Showing posts with label Longueville Beverages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Longueville Beverages. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #99. On the craft journey with a cider detour: Legacy, Longueville and Mac Ivors

A Quart of Ale± #99

On the craft journey with a cider detour: Legacy, Longueville and Mac Ivors

Longueville House Cider 5.9%, 500ml can Bradleys

..”Refreshing, clean and crisp…it’s how traditional cider used to be before it got all artificial and fake,” say Longueville House of their original cider, a real artisan production.

It arrives in your glass in a dark amber colour but you will see the natural sparkle. The aromas are unmistakably of the orchard where their cider apples, Dabinett and Michelin, grow. And the outstanding autumnal apple flavour of this medium dry cider confirms its authenticity. This is one you swallow and say thanks to the O’Callaghans.

The apples are harvested in late October, once picked they are crushed and pressed together (they don’t over worry about the exact quantity of each of the two varieties) in the Cider Mill on the estate. The pressed juice is left naturally ferment over a period of 2 to 6 months, taking place as a result of the action of the wild yeasts, which are particular to the orchards and environs of Longueville. 

The newly fermented cider is left for a further 6 months resulting in a rich, amber coloured cider, full of character, flavour and taste. There are no added sugars or sweeteners (no chapalisation) colourings, additives, sulphites or preservatives used at any stage during the production and manufacturing process of the ciders. The entire process from growing the apples to the fermentation of the cider is done on the farm.

Legacy Medium Cider 5%, 500ml bottle

Very light orange-y colour here. And it carries a light haze, not so much that you can’t see the fountains of bubbles constantly rising. The nose, not over emphatic, is undoubtedly of apples. It has quite an engaging mouthfeel, a burst of flavour, sweet yes but also well balanced so there’s no excess and it finishes fruity and satisfying, tannins gently gripping the lips as it says goodbye.

This one is a bit like the Alsace Gentil wine as it has no less than six varieties: Elstar (eating), Bramley (cooking), Discovery (eating), Katy (eating), Michelin (cider) and Dabinette (cider). 

They say: “This is a crowd pleasing cider; easy drinking, great flavour profile, natural apple aroma. Great with good friends, a warm sun, a good sporting occasion or kicking back on your own.” 

Legacy have a small passionate team “that love producing the best quality ciders the land can produce in a sustainable way. From blossom to bottle.”

Legacy Dry Cider 5%, 500ml bottle

A very bright  liquid with an orange colour and, like the Medium, it is slightly clouded. Again you can see those bubbles flying up. Natural apple aromas greet the nose. There no shortage of fruit flavours (green apple from locally grown fruit) as it hits the palate but it is, as you would expect, noticeably drier; your lips will tell you! A good bite is how producer Liam McDonell describes it, saying it “is the strong Bramley flavour coming through”. It is well balanced though and quite a thirst quencher.

The Medium Dry is made with three apple varieties; Elstar (eating), Bramley (cooking) and Michelin (cider). “Elstar is a floral light cider that sits in the background, Bramley is the big bold mouthful and Michelin is a beautiful sweet French cider apple that gives a soft caramel flavour and a lingering dryness”. The blend has a crisp dry finish.

“This is a great cider with oily fish and white meat. It has a strong acidic backbone so it is able to cut through rich flavours and compliment. The high carbonation coats the tongue and cleanses the palate.”

By the way, this is a favourite of Liam’s. Our session here ended on a split decision. I was a little surprised that I had a slight preference for the Medium and not at all surprised that my tasting partner (CL) picked the Dry!

Mac Ivors Juicy Session Cider 4.2%, 330 ml can x 4 Tesco

This session cider pours clean and golden, bubbles galore. Aromas are of the orchard and it is clearly a refreshing one. May not be dry enough for some, but I’d be quite happy with it in a session. It does of course finish dry. It comes in a 330 ml can and, after a check for stockists, I found mine in a 4-pack in Tesco.

They say: Delicious and thirst-quenching, our Juicy Session Cider is made exclusively from hand-picked, Irish-grown dessert apples such as Falstaff, Elstar, Allington Pippin and Golden delicious. This medium dry cider has a simple and refreshing flavour profile and it now comes in a convenient can. Crisp clean finish.

Mac Ivors Cider has its roots in Armagh, known as “The Orchard County”. “Our farm was established in 1855 in the townland of Ardress. Our cider takes its name from our Cider Maker Greg Mac Neice’s grandmother Annie Mac Ivor.”

Some interesting bits on the Mac Ivor packaging:

Armagh grows 4 times as many apples as the rest of Ireland put together.

It takes the juice of 4 whole apples to make every can of our cider.

Every year, we hand pick over 12 millions apples on our family farm.

We have 52 hives bees to pollinate our apple trees. That’s millions of bees!

Monday, November 9, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #20. Terrific Irish Ciders. "Lucky to have each of them"

A Quart of Ale± #20

Moving on over to craft.

Terrific Irish Ciders.

"Lucky to have each of them" 

Cider is one of the most ancient of the alcoholic drinks, made wherever apples are grown. Yet some countries, Canada for example, has a law preventing people calling a liquid cider unless it has apples in the ingredients. There is a huge variety of ciders, from dry to sweet, from clear to cloudy. Once at a gite in France, the owner came over with a cloudy bottle, oil to ease a sticking front door we thought, but no it was a delicious homemade cider and there was a basin of strawberries as well!

Normandy and Brittany (where I then was) are well known for their ciders but it is only in recent years that craft cider has hit Irish shelves. And even here now, there is an amazing variety, especially from Munster, Leinster and Ulster. I have just a few examples below, including a non alcoholic gem from Highbank, and they illustrate the variety and quality available.

Con Traas of the Apple Farm, who produces a superb example himself, was asked a few years ago to give his verdict on a couple of the then new ciders, Longueville and Stonewell. He declined, saying we were lucky to have each of them. I feel the same way about the quintet below and others such as those coming from The Cider Mill in Slane, Dan Kelly (also in the Boyne Valley), and others that you can find here at  Cider Ireland .

Stonewell Medium Dry 5.5%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

This County Cork cider is approaching its 10th birthday and is tasting as well as ever. It was their first and  “remains our most popular cider”. It is a classic, very popular here too, and we often order it in restaurants as it goes well with a variety of dishes.

You’ll know it’s Irish by the eye catching Celtic design on the front. Aromas of the orchard invite you in. Light gold colour and squadrons of little bubbles flying up to the top. Terrific wash of sweet apple flavour on the attack and then you note a balancing acidity before a satisfying finish.

They say: We don’t complicate things by using artificial additives, apple concentrate, glucoses syrup or dilute with water. This carbonated cider is best enjoyed as a refreshing thirst quencher, chilled to 7 degrees (watch the ice – whilst it will maintain the chill it can conceal the full flavour!). 

With winter approaching, you can put this out the back for chilling as an overlong spell in the fridge would also hamper the flavour. This medium dry contains approximately 20% cider apples and 80% eating apples. The cider apples provide the astringency in the cider and the structure on which the full, rounder and more citrus characteristics of the eating apples depend. The cider is made from Irish grown apples and the varieties used are Dabinett, Michelin, Jonagored and Elstar.

Highbank Organic  “Drivers Cider” 0%, 330ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

I’m walking through long rows of apple trees, all in blossom, pink and white abound. The grass between is ankle height, lush and liberally populated with white daisies. Lush, but recently topped. Had I been there a week earlier, I would have seen battalions of dandelions.

I was in Kilkenny, in the healthy heart of Highbank Orchards, an organic farm owned and managed by Rod and Julie Calder-Potts. It is here they grow their apples and make their ciders (and more), including this one.

Made from organic cider apples from the Highbank farm, Drivers Cider is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink for the designated driver with no added sugar or chemicals. This Blusher apple limited vintage is Single Estate (grown, distilled and bottled at Highbank Farm) and no sugar or sweeteners have been added. 

It is a bit sweeter than the Stonewell but finishes dry. It’s a delicious well-flavoured drink and really works well with food as we found out during the Sunil Ghai Special Lunch in Sage last year. Any drink that pairs well with Asian is worth noting, especially when you’re driving home afterwards. In fact, we enjoyed the pairing so much, we bought a second round of the Highbank! Probably one of the best of the Irish non alcoholic drinks.

Johnny Fall Down “Late Apples” 2017 5.5%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Light gold colour, no shortage of bubbles. No mistaking the orchard aromas. This one comes on strong, packed with complex flavour, smoky and spicy with a lingering dry finish. One for your short list for sure, from the new kids on the block at Killahora. 

At a tasting earlier in the summer, Killahora’s Barry said this Late Apples is driven by 30% Dabinett and lots of French varieties, some inedible as a fruit. And that this is designed “for food”. They suggest it is also one for the red wine drinkers and point the white wine drinkers in the direction of their Early Apples issue.

They say: "We work on what the year gives us. In the cidery, we do as little as possible to it. This deeper bittersweet, medium-dry cider is made from the late ripening, rare varieties of apples in our Cork orchards. Pair with darker meats, spicy food, cheese and oily fish.” Serve chilled, no ice!

Killahora was founded by two cousins, Barry Walsh and Dave Watson, with the goal of growing the best rare apple and pear varieties on Irish soil and to use artisanal techniques to turn them into award winning drinks. 

Dave brings a passion for and encyclopaedia-like knowledge of apple and pear trees, while Barry brings the wizardry of fermenting, blending and creating new drinks. “We make everything as naturally as possible with minimum intervention and use wild fermentation.Everything is handmade on site with 100% fresh juice and we take our time, allowing our products to mature for up to a year to get the most complexity of flavour.”

Highbank “Proper Irish Cider” 2016 6%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

This organic cider from Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchard has an amber colour, with fountains of bubbles rising. Aromas are tart and true to the orchard fruit. On the palate, it is just amazing, this masterpiece of deliciousness and refreshment and then that dry finalé. If Bach had made cider, he’d have been happy to put his name to a bottle like this, precise and satisfying from first drop to last.

They say: This traditional, dry cider grown and produced by Highbank Orchards Matured on its wild yeasts Highbank Proper Cider has no added sulphites, no added sugar and is Irish Organic with naturally high tannins. A delicious, refreshing drink, Proper Cider should be served chilled over ice particularly with a fish course.

Highbank Organic Orchards, owned and run by Rod and Julie Calder-Potts, produce their ciders in small batches with an emphasis on pairing ciders with different foods. All organic, with no added sulphites and gluten free, the cider apples are from Highbank’s own organic trees grown on Highbank Organic farm in County Kilkenny. It is a beautiful farm and this is a beautiful cider.

Longueville “Mór” Cider 8%, 500ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Longueville harvest

This Longueville House cider had a clear amber colour and pleasing orchard aromas. This is a medium cider with a delicious full flavour, slight touch of tannins (on the lips) and a satisfying finish. Rubert Atkinson of Longueville: “No ice! It waters down the flavours and kills the sparkle. Enjoy this like a wine, in a wine glass.”

Longueville House (near Mallow, Co. Cork) grow two varieties of cider apple, the Dabinett and the Michelin - “No chemicals and no pesticides”. The regular Longueville House Cider, has an abv of 5.9%. The sugar is natural and they use no extra sulphites. 

Longueville’s Mór gets its higher abv (8.00%) and distinctive flavour from fermentation (1 year) in their just-emptied apple brandy casks. “It is the same juice as the regular cider but is more robust, has more character, more flavour, well rounded, well balanced, really lovely.” I couldn't agree more! Made from 100% fresh apples. Contains only naturally occurring sulphites.

They say: William O'Callaghan and his father Michael before him have been fermenting exceptional craft cider and distilling Ireland's only Apple Brandy now for almost 35 years. We have brought the cider and brandy production to another level while maintaining the very natural and respectful processes of our fore fathers, the terroir and sustainability - crushing, pressing, fermentation, filtration, light carbonation, pasteurisation - all while using no pesticides, fungicides, insecticides or any other ‘cides in our orchards. 

One way they counter the aphids, a tiny bug that can do enormous damage, is to encourage the hoverfly by planting the likes of Fennel, Angelica and Yarrow. These attract the hoverfly, a natural enemy of the aphid.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Food Heroes. Three Courses. Three Sources.

Local Food Heroes.

Three Courses. Three Sources.


The best Panna Cotta ever. An exquisite Pâté. And a classic Beef Bourguignon. 

Three courses, sourced from three local food heroes, composed a very satisfactory evening meal last weekend. Chapeau to Farmgate Café, On the Pig’s Back and Annie’s Roast (and to Neighbourfood who have all three on their list). 

We may be restricted in our movements but thanks to being able to order online and to deliveries by Neighbourfood, and the work of the Blog Chef, we can still enjoy our meals. I’m sure many of you have found your own satisfactory solutions.

One thing about ordering online is that you can end up sometimes with too little, sometimes too much. We had been thinking about ordering Saturday’s evening meal in (via Click & Collect or similar) but then took stock of what was already in the house and came up with this very tasty alternative indeed.

Think I’ll start at the end with that amazing Panna Cotta from Annie’s Roast. Annie is probably best known to most of us for her market stall that features mainly ducks and chickens (which come from East Ferry Farm owned by her brother Rob and his wife Yvonne). By the way, she’s now taking orders, including goose and turkey, for Christmas

But she also does a variety of prepared foods and this rich and luxurious dessert is one of them. One to watch out for! This classic Italian sweet is made with delicate vanilla bottom and a fresh strawberry topping, using all local-licious produce including: buttermilk, cream, sugar, strawberries (€5.50). 

The starter, from the English Market’s Farmgate was also pretty rich, smooth and superb. Chef Pam Kelly and her team have come up with a very satisfying combination of Carrignavar Duck Livers and Longueville House Apple Brandy. And you get quite a tub of it for just over a fiver.

We’ve got in quite a few prepared snacks and meals from On the Pig’s Back via Neighbourfood. The Beef Bourguignon (€7.95) comes freshly frozen and has a shelf life of 3 months. But it was dispatched here after three days.

It is the traditional French stew prepared with beef braised in red wine and beef broth, flavoured with garlic, onions, carrots, and mushrooms. Serves 1-2. Suggested side (not included): Creamy mashed potato. It takes about 20 minutes to reheat - you get instructions!

We did add the mashed potato as suggested and this was yet another winner. Just top class quality beef, hearty and warming, a genuine traditional taste of the heart of France made right here in the heart of the city with the best of Irish ingredients. Superb. But then, the kitchen in On the Pig’s Back seldom (if ever) disappoints.

Farmgate Café 

On The Pig’s Back 

Annie’s Roasts  


Supporting local will be the aim again this weekend. Looking forward to trying the incredibly popular Dim Sum from O'Mahony's Watergrasshill. We missed on their first two offerings of it as it sold out very quickly. Third time lucky though! 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Blas na hÉireann 2020 winners announced!

Blas na hÉireann 2020 winners announced

Rubert Atkinson, Longueville House Beverages

In a year like no other, Blas na hÉireann announced the winners for 2020, with 34 winners from County Cork. With the annual pilgrimage to Dingle stalled, this year's winners tuned in from every corner of the country for a virtual celebration of the very best in Irish food. 


The team at Blas na hÉireann have been working tirelessly since March to ensure that Blas 2020 went ahead, maintaining their commitment to celebrating the very best in Irish food and drink. Chairperson Artie Clifford feels that now, more than ever, it is essential to shine a light and give that all important boost to the talented producers dotted around the island.


Sandra and Joe, Joe's Farm Crisps

The bronze, silver and gold winners from Cork across a range of different categories are Baked 4 U, Bandonvale, Bó Rua Farm, Caherbeg Free Range Pork Ltd., Centra - Inspired by Centra Made in store Salads, Coolmore Foods, Fitzgerald’s Butchers, Follain, Fresh Fish Deli, Glenilen Farm, Gloun Cross Dairy, Hanleys Puddings Ltd., Irish Yogurts, JDS Foods, Joe's Farm Crisps, Keohane Seafoods, Kepak, Kinsale Mead Co., Longueville House Beverages, Nohoval Drinks Co.Ltd T/as Stonewell Cider, Ó Crualaoi Feoil Teo, O’Keeffe’s Bakery, O'Herlihy’s Bacon Ltd., On The Pigs Back (La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd.), Rebel Chilli, Saturday Pizzas, Skeaghanore West Cork Farm, Spice O Life Ltd., The English Market, The Good Fish Company, Trace Of Cakes, Velo Coffee Roasters and West Cork Eggs Ltd. with Kepak winning best in county.


Winning again

Now in their 13th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them. The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.


Speaking after the announcements Artie mentioned, “The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – was strictly adhered to and measurably applied again this year despite the challenges we have all faced. We thank all our judges for their rigour and commitment, and as always we thank all our wonderful participants, producers and sponsors. While we missed our annual gathering in Dingle, we will join together to cheer on our colleagues and friends that were successful in this year’s awards and hope that it won’t be long before we can gather in Dingle once again.”


Kinsale Mead

Products from every county in Ireland were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver or Bronze Blas na hÉireann awards in over 140 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.

See all the 2020 winners here.


Friday, July 17, 2020

Drinks Theatre Summer Series: Cider, Perry and Mór

Drinks Theatre Summer Series: Cider, Perry and Mór

Colm McCan has been in touch with details of the first event of the Summer Series pop up drinks talks & tastings at the rustic Drinks Theatre at Ballymaloe.
"We are delighted to welcome Barry Walsh of Killahora Orchards Glounthaune East Cork - Rubert Atkinson of Longueville Beverages, Mallow, North Cork - Eric Bordelet Normandy represented by Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau
Saturday 25th July, 5pm, Drinks Theatre at Ballymaloe €15 pre booking essential eventbrite. Fully seated, socially distanced, restricted numbers." Link is here

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Little Night Magic in English Market. The Farmgate Supper Special

A Little Night Magic in English Market
 The Farmgate Supper Special

“If they were on every Friday night, I’d be here every Friday night,’ declared a delighted customer at the end of last Friday’s Farmgate Supper. And she was roundly applauded by the long table.

Even before the day softly and slowly turns to night, the Farmgate has much going for it, including an amazing wide-ranging larder from the market underneath, and the expertise of the kitchen. Then, when darkness shuffles into the corners of the city, the magic of the upstairs venue is enhanced, especially on the run-up to Christmas. Add in next the conviviality of the communal table and you have a winning hand of four aces. 

It’s a relaxed start; a glass or two of bubbles and an amuse bouche or two on the balcony. Soon we are being led into the famous restaurant, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary. And indeed, this series of suppers is part celebration of the 25th. There are still three nights more to come, all with the winning formula. Take your pick from 29/11; 6/12; or 13/12. Just letting you know before the lady from the other evening and her friends book them all up!

We nibble on soda bread and butter as the staff fill all the drinks orders, everything from excellent European wines, Irish beers to their own Elderflower Cordial. The initial small plate of Organic Beetroot, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, Hazelnuts, a classic combination of local ingredients, gets this part evening underway as people introduce themselves across the table.

Frank Hederman, whose fish stall is downstairs, was among the company and so it was entirely appropriate that his smoked salmon (mussels too) was on the next plate. In 2000, the New York Times said of Frank (as well as labelling him “droll”): “Mr. Hederman smokes fish, which is a little like saying Steinway makes pianos.” Not much one can add to that except perhaps to say that Frank (like his now veteran smokehouse which is increasingly more than a passive player in the process), has improved in the 21st century. By the way, another refreshing taste of the sea, in the form of a dressed oyster, came with the fish plate.

Back to Terra Firma and the next treat, from Chef Pam Kelly and her team in the kitchen, was Featherblade of Beef (from butcher Eoin O’Mahony downstairs) with Artichoke and Potato Dauphinoise. Featherblade has been a favourite around Cork over the last decade or so and this rendition, perfect in both quality and quantity, won’t have harmed its reputation in any way whatsoever.

Someone asked the following day if we had had music. We didn’t but the music of the animated conversations around the table was all that was needed. The next course was chocolate, a luscious Dark Chocolate Marquise, Brandy and Shortbread Biscuit. Actually that dessert did stop the conversation flow for a short spell. The finalé, a rather splendid (and local of course) one, soon followed: Milleens Cheese with fig compote.

Soon we were leaving in happy dribs and drabs. It’s cold outside, someone warned, but we were pretty well warmed at this point, happy too or happy out as we are inclined to say in these parts. In fact, we felt as if we were i gcorplár an tsamhraidh, the name of Cormac Mehegan’s 2012 painting reproduced on the cover of the menu card.

Inside the card, the producers and suppliers were acknowledged and here they are: Glenilen Farm, Kilbrack Farm, Ardsallagh Cheese, On the Pig’s Back, Hederman’s, O’Connell’s Fish, O’Mahony’s Butchers, Longueville House Apple Brandy, and Roughty Foodie.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Taste of the Week. Longueville House Irish Apple Brandy

Taste of the Week
Longueville House Irish Apple Brandy

The Longueville House Irish Apple Brandy, our Taste of the Week, is quite a while in the making. In Autumn, the apples, all from their own estate, are crushed and pressed within hours of harvesting. Four months of fermentation produces a cider and that is double distilled on site in copper pot stills. A four year maturation follows in French oak. Then it is bottled and sold.

No need for a mixer. “No mixer needed,” says Rupert Atkinson of Longueville Beverages.“It is very smooth, no burning and good for digestion, best after a good meal. If it feels a little cool, just warm it in the palm of the hand.” 

I can agree with all of that as I paid a lot of attention to my most recent encounter with this marvellous spirit. Certainly there is a hint of orchard in both aroma and flavour but there is more too, some spice included, all before a lingering and pleasing finish. No rush here, just sit back and savour each little sip!

There are 25 acres of apples and the orchard is close to 25 years old. No pesticides are used. One way they counter the aphids, a tiny bug that can do enormous damage, is to encourage the hoverfly by planting the likes of Fennel, Angelica and Yarrow. These attract the hoverfly, a natural enemy of the aphid.

The brandy comes from apples grown in the orchards of Longueville. The apples used are cider apples namely, Michelin (Normandy) and Dabinett (Somerset), grown in their orchards in the beautiful Blackwater Valley.
Harvest time at Longueville