loved cheddar. Chris Forbes from Taylor’s Port told us of the many small holders on the steep slopes of the Douro while Shana Wilkie of Wilkie’s Chocolate, Ireland's only bean to bar chocolate maker, told us of the small Peruvian farms from where she gets her beans.

It is mountainy in the Douro and very hot. There are some 35,000 tiny holdings, according to Chris, but Taylor’s buy grapes from less than 100. Taylor’s also grow their own - their Quinta de Vargellas is one of the best known in the world - and the port is made from a variety of indigenous grapes.

Port is a fortified wine. Fermentation is stopped after 2 or 3 days by adding 77% proof alcohol. That arrests the fermentation and maintains the high sugar level. Some hard work before all that though. The pickers start early, stop for lunch and wine, start again and stop in early evening for more food and more wine.
But they are not finished. They then start the traditional foot-treading in the lagar, two hours of tough going, squeezing out the juice and the colour. All Taylor’s vintage ports are made using traditional methods, including foot-threading.

We started the tasting with a 2008 LBV (Late Bottled Vintage). LBV was created in the 1970’s by Taylor’s, all the grapes coming from the one year and it spends 4 to 6 years in large wooden vats. Taylor’s are the world leaders in this style and, as we saw, it goes very well indeed with both cheese and chocolate (the Amazonas). By the way, if you open a bottle, Chris advised to finish within 3 to 4 weeks, as it loses its freshness after that.

Dan Hegarty was  very impressed with the Port and said he was thinking of giving up his favourite lager. Indeed, there is no shortage of good humour as Dan took us through the family’s relatively short history of making cheddar.
Shana and her relationship with the farmers
They started in 2000, using the traditional methods, and sell their products at different ages. They “went mad” early on, going flat out with production but now they are more restrained and there are only marginal increases from year to year. It is a two year cycle and they milk about 100 cows. On Thursday, we tasted three ages: 6 months, 12 months and 18. The older was the more popular though, according to Dan, his bank manager would prefer if the youngest was in top position!

Fonseca Quinta do Panascal Vintage Port 1998, the produce of just one vineyard, was next up, “an affordable way to drink vintage Port.” It is now 14 years in bottle with opulence, spiciness and red currant flavours. It proved an excellent match with Wilkie’s Amazonas with Cocoa Nibs and also with the 6 month old cheddar. And a word of advice from Chris: “On opening, decant, and drink that evening!”

Shana too had a few tips for recognising good chocolate. “Shiny chocolate is normally good, dull is not so good. A sharp snap is also a good sign.” Shana is originally a graphic designer “by trade" but always had a great interest in food.

She went on to tell how she got into chocolate making and got familiar with the different beans and flavours and was drawn to the Criollo flavour bean. She now works with a few families in Peru. At home, and home now is Midleton as she has returned to the East Cork, she is always experimenting, always getting better and indeed she already has some impressive awards to her name. 
Her Tumbes chocolate was an excellent match with the 10 Year Old Tawny. This port has spent ten years in small wooden casks, no new wood used. It is lighter in colour with mellow notes and little spice. Chris described it as a “liquid fruit cake”. Went well with the chocolate and also the 18 month cheddar. Great too with pates and terrines, according to Chris. “The style is fresh and clean and it is easy drinking.”

Chris surprised some by suggesting that these Tawines (we finished with the exquisite 20 Year Old, even lighter in colour and with a toastier aroma) be served slightly chilled and also suggested serving them in summer as well as the more traditional winter usage.

The three gathered on stage for a deserved round of applause and there was thanks too for Peter Corr of Febvre who assisted throughout the evening and for Ballymaloe’s Colm McCann and his team.
Left to right: Chris Forbes, Peter Corr, Shana Wilkie, Dan Hegarty and Yours Truly.