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Showing posts with label Bakestone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bakestone. Show all posts

Friday, August 17, 2018

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Town crier in Youghal
Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, both free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Fota Wildlife

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market (every Saturday) and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Christy Ring

And, before or after Barnabrow and Ballymaloe, do take the opportunity to visit the  medieval town of Cloyne. It is one of the hidden gems of the area, its skyline dominated by the large medieval Round Tower and across the road is St. Colman's Cathedral built in 1270/80 and still in use. Famous Cloyne people include the 20th century hurler Christy Ring and the 18th century philosopher George Berkeley, both of whom are remembered here: Ring's statue is by the GAA field and Berkley's tomb is in the cathedral.

Barnabrow
Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort. Other top class hotels in the area include the Raddison Blu (Little Island) and the Castlemartyr Resort.
Garryvoe walk

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Mitchel Hall on Spike Island

If you have four or more hours to spare, be sure to take the ferry over to Spike Island. It is a fantastic tour, great guides, so many interesting things to see and do, much of it related to its historic military and prison life, but also superb walks and views out over the harbour. Very Highly Recommended.

Fota House and arboretum; walled gardens too

Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.

Sonia

Whiskey Sour in Jameson
Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here (indeed there's one in the distillery). Plenty more outside, including Ferrit & Lee and the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty two years in business.
Cork Harbour

Dessert at Radisson Blu, Little Island
There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.

Another suggested detour - you may need a driver here - is to head towards Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons. Lots to do here, including fishing and glamping, and it is also the home of Bertha's Revenge Gin!

And if you're in this area at the weekend, be sure and call to the 200 year old O'Mahony's Pub in Watergrasshill. Superb local food and drink, music also, extensive sheltered outdoor areas and ways and means to keep the kids happy.
Dinner at Sage


Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House and their truck cafe during the summer. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.
Krug tasting in a Ballymaloe cornfield

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
View from the Bayview Terrace


If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand. And across the bay, there's its sister hotel, The Bayview; great views here. Closed in winter but, when open, check out the superb cooking of chef Ciaran Scully, an example here.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater. If you want a mid-day salad or sandwich in the town, then the Sage Cafe will take good care of you. Just alongside is the newly refurbished Clock Gate Tower, a must visit!


After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel



And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours. Amazing apple and pear drinks, including their unique Ice Wine, coming from Killahora Orchard (near Glounthaune).

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.
Dinner at Brook Inn

If, at the end of a day's touring, you find yourself heading back towards the city, then do consider the Brook Inn near Glanmire for dinner. It is a lively buzzy place and the food is good there too.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater

(revised 17.08.18)
If you have a cafe, restaurant, visitor attraction, not listed here, please let me know and I will do my best to visit with a view to inclusion in next revision. You may also use the comment facility below.

Monday, June 4, 2018

One Hundred and Twenty Top Artisan Products in the Bakestone Pantry. No Wonder Neil is over the Moon


One 120 Top Artisan Products in the Bakestone Pantry.
No Wonder Neil is over the Moon.
Shannen and Neil

Neil is excited when he starts telling me about the new Pantry at Bakestone in the Botanic Home and Garden Centre at the Fota Retail Park near Carrigtwohill in East Cork. And with good reasons: one hundred and twenty of them. Yes 120 top quality artisan products are stocked here, displayed ever so neatly by Neil (who started this new facility here about two months ago) and by Shannen. 

The come from everywhere on the island: butter from Abernethys in County Down, mushroom products from Ballyhoura on the Cork-Limerick border, fresh strawberries from Bushy's in West Cork, cheese from nearby Ballinrostig, jams from Donegal, Blackcastle drinks from County Wicklow, patés and more from On the Pig's Back in Cork City, and so much more.

And then he points to Bakestone’s own products. We’ve all known for quite some time that the Bakestone kitchen can come up with the goods in the café but now that expertise is being packaged and displayed in the Pantry. “Like any any pantry worth its name, we have jams and marmalades. All made over there in the kitchen.”

And then he shows me their own 12 hour slow-roasted Tomato ketchup and the Sriracha Sauce developed just in time for the BBQ season. And there’s also a coffee rub, which creates a delicious crust on the meat and locks in the juices. That coffee based rub is so new it hasn't got a label yet. And those labels are well designed by Coolgrey, as are all the labels here.

Neil has been busy sourcing local products and while local means Irish (he has Filligan’s jams from Donegal) he also has products from very close to their Cobh Cross/Carrigtwohill base. Take the honey for instance. “That’s Youghal honey,” Neil proudly tells me. “Robert Anthony is doing great work there on behalf of the native black bees.”

And also from Youghal comes the HOLO Kombucha, proudly organic and certified by IOFGA, the drink is the brainchild of Youghal brewers and twin brothers Padraig & Adrian Hyde whose Munster Brewery in the town is already well-known.

The Kombucha and Kefirs displayed in the Pantry are an effort to steer people away from the big-name sugar loaded soft drinks. No added sugar, for instance, in the bottles from Dublin’s King of Kefirs, including a couple of interesting combinations: lemongrass and ginger, cucumber, mint and thyme!

But don’t worry, Neil has some alcoholic drinks here also, almost all recent entrants to the market, including Móinéir Irish Fruit Wines from Wicklow, Mead from Kinsale, and those innovative drinks from nearby Killahora Orchards.
Chocolate from Carrigaline by O'Conaill

There is also has a sweet and dessert section, everything from the delicious Wilkies chocolate to the traditional hard boiled sweets by Shandon Sweets in the heart of the city. And biscuits also, including those classy ones from Lismore Food Company, delicious and beautifully packaged and ideal as gifts. I just noticed that one of the varieties is now available in a Gluten Free version.

Coffee is a big deal here. Not surprisingly, since Neil has worked with Badger and Dodo. He is chuffed that one famous Irish-Australian loves the Pantry coffee and always pops in here for a cuppa and a discussion whenever she is home. Neil and Shannen try to help people with their coffee choices, just a little practical info, nothing too overwhelming. But, if you do wish to take it to a higher level, help is at hand here as they do run Barista Courses.
Biscuits from Lismore

They also serve coffee in the Pantry and that helps take the pressure off the queue in the cafe itself and you’ll probably see that developed a bit further in the coming months. Neil took us over to the café and stood us lunch. An excellent quiche and a couple of salads did the trick and, by the way, the salad leaves come from Derek at the Greenfield Farm a few miles away in Knockraha.

Speaking of a few miles away reminds me to mention that Bakestone have taken over the Café in Fota House for the summer months. I’m a reasonably regular visitor here to the gardens and now I have another excuse to visit.
Wild Irish Foragers

Bakestone will be offering visitors locally sourced produce and the best of each season, and they will be serving produce from the Victorian Working Garden at Fota House. They will be serving a wide variety of fabulous eats every day and promise some exciting food events in the near future.
Quiche for lunch

Fota house themselves have a number of theatrical events lined up for the season including A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream on July 20th. Bakestone will be supplementing these with a series of music events. Tickets for the very first of the “LIVE AT FOTA HOUSE” gigs featuring Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill with special guests Swedish trio Väsen on Thursday 14th June are on sale now via the Bakestone Facebook page.

So there you are. Thanks to Neil and Shannen and others behind the scenes, there is quite a buzz and a good deal of momentum at Bakestone these days. Be sure to call in to the pantry anytime you’re passing along the N25; take the Cobh exit and you’ll be back on your journey and well fed or well stocked up or both in no time at all. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Peaceful evening in Youghal

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all three free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
The Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery



Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Barnabrow

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.


If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.
Bramley Lodge



Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Fota House and gardens


Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to newly renovated Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.

Sonia

Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here, including the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty years in business.
Cobh traffic jam!

There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.
Sage
Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.

The Cafe at the Stephen Pearse pottery in Shanagarry also serves Golden Bean and is now gaining quite a reputation. And, of course, there is the pottery itself!

Sculpture exhibition on lawn at Ballymaloe House

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
Cobh's Titanic Bar & Grill. Al Fresco

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater.

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours.

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater


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