Monday, November 30, 2020

Taste of the Week. Roughty Foodie: Barnabrow Christmas Pudding

Taste of the Week

Roughty Foodie: Barnabrow Christmas Pudding

Photo via Barnabrow

The Barnabrow Christmas Pudding from Roughty Foodie in the market is a stunning Taste of the Week. Taste of the Season really but I have to start early to let you know where the good things are.

The recipe may be old, over a hundred years in the family at Barnabrow, but this East Cork twist, while traditional, is more suited to the 21st century, dark not black, and definitely not like the old heavy sticky ones.

It is packed full of flavour and some great texture too. Lots of fruit, bound with butter, laced with spices, sprinkled with fairy dust (what, hold on there!), local honey and carrot from their walled garden and further “reinforced” with Jameson and Guinness.

It’s a good thing for sure and available in various sizes. Of course, Margo Ann has all the trimmings at Roughty Foodie including a terrific Brandy Butter from Crossogue Preserves. 

A small stall but just packed - fully stocked as she is looking forward to a very busy Christmas. So packed, you could spend half a day poking around and still not get to the end of it. Perhaps you’d be better off ordering one of her Taste of Cork Food Boxes and have it delivered!

The Roughty Foodie  

English Market


Tel: 087 6352415

Sophie's. Cork’s newest rooftop restaurant set to open from December 11th


Cork’s newest rooftop restaurant set to open from December 11th.

All Photos by Deborah O'Keefe BAM

Sophie’s, the 6th floor skyline restaurant of The Dean Cork, is set to open from December 11th with bookings now available for December at for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Sophie’s is a beautiful and modern glasshouse restaurant, boasting panoramic views of Cork, from the River Lee to the city skyline, giving you a whole new perspective from six floors up. Whatever the weather, from howling gales to blazing sun, she’s beautiful!


The 150-capacity restaurant, designed by interior designers O’Donnell O’Neill, is a stunning space for a variety of occasions. Floor to ceiling windows throughout allow light to pour in, whilst the reclaimed wooden roof and soft lighting give the space a cosy feel. The granite topped bar in the centre of the room is a real focal point, while the long open kitchen allows guests to watch the team in action, busy creating delectable dishes and working the wood fired pizza oven.


Two terraces extend the restaurant space allowing for al fresco dining. Both terraces, front and back, are covered and heated to allow you to get cosy and watch the sun set over the River Lee with cocktail in hand – pure bliss! 


Of course, Sophie’s Restaurant would not be complete without their famous swings. Find them on the ground floor right beside the elevators. Snap yourself swinging before heading upstairs, just remember to hold on tight.


Now, on to the food. The New York Italian inspired menu combines the most popular dishes from their sister restaurant in Dublin, with new dishes created using the best of the county’s local ingredients and suppliers, including Castletownbere crab, butter and yoghurt from Glenilen Farm in Drimoleague, and cured meats and cheese from Gubbeen Farmhouse.


They serve breakfast from 7am weekdays and from 8am on weekends, lunch, and dinner daily with a delicious brunch menu on the weekends.


Commenting on their extensive menu, Ian Madden, General Manager at Sophie’s at The Dean Cork, said “From wood-fire pizzas and pasta favourites at lunchtime to succulent steaks and fish specials at dinner, our chefs pack every mouthful with international and Irish flavours. Sophie’s weekend brunch hits the spot with something for everyone, whether you’re feeling sweet or craving savoury, from Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes, salted maple caramel, roasted pecans & mascarpone, to Griddled Corn Beef & Scallion Hash with Two Fried Eggs, or the popular Waffle, Buttermilk Chicken, Smashed Avocado & Hot Sauce.”


“The range of cocktails on offer is so good you’ll want to work your way through the entire menu, perfect for an aperitif on the terrace or a post dinner digestif. Our wine menu is varied, with some interesting and lesser known drops, including a selection of wines on tap available by the glass or carafe.” Ian added. 


Bookings at Sophie’s Restaurant Cork are now available from December 11th for indoor and outdoor dining, maximum table size of 6 due to current restrictions.


Email or phone (01) 533 7777 to book, or visit to book online on Open Table.


Or make a night of it with an overnight stay at The Dean with The Dean’s Treat Yourself One Night Escape package including an overnight stay, three course meal in Sophie’s Rooftop Restaurant, breakfast the next morning as well as a welcome drink and a treat package delivered to your room! From €125 per person sharing. Book online at


Press release 30.11.20



Metropole Hotel will raise funds for Cork Penny Dinners with special Elf Letters

A real life Elf of the Shelf will be seen at Cork’s Metropole Hotel throughout December this year. Guests have been told to be on the look-out for the hotel’s elf - Peppermint Tinselbottom - as she aims to spread cheer this festive season. 

The elf will be making appearances throughout December at the Metropole. She could be anywhere from chatting to John, the hotel’s famous concierge, or enjoying a coffee at the outdoor Met Cafe. She might even be indulging in some bottomless brunch or afternoon tea. 

Also, in order to raise funds for their charity partner, Cork Penny Dinners, the front office team at The Metropole are now taking orders for children’s letters from Santa’s Little Helper. The letters are €6.50 each and for each letter sold €5 of the payment will go directly to Cork Penny Dinners.

General Manager at the Metropole Hotel, Roger Russell said: “We are so looking forward to seeing guests come through our doors once again in December and to add some extra magic this Christmas we have decided to raise money for Cork Penny Dinners. We are hoping the people of Cork will help us support this fantastic charity and we would greatly appreciate your help.”

The Metropole’s Elf on the Shelf will be popping up throughout the hotel in December and may even make some special appearances in the hotel lobby. 

Trigon Hotels, which includes the Metropole Hotel, Cork International Hotel and the Cork Airport Hotel, have just launched their Gift Card, a first for the hotel and in perfect time for the festive season ahead. They are encouraging people to ‘shop local’, saying it has never been more important. With Trigon, as well as supporting local employment people are also supporting Trigon’s local suppliers including their food suppliers, beverage suppliers, printers and so much more. 

The Metropole Hotel in Cork's Victorian Quarter is hopeful of a busy and bustling Christmas in Corks City Centre. They are currently putting the finishing touches to their festive afternoon tea which is available for delivery, takeaway or dine in. Equally so, the “Bottomless Brunch” will be in full swing at the weekends in December and there is also a takeaway brunch option. The Metropole are currently operating “The Met Café” which is an external takeaway café outside the hotel which is currently delighting customers with Nutella crepes, boozy Baileys hot chocolate, festive mulled wine and sweet treats. The Metropole are looking forward to opening their brand new Gift Card store adjacent to the hotel on McCurtain Street.

To order the special Santa’s Little Helper Letters please visit:


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Supervalu's Wine Santa has been busy, blending quality and value in the run-up to Christmas

Supervalu's Wine Santa has been busy, blending quality and value in the run-up to Christmas.

Kevin O’Callaghan, Supervalu’s wine expert, has wines galore “from across the globe” reduced in their Christmas offering. “A harmonious blend of classic and modern wines with some household names and unmissable prices”. Offers are available from November 26th to December 30th or until stocks last.

It was wines from the classic areas that caught my eye, Sancerre and Chablis in the whites, Bordeaux and Beaujolais in the reds. Let us start with the whites (reds next week!). The Sancerre got the biggest thumbs up around here!

Guy Saget Sancerre (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, €15.00 (19.66)

From the Ambassadeur de Loire, this Sancerre has a very light straw colour, clean and bright. Aromas are the regular suspects of grass and herbs, and nettles which seem to led the charge here. This is of course 100% Sauvignon Blanc and this Loire version is precise and refreshing, less pungent than its New Zealand counterpart (none the worse for that), a very satisfactory drink right to the dry finish.

Food pairings suggested are: grilled fish, Crottins de Chavignol (goats cheese), tandoori chicken skewers, sushi and sashimi. More than likely you won’t get the Chavignol around here but Ardsallagh or St Tola will do just as well.

Supervalu say: The mission of the Guy Saget brand is to demonstrate to the highest level Saget Le Perrière’s intention to unravel the extreme complexity associated with the Loire Valley vineyards. A complete collection of the finest Loire will seduce you, thanks to their authenticity and accessibility.

It’s a mission that they take seriously.  The Guy Saget portfolio embraces around thirty appellations, all of them showing hallmark Loire features. These include Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Chinon, Vouvray and Muscadet : 

- Dry whites : Muscadet, Muscadet-sur-lie,... 

- Medium sweet whites : Vouvray… 

- Sweet whites : Coteaux du Layon, Quarts-de-Chaume... 

- Dry rosés : Rosé de Loire, Touraine Rosé... 

- Medium sweet rosés : Cabernet d'Anjou, Rosé d'Anjou... 

- Reds : Chinon, Anjou, Saumur Champigny... 

- Sparkling wines : Crémant de Loire, Touraine sparkling wines...

No wonder he claims the title of Ambassadeur de Loire on the label of this excellent Sauvignon.

I made a superb Kir with this and the Wexford Cassis from the Blackwater Distillery in West Waterford, the ratio about six to one.

Andre Goichot Chablis (AOC) 2018, 12.5%, €15.00 (19.66)

Always a frisson of excitement when a glass of Chablis is offered.

This 2018 doesn’t let the side down. Far from it. A light gold colour, pristine. Apple and pear feature in the pleasant aromas. It is, of course, made from nothing but Chardonnay grapes and it is strikingly crisp from first taste, carrying some lovely white fruit flavours, maybe a touch of lime as well, as it spreads across the palate, clean, precise and harmonious, like a Bach partita, right through to the finalé.

No wonder Supervalu declare that it is “the classic partner to seafood and white meat dishes”. It is indeed but this characterful wine, rich and elegant, can effortlessly stand on its own.

Founded in 1947, Andre Goichot, headquartered near Beaune, are both negociant and producer, meaning that they buy wines from different areas and producers and also make wine from their own vineyards.

Abellio Albariño Rias Baixas (DO) 2019, 12.5%, €10.00 (13.76).

Made entirely from hand-harvested Albarino grapes, this Spanish wine, from the Rias Baixas area, has a mid-gold colour. Quite rich aromas of white fruit, apple and pear, and also peach. There is a striking refreshing minerality on the palate where the same fruit flavours shine through fresh and crisp.

The Albarino grape is a distinctive Northern Spanish variety. Its refreshing characteristics make it very versatile with fish and particularly with seafood. Often recommended for Asian also.

Albarino, more modern than classic in terms of its history in Ireland, is most readily associated with the Rias Baixas region which is named after the long-ish Atlantic coastal inlets (or rías) that characterise the landscape here in Galicia in north-western Spain. The grape is also prominent in nearby northern Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho. This Abellio is a favourite of mine. And also a favourite of Supervalu’s wine-buyer Kevin O’Callaghan who was involved in the attractive label design.

Don’t forget your case offers!

We will feature the reds in the next post on this sale but do note that they have two case deals (both red) on offer. The first (on now until December 30th) features Barão de Vilar Reserva (2018), velvety and fruity with an elegant finish and will cost you €50 euro, down from the RRP of €89.00. Believe it or not, you can save another tenner by buying between November 26th and December 9th and taking advantage of the “buy any six bottles and save an additional €10.00 offer”.

Later in the month, watch out for the second case offer. Here the temptation is the Italian Vivaldi Ripasso (2018), aromatic, full bodied, soft and warm, the temptation enhanced by the asking price of €40.00 instead of €94. You just gotta love Signore O’Callaghan. You’ll have to be on your toes for this one - it is short lived: from December 17th to 20th. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Amuse Bouche

Pic via pixabay

 Mexico, where there are three hundred ways to cook rice. We (Chileans) have one, and that seems more than sufficient to us. We don’t need to be creative or invent original dishes, we do that with names, which can lead the foreigner to the worst suspicions: “beat up fools” (an abalone dish), “head cheese”, “dark blood”, “fried brains”, “lady fingers”, queen’s arm”, “nun’s sighs”, “wrapped babies”, “torn bloomers”, and “monkey tail”, for a starter.

from My Invented Country by Isabel Allende (2003). Very Highly Recommended.




The perfect chic retreat to stay over the Christmas season, Conrad Dublin cannot wait to open its doors to the general public soon.  Throughout December, they are offering some unique stay experiences for those looking for a change or scenery, a trip to the city to soak up the holiday atmosphere or a break to reconnect with loved ones.

In addition, Hilton are also launching a winter sale next week, offering discounts for stays from through to March 31st 2021 with 20% off public rates, with an extra 5% discount for Hilton Honors members (excluding Christmas or New Year’s Eve packages).

Conrad Dublin is also offering a complimentary upgrade, welcome cocktail and complimentary car parking for those booking an overnight dinner, bed and breakfast package booked by November 30th for stays now until February 28th 2021.

From only €259 for two people sharing you can enjoy a night in the city with dinner, breakfast and complimentary car parking.   For those looking to escape with the family then why not book the perfect luxury break in Dublin with your little ones this Holiday season, in one of the spacious Conrad Family Rooms, starting from €350 based on 2 adults and 2 children.  Younger guests will enjoy a special welcome amenity and turn down treat.

Leave the stress of organising Christmas at the door and treat yourself to a holiday escape. Join us this festive season for a luxurious two-day break at Dublin city’s stylish 5* Conrad Dublin. Arrive on Christmas Eve and delight in 2 days of Christmas celebrations in the ultimate festive haven in the heart of Dublin city.  Conrad Dublin’s inclusive package ensures you and those special to you are in the perfect setting to enjoy the festive celebrations with gourmet dining, chic contemporary accommodation and a special five star touch. Enjoy leisurely breakfasts, then treat yourself to a lavish Christmas Day lunch at The Coburg. Rates from €470 per person sharing.

Say goodbye to 2020 in style and welcome 2021 with open arms at Conrad Dublin.  Arrive on New Year’s Eve, check-in to your fabulous room and enjoy a 5 course dinner at The Coburg with entertainment and a delicious breakfast on New Year’s Day from €449 per room.

Contact Conrad Dublin now to book your unforgettable Christmas stay.  To learn more about or connect with Conrad Dublin, please visit, call +353 1 6028900 or follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Press release

Cheers #202711. Clonakilty Distillery, Barry Fitzwilliam- Graham Norton, Blacks Brewery, Blackwater Distillery, Bubble Brothers


Cheers #202711 

Clonakilty Distillery, Barry Fitzwilliam- Graham Norton, Blacks Brewery, Blackwater Distillery, Bubble Brothers

Revival “You Thirsty?” IPA cask finish now available 

Our newest release of our limited-edition, US Brewery collaborations, is now available to purchase from our distillery shop and online store.

United by a shared passion for innovation Clonakilty Distillery and Revival Brewing, Rhode Island, have come together to release a bespoke whiskey.


Revival's ''You Thirsty?'' beer is part of the new era of North Eastern IPA's. With three times the hops, the beer imparts this whiskey some floral notes with a slightly bitter citrus finish.

Just what you need for that unquenchable thirst!


About the Whiskey:


Price: €85.00

Limited Release: 1,600 bottles in total, only 144 bottles kept for Ireland.

Best Enjoyed: With a tall glass of IPA!


Graham Norton
and Invivo are very excited to launch this Frizzante Rosé to add to Graham’s award-winning and expanding range of delicious still and sparkling wines, as well as GiN.
This new release is sustainably produced in Northern Italy by the same partners that make our white Graham Norton Prosecco and Frizzante. It is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir and the winemakers are Graham Norton and Rob Cameron

Sweetly scented notes of tropical flowers and strawberry define the GN Sparkling Rose. Like its twin the white Prosecco, this blend is crisp yet delicately structured with a delicious strawberry drive through the perfectly balanced palate. Cin cin!

via Barry and Fitzwilliam

Blacks Announce Worlds End 2020

It's here at last Worlds end 2020 edition, and for the first time ever it's available in a 440ml can format!

A rich, dark luxurious Imperial Stout brewed with Fairtrade cacao husks and Madagascan vanilla pods, it’s like an adventure for your taste buds. Waves of chocolate, lactose, caramel and dried fruit will assault your senses. Next up is a touch of smoke and liquorice blended with coconut and coffee. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, balanced fantastically with a berry like acidity that keeps this beer juicy and super drinkable. 

Suitable for ageing but try to drink me before the end of the world!


Gift Sets From Blackwater Distillery
Just one of the suggestions from Blackwater Distillery. More here


We have three terrific wine deals for you this Black Friday weekend: one with three bottles, one with six, and a twelve-plus-one deluxe case at an amazing price.

Offers apply until midnight Monday 30th. Don't wait!

See the offers here

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Cabernet Franc Supreme. And an intriguing Sicilian white from red grapes.

A Cabernet Franc Supreme. And an intriguing Sicilian white from red grapes.

Clau de Nell Cabernet Franc Anjou (AOC) 2017, 13%

RRP €43.99 - The Corkscrew - Blackrock Cellar - The Ely Wine Store, Maynooth - 64 Wine

A pretty deep red colour with a  lighter rim. Aromas are fresh and intensely fruity. A terrific complexity on the palate but all’s in elegant harmony, that superb fruit and the fresh acidity, and that balance continues through the persistent and dry finish. Have liked this characterful variety since I spent a month in Chinon a few years back and this particular wine is Very Highly Recommended.

They say: This is certainly the direction in which we are trying to go. Healthy and balanced grapes, concentrated and vinified with finesse to tend towards delicacy and elegance. From red fruit to cooked fruit through black fruit, spices and a floral bouquet, this is a wine of beautiful complexity that invites indulgence. A velvety texture with silky tannins.


Pairings suggested are: Duck breast with red fruits or honey; Semi-cooked seared tuna and vegetables with butter sauce; Pan-fried chestnuts, chanterelles and quinoa…The best pairings are the ones that inspire you, and allow you to express yourself. Let your imagination run free…Serve at 16°C, do not hesitate to decant - good advice!

This was bottled on a “fruit day”, meaning that your Clau de Nell is not just organic but biodynamic. Think you may be interested in the info on their data sheet.

Age: vines from 45 to 55 years. Pruning: mixed Guyot Techniques: covering the vine stock with soil in autumn, ploughing-down in spring, tilling and natural grassing. Growing methods: biodynamic practices, infusions and plant decoctions, depending upon the lunar calendar. Yield: about 40 hl/ha Harvest: handpicking in 12 kg crates, sorting at the parcel when fully ripened. • Winemaking De-stemmed harvest, native yeast, 30-day maceration without extraction. Gentle cap punching, limited pumping over, infusion techniques. Pressing: slow and gentle pressing in a pneumatic press. • Maturing 12 months on fine lees in Burgundy casks (228L) used 5 to 7 times, followed by 6 months in vats. Bottling: without filtration or fining on a “fruit day.”

Terrazze dell'Etna, `Ciuri` Etna Bianco 2017, 13% 

RRP €26.99. - Grapevine - The Corkscrew - The Ely Wine Store, Maynooth

'Ciuri' is made from Nerello Mascalese,  an indigenous Sicilian red wine grape, in this case vinified 'in Bianco' without the skins. A similar if better-known example of the technique is used in Champagne to produce white from Pinot Noir, the blanc de noirs. The Ciuri is unoaked with great depth and intensity and wonderful length.

Pale straw is the colour, clean and bright. Fresh floral notes, exotic fruit too on the nose. Fresh and fruity (citrusy) and certainly minerally in the mouth. This youthful gem has been aged for six months in stainless-steel and then also in bottle before release. I don’t think you need keep it bottled up any longer. Just open and enjoy. Highly Recommended.

They say: From the volcanic soil of Etna comes this sapid and “high mineralised” wine. A unique wine characterised by a vibrant floral heart on the nose, a synthesis of the elegance of the grape, Nerello Mascalese, and the personality of the soil.

Professor Antonio Bevilacqua is an engineer by profession and has a very successful business, based in Palermo and Milan. He is very proud of his Sicilian origins, and in 2007 he decided to start buying land in Etna with a view to producing the best wines possible. 

Today he has 35 hectares of vineyard with another 20 that he rents and manages, all situated at an altitude of between 600 and 900 metres above sea level. This altitude ensures warm days and cool nights, while the volcanic soil is low vigour, ensuring wines of great intensity and a lovely perfume from low-yielding vines.

His consultant oenologist is Riccardo Cotarella, who has successfully managed to marry the delicate intensity of the wines from Etna with a freshness and definition that few others have achieved.