Monday, October 30, 2023

Code of Behavior blow the rain away with storming Super Dome stage show

 Code of Behavior blow the rain away

An energetic session by a local band, at the Super Dome Jazz Stage on the Opera House Plaza, Emmett Place, had the fans clapping and smiling on Saturday afternoon. A highlight of the Big Fringe and, for me, a highlight of the Cork Jazz Festival 2023

Businesses report biggest uplift in trade since Christmas over Guinness Cork Jazz Festival weekend

Businesses report biggest uplift in trade since Christmas over Guinness Cork Jazz Festival weekend

Macy Gray

“Jazz 23 has surpassed all others and that is saying a lot as 22 was amazing.  The crowds were up, the spend was up and there was an amazing atmosphere”

Businesses in the city are reporting another electric weekend for the 45th Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, with huge numbers attending, packing out the streets and stages of Cork City and beyond. 


The festival delivers approximately 100,000 visitors to Cork City over the 5 days, giving a much-needed local spending boost, which is estimated at €45 million.  The past two years in particular have surpassed all previous festivals.


The rain didn’t dampen spirits as jazz revellers attended packed out shows like Macy Gray, Morcheeba. Corinne Bailey Rae, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and jazz greats like Matthew Halsall, Adam Ben Ezra, Gilles Peterson and Kurt Elling.  Jazz also spilled onto the streets of the city and Kinsale with The Big Fringe and there were numerous impromptu sets and magic moments, with headline acts surprising fans, much to the delight of those who were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

New York Brass Band, always welcome.


“We were delighted to build on the success of last year with an extra date added and 40% more shows across the city over the weekend.  Most of the events sold out and the feedback has been incredible” said Mark Murphy, festival director, who is working with Guinness to bring the festival on par with the best jazz and music festivals in Europe. 


Fiona Collins, chair of the Cork Jazz Festival committee, who organise The Big Fringe, the free programme of music across the city, said, “It was incredible to see so many people in the city, Douglas and Kinsale over the weekend.  Thanks to all the musicians who flew in from all over Ireland and abroad, to Guinness and to all the businesses involved, for making it such a great success.”


Kevin Herlihy, President of the Cork Business Association (CBA) and co-owner of the Herlihy Centra Group, said “What a weekend for all businesses in the city.  53,000 visitors coming through our airport and 100,000 flocking into the city is just exceptional and much needed for the business community.  Guinness and all the organisers should be very proud of the direction they are bringing the festival in.” 

On the street with Lamorotte from the Netherlands.


Aaron Mansworth, Managing Director of Trigon Hotels, including The Metropole Hotel, the home of jazz, said “The line-up was exceptional and even the weather didn’t dampen people’s spirits or the electric atmosphere across town”.


Philip Gillivan, from The Shelbourne Bar, one of main pubs on the Music Trail said, “Jazz 23 has surpassed all others and that is saying a lot as 22 was amazing.  The crowds were up, the spend was up and there was an amazing atmosphere in The Shelbourne and the VQ for the weekend.”

Local brass band Code of Behavior went down a treat on stage in Emmett Place.


Not only did the pubs, clubs, hotels and venues benefit, but there was a knock-on effect throughout the city.  “It was our best weekend since last Christmas”, said Claire Nash from Nash19. 

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival will take place again over the October bank holiday weekend in 2024. Keep an eye on or follow the festival on @GuinnessCorkJazz so you don’t miss out when tickets go on sale next year!  The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is supported by Diageo, Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork Airport.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

🎺Jazz City. Come Rain, Come Shine🎼

 🎺Jazz City. Come Rain, Come Shine🎼

Oliver Plunkett Street, Friday night on the street.

A true trooper! Not just a sunshine player.

Eat on the street? Don't worry! O'Flynn's Gourmet Sausages are open later (9.00pm)
on Winthrop Street for hungry Jazz followers!

Rainy day sous...

Band in blue - Lamorette Jazz Band from Holland.

Raindrops & Glitter outside BT

Friday, October 27, 2023

Engaging and elegant Vermentino from Sardinia.

Engaging and elegant Vermentino from Sardinia.

Atzei Saragat Isola Dei Nuraghi (IGT) Vermentino 2022, 13.5% ABV,

RRP €20.95. Stockists: The Cinnamon Cottage; JJ O’Driscoll Superstore Ballinlough; Searsons Wine Merchants; Red Nose Wine; Jus de Vine; Bradleys; Blackrock Cellar.

Confidence rises as you read the introduction, by importers Liberty, to this Vermentino from Sardinia. “The Vermentino for this wine is grown on the hillsides and the plains close to the village of Mogoro, in the Alta Marmilla sub-region of southern Sardinia. The soils are granitic with a large instance of limestone, producing highly aromatic wines. Atzei follows a strict selection process in the vineyards at harvest, ensuring that only the very best fruit is picked, and the resulting wines display excellent concentration of flavours.”

The colour is a light straw yellow. Aromas are quite forward, a rush of elderberry along with white stone fruit (peach, nectarines). The palate is full of intense flavour, from the first sip to the long finish and all the time the wine is engaging and elegant.

I do like my Vermentino, even more so now. Very Highly Recommended.

Sardinia’s 2020 vintage was a great one. “The spring was characterised by good levels of rainfall that replenished water reserves in the soil. Summer was warm and dry, and the grapes matured evenly without any intervention in the vineyard. The harvest started in the second week of September and the fruit was healthy and perfectly ripe.”


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


After a short maceration on the skins, fermentation took place at controlled temperatures with the use of selected yeasts. Vinification is conducted without the presence of oxygen, in order to preserve the natural, fresh fruit aromas. The wine was then transferred to stainless-steel tanks where it remained on fine lees for 40 days, with regular bâtonnage performed, before bottling.

The colourful label takes its inspiration from the clothes of Sardinian women. The bright colours reflect the colours of the earth, the sky and the sea. Even nowadays, on feast days, Sardinian women wear these rich, colourful dresses with great pride, passing them down from generation to generation as the most precious gift. 

Perfect as an aperitif with cheese puffs or slices of Sardinian ham, dishes with fresh bottarga (salted or dried tuna), savoury pies with vegetables, dishes with shellfish and seafood. Very good with pecorino cheese and semi-hard cow cheese.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #51. Craft with Wicklow Wolf, Hofbräu, and Lacada

CorkBillyBeers #51

Craft with Wicklow Wolf, Hofbräu, and Lacada


Wicklow Wolf (with Devil’s Peak & Fierce Beer) Tryfecta Hazy Pale Ale, 4.5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

“Tryfecta is a hazy pale ale double dry hopped with New Zealand hop Motueka. This refreshing pale ale pours a hazy golden hue with tropical and citrus fruit flavours and aromas.”

That’s how Wicklow Wolf sums up their recent collaboration with Fierce Beer (Scotland) and Devil’s Peak (South Africa), a beer put together with an eye on Group B (the so-called group of death) of the World Cup in rugby where all three countries are fighting for just two quarter-final places.

The message from the den: We were delighted to welcome our friends, Fierce Beer from Scotland back to Wicklow and this time we also invited our friends in Devil’s Peak from South Africa for our latest Crossbreed Series Collab.This beer is a celebration of friendship and competition, as Ireland, Scotland and South Africa all played each other at this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

So what better way to celebrate the games than brewing a beer that we can all enjoy together win or lose. Tryfecta is a 4.5% Hazy Pale Ale double dry hopped with New Zealand hops, providing a wonderful burst of tropical fruits.

It is a murky orange colour with a white head that doesn't hang about too long. The aromas are hoppy for sure - the All Blacks haven't been left out of the picture and could well skip off with the trophy when the dust settles in Paris this weekend. Quite a beer though, with that burst of tropical fruit as promised, and one of the better collaborations of recent years.

Very Highly Recommended.

BB: 21.08.2024. Bought: 25.09.23


Hofbräu Original Helles, 5.1% ABV, 500 ml bottle Dunnes Stores

“A beer with character for connoisseurs with character.”

Colour is lovely gold/yellow with bands of sparkly bubbles rising non-stop towards the soft white head. The aromas are slightly sweet malty, a hint too of hops.  It is full-bodied, really mature, a superb grown-up lager with the excellent balance required.

Pairings recommended by the Munich brewery are sausage and cheese, salads, roast pork, pasta and steamed fish. But the best pairings are to be found in a beer hall in Munich, sitting together on long wooden benches, enjoying pretzels and hearty snacks and treats, feeling that Bavarian hospitality and camaraderie, the perfect service donned in smart-looking traditional costume…”


Geek Bits

Available all year round. 

Bottom fermented. 

Serve at 6-7 degrees. 

Hops: Herkules, Perle, Magnum, Select.

Malts: light barley malt, Munich malt

Brweing: infusion method

Bitterness: 24 IBU


BB: 05.03.2024. Bought: 20.09.2023

We had another German lager on here (in #47), the HB Bayerisches Pils, recently. The bottles are fairly similar, both use the letters HB in blue and both beers are bottle-fermented but the other HB is in Traunstein about an hour and a half from Munich. Both brewers are long-standing, HB (Munich) was founded in 1589 and Hofbräuhaus in Traunstein in 1612.


Lacada Screw Steamer California Common, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

California Common is a beer made by fermenting lager yeast at warmer ale yeast temperatures. Also known as a “steam beer”

The latter name comes from the 'Screw Steamer / SS' ships. One such famous ship was the SS Hazel which was a steam packet ferry that ran between Ardrossan, Scotland and Portrush in the early 1900s. And that is where the name of this Portrush-brewed beer comes from.

It is malty in the aromas. Colour is a reddish-orange. Quite pleasant on the palate with a light caramel maltiness, and rustic, woody notes from the Northern Brewer hops (often used in California Common for its woody, piney and minty essence). You’ll also find this hop in Lambic, Porter, European Ales, and Stout, on the darker side in other words.

The Rising Sun’s “Common Eileen”, another California Common, was malty with a decent bitterness, with traditional old-style American hops, came out about four years ago. Good name but short-lived, I think. This Portrush effort has more going for it but not sure that it will have a lasting impact.

Worth a try though. Recommended.

BB: 31.01.2024. Bought: 25.09.23

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Sunday lunch with a difference at Greene’s Restaurant

 Sunday lunch with a difference at Greene’s Restaurant


Local Produce with a Global Twist

Greene's restaurant has undergone many changes in the past year, but its commitment to local producers remains strong. New Executive Head Chef Nicolas Alegre and his team are putting a Spanish and South American twist on the menu, with stunning results.

Alegre is using local produce from Twomey's Butchers, Glenmar Fish, and Ardsallagh Cheese, and others, to create dishes that are both delicious and innovative. His Slow-cooked Twomey's Pork Belly with black garlic, hibiscus, cauliflower puree, and bechamel sauce is a must-try, as is his Glenmar Salmon Peruvian Tiradito with coriander oil, lime sauce, and onion salad. 


Super Flavours and Textures

The flavours and textures in Alegre's dishes are simply superb. The pork belly is tender and juicy. The salmon is fresh and delicate, with a hint of spice from the coriander oil and lime sauce.

Tiradito: A Peruvian Dish with Japanese Influences

Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish, cut in the shape of sashimi, and served in a spicy sauce. It reflects the influence of Japanese immigrants on Peruvian cuisine. Alegre's Tiradito is a perfect example of this fusion cuisine, with its delicate salmon, tangy lime sauce, and crunchy onion salad.

Last Sunday we were back at Greene's, where the experienced Ricardo Pinto heads up the front-of-house staff, for lunch We were greeted warmly and our coats were taken and hung up for us. We were soon seated at our "usual" window seat, with its beautiful view of the waterfall.

We opted for the regular lunch menu, which is a four-course meal for €42.50. The same menu is also available as an Early Bird, but be sure to check the website for times.

We started with a delightful amuse-bouche of mini fish cakes with a lime sauce. This was a lovely surprise and it set the tone for the rest of the meal.

We also had the breads, which were served with a delicious honey butter with sweet pepper and lime. The breads, white and brown, were fresh and crusty, and the butter was the perfect complement.

Pork Belly

The super flavours and textures just kept coming. My starter was the Slow-cooked Twomey’s Pork Belly (with black garlic, hibiscus, cauliflower puree, and bechamel sauce) while CL picked the Glenmar Salmon Peruvian Tiradito (with coriander oil, lime sauce, onion salad).

Both were absolutely top-notch. They looked so appetising and the promise was delivered. 


The fried fish of the day was Cod and that was accompanied by Pil Pil Vasco (Basque) and Spinach. Quite a lovely piece of fish, the cooking was spot on. My pick was the Grilled Halloumi, seasonal vegetables, and curry (Ras el hanout grilled halloumi, Indian chickpeas, curry). Another beautifully presented dish and it didn’t flatter to deceive - very happy with it. 

You can have a side with each of the mains and we enjoyed their Honey Roast Root Veg and Triple Cooked Fries. Rosemary Baby Potatoes and Buttery Mash were also available.

The Woodruff set cream pudding is a long-time favourite dessert here and is still on the menu! But this time, we choose the Burnt Basque Cheesecake, enhanced delightfully by blackberry textures. 

Basque cheesecake

A big thumbs up for the dessert (and the coffee) and for the meal in general! If you are looking for a four-course Sunday lunch menu that is a bit different from the norm, and is both delicious and affordable, I highly recommend you check this out!

The Lunch Menu


Ardsallagh Goats Cheese (with apricot, candy walnuts, roasted oats.

Slow-cooked Twomey’s Pork Belly (with black garlic, hibiscus, cauliflower puree, bechamel sauce.

Glenmar Salmon Peruvian Tiradito ((with coriander oil, lime sauce, onion salad). Vegetable Tisotto (with Aioli and vegetables).

Spanish Asidillo (with fresh mix lettuce and pickled vegetables).


Pan Fried Fish of the Day (Pil Pil Vasco, Spinach).

Striploin of Twomey’s Beef (Smoke Mash, Broccoli, Café de Paris Beef Sauce).

Grilled Halloumi, seasonal vegetables, curry (with Ras el hanout grilled halloumi, Indian chickpeas, curry).

Mint and Spinach Risotto (Stir-fry spinach).


Chocolate and coconut cream (dark Chocolate, Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate Sorbet).

Woodruff set cream pudding (Caramelised apple, oats, vanilla ice-cream)

Burnt Basque Cheesecake (Blackberry Textures).

Selection of sorbet

To Finish

Freshly Brewed Tea or Coffee