Showing posts with label Beara Ocean Gin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beara Ocean Gin. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Positivity in the Cork Kerry Air at Annual Food Forum


Positivity in the Cork Kerry Air at Annual Food Forum
Peter, Beara Gin

It may have been wet and windy outside the City Hall last Friday evening but inside there was a sunny positivity around the stalls. Beara Gin are exporting to the continent; Joe’s Farm’s new Potato Crisps are going very well; Longueville House ciders have had an excellent year; Kinsale Mead and Stonewell Cider also speak well of their 2018 experiences.

Beara Gin are relative newcomers, just over 12 months in existence. But they are making their mark in the competitive Irish market and Brand Manager Peter White told me they are already exporting to Germany, Poland and Denmark. A pallet has just been dispatched to France and they are now working on Italy. 
Rupert, Longueville

Apple Wine
Getting into a new export market takes patience and time so best of luck to Peter and all at Beara Gin whose gins are infused with salt water and sugar kelp. They have two gins on the market, the original Ocean Gin and their Pink Ocean Gin (here the addition of Cranberry and Rosewater adds the pink hue).

Rupert Atkinson, the smiling face of Longueville Beverages, reported an excellent year, particularly the last six months. “The hot weather sent cider sales flying and the fact that it is available in O’Brien’s was also a big factor.” Longueville normally have lots of apples for sale but not this time as stocks of cider and apple brandy have to be replenished.

Stonewell are another top local cider-maker and they are known for their innovation, both summer and winter. Their winter offering this year made its debut in the City Hall. It is a Nohoval Irish Apple Oak Wine, the finest Irish apples raised in traditional French casks. Superlative is mentioned on the label. I couldn’t argue with that!
Mead trio

And speaking of innovation, Denis and Kate of Kinsale Mead were right alongside. Kate showed me their gorgeous gift pack of three miniatures, a wee bottle each of Hazy Summer Mead, Wild Red Mead and Atlantic Dry Mead. Not just a package; it is delightfully illustrated with the story of mead. Worth a look. By the way, if you want some of that Hazy Summer, you’ll need to act fast. “That went very well for us,” Kate said and stocks are fast running down.
Crisps

Sandra Burns of Killeagh, whose Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps have become a favourite over the past couple of years, was delighted with the reception the new Potato Crips have received over the past year and said they flew out the door during the Ploughing Championships. Husband Joe is a big fan of the new crisps (a mix of colours), all made at the family farm in Ballycurraginny. Both the vegetable and potato crips are widely available, including SuperValu.

Recently, they had a pumpkin picking day on the farm and were inundated when they put out a call for pickers, individuals and schools among the volunteers. Sandra was delighted with the schools as it turned the day into an easy going food education event. See more about it here on their Facebook page.

I think I’ll have a few Tastes of the Week from that lot in future posts on the blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Rich And Famous (and me) Stay At Glengarriff's Eccles Hotel


The Rich And Famous (and me) Stay
 At Glengarriff's Eccles Hotel

I recently added my name to a list that includes William Makepeace Thackeray, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and, of more recent vintage, Pippa Middleton. They all stayed at the Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff. The splendidly situated hotel opened in 1745 and is currently undergoing renovation under new owners but is fully open for business.

Visitors are invariably impressed. Thackeray wrote “What sends tourists to the Rhine and Saxon Switzerland? Within 5 miles of the pretty Inn of Glengarriff there is a country of the magnificence of which no pen can give any idea.” There is still a room named after him in the hotel.

Punch Magazine, in a kind of 1870s Trip Advisor review, wrote: Glengarriff – Eccles Hotel, charmingly situated. Facing the bay and on the road. Old fashioned, covered with creepers and roses with bedrooms commanding the bay view. The Eccles is worth more than a passing visit. I am delighted with it. It is, as far as attendance, cuisine, and general comfort the best hotel I’ve been in.

So how did I get on there? Very well indeed. The hotel, just off the main road, is as you probably know situated on a little height overlooking the bay. You will see splendid views even from the bar on the ground floor. Stroll across the road and you may get a boat to Garinish Island and I did just that, taking in the island, the basking seals and the eagle’s nest (a new temporary attraction here).

I stayed in one of the renovated front rooms at €100.00 per night with breakfast; the room had a bay view and cost a few euro extra. While not the biggest, the room (with its old fashioned high ceiling) was very comfortable, nicely decorated and both it and the bathroom were well equipped
Gubbeen crubeens starter

They serve breakfast upstairs in the Garinish Restaurant, a splendid room indeed. And breakfast was rather splendid too, excellent service too. An eye-catching table was laden with all kinds of good stuff: fruit juices, cereals and breads while you could also order something hot, including the full traditional Irish, from the kitchen. My order was Eggs Benedict and that got me off to a good start for the day.

Local producers get a fair crack of the whip here. They featured at breakfast and also in the dinner that we enjoyed, not in the Garinish (which will serve dinner later in the year), but in the Harbour Bar downstairs.
Hake

At first glance, the menu seems ordinary enough but do study the bits and pieces that come with your meat or fish and you will note some combinations that are a little different and, in this case, more than a little better, than usual.

We were by the sea, so you'd expect salmon on the menu. But the Eccles version is something else. I thought it worth exploring and was delighted with my Cork Whiskey and Vanilla Cured Salmon (Braised Barley, Apple, Prawn, Radish, Herb Cream).
Caramel Apple & Raisin Oat Crumble

There’s a pretty good choice here, augmented by specials on the board. Indeed, CL picked from that board on the bar counter and came up trumps with her Herb Crusted Baked Hake, served with a red pepper confit. Both mains were fairly priced in the mid-teens. Other options included steak, chicken, lamb, and burger.
Salmon

No shortage of starters either, including cheese and meat platters with Gubbeen featuring. Gubbeen too in my starter: the flavourful Crubeens (Smoked Gubbeen Bacon Hock, Piccalilli, Gem, Pickled Onion.). CL’s Bantry Bay Mussels came with an rather unusual but excellent Cider, Apple and Barley “sauce”.

Service was pretty good throughout our short stay and the WiFi was excellent in the room. 

Indeed, the only thing on the downside was that they seemed to be running down their stock of craft beer. They had a tap for 8 Degrees Howling Gale but no beer. So we asked for two bottles of the Full Irish - they had just one. In the end we shared a larger bottle of Mountain Man’s Banjo’d and noticed, just as we were about to finish, that it was well out of date. On the other hand and to finish on a good note, we later enjoyed a couple of glasses of the local and excellent Beara Gin.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Greene’s Team Bowl Them Over At The Mardyke. Classy Brunch (plus Gin Bonus) in Cricket Club

Greene’s Team Bowls Them Over
Classy Brunch (plus Gin Bonus) in Mardyke Cricket Club
Crab and haddock
The punters were on a winner here, even if the “game” was a friendly. Very friendly and informal as Greene’s sommelier Frank Schiltkamp pointed out in his few words at the start, saying we weren’t going to get quite the same treatment as we would at his MacCurtain Street base, a point quickly underlined when the opening offerings for this five course tasting brunch came in cardboard containers. 

Cardboard or not, it’s hard to beat class and Chef Bryan McCarthy and his team have that in abundance and they again played a blinder at the opening brunch of the Spirit of the City Festival in the Cork Cricket Club at the Mardyke.
Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon

Before, and during, the meal, there was gin, Beara Ocean Gin from West Cork to be exact. They include botanicals, Salt Water and Sugar Kelp, from the Atlantic among their botanicals for their standard gin. And add Rosewater and Cranberry for their Pink Ocean Gin. The Pink was a special for Valentine’s Day but proved so popular, it is still with us.
Pink Ocean Gin Cocktail
 We started with a cocktail: the Pink Ocean, Prosecco and Fever-Tree’s Aromatic Tonic. Very nice indeed, especially with the sun shining on the cricket grounds outside. Later, I tried the standard Ocean Gin with the regular tonic. Will have to sample them again though without all the ice, the lemon and the lime, even juniper berries. I prefer to get down to basics see what my drink really tastes like!

Smoked spuds and black pudding
 Speaking of basics, my favourite dish had three basic ingredients: smoked potato, Jack McCarthy’s Black pudding and pancetta, plus a delicious Truffle Mayo. It was the three basic items that stole the show, fantastic flavours and textures that combined to keep the palate very happy.


With the place full and after a few words from the busy chef, we had started well with Crab and Smoked Haddock, Cucumber Pickle, Chilli, Lime and Coriander, all on brown bread (and in a cardboard container!). Super ingredients and a superb combination. 

Course number two was also small(ish) but again perfectly formed: Scrambled Eggs and O’Connell’s Smoked Salmon, Grain mustard and Honey Spelt Toast. Very tasty again, right down to the toast.
Bao Eggs Benedict
 Couldn't quite say the same about the Bao in the Eggs Bao Benedict that followed the smoked spuds. The eggs were accompanied by a dry cured bacon, wild Garlic leaves and Hollandaise. The Bao, by comparison with the earlier breads, was rather anonymous at the bottom, handy for soakage though. The eggs and the bacon on the other hand were top drawer, well equipped with both flavour and texture to take on the world on their own.


What would the team in the kitchen come up with for the final over? They bowled us over with a colourful and sweet dessert: natural yogurt, rhubarb compote, and granola. 
Dessert

So well fed and nicely ginned, we got the jackets on and headed out to see what the rest of the festival was offering. Not a great deal at that early stage (about 2.15pm). Thought we might knock across a few gin producers in the big tent. But no sign of any and with the prices set at cricket score proportions, we decided to up sticks and exit gracefully.


Up the Dyke on Saturday: Bridge over the Lee with St Vincent's Church (Sunday's Well)