Gourmet gong winners yet to be announced

Having regained his decorum, after a bout of illness, it is straight back to business for The Menu.

Beginning with news of his recent meeting with fellow scribes in the Food Writers’ Guild of Ireland, to adjudicate at the august body’s annual food awards for Ireland’s best food producers. This judicial conglomeration of the country’s best food writers ensures the awards are amongst the most truly prestigious of the annual clatter of gourmet gongs and The Menu will keep you informed of eventual winners in the coming weeks. www.irishfoodwritersguild.ie

Some imbibing is in order for festive preparations

Tis well-known that The Menu does enjoy a fair libation to wash down fine vittles, so there is news of some fine food-and-drink combos looming. The upcoming Curious Wine Christmas Fair sees one of The Menu’s favourite local independent wine retailers reprise their splendid annual tasting beano in Cork’s Gresham Metropole (Nov 23, 2-6pm) featuring top local food producers and a selection of splendid wines from all over the world. They’re there to be sampled and earmarked for the Yuletide feast, or any other day of the year, for that matter (www.curiouswines.ie). Rhone Wine Week (Nov 25-30) is an initiative by another fine indie wine retailer, Tyrell’s, to promote the merits of wines from one of The Menu’s most favoured of all regions. Magnificent pairings of grub and glug will be found the length and breadth of the country, including tastings at Cork’s L’Attidude 51 (Nov 26) and wine dinners at Waterford’s La Boheme (Nov 27) and the very wonderful Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan (Nov 29) (www.RhoneWineWeekIreland.com). Last but not least, On the Pig’s Back in Cork, welcome the Beaujoulais Nouveau to their Douglas emporium (Nov 29) for what sounds like a most entertaining evening of eating and drinking. (www.onthepigsback.ie)

Dusting down the style for Longueville House

The Menu’s personal milliner is readying his battered old silk stovepipe that he might squire his beloved Mrs Menu to an evening of pre-Christmas shopping for the ladies at the divine Longueville House — a far cry from braving the crowds of a Christmas Eve as is his more usual modus operandi. There will be mulled wine, bubbly and nibbles to hand to further ease the ‘burden’. www.longuevillehouse.ie

(Finally, The Menu is very grateful, for all the kind messages of support, and to the venerable Pól Ó Conghaile for covering for him during his recent absence.)

Today’s special

The Menu is rarely surprised these days but the sweet, nutty hum of hazelnut from On the Pig’s Back duck liver pate knocked him for six. What knocked him for seven, eight and nine, was learning there is nary a nut within five miles of its making and The Menu’s squirrel-like nasal epiphany was nothing more than a happy accident of the wonderfully simple blend of fresh duck liver, port, butter and seasoning. www.onthepigsback.ie

Coopers Sparkling Ale 375ml, 5.8% ABV — €2.49

Stockists: Widely available: Bradleys, O’Donovans, McHughs, Vintry, Drinkstore.ie, Desmonds Next Door.

Coopers Brewery was established in 1862 in Adelaide. The green-label pale ale and red-label sparkling ale are bottle-fermented and Coopers recommend you give the bottle a gentle rock from side to side to stir in the sediments and intensify the flavour.

The sparkling ale has crisp fresh flavours with some hop complexity and a dry finish with just a touch of bitterness.

— Leslie Williams


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