Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Best of Game. Venison Dishes to Track Down


The Best of Game
Venison Dishes to Track Down

It’s game time in Ireland and one of the best places to get your fix is at Blair’s Inn in Cloghroe. You get hungry just listening to chef Duncan Blair: “Game is a big part of our menus this time of year. We introduce it gradually in November. It’s a slow burner at first, but it becomes extremely popular as the season progresses. 

“Our venison, stout and dark chocolate casserole is a real hit. Our own favourite has to be the haunch steaks (or the loin if we’re feeling fancy pants). Love serving it simply; rare with honey roasted celeriac and parsnip with a red currant and dark chocolate jus.”

Blair’s is well known and loved as a supporter of local craft beers so I wasn’t surprised with the answer when I asked Duncan what he’d drink with venison.  “With a casserole, it has to be the 9 White Deer Stag Stout. With the haunch or loin I love it with a decent Pinot Noir, like the Forrest Estate, which has a delicate fruitiness but with a bit of bite too. Savage!”

Martina Cronin, the excellent chef at Blarney’s Square Table told me they do venison every year. “We would do a bit more game but are a small restaurant and don't want to have waste.”

“We do a roast venison loin and braised venison served with Caramelised Brussel spouts, smoke bacon lardons, chestnuts and a parsnip puree. The orange and ginger and juniper berries in the parsnip puree works really well cuts through the richness of the venison.  It’s a really solid dish full of complementary flavours and the Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar in the venison braise brings a touch of acidity to the dish and balances well with sweetness of puree and saltiness of the smoked bacon.” Sounds superb! 
Square Table venison

At The Montenotte
Last April, the Irish Times headlined “Consumer interest in venison falls dramatically” . But is doesn’t seem to be the case around Cork. I’ve had some terrific examples recently, beginning with Liam Kirwan’s Wellington in the Montenotte Hotel.


This is somewhat deceptive, as at first it looks like a small pie in a big dish. And I was thinking maybe I should have had ordered a side. But the Ballinwillin Venison Wellington is loaded with the aromas and tastes of Autumn in the wild - that “little pastry” packs a powerful punch of flavour and texture, with no little help in that department coming from the cavolo nero (the kale of Tuscany), the dark chocolate jus and the roast celeriac.
At the Maryborough

Gemma Murphy is Head Chef at Bellini's in the Maryborough Hotel and she impresses with her Venison Loin, coffee and orange glazed salsify, heritage beetroot, parsnip foam. A magnificent combination and that venison was superb, possibly the best piece of meat, of any kind, that I’ve come across this year. And, in unknowing keeping with Duncan’s wine hint, our wine from Les Deux Cols, was a blend of Grenache Syrah and Cinsault (producer Simon Tyrrell calls this the Pinot Noir of the south); put to the test, it matched well with the venison, a super dish indeed.

Loving Salads

Loving Salads

During a special Game evening in Loving Salads, the venison was the star of the show. Chef-Owner Jason Carroll had major help from Craig Coady on the night and this was Craig's dish. The meat came wrapped in brioche and immediately under that was a moist circle of mushrooms, and parma ham. Black truffles, mustard, juniper and herbs had all been used to enhance the seared saddle of venison and there were also golden and red beets on the plate and a helping of madeira jus. Absolutely superb. Shame this game special lasted just for two days.

Top of the Game
Venison, as you know, often comes as part of a game pie and one of the best examples I came across over the past two years was the one at the Village Tavern in Murrisk (Mayo). 
Well fed in Mayo

I had been looking forward to that Game Pie since I first saw the list. The mega mix included rabbit, pheasant and venison with a horseradish and cheddar mash and the pie was surrounded by a tonne of roasted root vegetables. And then there was a bottle of Westporter Stout (from the local Mescan Brewery) to help it down. A memorable meal.

Like to know more about venison? Then one of the best places to try is Ballinwillin House, suppliers to restaurants in Ireland and the UK. Their website is here

* Just notice that Pier 26 in Ballycotton have a game night on Nov 30th. Details here

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic. After All These Years!


Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic.
After All These Years!
Scallops starter, also available as mains

Jim Edwards is a renowned restaurant in the renowned foodie town of Kinsale and it has been serving up classic fare since 1971.

And while some of those beloved classics are still on the menu, Jim Edwards is not slow to support new producers and new products in the area. Just a peep at their drinks list confirms this, with Kinsale Mead, Stonewell Cider and beers from Black’s of Kinsale and 9 White Deer (Ballyvourney) on offer. 

Local gins include Kinsale gin, Blackwater gin and Black's gin. while local whiskeys include Pogues from West Cork and the world famous Midleton Very Rare. With the best of spirits available, there is no shortage of cocktails. Produce suppliers, some long-standing, are listed on the back of the menu.
Mussels

And there is no shortage of food choices here. You may dine in the Gastro Pub or in the restaurant. The Gastro Pub menu (including a sandwich selection) and A La Carte menu are available from 12pm to 10pm daily. In addition they have daily specials and a value menu also available all day. No wonder the venue has been declared  “a standard bearer in Kinsale's distinguished culinary culture” by  the McKenna Guide.

We were glad to see the A La Carte menu available from lunchtime on when we arrived there about one o’clock on a recent Friday. Soon we were seated by the window and reading our way through the choices. By the way, from exchanges at a nearby table, we heard that you can pick and choose from the various menus.
Monkfish classic

The mussels and oysters come from nearby Haven Shellfish and I picked the rather traditional starter (they don’t really do cutting edge here in any case) of Kinsale Mussels toasted with Garlic Breadcrumbs. Very tasty, with a well prepared salad. And CL too was very pleased with another excellent appetiser, this of Pan Seared Scallops in garlic and basil with a cauliflower purée.

We sipped our Black’s ale as we waited for the mains. Unbeknownst to ourselves we had chosen two house classics and looking back we can appreciate how they’ve stood the test of taste and time. Both were superb.
Lamb

One is the flavoursome Mint and Herb Crusted Rack of Slaney Valley Lamb with a rosemary and garlic jus. Beautifully cooked, neatly presented, as were all our dishes. 

Our other mains was the Medallions of Monkfish, pan fried with ginger, spring onion chill and lime dressing. Another superb combination, no shortage of quality here. And no skimping on quantity either.

And, just in case you haven’t enough, in another nod to tradition, they serve three sides as well: potatoes gratin, seasonal vegetables and fries.

It was a fairly busy lunch service in the restaurant and no problem to the staff as they kept the food coming and helped the customers make their choices, patience needed in some cases!

We did have a look at the dessert menu but, having been well fed, decided to give the sweet stuff a skip and finished off with an excellent cup of Maher’s coffee, another local business supported by Jim Edwards. Roll on the 50th celebrations in 2021!




Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Taste of West Cork Festival. A Personal Selection of the September Events.


A Taste of West Cork Festival
Some of the Best.
There is so much to do in next month’s major festival, A Taste of West Cork: over 250 events, spread over 41 towns and villages and eight islands. And, despite the one hundred thousand welcomes, you’ll find it difficult enough to make your choices. So, this is where my digest comes in. 

While I don’t know West Cork like the back of my hand, I have a decent amount of experience there, including at this festival. So, if you lose patience with the official multi-page guide (especially if you’re reading it online), check out these suggestions divided into BARGAIN, OFF PLATE (eating not essential!), A/N (afternoon), EVENING, and BtB (bust the budget). Some of these are free or have just nominal charges. 

By the way, I have omitted the guest chefs/pop up events. I have mixed feelings on these because I’ve had mixed experience of them. I’ll leave the decision up to yourself but do get as much information from the venue in advance as possible and that should help avoid any disappointment.

The programme has been published in national and local newspapers and is available online hereSomething for everyone. Take your pick and enjoy! 

Baltimore

Friday Sep 7th
BARGAIN: Traditional Fishing, Boats, Pots and Lines. Free. 2.30 Baltimore
OFF PLATE: Lough Hyne To The Sea. Kayaking €65.00
A/N: Afternoon Sea - seafood savouries at Seaview House Hotel, Ballylickey €29.00
EVENING: Lobster Garden Party with Diana Dodog at The Lifeboat Inn, Courtmacsherry €55.00
Sherkin Island

Saturday Sep 8th
BARGAIN: The Honey Bee, with experienced bee-keeper at Organico, Bantry. €10.00.
OFF PLATE: Pencil to Garden to Plate, drawing class with Annabel Langrish at Heron Gallery Cafe €50.00 inc lunch.
A/N: Islander’s Rest BBQ with Derry Clarke. Sherkin 1.00pm €20.00
EVENING: The West Cork Food Tour. Manning’s Ballylickey from 6.00pm. Farm Tour and BBQ €80.00
BtB: The Ancient Craft of Blacksmithing at O’Driscoll Ironworks, Durrus Day long class €150.00
Garinish Island, Glengariff

Sunday Sep 9th
BARGAIN: Kilcrohane Country Fair 2-6pm. Stall, producers, music, BBQ (€5.00)
OFF PLATE: Hidden Edibles, The Ewe Experience, Glengarriff, 10.00 to 11.00am, €12.50
A/N: Tarte Tatin Demo & Tasting by John Desmond at Heir Island 2.30pm, free but pay for ferry
EVENING: The Celtic Camino Dinner at Gougane Barra Hotel. Caminos popping up everywhere. Dinner is €50.00.
BtB: ——
Michael Collins event, 10th September, Clonakilty

Monday Sep 10th
BARGAIN: Manage your own herb garden, Organico Bantry 4.00pm, €5.00
OFF PLATE: Plastic is a Plague. A seminar with distinguished speakers at Liss Ard, Skibbereen, 11.00am-3.00pm, €20.00.
A/N: Devoy’s Organic Farm visit. Vegetables, eggs, chickens stories 2.30pm Three euro
EVENING: Scannell’s Tastes of the Sea Aperitif plus 5-course feast of fish. 7.00pm €60.00
BtB: —-


Tuesday Sep 11th
BARGAIN:  The Secret Garden, The Sutherland Centre, Skibbereen. A true secret garden. Free.
OFF PLATE: Art and the Great Hunger, a guided tour of this incredible exhibition at Uillinn, Skibbereen, two euro
A/N: Cream Tea at the Top of the Rock, Drimoleague. Guided Walk around eco-farm before grand tea and scones. €12.00.
EVENING: Wine & Dine at Deasy’s in Ring. Italian wine and Caitlin Ruth’s cooking combine in five-course meal from 7.00pm for €55.00.
BtB: Heron & Grey at The Mews Inventive Tasting Menu, 7.30pm, €95.00

Wednesday Sep 12th
BARGAIN: Ummera Smokehouse, Timoleague. A marvellous visit and tasting for free. 10.30am
OFF PLATE: Bere Island and the Great Famine. Informative historical bus tour 12.00pm to 2.00pm and packed lunch €30.00. Ferry at 11.30am extra.
A/N: Wild Berry Bakery, Ballineen.  Bakery visit and samples. All proceeds to charity. Entry €5.00
EVENING: A Taste of India at Richy’s Clonakilty. Welcome drink and multi-course Indian meal by Meeran Gani Manzoor, Head Chef at Richy’s. €60.00.
BtB: Intimate Dinner at Inish Beg House on Inish Beg Island. Formal dinner surrounded by country house grandeur, silver service. €95.00

Thursday Sep 13th
BARGAIN: Tasting (and bottle to take away) for a fiver at 9 White Deer Brewery in Ballyvourney. 2.00pm
OFF PLATE: Tea and Tales on Dursey Island. Take the cable car across and then a guided bus tour with dramatic views and island stories. Tea costs 25 euro and cable car is extra.
A/N: Bean and Grain, chocolate and beer at Clonakilty Brewery. The chocolate will be by Alison of Clonakilty Chocolate and there’ll be lots of pairings. €25.00
EVENING: A Taste of Organico, hosted by Hannah and Rachel Dare who’ll have dozens of their producers on hand including Fermoy Raw Milk, Mary Pawle Wines and Sally Barnes Smokery. Samples galore and even a glass of wine is included in the 5 euro fee. 5.30pm to 8.00pm.
BtB: ——
Welcome to Union Hall Smoked Fish

Friday Sep 14th
BARGAIN: Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy puts on a brilliant demo, very engaging with his audience, especially the younger ones. See him from 10.00 in Fields of Skibbereen. Free.
OFF PLATE: Live Life Well. A students’ food and lifestyle conference at Skibbereen Community School. From 10.00am to 2.00pm, hear talks, see demos, and sample at the mini-market. All free.
A/N: there’s a tour of the Union Hall Smoked Fish facility at 2.00pm, a lovely family run business. The Nolan's are a generous bunch and they won’t charge you a cent yet, a similar event two years back, there was no shortage of samples and even a glass of wine.
EVENING: Real Food from Here is the title of the event at Macroom’s Castle Hotel where the Buckley family invite you to a dinner featuring real food. Real wine too from Le Caveau with Colm McCan doing the pouring and talking. €60.00 including dinner and wine. Special overnight rate.
BtB: ——
Walking on Sheep's Head

Saturday Sep 15th
BARGAIN: A 2.5 hour walk on the Sheeps Head with guide Charlie McCarthy (086 2333420). Registration at 11.30am, walk at 12 noon. Meet at the cabin Ahakista.Free
OFF PLATE: Meet at the car park in Barley Cove Hotel on your way to the Three Castle Head Walk, one of West Cork’s hidden gems, with breath-taking views. Starts at 3.30 and duration is 90 minutes. Free. Contact: 0868808190.
A/N: Fish and Whiskey Brunch is the unpriced event at the Glandore Inn with local man Bryan McCarthy doing the cooking and West Cork Distillers supplying the  spirit. All proceeds to LauraLynn children’s Hospice and Union Hall Inshore Lifeboat.
EVENING: I suspect that Taste of the Sea at Arundels by the Pier (Ahakista) will sell out fast with Head Chef Dominique Carucci presenting a delicious Taste of the Sea menu. Five courses for €50.00.
BtB: The big spenders can whip out that credit card again as they go to Eat, Drink and Sleep at the Castle, Castletownsend. At 7.00pm, the six course meal, paired with selected wines and beers, will get underway. Slip upstairs much later, wake to a spectacular view of the bay and a hearty breakfast. Cost overall: €220.00 per person.

Sunday Sep 16th.
Still a good share of events on the closing Sunday but undoubtedly the focus will be on the Festival Finalé, the Sunday Street Market in Skibbereen. It starts at noon and as usual there’ll be bands, and dancers, craft, and food to eat and take away and a children’s entertainment area. A superb finalé to a marvellous festival that encompasses over 250 events.

Reen Pier area








Thursday, December 28, 2017

Game On at Blairs Inn


Game On at Blairs Inn
Venison casserole

The crew in Blairs Inn in Cloghroe are always game for a laugh, summer or winter. But this time of year, four-legged and feathered game is in season and is served up in many delicious ways by the kitchen of this renowned country pub, a few miles from Cork City and Blarney.

A laugh and a smile are guaranteed here, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 
Pheasant

Not that you’ll ever be in a hurry to leave the pub. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from.

The craft beer is still going strong here and, indeed, the beer I had for lunch was something special. It is a Gluten Free stout, Stag Saor*, and is on draught, Ireland's first. 

GF and on draught
Richard Blair, one of two brothers now running the pub, told me of a satisfied customer of a few days earlier. A coeliac, the man hadn’t drunk stout, his favourite tipple, for twenty years but, having sampled the Star Saor, left Blair's Inn with tears of gratitude.

I had noticed they were using the Ballyvourney stout in my Venison Casserole so, of course, I ordered a pint. And it proved a great match for the rich casserole of Wicklow venison (16.95) which was served with a side dish of root vegetables, some broccoli too and a big baked potato! Great stuff.

CL was eagerly tucking into her Wild Irish Pheasant (half!), with aromatic gin and juniper stuffing, mushrooms and a red wine sauce (16.50). Another superb dish. Thought she might have had a G & T with this but no she settled, quite happily as it turned out, for the Scarlet Pimpernel by Killarney Brewing.

Lots of choice here, including the corned beef dish for which the Blairs are well known. Meat features strongly but, in fairness, they have no less then three fish dishes in the mains as well. Beside, they have one-plates meals (including a massive Wagyu beef burger), and there are salads, baps and open sandwiches.
Bluebell goats

Good choice of starters too though both of us went for cheese based dishes. Having tried, unsuccessfully, to milk one of their goats earlier in 2017, CL has a soft spot for Bluebell Falls so no surprise that she picked a warm tartlet of the cheese, with creamed leeks and smoked salmon, a terrific flavoursome dish for €8.65.
Gubbeen

For the same money, I enjoyed a lovely salad of Gubbeen and seasonal leaves. Very pleased with that one. Indeed, very pleased with the meal overall as is consistently the case here.

* Saor is Irish for free and producers, 9 White Deer from Ballyvourney, already have a full set of Gluten Free beers in bottle.
Another venison dish, this from the evening menu.
Cloghroe
Blarney
Co. Cork
Tel: (021) 438 1470



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My North Cork Collection. Including the Old Butter Roads Food Trail

My "North Cork" Collection
Including the Old Butter Roads Food Trail
Corrin Hill, one of many walks in North Cork area.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail, launched earlier this year, is a cooperative effort between restaurants, producers and accommodation and activity providers in the North Cork area. 


North Cork is not an administrative area but then neither is West Cork. The boundaries are a bit flexible. The Food Trail organisers often refer to the three baronies of Duhallow, Muskerry and Avondhu (again none are administrative areas (except for GAA purposes!)) as being their constituent parts.

Blarney Castle

I have been visiting various restaurants and producers in the area over the past few years as you can see from the links below. Not all the places I've visited are necessarily members of  the Old Butter Roads Food Trail. If they are, you'll see the churn symbol displayed at the entrance or in their literature. Where there's a link below, it means that I have eaten, drank, visited or slept, maybe all four, at that place.

Glamping option at Ballyvolane House

So okay, just suppose you've landed in Blarney. Where to eat? Easy. Head to the The Square Table, Blarney in the evening. Just a few miles outside the village, you will find the boys of  Blairs Inn who'll feed you all day long (great place too for craft beer!). 
If you keep heading west, you may well end up in Macroom. Why not dine and stay the night in the Castle Hotel
Rainbow in Macroom

But perhaps you decide to head to the northeast. Lucky you will have much to choose from. Perhaps a day-time call to the Thatch and Thyme Café in Kildorrery. In the evening, visit the white deer at Mallow Castle and then call to the lovely and popular Peppers, Mallow for dinner. There are two cafes in Doneraile and, of course, the 166 hectare park with long and short walks that take you by the Awbeg River and herds of deer.

Deer in Doneraile Park

Lots of quality accommodation in the general area. Each of the three big houses below have an added attraction! Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons is the home of the renowned Bertha's Revenge gin. At Longueville House, enjoy the food and their very own cider, and don't forget their award winning Apple Brandy (as good as any from Normandy!).

Dinner is on. Longueville House

There's always a big welcome at Ballinwillin House & Farm and a tour of the farm where you'll see their Wild Boar and Deer. And the drink here is the wine, Chateau Mulcahy, from their very own vineyard in Hungary and the tasting is in a Hungarian style room. Cheers!

Wild Boar at Ballinwillin

And if you're a beer lover, then head west to the 9 White Deer micro-brewery in Ballyvourney.

He can talk and he can sing: Jack of McCarthy Butchers in Kanturk.

Looking for world class black-pudding and more? Then put McCarthy Butchers Kanturk on your list. You'll enjoy the produce and the chat. Close by, in Newtownshandrum you find the lovely Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese




Bluebell goat

Over in the Mallow direction, you'll come across Old Millbank Smoked Salmon. In the Blarney area, Hydro Farm Allotments and Blarney Chocolate are worth a check.
Toons Bridge

For great cheese and all things cheese related, Toons Bridge Dairy near Macroom is a must stop. Here too they have a café with lovely snacks and lunches, wine, even their own pizza oven.


View from Griffin's at lunch-time. Water-skier not guaranteed!
 A great place to sample what the area has to offer is the Killavullen Farmers Market. Lots of people like the garden centre and café double and you can score a good one at Griffin's Dripsey. Garden Centre & Restaurant.
Killavullen Farmers Market

If you venture into the Shandon area of the city, you'll find the place where all these old butter roads ended. While there, why not visit the Butter Museum (you might even see them making butter) and then ring the bells at St Anne's. Blarney Castle, right in the village, draws tourists from all over the world.

View of Firkin Crane from St Anne's Shandon

If you don't fancy sitting down, eating and drinking all day and need to stretch those legs then check out Blarney based Activity Days, with lots of choice for kids and adults. If you just have enough time for a short walk, there are a couple in Blarney, including the Blarney to Waterloo Loop. You'll enjoy your dinner, and the rest, that night!

Peppers in Mallow

Some other Butter Roads Food Trail members:

Annabelle Farm;
Follain, Baile Bhuirne;
Hegarty’s Cheese, Whitechurch;
O'Brien’s Free Range Eggs, Whitechurch;
Osbourne’s Butchers, Blarney;
Real Meat Co-op, Boherbue, Mallow;;
Twomey’s Buchers, Macroom;
Castle Hotel, Blarney;
Nibbles Cafe, Milstreet;
O Callaghan’s Delicatessen & Restau- rant, Mitchelstown;
Old Post Office Cafe, Blarney;
Praline Pastry Shop, Mitchelstown;
THe Farm Grenagh;
Old Post Office Cafe, Blarney






Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch. Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch

Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney
We are nothing without the producers - Chef Martina Cronin
Here are five of the best speaking in Blairs on Monday.
Clockwise from top left: Tim McCarthy, Justin Greene, Don O'Leary,
Rubert Atkinson and Pat Mulcahy.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail is up and running following a sunny (mainly!) weekend launch in the Blarney area. The event was officially opened on Saturday in the Church of Ireland by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.
Wild Boar at Square Table
There were butter making demos at the Butter Museum, talks at the Hydro Farm Allotments, a pony and trap delivery of churns (the symbol of the food trail) to participating businesses, an ecology walk and talk (by Tom O’Byrne) at Clogheen Milken, the Gab story-telling competition, a smoked produce demo in the Old Blarney Post Office Café, a showcase multi-course dinner in the Square Table, an open weekend at The Farm in Grenagh and a Monday demo, with food and cocktails, at Blairs Inn.


And it wasn’t just Blarney members that were involved. There were producers plus restaurant and café operators from all over the area involved, Duhallow, Muskerry and Avondhu, a serious (if fun-filled) statement of intent for the many events ahead over the rest of the year. Expect a gathering (with food for sure) at the Kerryman’s Table in Aubane, a Tapas style event in Mitchelstown, a Long Table feast by the Killavullen Farmers Market, and more.


Wagyu beef (left) and Angus rib-eye at Square Table
Current members:
Ballinwillin House www.ballinwillinhouse.com
Blair’s Inn www.blairsinn.com
Peppers at The White Deer www.peppersmallow.com
Blarney Castle Hotel www.blarneycastlehotel.com
Nibbles Millstreet www.nibbles.ie
The Square Table www.thesquaretable.ie
Castle Hotel Macroom www.castlehotel.ie
The Old Blarney Post Office Café www.blarneycafe.com
Thatch & Thyme www.thatchandthyme.com
Praline Mitchelstown www.praline.ie
O’Callaghan’s Restaurant www.ocallaghans.ie
Longueville House www.longuevillehouse.ie
O’Brien’s Free Range Eggs, 
Hydro Farm Allotments www.hydrofarmallotments.com
Osbourne Butchers www.blarneybutchers.com
9 White Deer Brewery www.9whitedeer.ie
Longueville House Beverages www.longuevillahouse.ie/artisan.html
Folláin www.follain.ie, 
Annabella Farm, 
Twomey’s Butchers www.mtwomeybutchers.ie
Killavullen Farmers Market www.killavullenfarmersmarket.weebly.com , McCarthy’s Butchers Kanturk www.jackmccarthy.ie
Hegarty’s Cheese, 
Toonsbridge Dairy www.therealoliveco.com
St Anne’s Shandon www.shandonbells.ie, 
Activity Days www.activitydays.ie, 
The Farm Grenagh www.visitthefarm.ie
Cork Butter Museum www.corkbutter.museum


List subject to change as new members join.
The Blairs, Duncan (left) and Richard trying one of his cocktails

Sunday night’s multi-course dinner in the Square Table perfectly illustrated the depth and range of produce available in the general North Cork area.

The opening selection of canapés: 
Lamb Tartare;
Toonsbridge ricotta, apple, hazelnut, beetroot;
Old MillBank smoked salmon rice paper roll, avocado, pickled ginger;
Macroom Buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, tomato tapenade;
Carrigcleena Farm cured duck, beetroot chutney, confit ginger.

Then, from McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk, we had a Black Pudding Roll with house piccalilli and also Crispy Bacon with apple purée.

Next it was the turn of Michael Twomey's Butchers in Macroom: Wagyu beef burger with Hegarty’s Cheddar and house tomato chutney and also enjoyed their Agnus rib-eye with duck fat chip and O’Brien’s free range egg béarnaise.
Hake at the Square Table

Fish then had its turn and the Pan-fried hake (from K O’Connell’s), with Annabelle Farm spinach and mussel velouté was a splendid combination, another tasty testament to the produce and to the skill of Martina in the kitchen, as indeed was the whole meal.

Now we were on  to the Ballinwillin Wild Boar, braised and cured and served with caramelised potato gnocchi, aged Coolea cheese, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and wild garlic. Great stuff.

Dessert was McCarthy’s Natural Dairy’s Buttermilk, foamed, with rhubarb, confit ginger and speculous crumble. Hegarty’s Cheddar  and Toonsbridge smoked Scamorza featured on the cheese plate and the highlight here, as part of the week long tribute in Cork to Veronica Steel, was Milleens Cheese with fig jam. All washed down with a drop of apple brandy from Longueville House who earlier supplied a glass of their excellent cider.
Dessert at the Square Table

And the top class food and drink continued on Monday in the garden at Blair’s Inn where the brothers Richard and Duncan were the hosts, Richard coming up with some inventive cocktails (using everything from stout to apple brandy to gin) while Duncan did the cooking demos.

Longueville's Apple Brandy
went down well at Square Table
Highlight here were the passionate speeches from the producers. Don O’Leary of 9 White Deer Brewery, Justin Greene of Bertha’s Revenge Gin and Ballyvolane House, Timmy McCarthy of McCarthy’s Kanturk, Pat Mulcahy of Ballinwillin House, and Rupert Atkinson of Longueville House all spoke well of their own products, and of the other products of the area.

But there was no trumpet blowing at the expense of other areas. This was underlined, simply and with some wisdom, by Tim McCarthy. If you enjoy the brown bread in Mayo than that's the best in Ireland; if you enjoy the brown bread in Cork, then that's the best in Ireland. 

So enjoy the best of local, wherever you are. And if you are anywhere near the Old Butter Roads Food Trail these coming months, you will be eating, and drinking, very well indeed.
Cheese for two at Square Table
Get the latest on their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/OldButterRoads/
on Twitter at @oldbutterroads
The Old Butter Road platter at Blairs