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Tuesday, May 29, 2018
I must get over to Bandon and Clonakilty markets more often as these are the only places that I can get Baltimore Bacon, my Taste of the Week.
And it will probably be even more difficult to get now as Nathan Wall, who began farming pigs in Baltimore ten years ago, was recently honoured by the Irish Food Writers Guild, an award that is more valued than most an award that is more valued than most as it comes from independent professional writers.
After a recent visit to Bandon, I tried Nathan’s Maple Smoked Rashers (also available in joints) at home. The first bite and you just stop, stop talking, stop thinking, such is the amazing flavour. Then you get on and enjoy it.
Nathan had a delicate touch as a specialist plasterer in London and now has a delicate touch in his new career. “Our bacon is cured by hand, using just organic sea salt and natural ingredients with no added water, no nitrites, nitrates or phosphates. This is real bacon, made the time-honoured way, with nothing added except our passion and dedication..”
And if those rashers were top notch, the Black Bacon joint was something else. Another must try! This is Artisan Dry Cured Bacon, West Cork pork, Atlantic sea salt, black pepper, molasses, raw cane sugar, spices, natural oak smoke. Another outstanding product from Baltimore.
Other Baltimore products are Cider and Apple Smoked Bacon, Cider and Apple Unsmoked bacon, Baltimore Bacon unsmoked and also smoked. And don’t forget his tasty lardons.
Nathan has had help and input from other artisan producers in the area, particularly from Fingal at Gubbeen where he works part-time and where his products are smoked. At the award celebration dinner in Dublin, the main course was Cider and Apple Smoked Baltimore Bacon with Parsnip Purée, Caramelised Brussels Sprouts and Onions and Fresh Mandarin. And that cider came from Stonewell in Nohoval.
Below is the citation from the awards presentation:
Baltimore Bacon cured bacon, Co. Cork: Food Award
A specialist plasterer turned free-range pig farmer, Nathan Wall of Baltimore Bacon began curing his own bacon in 2014. He now keeps over 40 free-range Berkshire pigs on his Baltimore farm and sells produce from his own pigs at the weekly farmers’ markets in Bandon and Clonakilty.
As demand grew, he began sourcing free-range pigs through Our Piggy Co-op run by Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Smokehouse and locally reared pigs from Staunton’s in Timoleague for the non-free-range produce that he sells through local restaurants and shops.
The range includes smoked and unsmoked bacon and ham, all of which are produced naturally and free from nitrate and additives. Some are simply cured with Atlantic sea salt and raw cane sugar, while the superb dry-cured black bacon is cured with molasses and black pepper. His apple and cider-smoked bacon, available sliced or as a joint, uses Stonewell Cider from a previous IFWG award-winner. The bacon is smoked over hardwood at Gubbeen Smokehouse.
See more on the awards and their background at the Irish Food Writers Guild website http://www.irishfoodwritersguild.ie/index.html
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Treacle Treat. From the Saddleback Pig Company.
Got something of a sweet surprise on a recent visit to Bandon Farmers Market when I called to see Nathan Wall of the Saddleback Pig Company. “Try these,” he said, as he handed me a pack of what looked like blackish rashers.
What trick was this, I thought. But, in fact, it was a treat. The “Sweet Black Bacon Smoked” are fantastic. Treacle has been used in the process and when the rashers are cooked, they do look even blacker. Their initial burst of sweet flavour is fantastic and they are my Taste of the Week.
It is a new product and I’m sure our local chefs can do something really special with it once they get to know of it. In the meantime, you get a pack (or two) from Nathan at the market in Bandon (every Saturday) and in Clonakilty (every Friday).
Nathan has a small family run farm situated in Baltimore, West Cork, specialising in the breeding and rearing of rare breed Saddleback pigs.
“Though only a small business we concentrate on the welfare of all our pigs which are reared and run outside where they are free to root and forage. Our pigs are raised on a diet of mainly vegetables and rolled barley which are chemical free and do not contain any growth enhancers allowing the pigs to mature over a longer period of time giving the meat a fuller flavour.”
Sausages made from a minimum of 86 per cent meat with natural casings and no artificial preservatives.
Dry cured bacon naturally smoked or unsmoked in a cure made up of sea salt, raw cane sugar and a mixture of herbs and spices.
Hams produced in a brine of white wine, rosemary, bay, thyme, pepper and juniper.
All cuts of pork are available fresh or frozen.Read more about them here.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Good Food from Bandon and Good Wine from Bordeaux
Made a short visit to Bandon Farmers Market last Saturday. And every stallholder I called to said I was great to come out in the rain. But if you'ee not willing to go out in the rain in Ireland, you’re going to waste half your life.
Great to see some familiar faces like Shirley Kingston, the market co-ordinator, and some new ones as well. Of course, it’s all about the food and I was delighted when Nathan Wall of the Saddleback Pig Company in Baltimore showed me his new product: Sweet Black Bacon Smoked. He tells me it's proving very popular. We’ll have more on Nathan and his fantastic “black” rashers in the next week or so.
No shortage of bakers here and Heavens Cakes, well known in the English Market, had some sweet things on offer. Good too to see Dunmanway Baking Emporium with a stall here, including a baguette that we needed for the evening.
And another surprise was the stand manned, if that’s the word, by Toni. Jams, chutneys and pickles, and relishes of all types, including Red Currant Jelly, Rose Hip and Apple Jelly and Fruit compote. She also sells her eggs, all at a very reasonable price.
The rain, by the way, was bad enough at times but there were clear spells as well and we took advantage of one of those to trot over to the quay and call in to see Ruth Healy in her fabulous food store and cafe at URRU. The warm cups of coffee and a massive ginger cookie were more than welcome.
Bandon is indeed well supplied with places to eat and, of course, things to eat. I had spotted the well stocked, well laid out butcher shop of Martin Carey on previous visits and made a point of calling this time.
This award winning store has a huge choice of meats but we went for the French trimmed lamb shanks, served up later that evening with market vegetables and a red wine gravy. The red wine, Chateau Lamothe Vincent, came from Bordeaux and not all of it went into the cooking!
The starter, a bruschetta using the baguette from the market, some Atlantic Sea Salt and a tomato salsa (all along the lines suggested by the Turkhead Delights cookbook), was excellent as was the dessert, a crumble with rhubarb (from the back garden) and orange. But mainly it was Bandon and Bordeaux. And I really couldn’t tell you if it was raining when I tucked into the lamb!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Bandon Farmers Market
|The Big Cheese|
The Market was set up in 2006 by a voluntary committee, who shared a love of good food, to supply a wealth of local and artisan produce to the residents of Bandon and the surrounding area. Early every Saturday morning the car park of the Old Market Garden buzzes with the activity of stalls setting up and the first customers arriving. Fruit, Vegetables, Fish, Cheese, Chocolate, and Cakes are among the many delights and you may warm up these days with a hot coffee.
|Baking Emporium's Apple Strudel|
|Yeast loaves by Heaven's Cakes|