Here’s what’s going on in the world of Irish food...
There are more than a few food ‘awards’ out there to be garnered, some are genuine recognitions of commitment and craft in the food industry with no commercial gain involved for those doling out the awards while others are less altruistically motivated and one or two are downright spurious.
Exception, however, will always be made for the Cáis for its membership is made up of the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers who have done everything and more to bring Irish food to where it is now.
This year’s Supreme Champion, announced at an awards dinner in the Ballymaloe Grainstore last week, was Tom Burgess’ exquisite Mount Leinster Clothbound Coolattin Cheddar which also picked up Best Cow’s Milk Cheese, while Best Goat’s Milk Cheese went to St Tola Ash Log (Inagh Farmhouse Cheese) and Best Other Milk Cheese was handed to Cashel Crozier Blue. A full list of winners (www.irishcheese.ie) is worth perusing if a body were planning on constructing the mother of all Irish Cheeseboards.
The citywide Cork Science Festival furnishes a most intriguing programme, not least those events devoted to food and beverages. For those interested in that burgeoning new area of nutrition centred around gut health, APC Public Forum: Sport, Nutrition & the Microbiome, at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, has assembled a panel of food scientists and sportspeople to explore its impact on performance and would be of especial interest to any involved in sports, particularly at a high level, but will be of equal appeal to the ordinary citizen interested in improving health and wellbeing. Greene’s Restaurant and Cask Bar come together for Alchemy of Food, with Greene’s chef Bryan McCarthy furnishing a light tasting menu and will discuss the scientific theory behind the tastes while Cask bar manager Andy Ferreira explores the science of cocktail making.
Cocktail Chemistry, at Edison Cocktail Bar, sees a team from Queens University, combine chemistry and cocktails to examine how science affects and changes your perception of colour and taste while Rising Sons Microbrewery and Brewpub conduct the Science of Beer tours and tastings.
It’s rather shameful that so many public houses continue to ignore or offer little more than token support to the Irish craft beer sector. However a truly local new initiative from bars in Limerick’s Market Quarter, sees them come together with Treaty City Brewery to produce a special one-off beer for the participating pubs, The Market Quarter Beer (see tasting notes below).
Author & Historian Turtle Bunbury will be the guest speaker at a special long table dinner (Nov 17) to discuss his new book, 1847 A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity & Savagery, which promises to be a fascinating evening of intellectual fodder along with some very wonderful fare for the belly, in Ballyvolane House. www.ballyvolanehouse.ie
Bryan’s Honey at James Scannell’s wonderful Knockmealagula Apple Stall, in the English Market, is produced from hives established earlier this year in James’ orchards, in Ovens, just west of Cork city. A pale, butter-coloured, non-runny concoction, it has a powerful sweet bouquet that lingers in the nose. It has a soft, fudgy granular quality but a the flavour packs a mighty punch, with deep caramel notes and a sweet floral finish. Very fine indeed with a hunk of Cáis Tíre cheddar. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beer of the week
Treaty City Thomond Red Ale, 4.7% ABV, 500ml — €3.65
Stockists: O’Briens Stores nationwide, Fine Wines Limerick and Cork widely available in Limerick in both on and off-trade.
Craft brewing in Ireland is now at 2% and the big boys are getting aggressive and piling the pressure on small pubs. The wise publicans in the Market Quarter of Limerick have fought back however and joined with Treaty City to create an excellent light ale that gives them better margins and welcome exclusivity.
If you can’t get to Limerick to try it then this is fairly widely available — rich dark red in colour, aromas of red fruits and malted barley with a touch of spice, rich and full flavoured with a dry light hop finish.
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