Showing posts with label Knockanore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knockanore. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2023

Tastes and Producers of the Season. Christmas & New Year Treats

Tastes and Producers of the Season

Christmas & New Year Treats


Okay, let us start with bread. Make that cake! The arrival of Angela Nöthlings

German micro-bakery in Cork, specialising in organic artisan sourdough breads, especially rye, was a highlight of the year 2022. 


Her Stollen, the traditional German Christmas Cake, was a highlight of our festival days. And we can't forget her sweet "little" stuff: the decadent Berliner Brot, her shortbread fingers and her Salted Rye cookies, and more.

Stollen


The Germans have no shortage of sweet wines to pair with their Stollen. They also use Schnapps (which often has apples in its ingredients) and that put me thinking of something far closer to home.  


Pom’O is an apple aperitif made from rare apple varieties by Killahora Orchards in Glounthaune. The fruit is grown "in our 200 year old orchards on the south facing slopes of Ireland’s County Cork. We mix the juice from our bittersweet apples with the finest apple brandy, then age it in Irish whiskey barrels for at least a year."


They recommend serving it lightly chilled as an aperitif, with cheese or in a cocktail, with strong, nutty cheddar, fruit desserts. No mention of Stollen but I carried on regardless and the pairing was just perfect.




No bother in finding highlights. Another mega one was the Heritage Ham by James Whelan Butcher. And since we weren't entertaining on the big day, we had most of this beautiful piece of cooked meat all to ourselves (not all on the one day!). This award-winning Heritage Ham has already been lovingly cooked low and slow for over five hours. All we had to do was slice, serve and savour.  Our favourite accompaniment came via the Bord Bia recipe pages and was/is a Redcurrant sauce or glaze. You'll find a few variations here.

The perennial favourite Cashel Blue Cheese was again enjoyed, Wicklow Blue also and some Knockanore Cheddar. These were enhanced by our own Autumn Tomato Chutney made with some excess tomatoes from the back-garden, the recipe from BBC Good Food. 

Lomo

We've still got a few jars of that but will have no shortage of opportunities to use it. Another great match is the cold cured sliced Pork Fillet (lomo) from the Heart of Spain at Fota Retail Park where I had gone to get some of their Spanish wines and also to get Serrano (which was sold out). Here too I bought their Smoked Sliced Duck "Ham", another meaty gem. You could also have a mixed platter of cheese and charcuterie and the chutney will also do the business here! 

Also in the Fota Retail Park, I got myself a jar of the award winning Wild About Sloe Jelly from The Pantry at Bakestone. Very versatile indeed and it too goes very well with the cured pork, if used sparingly, and they also say it is great with duck or pate, so I'll be trying it with the duck. If you warm it, just drizzle it over desserts and ice cream and you have another winning combination thanks to this Wexford producer.

While I think of it, The Pantry was also my source for the Killahora Pom'O. That too was put through its paces with various bits and pieces and proved quite a match with the Stollen and also with our the cake and even more so with the pudding (from Barnabrow). 

Barrel aged beers tend to go well with Christmas pudding and we tried a few. Perhaps the best were the Brehon Oak & Mirrors BA Imperial Porter (7.5%) and the 9 White Deer Stag BA Export Stout (7.4%). Whiskey is almost always a winner with pudding - there was already some whiskey in the Barnabrow one - and the new 7-year old Single Malt from West Cork Distillers was a treat with it.

Barnabrow House Christmas Cake



We regularly get our hands on the Christmas double by Barnabrow House and got the cake and pudding in early this year when we bought them from the hard-working owner Geraldine Kidd who was selling them at the Ballymaloe Craft Fair. They are as good as ever!

Of course we had some other sweet bits and pieces around for the Christmas including regulars Mella's Fudge, Miena's Nougat and Turkish Delight, all bought on that visit to The Pantry at Bakehouse.

I'm thinking that this blog post may well be my shopping list for Christmas 2023. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you one and all.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Tip Top Tapas and a lovely experience at Vikki's in Sunday's Well

 Tip Top Tapas and a lovely experience at Vikki's in Sunday's Well

Camembert 


“Wild mushroom and truffle arancini” 

“Tempura prawn, wasabi mayo” 

“Burrata, tomatoes, olives and sour dough”

“Mackerel Pate and watercress salad”

 “Wild mushroom bruschetta”

“Miso glazed tofu, sesame and smoked almond crumbs”


All and more chalked on the tempting Tapas Board at Vikki’s (which comes under the Blue Haven wing) in Sunday’s Well. 


Add in the Charcuterie board (Ballinwillin goat salami, bresaola, Serrano ham, Ummera smoked duck, salami, olives and croutons). Plus the Cheeseboard of Cashel Blue cheese, Hegarty's cheddar, Macroom mozzarella, Taleggio, Knockanore vintage red cheddar, sundried tomatoes, Ballymaloe relish, grapes, crackers, apple chutney. I could see I was in for a tapas treat.

Yakitori


And that it would be enhanced by some excellent wines. Quite a few whites by the glass including the Blue Haven Collection Sauvignon Blanc by Better Half in Marlborough, New Zealand, and reds too such as the Johnny Q Shiraz-Viognier (South Australia). Fancy a full bottle? No bother. I can rarely resist a Gruner Veltliner and they have the Peter Scheiger Kogelberg among their whites, while the red list includes Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone, France).


No shortage of sparkling or rosé either. And they also offer local drinks in bottle such as Blacks of Kinsale KPA and Stonewell Cider Medium Dry, each a favourite of mine. As we started making tapas decisions, we sipped two terrific whites, the Abadia de Seixo Albariño and the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough has been created in partnership between The Blue Haven Collection and Better Half Wines Marlborough, a small family winery sourcing premium grapes from thirteen hard-working, local growers in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Each was impressive in its own way.

Cauliflower


Soon our opening tapas were on the table and the sharing began. The cauliflower pakora with its mint yogurt was a pleasant opener but it was the Chicken Yakitori that came with its crunchy slaw and spicy dip that stole the opening act of a very pleasant and satisfactory meal.  All part of an easy-going evening with pleasant and good humoured staff who knew the menu and had time for a chat and a laugh or two.


I often feel that local chefs can better display their talents through smaller dishes and indeed we often agree that we would sometimes prefer to eat nothing but starters on certain occasions. And this is more or less what we were doing here because the tapas portions are equal in quantity to many starters.


Quantity and quality came together again in our next double. First up was the Baked Camembert with chutney and sourdough. Another superb dish, another highlight of the evening, the experience enhanced no end by the stunning plum chutney.

Cauliflower


We had now moved on to a couple of red wines. One was Organic “Authentico” Bobal Tempranillo, an excellent tapas wine, a rounded, fruity and persistent blend of Bobal and Tempranillo organic vines by Covinas. Bobal is a relatively unknown grape despite being widely planted in Spain. As it turned out, we both leaned towards our other red, the  “Original” Malbec by Rigal, from the South of France, a smooth fruity and harmonious wine.


The Bobal Tempranillo really came into its own with the Wild boar and Gubbeen cheese croquettes, perhaps the least photogenic of our tapas, but packed full of robust flavours and a delight to dispatch, especially with the lively sauce on which they were laid.


Would we like dessert? Reluctantly, we shook our heads, even though earlier we had put an eye on the Tunisian almond and orange cake in the short selection. We had enjoyed our tapas and the wine and the evening in Vikki’s and decided to call a halt!


You’ll find all the details, opening times and menus, on their website here and stay up to date with last minute changes by checking their Facebook page.  By the way, their Covid 19 precautions are some of the most impressive around. Delighted to take up an invite to visit this comfortable venue.


Tapas are served here from Wednesday to Sunday. They also do lunch and brunch - see social media. Below is a screenshot of their Christmas opening times (subject to Covid changes).




Friday, November 8, 2019

Ireland’s Top Cheesemakers and Producers Announced at 2019 CÁIS Irish Cheese Awards

Ireland’s Top Cheesemakers and Producers Announced at 2019 CÁIS Irish Cheese Awards
Complete list of winners below
Supreme Champions - Marion Roeleveld (left) and Sinead Egan of Killeen Farmhouse Cheese

A huge selection of Ireland’s farmhouse cheesemakers and producers gathered this evening (Thursday 7th November) at Cork’s Metropole Hotel, eager to learn who had struck gold – and silver and bronze – during the 2019 CÁIS Irish Cheese Awards. The list of worthy winners incorporated the finest cheesemakers currently operating in Ireland with 30 industry movers and shakers from all across the country walking away with a coveted award.

Hosted by MC and presenter of RTÉ’s Ear to the Ground Helen Carroll, the prestigious biennial event featured speeches from key CÁIS figures including Chairman Louis Grubb, Chairman of Bord Bia Dan MacSweeney and members of the trade, as well as one of the expert judges John McKenna. Guests were treated to a sumptuous 5-course meal prepared by the Metropole’s Head Chef Stuart Dardis during which 22 award winners – including the Public Vote Award, CÁIS Appreciation Award, Supreme Champion and gold medal winners – were announced. Thursday’s ceremony saw members of CÁIS; key supporters such as Bord Bia, Pallas Foods, Ornua, Horgan’s and Traditional Cheese; judges; cheesemakers; members of the public and trade representatives congregate in celebration of the abundant, diverse and exquisite range of Irish farmhouse cheeses produced on home soil.

The Munster region saw an abundance of gold medal winners, while silver and bronze medalists covered ground from Co. Wicklow to the Aran Islands, with many stops in between. Some of Ireland’s most well-known cheesemakers, such as Coolea Farmhouse Cheese, Durrus Cheese, Bandon Vale and Ardsallagh Farmhouse Cheese were awarded across multiple categories, as were the Tipperary-based Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, Waterford-based Knockanore, Galway-based Killeen and Dozio’s of Mayo from the West of Ireland.

Guests at the gala event were particularly eager to hear the results of three of the biggest awards of the night. The first of these to be revealed was the winner of the Public Vote; a category that was introduced for the first time in 2019 and received more than 1,000 votes from members of the public. Macroom-based producer Coolea Farmhouse Cheese was announced as the clear winner, with the Willelm family delighted to accept the award. The CÁIS Appreciation Award was next to be announced and was presented to 2019 judge Dr Kieran Jordan by Chairman of CÁIS Louis Grubb. The final and most anticipated award-winner of the night – Supreme Champion – was announced as Marion Roeleveld for her 5-month matured Killeen Goats Cheese for the Simply Better at Dunnes Stores range, who received rapturous applause from attendees as they made their way to the stage.    
Congrats all round for Supreme Champion (centre front)

Since the previous awards ceremony, which took place in 2017, a range of new cheeses and cheesemakers were also introduced and commended on the night. The winners of the ‘New Cheese (available in last 2 years)’ category hailed from all corners of the country, with Dozio’s of Mayo’s Barr Rua Alpine Style cheese (gold medalist), Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese’s Allenwood Smoked (silver medalist) and Kilnalahan produced by Galway’s Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese (bronze medalist) all scooping awards. Cheesemakers new to the market since 2016 were also rightly showcased and welcomed into the fold, with the brains behind Bó Rua Farm Original Farmhouse Cheddar (Bó Rua Farm) and Sheep's Milk Halloumi (Ballyhubbock Farm) winning silver and bronze medals respectively, while Michael Finegan of Boyne Valley Bán (Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheeses) walked away with gold.

This year’s selection of judges included a number of well-known personalities such as Catherine Fulvio, TV chef, award-winning food writer, author and proprietor of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School; Ross Lewis, Michelin Starred Head Chef at Chapter One Restaurant in Dublin; and food writers/bloggers Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford, collectively known as The Gastrogays. The elite judging panel also includes Patrick Clement, Head of Culinary at Pallas Foods; Dr Matthew O’Callaghan OBE, member of UK Protected Food Names Association and Artisan Cheese Fair organiser; Catherine Mead OBE, Chairperson of Specialist Cheesemakers Association (UK) and cheesemaker/owner at Lynher Dairies; Aoife Carrigy, freelance food writer and editor; Dr John McKenna, food writer; Enda Howley, Cheese Grading Expert with Ornua; Monica Murphy, cheese  and wine expert; Rory Mellis, Wholesale Director of Mellis Cheese LTD; Dr Kieran Jordan of Teagasc; Diarmuid Murphy, Simply Better Brand Manager for Dunnes Stores; and John Leverrier, Quality Manager of Sheridans Cheesemongers.


Commenting ahead of the awards ceremony, Padraig O’Farrell of CÁIS said: “The Irish Cheese Awards provide those involved in the industry with a wonderful platform to showcase their work and to transform their brands into household names within Ireland and beyond. The event itself also offers an opportunity for producers, both on a large and small scale, to network and build community links.”

Also speaking ahead of the event, Dan MacSweeney, Bord Bia’s Chairman, said: “While these awards recognise individual excellence, all 68 farmhouse cheesemakers can take an equal share of the credit for the outstanding contribution that the sector, valued at €12 million, has made to the Irish dairy industry, our culinary culture and to local communities.”

For more information on CÁIS and the Irish Cheese Awards 2019 and to view the full list of winners online, visit www.irishcheese.ie. For social media updates, follow CAISIreland on Facebook and @caisireland on Twitter or follow the conversation using #IrishCheeseAwards.

Complete List of 2019 Irish Cheese Awards Gold Medal Winners:
  • Class 1: Creamery mild cheddar up to 6 months – Aldi Irish Mild White Cheddar produced by Glanbia
  • Class 2: Creamery mature cheddar over 6 months – SuperValu Signature Taste Vintage Red Cheddar (counter product) produced by Newmarket Creamery
  • Class 3: Retailer Class (soft, semisoft, flavour added) – SuperValu Signature Tastes Gortnamona produced by Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 4: Retailer Class (hard cheese) – Dunnes Stores Simply Better 5-Month Matured Killeen Goats Cheese produced by Killeen Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 5: Soft/Fresh Cheese (all milks) – Bluebell Falls Cream Cheese produced by Bluebell Falls
  • Class 6: Goats Cheese under 2 months – Gurteen Baun Button produced by Galway Goat Farm
  • Class 7: Goats Cheese over 2 months – Killeen Goat Mature produced by Killeen Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 8: Sheep's Cheese – Shepherd's Store produced by Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers
  • Class 9: Bloomy Rind Cheese – NO GOLD WINNER
  • Class 10: Washed Rind Cheese – Gubbeen produced by Gubbeen Farmhouse Products
  • Class 11: Blue Cheese – Crozier Blue produced by Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers
  • Class 12: Semi hard cheese aged under 6 months – Dunmanus produced by Durrus Cheese
  • Class 13: Semi hard to hard cheese aged over 6 months – Coolea Mature produced by Coolea Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 14: Soft Cheese - Flavour Added – Zing with Apricot & Almond produced by Dozio's of Mayo
  • Class 15 - Hard Cheese - Flavour added – Coolea Mature Cumin produced by Coolea Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 16: Smoked Cheese – Knockanore Oakwood Smoked Cheddar produced by Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 17: New Cheese (last 2 years) – Barr Rua Alpine Style produced by Dozios of Mayo
  • Class 18: Best Raw Milk Cheese – Templegall produced by Hegarty Cheese
  • Class 19: New Cheesemaker since 2016 - Boyne Valley Bán produced by Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 20: Public Vote Winner – Coolea Farmhouse Cheese
  • CAIS Appreaciation Award – Dr Kieran Jordan, Teagasc (retired)  
  • Surpreme Champion – Marion Roeleveld, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese

     

    Complete List of 2019 Irish Cheese Awards Silver and Bronze Medal Winners:
  • Class 1: Creamery mild cheddar up to 6 months
    • Silver: Dunnes Stores My Family Favourites Irish Mild White Cheddar 500g produced by Bandon Vale for Dunnes Stores
    • Bronze: Tesco Mild Red Cheddar produced by Wexford Glanbia
  • Class 2: Creamery mature cheddar over 6 months
    • Silver: Tesco Extra Mature Irish White Cheddar produced by Carbery Foods Ltd.
    • Bronze: Dunnes Stores Single Batch Selection Grader's Choice Cheddar 200g produced by Bandon Vale for Dunnes Stores
  • Class 3: Retailer Class (soft, semisoft, flavour added)
    • Silver: Simply Better Ripe Cooleeney produced by Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese / Traditional Cheese Company
    • Bronze: Simply Better Ardsallagh Goats Cheese produced by Ardsallagh Farmhouse Cheese / Traditional Cheese Company
  • Class 4: Retailer Class (hard cheese)
    • Silver: Dunnes Stores Gubbeen Cheese produced by Gubbeen Farmhouse
    • Bronze: Dunnes Stores Single Batch Selection Grader's Choice Cheddar 200g produced by Bandon Vale for Dunnes Stores
  • Class 5: Soft/Fresh Cheese (all milks)
    • Silver: Ardsallagh Soft Goat's Cheese produced by Ardsallagh Farmhouse Cheese
    • Bronze: Galway Goat Farm Fresh Goats Cheese produced by Galway Goat Farm
  • Class 6: Goats Cheese under 2 months
    • Silver: Aran Island Soft Pearls produced by Aran Islands Goat's Cheese
    • Bronze: Boyne Valley Bán produced by Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 7: Goats Cheese over 2 months
    • Silver: Clonmore Goat's Cheese produced by Clonmore Cheese
    • Bronze: Aran Island Hard Goat's Cheese produced by Aran Islands Goat's Cheese
  • Class 8: Sheep's Cheese
    • Silver: Cais Na Tire Gouda produced by Cais Na Tire Cheese
    • Bronze: Cais na Tire produced by Cais Na Tire Cheese
  • Class 9: Bloomy Rind Cheese
    • Silver: Wicklow Baun produced by Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese
    • NO BRONZE WINNER
  • Class 10: Washed Rind Cheese
    • Silver: Milleens Dote produced by Milleens Cheese Ltd.
    • Bronze: Durrus produced by Durrus Cheese
  • Class 11: Blue Cheese
    • Silver: Cashel Blue produced by Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers
    • Bronze: Kerry Blue produced by Knockatee Natural Dairy
  • Class 12: Semi hard cheese aged under 6 months
    • Silver: Carrig Bru matured by Sheridan’s Cheesemongers
    • Bronze: Ella – Irish Furmagella produced by Dozio's of Mayo
  • Class 13: Semi hard to hard cheese aged over 6 months
    • Silver: Mount Leinster Clothbound produced by Coolattin Cheddar
    • Bronze: Mossfield Organic Mature Cheese produced by Mossfield Organic Farm
  • Class 14: Soft Cheese - Flavour Added
    • Silver: Bally Goats Cheese- Garlic & Thyme produced by Bally Goats Cheese
    • Bronze: Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade produced by Ardsallagh
  • Class 15 - Hard Cheese - Flavour added
    • Silver: Castlefarm Fenugreek produced by Carlow Farmhouse Cheese for Castlefarm
    • Bronze: Killeen Goat Fenugreek produced by Killeen
  • Class 16: Smoked Cheese
    • Silver: Wicklow Gold Beechwood Smoked produced by Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese
    • Bronze: Durrus Smoked produced by Durrus Cheese
  • Class 17: New Cheese (last 2 years)
    • Silver: Allenwood Smoked produced by Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese
    • Bronze: Kilnalahan produced by Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 18: Best Raw Milk Cheese
    • Silver: Kilmichael Soft Goat's Cheese produced by Sunview Goats
    • Bronze: St. Tola Ash Log produced by Inagh Farmhouse Cheese
  • Class 19: New Cheesemaker since 2016
    • Silver: Bó Rua Farm Original Farmhouse Cheddar produced by Bó Rua Farm
    • Bronze: Sheep's Milk Halloumi produced by Ballyhubbock Farm
press release on behalf of CAIS


Monday, April 13, 2015

On The Bus Bia Tour


On The Bus Bia Tour
Cheese, Ice-Cream, Bread
Wheels of fresh cheese, waiting to be stored.

It is ten o’clock on an April Saturday morning and we’re on the Bus Bia, heading into the countryside north of Dungarvan. The Bus Bia (Food Bus) is just one element in a packed weekend of activities organised by the West Waterford Festival of Food. We’re on the Blackwater tour and there are two other tours to different areas.
In the sunshine, we pass the house of famous local chef Eunice Power and the memorial to the renowned racing greyhound Master McGrath. Soon we are in Cappoquin. For a while we follow the spectacular Blackwater River, its big houses Dromana and Camphire standing proud, before cutting off deeper into the countryside for the farming area known as Knockanore. 
Bus passengers at Knockanore Cheese

First call is to the Knockanore Cheese company where we are greeted by Donal. They have 120 cows milking here. The milk is left unpasteurized and none is bought in. He tells us they make cheese in six flavours. The most popular is their Smoked version though the Black Pepper Cheese is well up there as well. They smoke it themselves, two weeks with oak-wood.
It is a long day in the dairy, from about 6.30am to 4.30pm. They process over twelve hundred gallons three times a week, producing about 190 wheels a batch. Each wheel weighs 2.8 kilograms. The cheese is then stored for around six months before being sold on at home and abroad (including Denmark, California and New York).
Tom Baldwin

They have grown the business gradually but now are in the throes of expanding their facilities at Knockanore, concentrating on more refrigeration and a bigger cutting area. Around six people are involved in the operation that was started in 1987 by Eamonn Lonergan who is still at the helm. The range is widely available and is stocked in SuperValu shops.


Baldwins are neighbours of the Lonergans and here we were greeted by Tom. Tom found himself with a conundrum in around 2005, whether to move from farming or whether to add on an enterprise to the existing farm which was being smoothly run by the family in any case. Inspired by Eamonn Lonergan he took a course in ice-cream making and started the Baldwin Ice-Cream business.


“We make ice-cream the traditional way. Sarah (who plays a similar role at Lonergan’s) does production for me two days a week. The eggs used are free-range, and all ingredients are natural. We sell to cafes, restaurants, hotels, retail. We pride ourselves on the unique quality and that comes out in the product.”

It is all manual work “at the moment”. “It suits me, is very flexible. For instance, if a chef wants a particular small order, we can do that special.”

Esther Barron
 The ice-cream enterprise has seen the dairy herd grow from 50 cows to some 100 plus. He still delivers direct to the customers: “We have no central distributor. I’m happy the way I'm going as it is a sustainable model. Most of our customers are in Waterford and Cork and we have built a good reputation.”


Back then to the bus and we retraced our journey to Cappoquin. Here we stopped at Barron’s Bakery which has been operating for five generations, serving only the local community (up to an 11 mile radius) for all those years. Esther Barron was our passionate host at the oldest bakery in Ireland and she underlined the importance of spending locally.

Oven closed
 They have 12 employed nowadays and bake during the night, using the amazing old-fashion Scotch Brick ovens. Bread-making here is a slow process but the bread is all the better for it. The bread is two hours in the making before it even gets to the oven whereas a factory process take only 20 minutes. “Hand-moulded bread is always more flavoursome. The bread can't be rushed. My father used to say ‘the art of bread-making is beyond science’”.


The bakery was established in 1887 and is one of the last bakeries in Ireland that still uses the Scotch Brick ovens. These give the bread an unique taste, flavour and crust as we found out for ourselves thanks to a parting gift of a Waterford bla from Esther and Joe.
A great half day on the bus, all for 15 euro. Put it in your diary for next year!

Oven open, like a small room inside