Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Beer Of The Week: Rye River Nocturne Export Stout

Beer Of The Week

Rye River Nocturne Export Stout, 6.0% ABV, 500 ml bottle, Dunnes

In the dark of the night, a nocturne worthy of an encore.

Rye River's Nocturne Export Stout is a midnight-hued masterpiece that blends the rich intensity of espresso and dark chocolate, laced with wisps of smoke that engage the nose. The flavours are equally intense, with rich roast caramel gently blanketing the palate and lingering long after the final sip.  It is a smooth stout with a harmony of flavours that demands to be savoured, and it's sure to leave you craving more.

One nocturne worthy of an encore. Very Highly Recommended.

The Rye River brewery also does a Eventide Irish Stout at 4.5% ABV. I haven’t had an opportunity to try this one so far.

Much of the flavour comes from the speciality malts used: Carafa Special 2, Chocolate Malt, Munich 2 Malt, Pale Malt, Special W, and, yes, Smoke Malt.

Rye River uses just one hop, the American Columbus. This is not at all unusual. Quite a few breweries use it solo for a range of beers from IPA to Barley Wine. 

See Beer of the Week Weekly Index here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Obama put this Spanish Wine on the map! Peza do Rei R铆bera Sacra (DO)

Adega Cachi Cach铆n Peza do Rei R铆bera Sacra (DO) 2021, 13.0%, €20.95

How Obama put this Spanish Wine on the map!

64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

From a tiny vineyard in Spain’s Ribeira Sacra, its wines admired by the Castillian kings in medieval times and by a recent American president, comes this Very Highly Recommended red.

The colour is mid-ruby. Aromas of medium intensity (lighter red berried fruits). Fresh and fruity with good acidity, not unlike a young Cabernet Franc from Chinon or Bourgueil. Cherry and raspberry in the flavour mix. This is a balanced, soft easy-drinking wine with a long refreshing finish.

Barack Obama, no less, was the US president who gave this very wine a major boost a few years back when the Cachin Peza do Rei was chosen for the toast at a gala in Washington, D.C., to honour the contribution of the Hispanic community in US. The demand for Peza do Rei bottles skyrocketed.

Good Food and Superb Service at Naturally Nourished Lunch. And they open in North Point in March!

Good Food and Superb Service 

at Naturally Nourished Lunch.

And they open in North Point in March!*

The first thing we noticed when we walked in the front door of Naturally Nourished in Penrose Dock was the queue. They come for lunch early here. It was noon. But no worries. The line moves quickly. There are menu boards, one black (standing on the floor as you enter), and the others (over the counter) are white.  Quite a few of the customers know exactly what they want and order accordingly. You pay, get a numbered block (small) and find a table.

We had chosen a few dishes from the online offering but what we didn't realise until we visited last week was that some (the Goats Cheese Salad, the Buffalo Chicken Salad, and the Beef Fillet Stiryfry, for example) would not be available until 12.30. Regulars will of course know that! So we gave in our (rethought) order and paid the cheerful person at the til.

We were hardly seated when our food arrived. Thanks to a whole lot of preparation and an efficient system and staff, there is no delay worth talking about and so that line you see on arrival moves along quickly. It is a spacious restaurant, bright and airy, comfortable too and well worth a visit. They also have an outlet in City Gate at Mahon and a third is due to open in March*.

There is quite a choice here including soups, salad bowls, curries, specials and sandwiches. Grab a sandwich if you are in a rush or maybe a bag of crisps and a bottle of Kombucha from their mini-deli. Cutlery is already on the table, and if you want water, just get yourself a jug from a central stand.

One of us decided to go for the Roast Root Vegetable soup but needed help from the other - a second spoon was called for and arrived in no time at all. It was a generous serving (€5.00) and came with a slice of toothsome brown bread.

In addition to the salads already mentioned, you can pick from Asian Noodle, Budda Bowl and Protein Punch Salad. Sandwich choices include Reuben Spiced Baguette, Chicken Tikka Baguette, Ham, Slaw and Cheese, and a Chimichurri Ciabatta.

Curries, salads and sandwiches can all vary a little from day to day (email for details). My main dish was the Satay Bowl of warm roast chicken, roast broccoli, the peanut Satay sauce, and spinach, a top-quality dish and excellent value at €10.50.


CL also went Asian and enjoyed her Mild Indian Curry with onion, chickpeas and basmati rice served with warm marinated chicken (also €10.50). Soon two very contented customers headed out, well fed on a cold day!

There are also some very tempting dishes on the breakfast menu. For more info, be sure to check their website here. Reservations are taken for tables over 6 only;  for smaller tables, it is walk-in only and as the tables turn quickly you should have no problem getting a seat. To make a reservation please call Penrose Dock 0214551173 or City Gate, Mahon 0858564641.

Could do better? Dishes are not designated as vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free - I know some are self-evident. Also, there is no fish/seafood option.

You'll find Naturally Nourished here from March. Perry Street operated here for quite a while and, more recently, Lemon Pepper were the occupants

Their third restaurant will be in the North Point Business Park, just off the Commons Road. They made the announcement on social media last Saturday: "It features the brightest airiest interior and we can joyfully say the biggest kitchen we've had to date 馃ス馃ぉ 馃檶 so expect a lot more exciting new warm bowls, different special hot sandwich options daily and salads that are absolutely bussin'!! 馃槒 See you March 11th North Side!"

Monday, January 29, 2024

Barry Collins' SuperValu Carrigaline Grand Relaunch following a €3.5m Investment

press release 

Barry Collins' SuperValu Carrigaline Grand Relaunch following a €3.5m Investment 

David Collins Owner, & Mary Webb staff member, celebrating working 50 years, with Glenn Leacy General Manager, Shane McCarthy Fresh Food Manager, and staff members, cutting the ribbon at the Official Opening. Photo Siobh谩n Russell


A beloved cornerstone in the Carrigaline community, Barry Collins' SuperValu Carrigaline relaunched its store on Friday, 26th of January 2024. This momentous occasion marks a significant investment of €3.5 million, reinforcing the store's commitment to providing an unparalleled shopping experience for valued customers. 


The extensive renovation project has been a collaborative effort, with a special focus on supporting local businesses, having partnered with Walsh Construction and BCD Electrical, esteemed local contractors, for this undertaking.  


With a current team of 168 employees, Barry Collins' SuperValu Carrigaline is delighted to welcome an additional 30 new hires into the business. This expansion not only boosts employment opportunities but also reinforces their commitment to fostering local talent and contributing to the prosperity of the Carrigaline community. 


Commenting on the launch of the new store, David Collins, Store Owner said: “We are delighted to be opening our new look store after significant investment and much hard work from the team. The new state-of-the-art store will be a shining example of the best that SuperValu has to offer and has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The relaunch signifies our dedication to local support and delivering an unmatched shopping experience.

Carrigaline Pipe Band members Johnny O'Connor,Darcy O'Regan, Eoin O'Connell, Pat Tobin, and Stephen Nugent, with Glenn Leacy General Manager & David Collins Owner, Barry Collins Supervalu & sponsor of the Drums, at the Official Opening. Photo Siobh谩n Russell

We are really looking forward to opening our new-look store to the community, and our amazing team will be on hand to welcome customers and share some amazing launch offers. We believe in supporting our community by caring for our environment, so we are particularly proud of the dedicated eco-friendly technologies throughout the new store.

We can’t wait to bring our new offering to the people of Carrigaline and are extremely grateful to all our loyal customers who continue to support us in the local community. We look forward to seeing them in store again soon.” 


The relaunched store will offer an array of new and exciting products and services to cater to the diverse needs of customers. Among the highlights are a state-of-the-art butcher counter, a full traditional bakery, and an extensive range of locally produced fresh foods.

Expert bakers, butchers, and fishmongers will introduce innovative creations through 'Prepared by Our Butcher', with options for all customers including meals for one, meals for two, family and light sides and bites.

Additionally, dedicated zones such as The Happy Pear, Health & Wellness, and Taste of Local will bring exclusive and unique offerings, further showcasing the team's dedication to quality, variety, and supporting local producers. The revitalised layout enhances the overall look and feel of the store, ensuring a more seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for everyone. 


As part of the significant store investment, Barry Collins' SuperValu has incorporated a number of sustainability upgrades to enhance the efficiency of the store. These upgrades include the installation of 728 solar panels, all-fridge doors, and LED lighting. With a €1.4m investment on sustainability alone, the store has reduced its carbon footprint by over 40%, emphasising sustainability in its practices, including stocking over 1,600 products produced locally in Ireland. 


Barry Collins' SuperValu is deeply embedded in the local community, through sponsorships of the local soccer, rugby, and GAA clubs, as well as actively backing other community groups like the Carrigaline TidyTowns. The store invests between €25,000 - €30,000 annually in these sponsorships, showcasing its commitment to enhancing the vibrancy and well-being of the local community. 

MICHELIN Guide's new Bib Gourmands announced - five in the Republic of Ireland including Ichigo Ichie Bistro & Natural Wine

MICHELIN Guide's new Bib Gourmands announced - five in the Republic of Ireland including Ichigo Ichie Bistro & Natural Wine.

The MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2024 presents 20 new

Bib Gourmands to restaurants offering great quality, great value cuisine 

"In Cork, Ichigo Ichie Bistro & Natural Wine is offering well-prepared Japanese dishes. A new incarnation of the original Ichigo Ichie, this is a more relaxed and accessibly priced restaurant that comes with the bustle of contented diners.


On the west coast, make sure to visit the charming town of Dingle, not least to sample the delicious tapas at Solas. Spanish flavours mingle with Irish produce in dishes that have been given a fresh spin without losing their identity.


More Spanish delights can be enjoyed further up the Emerald Isle at Dublin’s La Gordita. The Irish capital has had a good year, with 3 new Bib Gourmands including this lively spot with authentic cooking. Within walking distance is Amy Austin, where the dishes take cues from all over the world and are accompanied by free-flowing wine on tap. Further south, in the suburb of Rathmines, is Lottie’s – a buzzing neighbourhood brasserie serving unfussy dishes packed with flavour."

Friday, January 26, 2024

A lovely Ferraton C么tes Du Rhone Villages “in the image of Provence”

A lovely Ferraton C么tes Du Rhone Villages

 “in the image of Provence”. 

A Rhone village

Ferraton C么tes Du Rhone Villages Bio (AP) 2021, 14% ABV

RRP: €18.99. Stockists: The Olive Branch in Clonakilty / Mary Pawle

Our Ferraton C么tes Du Rhone Villages comes “from a selection of the best terroirs of the southern Rh么ne valley. Mediterranean climate. Clay-limestone hillsides and terraces.”

The colour of this youngster is a deep ruby. The dark fruity aromas are laced with spicy notes. That spice is a factor also on the palate where the fruit invites you on - light and smooth, with soft tannins - it certainly has that second-glass appeal. Well-balanced and with a persistent finish, it is indeed a high-quality organic wine.

Very Highly Recommended.


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


It is the perfect accompaniment to red meats, mature cheeses and Mediterranean dishes. Really well-priced so no excuse not to get yourself a bottle and enjoy authentic C么tes du Rh么ne wine! It is elegant and not as robust as some and will also be ideal with duck breast, veal, lamb stews and hard or semi-hard cheeses. Versatile, isn't it?

As you know, most red wines from the Rhone are blends and the major players in this beauty are Grenache and Syrah. The label goes on the poetic side: “It is in the image of Provence: a mosaic of villages and landscapes which offer a unique, rich and inimitable whole.”

You’ll find the Ferraton headquarters in Hermitage in the Northern Rhone but the C么tes du Rhone appellation is spread across four departments in the Southern Rhone: Ardeche, Dr么me, Gard and Vaucluse. Indeed, the vines for this one were raised not too far from the famous Pont du Gard and, like the lively people of that memorable area, the wines are not lacking in character.

"Prosecco's very smooth compared to other sparkling wines." Guerrieri Rizzardi Prosecco

Guerrieri Rizzardi Prosecco (DOC) Extra Dry, 11% ABV, 

€22.95 (19.95 on offer) O’Briens Wine.

Prosecco's very smooth compared to other sparkling wines

Made with the usual grape, Glera, and fully spumante in style, this excellent Prosecco from the historic Guerrieri-Rizzardi estate in Northern Italy is a quality example of the country’s most popular sparkling wine.

It featured in a recent Zoom, that saw contributions from Lynne Coyle MW (of O’Briens Wine) and Count Giuseppe Rizzardi from the winery. Giuseppe emphasised that Prosecco is very smooth compared to other sparkling wines, “..never has very strong acidity, not very mineral, more on the fruity side”. And that certainly applies to this one with its white fruit and delicate character.

For me, this is one of the better ones, well worth a try and Very Highly Recommended.

Match with Panettone (dried fruits and raisins) is the winery’s pairing suggestion and Lynne Coyle's unexpected tip was Bread and Butter pudding. She also suggested serving the Prosecco at the end rather than before the meal, both agreeing that “It freshens the palate”.

We didn't have any Panettone in the house but did have the German Christmas treat, a Stollen, bought from our local baker Angela N枚thlings of Ryes and Shine (ryes.and.shine.cork) and were very happy with the match!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Wine Studies at UCC. A short course this Spring: An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine

Wine Studies at UCC

An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine


(See full list of short courses at end)

Food lovers can now enrol in Wine Studies; An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine, at Adult Continuing Education in University College Cork. The eight-week wine course and wine-tasting experience will give students a practical introduction to the world of wine at UCC. The course will be delivered on Wednesdays, from 7-9pm for eight weeks from the 7th of February to the 27th of March 2024.

Focusing on the ‘old world' wine regions - principally France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Austria, students will taste six wines each evening from the classic wine regions of Europe. The wines will be explored in detail, including the terroir and areas they are from. 

Looking out at Rioja vineyards (from Bai Gorri)

The course will be taught by Tom McKernan, who has decades of experience and association with the wine industry. Tom is a level four WSET wine-educated professional. Each class will be delivered over two hours, with a tutored tasting included. The course is designed specifically for people who enjoy wine and would like to learn more about it and no previous experience is required. 

The Wine Studies course is one of 29 short courses on the ACE at UCC Spring Short Course Programme, Coordinated by Regina Sexton. The short courses, designed with industry professionals and academic experts, cover a variety of special interest topics across a wide range of subjects, including history, literature, music, genealogy, local history, creative writing, politics, philosophy, and art history.


ACE at UCC is the country's largest provider of short courses in the Irish university sector. The Spring courses will be delivered over a 610 week period with courses commencing from the 29th of January 2024. Just over 50% of the courses will be delivered in person at locations in UCC and local libraries whilst the remaining courses will be delivered online.  

Wine tasting in The Farmgate

The course fee for Wine Studies is €295 and this includes wine. The closing date for applications for all courses is the 29th of January 2024. The full list of short courses can be found online here:  


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Classic from 2013 still going strong! Beer of the Week: Blacks Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA)

Beer of the Week

Blacks Kinsale Pale Ale 5.0% ABV

A Classic from 2013 still going strong!

Blacks of Kinsale certainly crafted a classic when they produced their Kinsale Pale Ale in 2013. It is one of my favourite ales. I love the way the flavours spread over the palate from the first sip and that dry clean lingering finish. Indeed, linger is the word. Take your time sipping, the better to enjoy every single drop.

Blacks had this spot on from the beginning. It is consistently excellent, as good as ever and is our current Beer of the Week. 

The Blacks classic has an inviting gold colour with the whitest head of foamy bubbles. Citrusy aromas introduce themselves.  And hoppy flavours galore as the golden liquid pleasures the palate and then the bonus of the crisp and refreshing finish.

it is that balance between malt and hops that I find attractive. Some brewers go too heavy on the malt for their pale ales but this recipe allows the hops, a mix of Centennial, Cascade, and Citra, to shine through, contributing flavours of grapefruit, lime and other citrus, while the malt also plays its part, not least in giving a delicious mouthfeel.

This is the brewery’s own take on it: An American style Pale Ale bursting with hoppy tropical and juicy citrus fruit flavours, masterfully fused with biscuit and caramel malt aromas to produce a fantastic taste sensation. Medium in body with perfect carbonation, this beer will zip around your mouth reaching a beautiful clean finish. Pair with: Burgers, Steaks, BBQ Meats

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Excellent food (and history also) make a visit to new Probys Kitchen well worthwhile. This area is where Cork was founded

Excellent food (and history also) make a visit to new Probys Kitchen well worthwhile. 

This area is where Cork was founded: city's oldest bridge,  the bastion (17th cen.) and cathedral (18th cen.)

Best ever!

You can enjoy superb food and brush up on your knowledge of Corh history when you call into the new Probys Kitchen.

We enjoyed two excellent main courses when we visited  last week. Probys, on a former quay of the same name (though with an apostrophe), is also a few yards from French’s Quay.

Re-enactment at fort

No shortage of historic sites adjacent to the restaurant as both Elizabeth Fort (the city’s seventeenth-century star-shaped bastion) and the late 18th-century Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral (with its three spires and golden angel) are neighbours. The cathedral is the most recent of a series of religious structures on a site where Cork’s patron Saint Finbarr built his church in the 7th century, a church that led to a city that celebrated 800 years in 1985.


This venture is led by Marianne and Denis from Caf茅 Gusto & Liberty Grill, along with Pat Browne, formerly of Ballymaloe Cookery School. They say: “Probys Kitchen shares the same commitment to fresh, seasonal, and healthy food made from scratch, as in our other establishments, with a focus on a shared passion for a sustainable future. All menus are offered in-house or click & collect. We recommend booking in advance on our booking page.’

Probys start with breakfast, then lunch from 12 midday Monday to Friday, with brunch on weekends from 11 am. The three menus offer something for all kinds of eaters: meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans have more than the usual token dishes available. Fish eaters will look in vain though that could well change when the planned extension to evening dining comes about.

While most of the produce is sourced locally, the style of cuisine is broad-ranging. Influences and flavours from around the globe, mostly Mediterranean and Asian, and includes influences from Japan, Vietnam, and Italy, and spices like Saffron, Harissa and Chili. If you are in for breakfast or weekend brunch, you may want to try the Coconut French Toast - I certainly would!

On to our picks. The Quiche, one of the vegetarian options, featured Warm Leek, feta and Cavolo Nero with seasonal leaves; the side of roasties was well worth the few euro extra. Another superb plateful, inviting to the eye, appetising and very satisfying indeed. CL was delighted, proclaiming it as the best quiche ever, all for €14.40.

I rarely miss out on an opportunity to try anything from O’Mahony’s Butchers so my pick was the Featherblade On Sourdough with O'Mahony's beef, horseradish cream, watercress & roasties (16.50). 

This wasn’t your usual “wheel” of pulled beef and came with a steak knife. Not much need for the knife as the meat was tender and delicious. The watercress was just one element in an inviting salad and crunchy coleslaw, while the roasties were enlivened by herbs and garlic and the horseradish cream added another tasty delight.

We finished off with two of their three desserts (an Apple, blackberry & almond cake and a Salted caramel meringue roulade) and a couple of cups of coffee. Service was friendly all through. They have a full range of coffee pours from Espresso to Latte, also Barrys Tea and Fruit Teas and no shortage of soft drinks either.

Proby's and the cathedral.

Just four wines, one sparkling and three stills (ros茅, white and red, all available by the bottle, carafe or glass). Had I been drinking, my pick would have been the ERA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which is imported by Mary Pawle and recently highly recommended on the blog.

And speaking of wine, I’m reminded of another piece of local history here. French's Quay is named after James French, who was a wine merchant in Cork in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and was Mayor of Cork in 1696. His business interests dovetailed with his civic activities as he frequently supplied the wine which was drunk by the city fathers on festive occasions. I think if he were around these days he’d be trying to get on the Probys list!

South Gate Bridge