Showing posts with label Glasshouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glasshouse. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Bibendum and La Rousse . Portfolio Tastings in Cork

 Bibendum and La Rousse 

Portfolio Tastings in Cork

Choices galore last Monday: Sauvignon Blanc from Le Rousse and Chardonnay from Bibendum

Very seldom indeed that you get two wine companies doing their portfolio tastings in Cork on the same day but that was the case last Monday when Bibendum and La Rousse came to town. 

For me, the more impressive wines came from Portugal and South Africa at the well-attended Bibendum event at Hotel Montenotte while a Telmo Rodriguez quartet and a couple of Slovenians alerted the tastebuds in the Glass Curtain where La Rousse displayed their excellent range.


The Glasshouse, an excellent venue

Bibendum were very happy indeed with the impressive Glasshouse in Montenotte, a very bright and colourful room, with views over the city and ideal for this and similar events.

I had been hoping to taste a share of Portuguese wines here and at The Glass Curtain. But, with a combined total of close to 200 wines for tasting, there were just two. Both of these were Bibendum’s and each was excellent.

One was the Conde Villar Alvarinho Vinho Verde (DOC). In an unusual tall bottle (right), it was engaging from first contact, floral aromas, fresh and elegant, rich and full bodied, memorable. It is 100% Alvarinho, the same grape that grows across the border in Spain’s Rias Baixas. Really excellent and worth looking out for.

The second was from the Alentejo, the red Tapada de Villar, and this too was excellent. It is a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez and Trincadeira. Intense aromatics, ripe red fruit flavours in the mouth, soft and elegant. Another to note.

Tom Hanson-Smith of Journey's End

Next up was a rewarding stop at the Journey’s End table where Tom Hanson-Smith was showing three of the wines from their Stellenbosch vineyard (the second wine farm in SA to be solar powered).  The Haystack Chardonnay had a great balance of oak and fruit and gets a major thumbs up.

And I went on to complete the hat-trick with two super reds, the Huntsman (a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Grenache) and Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. The Single Vineyard was premier class but I would be reluctant to leave the Huntsman behind.

There was one other wine that I wasn’t leaving without tasting. It was at the Fine Wine Table. Here, I rebuffed a whole lot of temptation, treating myself only to the Chateau Kirwan Margaux 3eme Cru Classé. No Irish connection there now but, for old times sake, I sipped sinfully before saying au revoir to Mark Redmond and the lovely and helpful Bibendum crew.

La Rousse

Thompson ladies. Le Rousse wine.

A refreshing stroll down the hill then to the Glass Curtain and a lovely warm welcome from Vera O’Grady of La Rousse. She gave me a few helpful tips before I made a start in this excellent Cork restaurant.

I enjoy white Mediterranean grapes and they came up trumps in whites such as Eric Texier’s Roussane, JL Chaves Hermitage Marsanne, Le Soula white blend and Gilles Troullier’s Macabeu. More excellent stuff from Italy, the Monte Tondo Soave Classico and the Mora e Memo Tino Vermentino (left).

And right at the end of that line came Telmo Rodriquez. I met him last in Ballymaloe about nine years ago. He could have had comfortably slotted into the family winery Remelluri but, after an intensive wine education in France, he eventually headed off on his own, to the most unlikely places. Barren hillsides where vineyards had been abandoned. Sometimes a few survived with practices dating back five hundred years, including “beautiful bush vines”. 

Telmo (left) and yours truly. Ballymaloe 2013

He still makes wines all over Spain and his smooth and excellent Basa (Verdejo, Viura) from Rueda is one to note as is the Branco de Santa Cruz (Bierzo), an gorgeous blend of Godello, Treixadura, Dona Alana.

Next for me was an orange wine from Slovenia. The Guerilla Retro Selection (Pinela, Zelen, Rebula and Malvazija) was just beautiful. And they also had an excellent 2020 Barbera. This, also marked by Vera, was different class, quite amazing.

Slovenia impressed
Last, but by no means least, was Telmo again, with two beauties. First top was the young 2021 LZ, a bright and delightfully easy-drinking un-oaked (aged in concrete) Rioja. It comes from the village of Lanciego and is organic, same blend as the Lanzaga below.

The Lanzaga (a field bland of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano) is oaked, organic, elegant, full of dark fruits and a smokey finalé.

Quite a finalé then for me at the Glass Curtain. Time to say goodbye to Vera and head for the hills.

What a double to finish on!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Glasshouse Chef Alan Fitzmaurice takes on the world

 Glasshouse Chef Alan Fitzmaurice takes on the world


Well-known chef Alan Fitzmaurice has spearheaded the award winning kitchen at The Glasshouse Sligo for the last decade. No stranger to international competition, he is testing himself against the best next week at The Global Chef Challenge in Abu Dhabi. Alan and his commis chef, GMIT student Chelsea Esquivel, are bringing the best of Irish produce to the highest table, competing against the best in the world.


The Global Chef Challenge takes place every four years and is run by the influential World Chefs Association. As with the FIFA World Cup, finalists come from regional qualifiers around the globe. Alan is representing Northern Europe and will compete against 11 other chefs from all five continents. The winner will be announced at a Gala Dinner which is the culmination of the Worldchefs Congress & Expo event. 


“This is an incredible opportunity to showcase Irish produce as the best in the world”, said Alan Fitzmaurice, “It’s been an intense preparation for Chelsea and myself perfecting our menu. We are very happy with the dishes and we’re going to give it our best in Abu Dhabi”. Leaving nothing to chance, Alan’s luggage consists more of kitchen equipment than shirts and socks.


The competition takes place on Wednesday 1st June with limited preparation in a separate kitchen permitted on the previous day. Its’ a six hour intensive cooking marathon on the day itself, when four separate and perfect dishes must be served to an expert judging team of 12 people. The judging criteria are stringent, and sustainability is an important consideration. “We’re very aware that 50% of the marks go on taste. There is no room for style over substance. Every dish must positively explode with flavour.”, explains Alan, “The dishes are carefully planned to avoid waste almost completely. We’ve put a lot of effort into using every part of the halibut we are using for example, the bones for stock and trimmings for a tartlet as well as the show-stopper pan fried fillet. It’s all about attention to detail”.


Alan is fiercely proud of the Irish culinary heritage which he believes is still not as well appreciated as it should be. With this in mind he’s bringing an updated version of the farmhouse classic Boxty to the table, using beetroot as a novel twist. It’s a carefully chosen opportunity to highlight Irish dairy products which Alan believes are the best in the world.


Chelsea Esquivel is a young chef from Belize who is studying culinary Arts in GMIT. who is blazing a trail as a pastry chef. She won a gold medal for Afternoon Tea in the Chef Irish National Culinary Championships in 2021.


Castlerea born Alan Fitzmaurice has a trophy cabinet positively groaning with awards and honours. He is an evangelical supporter of Irish food and is committed to bringing on and assisting young chefs. He is Executive Chef at The Glasshouse Sligo and has just been appointed President of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland.


The Glasshouse is a chic four-star hotel in the heart of Sligo town, overlooking the Garavogue River. Its striking architectural exterior design is well matched with funky contemporary interiors, including the award winning Kitchen Restaurant.

press release

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sligo Food Trail launch flagship Taste The Island event

press release
Sligo Food Trail launch flagship Taste The Island event
Sligo Food Trail chefs and producers taking part in the Harvest Feast include: Back (l-r): Alan Fitzmaurice (The Glasshouse), Marcin Szczodrowski (Eala Bhán Restaurant) and Yvonne Kathrein (Waterfront House Hotel). Front: Prannie Rhatigan (Irish Seaweed Kitchen), Joe Shannon (Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa), and Aisling Kelly (Sligo Oyster Experience at WB's)
Sligo Food Trail is delighted to announce their flagship event, the Harvest Feast which takes place on Friday 18th October 2019. This significant gastronomic event is part of Taste The Island, the international Fáilte Ireland initiative. Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast consists of a sumptuous nine course tasting menu, each specially created by one of Sligo’s top chefs collaborating with artisan producers. The gala banquet will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa and numbers are strictly limited. MC for the evening will be RTE celebrity chef Shane Smith.

“Sligo Food Trail is proud to present Harvest Feast 2019”, said Marie Casserly, Chairperson of Sligo Food Trail, “This is an opportunity to showcase both the enormously talented chefs and also the remarkable artisan producers we have on Sligo Food Trail. The combination is truly electric and we guarantee another outstanding event”.

The combination of award winning chefs and the best of local produce is a real winner. Anyone lucky enough to be at the Harvest Feast 2017 was bowled over by the incredibly high standard of dishes presented. And those dishes just kept on coming – nine delicious courses, competing for attention. Harvest Feast 2019 will be equally thrilling for the taste buds.

“It was such a wonderful experience for everyone involved, we just had to do it again. The chefs love the unusual experience of working together and celebrating the wonderful artisan producers on Sligo Food Trail”, said Anthony Gray, of Sligo Food Trail, “We are so proud of all of our achievements and have put Sligo on the world culinary map with hard work and dedication from all involved”.

The Harvest Feast isn’t just an outstanding dining experience; it is an outstanding event on the Sligo social calendar. From the Canapé, Craft Beer and Drinks reception at the beginning of the evening to the live music throughout, this is a glittering affair in every way.

The chefs involved are a truly outstandingly talented group, many are award winning and all are true ambassadors for food in the northwest. They are keeping the menu a closely guarded secret until the night itself, but we can introduce you to the award winning chefs:

Joe Shannon (Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa)
Well known TV3 personality chef who has cooked for all kinds of personalities including Hillary Clinton.

Marcin Szczodrowski (Eala Bhán Restaurant)
Talented Polish born chef with a penchant for classical French cuisine. Marcin revels in creating culinary masterpieces with top quality ingredients sourced in the northwest.

Alan Fitzmaurice (The Glasshouse)
Chef, chocolatier and dedicated forager who loves to take classical dishes and add his own contemporary twist.

Joe McGlynn (Hooked)
Donegal born Joe is head chef at Anthony Gray’s eclectic Hooked restaurant.

Marc Gallagher (Sligo Wellness Centre)
A leading light on the thriving Sligo organic food scene.

Yvonne Kathrein (Waterfront House Hotel)
Originally from Austria, Yvonne has a passion for seafood, artisan foods and local suppliers which is strongly reflected in her menus.

Chris Friel (Sligo Park Hotel)For Chris, being a chef is a true vocation and classical training an essential.

Representing the artisan aspect of Sligo Food Trail, courses will also be presented by Neil Byrne (Mamma Johnston’s) and Aisling Kelly (Sligo Oyster Experience at WB’s).

Tickets are just €75 each and can be booked online at, by contacting Marie Casserly (086 3182529) or calling to Hooked, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, WBs Coffee Shop, Ósta Café and Wine Bar or Sweet Beat. A special overnight rate of €109 single and €119 double is available, just quote Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast when booking.