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Wednesday, November 21, 2018
CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers
At The Bierhaus Cork, this Thursday, 7.30pm
Wicklow Wolf X Anspach & Hobday (London) Tap-takeover.
Meet the Wicklow Wolf Team & Anspach & Hobday owner/brewer (Jack Hobday)
3 Beers from Wicklow Wolf
3 Beers from Anspach & Hobday
1 Collaboration beer
Tastings promos on the night! Details on the Bierhaus Facebook page.
and if you want more Wicklow Wolf then you’ll find them teaming up with their friends Dungarvan Brewing Company at Dungarvan’s Merrys Gastro Pub for a 6 Course Beer Dinner, celebrating Irish Craft Beer on Friday the 23rd November.
Spanish Wine Evening at Rostellan Chocolate
Friday, November 30, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM
An evening of tasting 6 varieties of Spanish Wine with cheese and pates. Alejandro from Heart of Spain will present this event which promises to be a fantastic evening. Strictly limited tickets are on sale at an introductory price of €25 each. Contact Peter at 087 2908774 to purchase a ticket.
SuperValu Case Deal
Kate Barry of Barry & Fitzwilliam has been on to tell me about the terrific Villa Maria Case Deal exclusive to SuperValu.
6 different bottles of Villa Maria wine per case. The RRP for the pack is €105 – it is on offer in selected SuperValu stores at €70.00
The Buy 6 Save €10 starts next Thursday 22nd November and will run until December 24th - hence this will bring it down to €60.
Please note the Villa Maria Case Deal is a limited offer and once it’s gone it is gone!!
Mezze & wine pairings night in Ardkeen Quality Food Store.
Join us at the Barista Bar in Ardkeen Quality Food Store on Saturday 24 November for a Mezze & wine pairings night. Husband and wife team Dvir and Nicola of Mezze (Waterford locals) will prepare an authentic Middle Eastern feast with shared plates using the amazing locally sourced produce from Ardkeen Quality Food Store. Experience casual authentic Middle Eastern dining, ideas of how to use local produce to prepare bright and vibrant foods, and learn which wines work best with Middle Eastern flavours - all chosen by resident expert Julie Ward.
Tickets include 4 course vegetarian meal with wine tastings and must be purchased in advance.
Les Gourmandises have a Malbec wine & dinner on November 27th (7.00pm); details on their Facebook page.
Premium Irish whiskey tasting and 4 course tasting menu at Cronin’s Pub.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:30 PM – 10 PM
"Join us in Cronin's Pub, Crosshaven for a premium Irish whiskey tasting and 4 course tasting menu. We will be joined by Irish Distiller's whiskey ambassador Michael Cowman. Each whiskey will be paired with a specially prepared tasting menu from the Mad Fish Kitchen at Cronin's Pub.
Be amongst the first to taste the newly launched Red Spot, 15 Year Old Single Pot Still, which was discontinued in the mid-1960s and now rejoins Green Spot and Yellow Spot in Irish Distillers’ Spot Whiskeys range. It has been created using an old recipe handed down by the Mitchell & Son family of wine merchants, who created the original Spot Whiskeys in the early 1900s. We will be tasting this alongside Yellow Spot 12 Year Old.
This will be a night to remember! Starts at 7.30pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance."
Westport’s Mescan Brewery
“Delighted to announce the release of our Christmas beer, Beoir na Nollag!
We made a version of the beer 3 years ago and it was a huge success. This year's beer follows the theme but it's a new recipe. It's a strong dark beer 8.8% which was brewed in the spring and was cold conditioned in bulk for 6 months before transfer to Irish Whiskey casks for 2 months of barrel ageing. It was then dry hopped and bottle conditioned.
The flavour profile is malty, with dry fruits, warming alcohol and sublte notes of whiskey, wood and hops. Over time it will demonstrate an evolving complexity as it matures farther in the bottle so it's a beer that can be enjoyed now or cellared for later drinking.
We only bottled 1,000 litres but we hope not to run out before Christmas!”
And, speaking of Christmas specials, Eight Degrees have two beauties. Check them out here
Monday, September 11, 2017
Rostellan Hosts FEAST
Crustacean and Chocolate
|Courtyard at Rostellan Chocolate|
Lobster and chocolate featured on the menu as FEAST, the East Cork Food Festival, arrived at Rostellan last Friday night. The crustacean and the chocolate weren't on the same plate, by the way, as the music played and prosecco sparkled in the old courtyard. The opening hour weather wasn't all that promising - windy and showery - but soon relented and a pleasant evening ensued.
Peter could have brought all his guest indoors, into the spacious cafe that adjoins his chocolate factory, but that would have taken from the atmosphere and left the stallholders outside. The local Lobsterman was busy with an attractive list including Hot buttered Lobster in a roll (10.00) and Scampi (8.00). Very tasty stuff indeed, good value too.
|Needless to say, this box didn't last long!|
Stephen Bender’s cheese stall was another popular call. Based in Ballinrostig, the Dutchman produces a Dutch style Gouda from local milk. His basic cheese is Ballinrostig Gold. And then are are variations of that, such as Cumin; Smoked; Nettle; Red pepper, onion and garlic; Seaweed (Dillisk), along with a Nettle and Garlic cream cheese. We sampled the lot on a platter (with Ballymaloe relish and some bread) for eight euro.
I know Rostellan is only a few minutes out the road from Midleton but the new FEAST needs more satellite events like this one, more events too where you can spend as little or as much as you like. Great to see producers such as the Lobsterman (he was in his usual spot in Midleton Market on Saturday), Ballinrostig Cheese (they had a festival stall) and Rostellan Chocolate. Methinks there’s a blog post or two between them.
|Dutch orange for the gouda man!|
Just an idea, borrowed from West Waterford. Why not reach out to the producers in the general East Cork area during the festival? In Dungarvan, on the Saturday, four buses are organised, each with a different itinerary and each calling to three different producers.
This year, for €25.00, you’d have been bussed to Knockanore to taste local cheeses on Lonergan’s farm, then ice cream at Baldwin’s Farm, then cross the Blackwater to Cappoquin and visit Barron’s Bakery, finishing with lunch at the bakery. Lunch wasn't included the year I did that trip and the cost was halved.
Another example from the 2017 festival: Dungarvan Brewing Company for a brewery tour, Harty’s Oyster Farm, Criostal na Rinne and finishing with lunch in the café of Sólás na Mara. Something for FEAST to think about for next year!
|Music and bubbles|
Thursday, September 7, 2017
The Perfect Serve.
Ferrit & Lee on Distillery Walk.
It is a bright and lively room. No gourmet gravitas here. But Ferrit and Lee know their food and produced evidence aplenty at Wednesday night’s A Taste of East Cork 2017, one of the events of the current FEAST Festival in the area.
The FEAST emphasis is very much on local. Ardsallagh, Jameson, Ballycotton, Leamlara, Jim Crowley, Hegarty’s Cheese, Rostellan Chocolate, are all name-checked on the menu (below). I’ve often maintained that the small things on the menu, in the meal, can shine a light. And so it was here.
Take the crumble, for instance, the foraged berries in particular. What a splendid burst of juice and flavour! It immediately reminded me of picking a few blackberries at the edge of a warm Rougrane cornfield. Local and brilliant. Not flown in from Guatemala or Mexico.
Staying in the hedgerow. How about that elderberry jus with Jim Crowley’s feather-blade? Absolutely outstanding. And the humble mackerel was the highlight of one of the early dishes. Maybe not so humble anymore. They told me here they are scarce this year confirming what Bayview chef Ciaran Scully mentioned a couple of weeks back.
But back to the meal itself in a full and buzzing restaurant, previously known and loved as Raymond’s and now taken over by former employees Pat Ferrit and Stephen Lee. They have a welcoming crew out-front also, mixing East Cork smiles and chat with a calm efficiency throughout a busy evening.
The whiskey, ginger and lime cured salmon, with local crab and pickled fennel, was the perfect Jameson serve. The Ardsallagh cheese, an East Cork food icon at this stage, was perfect too with the honey and lime while the beetroot relish added a wee bit of piquancy.
And then came that marvellous mackerel with a delicious roast beetroot (another humble ingredient that has been “rediscovered” in recent years); great too to see the Leamlara micro greens making yet another appearance on local menus.
Oh, forgot to mention, there were two glasses of wine including in the meal, both from Liberty Wines and both made by New Zealander Graeme Paul in the Languedoc in the south of France. We started with his white, the Baron de Badassiere Sauvignon Blanc 2015. This was superb and Paul is in danger of putting some of his fellow Kiwis out of business with this quality. And that standard was maintained with the red, a fruity and spicy Baron de Badassiere Syrah 2016.
The feather-blade is by now quite popular in the Cork area and Ferrit and Lee’s version is in the very top rank, so tender and tasty. That shallot added a sweetness to the dish and the jus crowned it. That little croquet by the way, with Hegarty’s famous cheddar, also played a delicious supporting role.
|Salmon and crab|
And then not one but three desserts. The crumble, with those berries and the judicious use of ginger-nut, was more or less perfect and the Jameson panna cotta was pleasurably dispatched. I kept the chocolate dark and handsome, ’til last, leaving me looking forward to more good things to come from the Rostellan producer.
By the way, if you are free this Friday evening, a FEAST event is taken place in the courtyard of the chocolate shop in Rostellan. Lobster and prosecco, and chocolate of course, are on the menu. Ferrit & Lee will be one of eleven local restaurants in the big tent as the festival reaches a climax in the streets of Midleton tomorrow (Saturday). All the details here.
A Taste of East Cork 2017
Jameson, Ginger and Line Cured salmon, Ballycotton Crab cake and pickled fennel.
Honey and Lemon Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese Bon Bons, Beetroot relish and bacon.
Pan-fried Ballycotton mackerel, roast beetroot and Leamlara Micro Greens.
James marinated Jim Crowley’s feather-blade of Beef, caramelised shallot, carrots, Hegarty’s Smoked Cheddar croquette and elderberry jus.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Al Fresco in F-EAST Cork
Superb Sage Meal
|A sharing plate of one of our four starters, Ballycotton Smoked Salmon|
Kevin Aherne has some serious form when it comes to an outdoor feast. He has even one or two on board a small boat. Tuesday's outdoor event though was in the much more stable, much more comfortable courtyard at Sage, his Midleton restaurant famous for the #12 mile menu!
Of course, the food would be local and Kevin emphasised the importance of provenance as we sat down to eat at the Long Table. As soon as the starters arrived, the oysters, the salmon, the mackerel, the mussels, we were on a roll and total strangers began to chat and enjoy the occasion and the food.
It reminded me, to a degree, of the supper that often followed a day's threshing back in the day. But we wouldn't have had wine in those days, mostly bottles of stout and other beers. And, of course, it would have been in an open barn or in the farmyard, not under a heated canopy.
|The other starters: oyster, mackerel and mussels|
No doubt the forty or so of us gathered for this event, the second of FEAST, the newly rebranded food festival in East Cork, were soon in good form, especially after a glass or two of the lovely organic Cava, the Alta Allela, from a family vineyard close to Barcelona. The La Source blend of Vermentino and Chardonnay, another organic wine, was a delight and it accompanied our starters and the Le Caveau import from the Languedoc was an excellent match indeed.
Kevin, Réidin and their team were now busy, working hard to assemble the food for the mains. But there wasn't a problem (not that we noticed!) and soon the large group were tucking into the local duck and beef with the various sauces and side dishes. An amazing display of just how good local produce is once in the proper hands. Again that velvety wine from Portugal was just the job.
Just like the starters, there were four items for dessert, all delicious. Perhaps the highlight though, certainly for those around me, was the Bó Rua mature cheddar from just out the road. Then again was it the Wilkies 64% chocolate delice served as the memorable feast came to a sweet and appropriate conclusion.
Still time to enjoy a visit to FEAST. This Thursday evening, Ballymaloe is the venue for a Seasonal Cocktail and Feast. Tomorrow, take a trip to Rostellan for chocolate, cheese, shellfish, wines, prosecco, teas and hot chocolate in a historic courtyard. Saturday is the main event with demos and stalls all over Midleton. Highlight may well be the restaurant tent with 11 local restaurants serving small dishes for a fiver (max.) and a long table outside. On Sunday, it will be wind-down time in Sage with a #12 mile BBQ in the Courtyard.
Last Tuesday’s FEAST Menu in Sage:
|Local man Kevin.|
On arrival: Cava Alta Alella, a Brut Nature (biodynamic)
To Start: Ballycotton hot oysters, breadcrumbs, aged cheddar.
Ballycotton smoked salmon.
Pickled and charred Ballycotton mackerel.
Ballycotton mussels and Jameson cream.
La Source, Pays D’Oc 2016 (Vermentino/Chardonnay.
To Savour: East Ferry roast Aylesbury duck, spiced plum sauce.
Beef sirloin (James Walsh, Buckstown), béarnaise.
Pickled beet salad (Joe Burns, Killeagh)
Cauliflower gratin (Joe Burns, Killeagh)
Last of new the new potatoes with gremolata (Staffords, Roche's Point).
Beyra, Douro 2015; Alfrocheiro/Jaen/Tempranillo/Touriga Nacional
To Finish: Toasted mallow and lemon verbena posset, wild strawberries.
Wilkies 64% organic chocolate delice.
Soft Ardsallagh goats cheese, elderberries.
Bo Rua cheddar, Terry’s honey crackers.
Highbank Orchard organic proper dessert cider.
Monday, August 21, 2017
FEAST in the East.
Midleton Festival Expands.
I've been dipping into the FEAST website to see what's in store for visitors to East Cork in early September......
FEAST, the expanded East Cork Food and Drink Festival 2017, is building on a strong foundation laid by the 14 years experience of the Midleton Festival. Events will run from 4th to 10th September with the family favourite, the Street Festival, on Saturday 9th September.
Before the big day on the Saturday, there are quite a few restaurant highlights, beginning at the Bayview Hotel on Monday the 4th, where you are invited to “immerse yourself in the tastes, scents, sights and sounds of our Wild Atlantic Bounty... Be astounded by the creative, conjuring of Ciarán and his team over a Five-Course Tasting Menu... Drink it all in from the cliffside-splendour that is the Bayview at Ballycotton overlooking Ballycotton Bay and Harbour.”
The evening begins at 6pm with drinks on the spectacularly situated terrace, “followed by Ciarán’s imaginative and poetic Five-Course Seafood Celebration Menu and accompanying wines at 6.45pm.”
On the Tuesday, award-winning Chef Kevin Aherne invites you to join him in his SAGE Courtyard for a unique and memorable culinary event. Kevin will conjure up a Feast inspired by bygone eras and serve it in a traditional long table setting. Think roast pig, stuffed game birds, whole fish cooked on an open fire, ales, traditional cider, rounds of cheese, pies and tarts. Guests will dine outside under the heated canopy.
|Ferrit & Lee|
On the Wednesday, you may enjoy A Taste of East Cork in the Ferrit & Lee Restaurant, Distillery Walk, Midleton. To celebrate FEAST (East Cork Food and Drink Festival), they are hosting an event to showcase some of the fine produce East Cork has to offer. “We will be serving a 5 course tasting menu including two glasses of wine. There are only 40 seats available so booking early is advisable!”
Next up, on the Thursday, is a visit to Ballymaloe. The evening will begin at 7pm with Cocktails in the Walled Garden with Andy Ferreira (2017's World Class Irish Mixologist of the Year 2017 and representing Ireland in the World Class Global Final in Mexico). Andy will be using herbs foraged in the garden at Ballymaloe House.
Dinner will be served at 8pm in the Long Dining Room in the house and the 3 course 'Seasonal Supper' menu will be written and prepared by Rory O'Connell, Ballymaloe Cookery School co-founder and teacher, author, TV personality and former Head Chef at Ballymaloe House.
On the Friday, why not head to Rostellan for the Chocolate, Cheese & Shellfish at Rostellan Chocolate. “We are showcasing our local food producers featuring Ballinrostig Homestead cheeses and local shellfish supplier Michael Barrett (The Lobsterman). We will be matching their produce with our wines and prosecco and we will also provide our coffees teas and Rostellan Hot Chocolate in our historic Courtyard. The event, which is not ticketed, is from 5pm to 8pm on Friday 8th Sept with live music so come early to avoid disappointment!”
|Grow It Yourself (GIY). Advice, demos by the Courthouse in Midleton|
And then comes Saturday, the Major Event; all over Midleton town there are events and demos galore: Cooking Demos; Gin Demo; Grow Your Own Demo (outside the courthouse); The Long Table; the Restaurant Tent.
The usual Farmers Market will be on and look out for help and info from the folks of GIY. There is a Kids Area with Music Shows and Puppet Shows, Amusements of course. And you’ll also come across a Vintage Fair. A massive day, packed with food and fun.
For details on the Saturday and all the events during the week, click on the FEAST website here