Showing posts with label Templegall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Templegall. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen in Barrack Street

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen

Turbot starter

Hadn’t been to Barrack Street’s Pigalle for quite a while. With our 6.00pm dinner reservation, we were among the first to get to the venue last Saturday night, and it was quiet. Only for a moment! Five minutes later, the place was full, the buzz began and never stopped. We joined with the engaging staff, as the music played, lots of chats and laughs began, and in between there were a series of expertly thought out and executed dishes from a menu that is not repeated anywhere around this town.

Many restaurants do of course use local produce and so does Pigalle: Skeaghanore Duck, Kilbrack Farm, Macroom Buffalo, Ballea Lamb (via O’Mahony’s in the English Market), Velvet Cloud, Valentia Island Vermouth, West Cork Tofu, Rossmore Oysters and much more. Lots of good organic and natural wine here also, a selection of cocktails, Beamish of course (it is the drink in this street) and also Franciscan Well. Glad to see also that Sligo’s White Hag had two taps and we went on to enjoy their Lager and Atlantean IPA.

Duck, pic via Pigalle

We skipped the opening snacks of Rossmore Oyster with Tomatillo Chutney and the Courgette Bhaji with Macroom Buffalo Ricotta. Concentrated on the starters of which there was a short but tempting selection including a special of Razor Clams, Nduja, White Hag's Atlantean IPA Sourdough. Another featured Ballyhoura Wild Mushroom, another Macroom Buffalo Bocconcini.

No shortage of spices here and both of our choices had some. CL’s was Skeaghanore Duck Laab, House Sriracha, Kohlrabi Som Tam, Purple Basil (€10.00). Also known as Larb this a lively and lovely salad and was very much appreciated. 

I picked the Turbot Ceviche, Cucumber, Yuzu, Pickled Chilli, Vietnamese Coriander (€10), a gorgeous palate-waking dish that combined South American and Asian in a cosy old spot on an ancient Cork street. Is the world getting smaller or what? No doubt though our tastes are expanding as peoples interact across the globe. Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep all interactions peaceful.


It wasn’t all peace and quiet here in Pigalle. Here, you talk that bit louder, laugh a little louder. There was a party in the back room but the happy vibes were all over the place and we took it all in as we sipped the beers and waited for our mains. They didn’t take long. The crew here have time for the chat but are also on the ball.

I had the wonderful rump of lamb, a captivating combination of Ballea Lamb, Marquez Sausage, Aubergine, Smoked Beetroots, and Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yoghurt (26). A slightly offbeat ensemble really but it all came together gorgeously, the lamb had of course the lead role yet everything else on the plate, especially the beetroot and the yogurt, had their moments. Bravo! And thumbs up also for our other mains, the fish special of Pan fried Bream with Valentia Island Vermouth Velouté, Confit Fennel, and Charred Leeks (€24).

The other choices available were Smoked Peanut Sambal, West Cork Tofu, Buckwheat Noodles, Sprouting Broccoli,Tomatillo, and Blackened Hake, Scallop, Langoustine Curry Butter, Pickles, Squid Ink.  

There were sides also on offer and we picked the Fried Rooftop Farm Potatoes with Hazelnut Parsley Butter (4). That rooftop farm is downtown, in Cornmarket Street, and their Green salad was another of the sides.

We weren’t, at a quick first glance, immediately impressed with the three desserts on offer but, considering what had gone before, a second reading was in order and was followed by an order. Good decision! 

We went on to enjoy the Killeen Cumin Goat's Gouda, Templegall Cow's Cheese, Apple Jelly, & Crackers (€10) and also Blackberry & Cider Jelly, Marshmallow, Honey & Lavender Ice Cream (€8). The Blackberry & Cider jelly was excellent while the cheese (in generous quantities and enhanced by the superb apple jelly) was a treat. I always enjoy Hegarty’s but hadn’t come across this Killeen before (will be looking out for it now).

* Pigalle are continuing with their 3 courses for €35 option on Wednesdays and Thursdays, where all the dishes are from the main menu and that means good food and great value.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Morning at Hegarty’s Cheesemakers. In Whitechurch with Jean-Baptiste

Morning at Hegarty’s Cheesemakers
In Whitechurch with Jean-Baptiste
Ready to go. Cheesemaker Jean-Baptiste

It is 9.45am when I arrive at Hegarty’s farm on the outskirts of Whitechurch, less than twenty minutes north of Cork City. Here, I’m greeted by Dan Hegarty, the frontman for their magnificent cheddar cheese that has been snapped up by restaurants and retail customers alike over the past 16 years or so. For the past three years, he has had the considerable help of French cheese-maker Jean-Baptiste Enjelvin.

Jean-Baptiste had been on duty from earlier that morning and he helps me get my kit on as I start to note how he makes their Templegall, a Comté style cheese, which has been getting sensational reviews over the past few months. 
Savoir faire. Checking the curds, by hand!

The Bordeaux native, who holds a Masters in Agriculture, Food Processing, Marketing and Management, is tasked here with the development of a new range of hard cheeses, including the new one (also similar to Gruyère), speciality cheddar and smoked cheddar.

The focus today though is on the Templegall. The vat, a beautiful 60 year old copper one, is full of fresh milk. The outside is made of stainless steel and temperature controlled water circulates in the enclosed cavity. Patience and timing are key in cheesemaking as is the personal touch, elements all common to artisan food producing. You can have all the high tech gear but a feel for the cheese (in this case) is just as important. Savoir faire is the term Jean-Baptiste uses.
Almost there

He waits until the milk - the culture and rennet had already been added - thickens, judging how quickly his scoop spins around on the surface. As it slows, he knows the perfect moment is approaching. And when it does, he starts to cut the curds. 

The cut for the Comtè style is smaller than that for cheddar. And he can’t afford delays at this point as there is an optimum window of just four minutes. “You have to do it quickly, otherwise the curd is not what you want,” Jean-Baptiste tells me. The more it is cut the more whey is lost and so the dryer the cheese.
Filling the moulds

And the cheesemaker’s touch is vital here. “You must get it as regular as you can. Too big, you get too much water. Too little could block the mould.”

That done, a paddle attachment starts to spin in the vat and the aim now, as the temperature rises slowly to 56 degrees, is to get those little curds as moisture free as possible. He regularly takes a fistful into his hand, squeezes them to check the moisture. He hands me some to taste. Don’t think he expects me to eat the lot but I do (I've missed my ten o'clock break!), and enjoy it. 
Water is squeezed out as the solids find their place

In the meantime and as the steam rises, we take a look at the stored cylinders of Hegarty’s renowned Cheddar. They are clothbound, it keeps in the moisture, and Jean-Baptiste is delighted with their progress, pointing to the older ones and telling me he loves the signs of mould and mites!

Comté in France is made mostly from the milk of Montbeliarde cows but Jean-Baptiste says they are not necessary to the process here. “We are making an Irish cheese, so we use milk from Irish cows.” And the cows here at Hegarty’s are Friesians. Templegal production in Whitechurch is now winding down for the year as it is only while the cows are out there eating grass that the milk is used for the cheese. “Sileage is not suitable for Templegal,’ insists Jean-Baptiste.

The wheels, in their reinforced casings, will stay here for the night.

In the brine
Jean-Baptiste, who plays rugby with a local club, is enjoying “the craic” in Ireland and is amazed how much the Irish love Mediterranean food.

Back to business now as the contents of the vat are pumped into the moulds. The water and the whey are forced out under the pressure and drain away and after a few minutes, during which the cheesemaker is working flat-out, we are left with two wheels full of the cheese solids. Weights and pressure are applied and the wheels are left overnight, during which time the cheese will lose more water.

Hygiene is crucial at every point and now Jean-Baptiste has a lot of washing up ahead of him, even though he has been cleaning up in any spare minute during the past hour or two.

The wheel, which weighs upwards of 40kg, will spend one full day in brine. After that, “you must look after it, wash it every 2 or 3 days as the rind forms. Bacteria will cover the cheese in red and that helps keep moisture in. I don’t want to end up with a cheese with cracks or holes in it!”
A couple of young wheels

Mould forming in the cheddar
So how long will these big wheels be stored for? Nine months is minimum, 12 months is optimum, “18 months, if we can”. That last period though may not suit Dan’s bank manager!

Now I take the gear off and taste a piece of mature comté before leaving. It is exquisite! Very Highly Recommended. Do try and get yours hands on some. I did, thanks to Jean-Baptiste who handed me a large slice of Templegall as we said au revoir!

Brothers Dan and John Hegarty are the fifth generation of Hegarty dairy farmers.  At the turn of the century, they faced a familiar problem on Irish farms. And like many before them, and since, they found a way to diversify and add value by going into cheese production, a solution that allowed both stay on the farm.