The Menu: Awards and celebrations

John Coleman, of Fermoy’s Grand Hotel, mixes up his Bee Right With You, winner of the 2018 Irish Cocktail Festival Best Cocktail

All this week's food news from Joe McNamee.

GOING FOR GOLD

It has been a particularly successful recent spell for the food and hospitality sector on Leeside.

The 2018 World Cheese Awards in Norway saw Ireland and Cork, in particular, fare very well considering the global competition from a record-breaking 3,500 cheeses in completion, including Gold for Ardsallagh’s Corabbey, silver for Macroom Buffalo’s ricotta, while other Menu favourites, St Tola and Cashel Blue also picked up gold.

But truly warming the cockles of his heart was the gold for the Milleens Cead, not only an all-time favourite cheese, but also its awarding a tribute to the spirit of the late, lamented Veronica Steele whose legacy is being carried on with aplomb by her son Quinlan Steele.

Meanwhile, Jack Lenards of the freshly Michelin-starred The Mews, in Baltimore, brings further glory to West Cork, winning Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition, where he was mentored by Mews head chef Ahmet Dede (euro-toques.ie).

Finally, congratulations to cocktail barman John Coleman of Fermoy’s Grand Hotel who picked up Best Irish Cocktail 2018 for his hyper-locavore Bee Right With You (including Blackwater Gin, inhouse S Bees honey bitters, flowers from Botanica & Co, Fermoy) at the Irish Cocktail Festival (greatirishbeverages.com).

BIRTHDAY BREWS

The 20th birthday (Nov 27) celebration for Cork’s Franciscan Well promises to be an absolute and thoroughly deserved belter with a limited edition Birthday Brew, a farmhouse ale, on tap for the night, along with live music and brewery tours of one of the original pioneering brewer/pubs. (facebook.com/Franciscan-WellBrewPub)


BETTER KITCHENS

Chef Network Skillnet, the training arm of Ireland’s professional chef community Chef Network, launches its Better Kitchen Workplace Charter aimed at fostering an improved working environment in the pro kitchen, at a Kitchen Culture Seminar (Nov 20) in the Dublin offices of LinkedIn.

It includes a food and drink reception by Gather & Gather and a panel discussion featuring chefs Danni Barry, Domini Kemp, and Chad Byrne, with Ella McSweeney. (chefnetwork.ie).

THANKSGIVING

It seems the American holiday of Thanksgiving (Nov 22) gains greater traction on this side of the Atlantic with each passing year and exiled Yanks are well served with several traditional Thanksgiving dinners of the highest order, including: Waterford’s wonderful La Boheme (labohemerestaurant.ie); The Twelve, in Galway, in association with Tindal Wines (thetwelvehotel.ie); and The Lodge at Ashford Castle, also featuring live entertainment and a welcome reception (thelodgeac.com).

GOLDEN PUDDINGS

A tad early to make mention of the as-yet unmentionable but special dispensation must be granted for a tasting (Nov 24) in the Roughty Food Emporium, in the English Market, of Christmas cakes and puddings made by Barnabrow House’s talented head chef Stuart Bow, the latter exclusive to the Roughty and, of course, the lovely old East Cork country house itself.

What’s more, going full Willie Wonka, a select number of puddings contain a golden ticket for some truly smashing prizes including: Dinner for two on Women’s Little Christmas; Valentine’s dinner for two; and a weekend break at the Barnabrow House cottages (barnabrowhouse.ie; facebook.com/TheRoughtyFruitKing).

TODAY’S SPECIAL

The Menu has long been partial to the Lismore Food Company’s refined range of edible comestibles so his curiosity was piqued on receipt of a new product from the same stable, specifically, Crisp Apple Sticks (plain, milk chocolate or dark chocolate).

A delightfully simple concept, no reinvention of any wheel, just skinny dehydrated ‘sticks’ of Jonathan apples, crunchy of texture and possessed of a most becoming tart sweetness.

The milk chocolate offers mild smokey notes that only gradually release tart apple flavours (thelismorefoodcompany.com).

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