Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Taste of the Week
Clogherhead Sea Salt & White Wine Vinegar Crisps
This Taste of the Week comes from Glens of Antrim Potatoes with no little help from Oriel Sea Salt in County Louth. I got a tip off on this one from a friend in Clogherhead and he was spot-on.
The Antrim company have been making crisps since 2015, cooking the thickly cut, skin-on slices in small batches for maximum flavour. And that Louth salt is seen to great effect here, its hit pure and precise. Add in the lasting tang of the White Wine Vinegar and you have a melange of texture and flavours from first bite until last.
Our Taste of the Week is one of four flavours available in the series, exclusive to Simply Better at Dunnes Stores. Also available are Clogherhead Sea Salt and Sweet Potato; Spiracha Chili; and Vintage Irish Cheddar and Red Onion, all available in 125 gram bags.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Lost in Muscadet Vineyard in Nantes.
And a Simply Better Surprise.
|Lost in Nantes? Encore?|
Domaine de la Fessardière “L’Air Innocent” Muscadet Sevre et Maine (AOC) Sur Lie 2015, €18.65 Mary Pawle
Brittany Ferries opened the Cork-Roscoff route in 1978 and, for quite a few years afterwards, virtually every Cork driver visiting France got lost in Nantes. Happened to myself once and I ended up in the vineyards to the south-east of the city (not the worst of outcomes, quite recoverable). French roads have improved a lot since then and now most major cities, including Nantes, have either a rocade or a périphérique.
Like most early ferry travellers, we didn’t go too far in the first year or two, mainly to the south of Brittany around Concarneau, Guerande and Carnac. The supermarché (even the odd hyper) were the main attractions for the first (and last) few days of the hols with the male eyes concentrating on the bottom shelves and the bottles of Muscadet for less than punt! Got a lot of it then (also Gros Plant, even cheaper) and that cheap stuff put many off the fruit of the Melon de Bourgogne grape for years.
Bit by bit though we began to realise that two very important words on the bottle were Sur Lie, though only a year or two back the somm in a five star hotel in Kerry didn’t seem to know them. Glad to say that this bottle is Sur Lie (raised on lees) and is a splendid offering via Mary Pawle Wines.
It has indeed been kept on its lees for six months. Besides there is no added sulphur and the fruit has been hand-harvested.The grape variety is the normal Melon de Bourgogne and the vineyard follows organic methods.
Mary says it is round and unctuous in the mouth and a good match with seafood or a semi-soft cheese. In addition, the producers recommend “fish in sauce, poultry with the cream, cooked cheese like the county (Comté, I presume) or Cantal.”
The name of this round, fresh and fruity wine, “L’Air Innocent”, emphasises this closeness to nature. Colour is a very light straw, bright and healthy looking. The aromas, delicate and appealing, are of white fruit (apple). Apple flavours are somewhat stronger than the scents and there’s a touch of citrus too, also a refreshing acidity, a tingle of minerality as well, and it also has a pleasant long finish. Highly Recommended.
First sip and a pleasant surprise. Yellow fruit flavours lead to a very pleasing palate. Nice bit of acidity too and all combine in a lovely finalé. The colour is a pale straw. Aromas of peach and apple hint of good things to come. A decent wine at a decent price from a surprising source as I wouldn’t have thought of Sicily as a hotbed of Pinot Grigio.
This wine has been exclusively selected for Dunnes Stores Simply Better. It is produced by Casa Fondata on the sunny island off the toe of Italy. Dunnes recommend it as a “perfect accompaniment to our Roasted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Mozzarella”.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Taste of the Week
Mella’s All Butter Rum & Raisin Fudge
No fudging about: I love Mella. I also love Miena but that’s a-nougat story. They can’t get away from me. They always hangout at the Simply Better section in Dunnes Stores.
And that’s exactly where I bought my little “bag” of All Butter Rum & Raisin Fudge, handmade with loads of Irish butter and tons of Mella magic in her kitchen in West Cork.
That potent amalgam of texture and flavour remains intact until you place a piece on your tongue. Then the melt-down begins. Everything else stops as the deliciousness spreads across the palate and spreads to other regions. A moment of paradise.
Sure it dissolves all too soon but the good news is that there is no less than one hundred and sixty grams of this superb mix of butter, raisins and Jamaican rum in the Simply Better pack. Put it on your resolution list for 2019!
Monday, October 29, 2018
Taste of the Week
Miena’s Handmade Nougat
|Miena Facebook photo|
Haven’t given Miena’s Handmade Nougat a shoutout since 2014 when I first came across the delicious bars in Bradley’s of Cork. And it was in the same shop that I got my latest selection, including the Almond and Pistachio, my Taste of the Week!
Made in small batches with locally sourced fresh ingredients, Miena has developed a recipe different from those used elsewhere. The result is a unique and uncompromising soft Irish Nougat.
There is a whole list of tempting nougat flavours coming from County Wicklow these days. You may have Almonds and Coconut, Almonds and Fig, Almonds and Mixed Berries, Roasted Almonds (I have one here as I write!), Chocolate Hazlenut and Cranberry, plus various selection boxes and tins. Christmas sorted!
And there’s more good news - these scrumptious prize-winning nougats are widely available, including in Dunnes Stores Simply Better and at Miena’s own online shop. For a list of stockists, please click here.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Taste of the Week
Burren Smokehouse Oak Smoked Organic Irish Salmon with Honey and Dill
Our Taste of the Week comes from the Burren Smokehouse via the Simply Better section of Dunnes Stores. You’ll find it difficult to find the Burren Smokehouse on the label (back). I really don't know why supermarkets don’t sell local products with the producer’s proper name highlighted on the front. Would make shopping a lot easier.
But, in this case, it is well worth it. Birgitta Curtin is the smokehouse owner and her smoking technique plus the addition of the dill and honey makes for a gorgeous rich texture and flavour, a flavour that is both deep and long.
You need very little else. Indeed, it's probably best to follow the simple serving suggestion on the back label: separate the slices of salmon 20 minutes before serving to allow it reach room temperature and then simply serve, with lemon wedges, on some fresh brown bread (preferably homemade, as was the case here, thanks to the official blog chef!).
If you want something a bit more complex, then get your hands on the current edition of Simply Better with Neven Maguire; he has a tempting recipe there for Eggs Benedict using Birgitta’s salmon.