Longueville House Lunch
Award Winning Cider and Apple Brandy
It is a big country house. And the fire is on. Not just to warm the building and its hosts and guests. But to cook your lunch. Don't worry, that big haunch of lamb will be ready in time. Welcome to Longueville House.
|What's for lunch?|
The welcome begins at the front door where an engaging posse of rascally dogs, all well behaved, snuggle up to their visitors. Once indoors, you are warmly welcomed by Aisling and William O’Callaghan. Their house, the central block of which was built about 1720, stands in a 500 acre wooded estate, and on a rise over the Blackwater Valley.
|Lamb roasting, slowly|
Sunday lunch here is a legendary leisurely affair, the rush of the 21st century left behind when you turn off the Mallow-Killarney Road. It is highlight after highlight in the relaxed dining rooms.
The first thing that catches your eye is the Appetiser Buffet. Could be a rush here! But, no. All is well organised. The staff organise the flow and there is never anything approaching a queue, just a line of five or six, moving smoothly along and getting any information they need from the helpful staff at the buffet.
|One selection of starters|
The main course is served at your table and the lamb was the number one pick, certainly at our table! Think I’ll just give you the choices as listed:
Leg of Longueville lamb cooked over an open oakwood fire, sausage of braised shoulder, garden thyme sauce.
Pan fried fillet of Cod, Longueville House cider, tomato and chervil velouté sauce.
Garden Pumpkin pithivier, baby garden vegetables, sorrel pesto.
And, if you feel like it, take a walk, a short one or indeed a long one. I had come with a group from the Munster branch of the Irish Wine and Food Society and we had a walk that morning, guided through the orchards by William himself. The harvest was in full flow and would go on right up to Christmas. It is a late one this year, three weeks behind normal.
There are 25 acres of apples and the orchard is 20 years old. “We don't spray Roundup here,” William said. “We try to stay away from them. No pesticides.” One way they counter the aphids, a tiny bug that can do enormous damage, is to encourage the hoverfly by planting the likes of Fennel, Angelica and Yarrow. These attract the hoverfly, a natural enemy of the aphid.
Soon though we were back in the buildings and in the crush house where the process of making cider, and eventually apple brandy, starts. We met Dan the distiller and he handed out samples of raw brandy, starting from the still. That warmed us up!Then we had a “proper” tasting with William and Dan. We started with the now well established award winning Longueville House medium dry cider. More recently they have launched Longueville Cider Mor which has a more robust ABV of 8 per cent, “a bit like a Bordeaux superieur” someone observed! And then we sampled the apple brandy, a really serious drink and another award winner.
Back at the house itself, we were welcomed in from the rain with a glass (or two) of mulled cider, a superb drink, quite a few saying they'd prefer it to mulled wine and I concur. After that it was time for that leisurely and lovely lunch. A terrific venue and Very Highly Recommended.
|William (right) speaking to some of his guests last Sunday.|
- Back in the mists of time, these lands were owned by Daniel O’Callaghan but after the collapse of the 1641 rebellion O’Callaghan’s lands went to Cromwell. Amazingly, the wheel came full circle in 1938 when the present owner’s grandfather Senator William O’Callaghan bought the property, restoring it to the same family clan of O’Callaghans. You may read all about the centuries in between in a leaflet they hand out at the house and, on the back, is a map of the many and varied walks on the estate! Info also on the website here http://www.longuevillehouse.ie/home-3/your-hosts-their-history/ I know I stressed the relaxing apsect of Longueville but there is much scope for activity here too, including shooting and fishing and more, and you may read all about it http://www.longuevillehouse.ie/activities/