Friday, July 31, 2020



It’s official. Gillian Carney from Cobh has Ireland’s best banana bread recipe, having been chosen overall winner in a recent nationwide competition to find the many ways to bake this favourite food – conducted by celebrity chef and RTE presenter, Donal Skehan with the support of banana distributors, Fyffes.

Gillian initially topped the category for ‘Best Ingredient’ and then fought off stiff competition from the large volume of entries received to be crowned the overall winner.

An avid baker from a young age, the Cork Mum-of-three works as a photographer and content creator and admits she always had an interest in food.  “I was baking non-stop with the boys throughout lockdown, whilst also starting my own vegetable patch too,” she says.

Hugely creative, Gillian filmed her prize-winning banana bread in a video that reveals her passion for baking which can be viewed on her Instagram page @gillybeangirl

Commenting on her ‘Nutella and coconut banana bread’ competition winning recipe, Gillian says: “I love banana bread but Nutella and coconut are two of my all-time favourite things, so I thought what better than to create a recipe that combines all three?”

Other category winners were: Cáit Flood from Swords (Best Junior Baker under 10 years); Isabelle Sexton from Roscommon Town (Best Junior Baker 10 years and over); Niamh Goodison from Wexford Town (Best Vegan); Heather O’Sullivan from Bantry (Best Gluten-Free) and Ciara Kilmartin from Ferbane, Offaly (Best Styling).
Gillian's winner!
Reflecting on what he called “the volume and quality” of entries received, Donal Skehan said: “Ireland has some exceedingly creative and talented home bakers. It was refreshing to see such imaginative ideas, ingredients and methods being shared, particularly amongst junior and dietary-restricted entrants”.

O'Mahony's Launch New Farm Shop For Watergrasshill

O'Mahony's Launch New Farm Shop For Watergrasshill

  • O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill Launch New Deli & Takeaway Offering 
  • Local Produce, Fresh Baked Goods and Coffee Available
  • New Heat@Home Range of Dinners to Enjoy at Home 

Award-winning gastropub O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill (Cork) is set to add a new addition to their offering; O’Mahony’s Stores, a new farm shop and deli, will open on 12 August. 

In light of the impact of the changing landscape for hospitality caused by the global pandemic, the bar and restaurant will reopen later in the Autumn. The team behind the award-winning food destination have been busy these last few months working on the exciting new venture in response to customer demand.

Proprietor Victor Murphy said “Throughout lockdown we ran weekly Neighbourfood markets and were constantly asked when we could make this a more regular thing. We are very excited with the launch of O’Mahony’s Stores as it enables us to sell amazing produce to our customers that we would only use ourselves in the restaurant. We will also have a new range of freshly made food in our deli section as well as hot drinks and treats. Our new store will remain open when the restaurant and bar reopens later in the Autumn.”

The new delicatessen items will include dishes from the kitchen that can be taken away and a new ‘Heat@Home’ range.

Fresh-baked pastries alongside Golden Bean Coffee will be available from the counter; a sit-down cafe-style option to enjoy hot drinks and baked goods will also be available both inside and outside and all in line with new socially distanced guidelines. 

O’Mahony’s Stores will also sell a delicious selection of freshly baked sourdough breads and quality locally grown vegetables, fresh bread from Bread and Roses, Gloun Cross Dairy milk and dairy products and delicious apple juice from Future Orchard.

There will be a selection of Irish cheeses, free-range eggs from Adams eggs, Greenfield yoghurts, cured meats, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegars & sundries from ‘Olives West Cork’. For the sweet-toothed they will stock the most incredible chocolate goodies from David Chocolatier. They will also stock natural beauty products from the Sun Vale Soap Company and Little Red Skincare.

O’Mahony’s Farm Shop will officially open August 12, from Wednesday to Friday 8am-7pm, and Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm. 

For more visit or check them out on Facebook and Instagram @mahonysofwgh

press release

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Distinctive Wines From Jura and Vinho Verde

Distinctive Wines From Jura and Vinho Verde

Rijckaert Chardonnay Arbois (AOC) 2018, 13.5%

Colour is a light to mid straw. Nose is fairly intense with floral and fruity elements. And the refreshing fruit with minerality and a superb acidity is the highlight of the fresh palate. Terrific wine with a lip-smacking deep-reaching finalé. The notes that came with the box declared it “in line with great Burgundy whites”. Oh yeah? Oh yes! Very Highly Recommended.
Wine Mason, who collaborate with Bradley’s, tell us that Domaine Rijckaert has small holdings in both Jura and Macon. Under owner and winemaker Florent Rouve, the Domaine produces tangy, lemony, stony and mineral Savignin ouillé which ages well. The Chardonnays from both Jura (Arbois is in the Jura) and Macon are very fine, spending a long time on lees without stirring and are fermented and aged in older oak barrels.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that there such a strong similarity between the Jura and Burgundy as the viticultural soils of both come from the same geological stage, more than 150 million years old: the Jurassic (think Jurassic Park!).

The website has a few food pairing hints: Jura trout with butter and flaked almonds; Thick fillet of wild tandoori-inspired salmon; plus oysters, octopus, snails, Peking Duck.

Cazas Novas Avesso Single Variety Vinho Verde (DOC) 2018, 13%

Very pale straw colour in this single variety Vinho Verde. Pleasant aromas, peach, citrus and floral. Barely a sign of the spritz that you may be expecting with a Vinho Verde but the fruit is lively (citrus and apple), the acidity is also engaging. 

All in all, a fresh and friendly wine and should be a good pairing with a plate of sardines if you’re on holidays in Portugal and very acceptable as an aperitif in any country. Could also pair well with a Lobster Roll from Sage or The Lobster Man (Midleton Farmers Market). Serve at 8-10 degrees. Highly Recommended.

The Avesso, by the way, is a wonderful semi-fragrant variety which has real weight and flavour but we don’t see it solo, as here, very often. It is grown in Northern Portugal and is sometimes touted “as the rising star of Vinho Verde”. Other white grapes that can turn up in the local blend include Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura.

Bradley’s Mixed Box #2 (is a collaboration with Wine Masons) and consists of Niepoort Ritual DAO along with two other reds, a Horizon de Bichot Pinot Noir and a Walter Massa Barbera. The three whites are the Rijckaert Arbois Chardonnay, this Cazas Novas Vinho Verde, and a Venture Riesling. Total cost is €125.00. Sorry, I don’t have confirmed individual prices but you should get the Vinho Verde for around 15 euro, the Arbois for about 25.

Let's Go Outside. Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa introduces Sika Terrace


Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa introduces Sika Terrace

Boasting a fabulous newly refurbished outdoor heated terrace, Sika at 5* Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa is set to be the new hot spot this summer.

Set in the most stunning of locations, Sika Terrace has just launched a new Al Fresco dining menu to run throughout the coming months. Enjoy a cocktail whilst inhaling the magnificent vistas of the Sugar Loaf mountain and nibble to your heart’s content from the delicious dining menu. Available from 12 noon-4.30pm weekdays and 12.30pm-4.30pm at the weekend, the Al Fresco menu offers guests the option of enjoying a light bite or a more substantial meal making the most of current 90 minute booking slot guidelines. 

 Offering a large selection of beverages and dishes, the new menu caters for all – from fabulous salads to succulent steaks one can happily graze whilst soaking-up the sunshine and surroundings. With dishes from €12 and plenty of open spaces for you to safely roam you can make the most of your summer with a day trip to Wicklow. Also, as the terrace is heated with protective canopies and warm throws to protect you from the occasional inclement weather, it is set to be a popular year round destination. For full menu please see Lunch and to reserve your spot email or call 01 2748888.

Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa is also delighted to announce that non-residents can now book Afternoon Tea in the Sugar Loaf Lounge daily from 1pm-5pm (90 minute booking slots). Catch-up with family and friends and treat yourself to a scrumptious Afternoon Tea experience in the magnificent Sugar Loaf Lounge with panoramic views of the Garden of Ireland. 

Enjoy a mouth-watering array of sandwiches, freshly made scones and delicious homemade pastries accompanied by your choice of Tea or Coffee. Afternoon Tea is €45 per person and add a glass of cheer €55 per person for Afternoon Tea with a glass of champagne. Pre-booking is essential with at least 24 hours notice to ensure your preferred date and time and slots available to book email or call 01 2748888. For full menu please see Afternoon Tea

Discerning diners will be delighted with the fabulous dining options available with an emphasis on local excellence and seasonality, Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa offers the best of Irish contemporary cooking against a spectacular backdrop of Wicklow's hills and mountains. The space is as appetising as the menus. Further to Irish government guidance surrounding Covid-19, Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa is adhering to current social distancing measures in place. For further information on Covid-19 policies, click here.

Located just 30 minutes from Dublin city centre, Powerscourt offers the most stunning vistas of “The Garden of Ireland” with scenic river walks, quaint villages and luxurious surroundings to explore at leisure. With acres of "free to roam" walking trails surrounded by Wicklow’s wonderful landscapes and wilderness, more top class golf courses than you can shake a putter at, miles of nearby golden beaches and a choice of dining and entertainment options second to none, there are few places elsewhere on this earth that can offer the visitor such a wonderful choice within such an intimate, hospitable and secure location. Enniskerry is packed with interesting things to do and see. The town itself is brimming with great restaurants, fabulous shops and old-town atmosphere.

press release

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #4. Ales from Ireland's East Coast

A Quart of Ale± #4

Whiplash “Body Riddle” Pale Ale 4.5%, 33cl can, Bradley's

Pale straw colour, hazy with a short-lived white head. Citrus and pine in the aromatics. And the duo also feature in the soft easy-drinking body. Lots of hops but no domination - IBU is a very presentable 26 - making sure you get flavour galore without scaring away the newbies. Absolutely enjoyable, start to finalé. Not too much more to say about this gem but, with me, that’s often a good sign. I’ve made up my mind early and the verdict is a major thumbs up.

Alex Lawes and Alan Wolf, the founders, are the men behind Dublin’s Whiplash. They went full time in 2018, brewing at facilities across Ireland and Europe. In 2019, came the announcement of their new brewery. Whiplash beers are now exported to the UK, Italy, Spain, France, Finland and the Netherlands too with more coming up. Quality is always and will always be the focus.

Whiplash Rollover Session IPA 3.8%, 330ml can, Bradley’s
Whiplash Artwork by Sophie De Vere

Pale yellow colour with a  short-lived white head over a hazy body. Citrus fronts the aromatics. And the quartet of hops dominate the palate. Amazing that this has so much hops and still weighs in at less than 4.00% abv. Quite a concentration of hops then, before a lip-smacking finalé. “Now, that’s a beer,” my tasting companion declared (having “suffered” earlier through a Radler and a sour). 

They say: Same hop rate as our DIPA’s, less than half the alcohol. A very heavily hopped Session IPA: this comes at you with buckets of Simcoe, Ekuanot, Citra and Mosaic hops with a light touch of malts and an easy crushable body. Unfiltered, hazy, hoppy and juicy – Rollover is a New England inspired IPA without the heavy alcohol in tow.

Trouble Brewing Vietnow  IPA, 5.5%, 440ml can, Bradley’s

Vietnam is a fairly cloudy one when it pours. If you have time and peer closely enough though the haze, you’ll see fountains of bubbles rising. The white head soon settles down to a fraction of its original size. Hoppy aromas with a lash of citrus notes. I like the character of this one, quite a stern contrast to the gentleness of American style ales which seem to be currently multiplying on the Irish scene like yeast at a sugar fest. A quintet of hops would suggest total hop domination but there’s nothing as extreme as that and the beer is very well balanced indeed, the malt doing its job.

Aficionados who enjoy the American style may not be wholly pleased with this one which has been brewed in partnership with and available exclusively on draught from Dublin pubs Blackbird, Cassidys, and P. Macs.

Hops used are Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe, Amarillo and Mosaic while the malt end is well represented by Crystal Rye which adds a touch of spice and helps darken the colour to amber.

Trouble Brewing Sabotage IPA, 5.5%, 500ml bottle, Bradley’s

Amber is the colour here and a cloudy enough one at that. The white head is short-lived. Aromas are malty, toasty. A terrific balance of hops (no less than five varieties apparently - really wish they’d get that website up and running) and malts on the palate, before a lip-smacking bitter finish. Not too much more to say about this one but that’s often the case when the beer is entirely satisfactory. Trouble Brewing is based in Kildare.
Wicklow Wolf “Elevation” Pale Ale 4.8%,  440ml can O'Briens Wine 
Nice bright amber colour with bubbles rushing to the white head that soon fades away. A mildly hoppy aroma. Nice balance of malt and hops on the palate, good flavour overall and a very easy-drinking beer, welcome as a once off or for a session. Another excellent effort, more or less perfect Pale Ale, from the Wolf.

They say: An incredibly drinkable Pale ale bursting with juicy fruits of pineapple and grapefruit from an abundance of hop additions. Refreshing.Mosaic, Mandarina Bavaria, Calypso Malt, Pale, Cara Ruby, Melano, Wheat.

Food pairings: roasted or grilled meat.
Cheese” Mild or medium cheddar.

Kinsale Gourmet Weekend 9th-11th of October 2020 cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns

 Press Release 

Kinsale Gourmet Weekend 9th-11th of October 2020
 cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns 

"With due regard to the safety and health of our members, their staff, leaders, attendees, sponsors and anyone involved in the undertaking of The Gourmet Weekend in Kinsale 2020, we have no other choice than to cancel this event. This highly sought-after festival plays host to creators of excellent food from the members, sponsors of fantastic wines, beers& spirits, food stalls of local producers, musicians, street entertainers and much much more.

We as a group are devastated to share this news with you but we are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees and fellow Kinsale people. We still are exploring options to reschedule this event in early 2021. We will continue to work hard to bring you the unique event that you love, though it is true that our 9th-11th of October 2020 event will no longer take place, we continue to strive towards our purpose helping create a magnificent weekend in Kinsale.

We would like to do a special shout out to our main sponsors for their support throughout the last 44 years.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are extremely disappointed that we are unable to hold this event, but we know it is the right decision based on the information we have today.

To stay up to date on the latest events or to register interest in 2021, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram or email"

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

West Cork in Brief

West Cork in Brief

Stay: Celtic Ross Hotel 

Dine: with Michelin Chef Dede at Customs House, Baltimore.

Barleycove Strand, near Mizen
Visit: Spectacular Mizen Head 
Head for the islands - there are dozens of them

Check out the local "wild" life

Visit Clonakilty or one of the many other towns and villages
or just put your feet up!

Stylish Sauvignons from O'Briens plus more on wine, spirits and beer in Cheers #14

Stylish Sauvignons from O'Briens

plus more on wine, spirits and beer in Cheers #14

By Lynne Coyle MW | O'Briens Wine Director

One of the most popular white wines on the planet, this week we are asking why is Sauvignon Blanc so popular and with such a vast array available to choose from, we highlight a few savvy Sauvignons perfect for this time of year.

Sauvignon Blanc, believed to originate in Bordeaux, is widely planted in the Loire, Chile, South Africa, California, and New Zealand. To understand why it’s so popular, consider the style of wines it makes. Translated as “wild white”, Sauvignon Blanc, is a green skinned white grape known for its exuberant aromas and flavours. Grown in a cool climate, herbaceous green and tomato leaf notes are to the fore and from a warmer location look for melon, and apricot. The grapes are generally fermented at between 12 and 15°C which retains the aromas and primary fruit flavours, typically Sauvignon is dry, and unoaked with high acidity ensuring a refreshing, food friendly style.
See Lynn's picks here.

Tullamore Dew's Jane Maher is at the Thompson Micro Brewery on Sunday afternoon (Aug 30th)  as part of Design Pop Cork. There'll also be other food and drink related events over the Saturday (Aug 29th) and Sunday. See the Design Pop Facebook Page for full schedule (28-30 Aug).

Next Saturday in the Ballymaloe Drinks Theatre
Half-time refreshments at last week's Cider event in the Drinks Theatre

Next event - ‘Summer Fizz ~ Sparkling Wines’ Saturday 1st August 5pm Drinks Theatre at Ballymaloe with @seamusmcgrath03 & @colmmccan #sparklingwines #summerfizz #drinkstheatre #event #sociallydistanced #fullyseated #limitednumbers - bookings through eventbrite here

" We will explore various styles, regions along with some surprises!
Saturday 1st August, 5pm, Drinks Theatre at Ballymaloe, Pre booking essential via Eventbrite, Fully seated, socially distanced, restricted numbers"

Meadery tours in Kinsale

Kinsale Mead Co have been running their online shop selling mead to mead lovers old and new all through the shutdown but now they have re-opened for Meadery tours in Kinsale. They've had great fun welcoming a number of visitors since the end of June, both day trippers to Kinsale and people making a longer tour around Cork and the south coast. Thanks to everyone who has visited so far or booked for a later date. 

Tours run at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Tickets cost €14 pp. Please prebook. or  by calling 021 477 3538.

Getting to know Ramón Bilbao’s Rueda Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Innovation in Spanish winemaking is not just reserved for the new wave of artisan winemakers. Ramón Bilbao proves once again with its new Rueda Sauvignon Blanc that a big player can just as easily throw away the rulebook. Hailing from its shiny new winery La Finca Las Medias, winemaker Sara Bañuelos, has been given licence to thrill with an SB/ Verdejo blend but even more interestingly a 100% single varietal Sauvignon Blanc. David Kermode picks up the story (via The Buyer) here.

FULL PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED FOR DESIGN POP. Cork’s food and design festival returns for its second year

Cork’s food and design festival returns for its second year

AUGUST 28-30, 2020
Cork City

3 pop-up pavilions, an Irish Design Shop, exhibitions, furniture showcase, and discussions from special guests MASER, WhyDesign Founder Kim Mackenzie-Doyle, + over 16 free events!

Design Pop, Cork’s new food and design festival, is truly a celebration of innovation and creativity. It takes place in various locations across Cork: Thompson House, Elizabeth Fort, Emmett Place, and Blackrock Castle, from 28-30th August 2020.

The intention of Design POP has always been to celebrate the incredible talent in Architecture, Design, and Food/Drink producers in Ireland. It is more important than ever to celebrate creativity, collaboration, and support our local talent.

This year's theme for the festival is Resilience, which will be explored through the pavilions, talks, and conversations, happening over the weekend. The programme features over 16 free events, and two special ticketed events.

The launch night, Friday night, 28th August, will feature talks and discussions with guests The Project Twins - the Irish based graphic art duo, James and Michael Fitzgerald, who will speak about their studio and some of their interesting projects to date; Founding Director of The Glucksman, Fiona Kearney, will share her insight on running a leading museum for creative learning and access to the visual arts.

Saturday morning offers a creative workshop for children, suitable for ages 4-12, with plant based food company Banana Melon; later, join a panel discussion about gender equality in design, led by Founder of WhyDesign Kim Mackenzie-Doyle with guests: Head of Innovation VHI Lorna Ross, award-winning designer and Creative Director at Deloitte Digital Claire Dowling, and Head of Design Thinking at Bank of Ireland Lesley Tully.

Into the afternoon, there will be a Networking Lunch for Women by WhyDesign; a talk ‘Back and taking over the family business’ hosted by OHK O’Herlihy’s, Kinsale; Dublin based architecture and design studio Studio Anois will speak about their studio and projects to date; “Creative Process Behind Launching a New Brand” discussions with guests Graham Vard (Billion), Ernest Cantillion (Kinsale Gin and Red Earl Whiskey), Tony Speight (West Cork Coffee) and Clonakilty Black Pudding.

Saturday evening, Darragh Breathnach of DUA - Design Urbanism Architecture takes to the hot seat to discuss his studio and projects to date, followed by chats with renowned contemporary artist MASER, followed by a Q&A.

The final day of the festival welcomes many more special guests from food and design backgrounds: artist Kari Cahill will provide a demonstration of her artistic process; a panel discussion on “Interior design and finding new ways of diversifying” will be moderated by Kate O’Neill (The Visual Loop), Niamh Mc Cabe (Spacey Studios), Cathy Angelini (Flamingo Interior Design) and Lisa Marconi (Dust Design); photographer Brid O’Donovan is joined by William Murray (Currabinny Foods) to discuss “Food Style and the Creative Process Behind It”; Simon Roche (Bureau), printmaker and visual artist Shane O’ Driscoll, and Robin Foley (Hurrah Hurrah) host “Graphic Design, Print Art, and finding new ways of diversifying”; Architecture on the Edge presents Rural Architecture - a discussion moderated by Frank Monahan (Architecture on the Edge), Alan Macilwraith (JCA architects), and Rae Moore (Atelier Rae); Jane Maher of Tullamore Dew will also take to the stage - all happening at Thompson House, MacCurtain Street.

At the core of the festival, Design POP brings together top Irish design teams to create pop-up installation structures, which will go on display in various outdoor locations across Cork city. Each designer is paired with a Cork-based food or drink producer to create a bespoke space which the public are invited to explore and interact with.
The pairings for the 2020 edition are:
1)   Ciarán Meade and Mark Cronin from Bobo’s Cafe team up with computational designer Mark Horgan to create a pavilion at Elizabeth Fort.
2)   The Crawford Gallery Café joins forces with a collective of young Architects and Designers for a pavilion at Emmett place.
3)   Blackrock Castle and Observatory team up with Cork Architectural School for a pavilion at Blackrock Castle.

On Sunday night, a talk with all the designers and collaborators that created the pavilions for Design POP will close out the festival.

Thompson House will also be home to a pop-up Irish Design Shop for the duration of the festival, showcasing some of Ireland’s best handcrafted textiles, prints, artworks and much more. At the festival HQ, you’ll also find The Glucksman’s ‘New Light’ exhibition of 8 different poster-based artworks, and finally, The Milking Stool exhibition featuring 13 Irish furniture designers. These stunning furniture pieces will be sold off by silent auction during the festival.

All events are FREE with the exception of the Why Design panel discussion (€6) and the MASER event (€10). Tickets are available on or EventBrite and tickets include one complimentary drink.

Abiding by the current covid-19 regulations, each event will be 45 minutes long and restricted to a capacity of 50 in the venue at all times. This capacity number may change in line with the government guidelines and phases. After each 45-minute event, organisers have a team to clean and sanitize the seating and venue to have it ready for the next speaker or panel discussion. The seats will be set out in accordance with the social distancing guidelines. There will be a number of sanitizing stations throughout the venue and organisers strongly encourage everyone who enters the venue to wear a mask.

Full details on Design Pop, 28-30 August, can be found at