The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee


The Cork Chocolate & Baking Weekend (Nov 22-24) at Cork International Hotel sounds especially promising, including a chocolate-themed dinner, workshops covering: Beer and Chocolate Pairing; Wine and Chocolate Pairing; Cocktail Masterclass; Sourdough Made Easy; and for the bakers, How to Make an Amazing Christmas Cake; Painting on Cakes; and Icing Cakes.

The children’s zone offers cookie decorating, baking, story telling, face painting and other activities while the Cookery Demo Marquee features world-renowned chocolatier and patissier, William Curley, along with leading Irish bakers.

The Great Cork Bake Off sees 15 selected finalists being judged by Paul Kelly, Executive Pastry Chef of the Merrion Hotel and Judge of the Great Irish Bake Off.


A concerted Corkonian drive to emphasise the merits of genuinely good Beaujolais sees several events taking place on what is usually one of the wildest nights of the French wine calendar, Beaujolais Nouveau (Nov 21). Leeside’s nomads of the grape, L’Atitude 51—still awaiting a post-fire return to their Union Quay headquarters— take over Barrack Street’s Apple Market (Home to Neighbourfood) with a Parisian-style street festival featuring natural winegrowers.

L’Atitude 51 are hosting five different producers and Ali’s Kitchen will be supplying delicious hot food, the aim being to recreate a Parisian street night in the 18th century warehouse that was formerly home to Cork’s Apple Market (booking essential- email

Cork’s original Soiree Beaujolais Nouveau @ON the Pigs Back, in their Douglas outpost and hosted by long Hibernicised Frenchwoman Isabelle Sheridan offers a substantial Aperitif Dinatoire along with the Beaujolais and always draws a large crowd of locally domiciled French people and also offer a special weekend deal from their English English Market outpost, in collaboration with fellow traders, Bubble Brothers, of a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau G Duboeuf, a raw milk camembert and an Arbutus baguette, all for €20.

Bubble Brothers themselves take over the Everyman theatre bar, on MacCurtain St for an exclusive tasting, not only of the 2019 vintage BN but other classic crus from the region. (tickets:

[h2]BURREN LONG TABLEOne of The Menu’s most favourite of all hotels in Ireland, the boutique Gregan’s Castle Hotel, in the heart of the Burren, offers a Long Table Burren in Winter Dinner (Nov 21) featuring the sublime cooking of chef Robbie McAuley, a perfect tonic for winter blues. (


The Franciscan Well brew pub run a coffee, chocolate, stout and spirit-themed Espresso Martini Festival (Nov 22-23) in their Monk cocktail bar in partnership with Three Fools coffee, working with local spirits providers Jameson, West Cork distillers, Kinsale Rum and David the Chocolatier.


Euro-Toques Ireland It’s A Wild Game is an event series celebrating Ireland’s winter bounty throughout November with producer activities and dining events throughout the country including the Stoneybatter Forage and Urban Bounty Dinner with chef member Seáneen Sullivan at L.Mulligan Grocer and Eurotoques members host a national celebration (November 21) with a dish or full menu experience, with Cork’s Ali’s Kitchen amongst the participants. (


It doesn’t take much to get The Menu to write about a good new Irish coffee Roastery but the generosity of Dublin based company Upside’s Movember special offer, adds further impetus as Upside are donating a staggering €5 from every bag (retailing at €8.50) sold of a limited edition collaboration with Movember Ireland, which works out at almost 60%.

The coffee, a natural process Brazilian yellow catuai (Luciano Neder’s Sitio Samambaia farm) is very much the real deal, nicely poised in the mid-range of the taste spectrum with a balanced medium body and mild acidity, its nutty sweet chocolate flavours culminating in a rich fruity finish.


Grace O’Malley Heather Gin, 43% ABV, 70cl - €44

Stockists: Celtic Whiskey Shop Dublin & Killarney, L. Mulligan, Drink Store, Independents,

Grace O’Malley Whiskey launched earlier this year and now comes a companion gin. Fourteen botanicals are used with a distinct nod to the West of Ireland including heather, fraughan, blackthorn, red clover and wild thyme.

The gin is made with a juniper forward nose, distinct herbal notes and a light floral background. Spiky and crisp on the palate with a

saline tang and a creamy finish with lingering citrus and thyme notes. This worked well with both elderflower tonic and Poachers Citrus and I found an orange slice worked better than lemon or lime.

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