Meet 2 Chocolatiers and 1 Chocolate Maker on 8th November

EARLY DETAILS

Timing
Date: Saturday 8th November 2014
Time: 6.30pm for 2 hours or thereabouts.

Venue: Highbank Orchard – http://www.highbankorchards.com. You will also be able to sample and buy from the wonderful range of Highbank Ciders – Proper, Medieval and Drivers.

Map showing entrance to Highbank – https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zFi7I69FJBfk.kkTe3qWzL_98

Link to buy tickets (only €8 to join us & €5 for Slow Food Members)

Who – and what?

There is a distinction at the making end of chocolate between making chocolate from scratch (from beans) and using couverture to make the finished product. We have (to my knowledge) only one two chocolate makers in Ireland (Wilkies & Hazel Mountain Chocolates) – one of those will be at an event with us in 2015 if I get my way :-).

Our 3 makers are:

Mary Teehan, Truffle Fairy

I’ve known Mary since she was experimenting with chocolates in her home kitchen and I had a personal interest in her expanding into a commercial setting because that capacity increase allowed her to introduce some vegan dark chocolate bars and truffles :-)

Mary truffles

Karen Keane, Bean and Goose

Karen is the co-founder of Bean and Goose together with her sister Natalie. They are based in Wexford and only kicked off last year (2013). It was their single origin bars that caught my eye – that and catchy branding.

Bean and Goose Chocolate

Alyssa Jade McDonald, Blyss Chocolate

Lyss is someone I have only “met” virtually. Known her for over 3 years and email, Twitter and Skype are how we have gotten to know each other. In one of those weird coincidences she works closely with someone who lives in Kilkenny! She is the first non-Irish based maker in the series and thats because she happens to be in Ireland in the week that this evening is on and her story is really interesting :-)

She is our Chocolate Maker and will share the story of bean to bar – from plantation to mouth.

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and here are the 3 in person (together with a stray sister)

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Thats it – gonna be a great way to wind up the first year of Biabeag :-)

Tickets here for €8 – samples and a chance to buy more on the night.

Keith

Thanks to @badgeranddodo @ponaire @roastedbrown for a great Meet The Roasters

Saturday evening was really enjoyable – between 55 and 60 people heard 3 passionate roasters talk about their businesses, their stories and what makes it work for them.

Some quick notes and video below – but first a couple of photos from the full set that Ken McGuire took on the night.

Jennifer Ryan, Ponaire

Jennifer opened and her main focus was on the work she has done on getting her supplies of beans certified. Interestingly, and this lead to discussion with the audience and also her fellow roasters, she found the Fairtrade certification to be extremely bureaucratic (17 page form not only for each bean but each size of packaging for the same bean from the same source). What was also revealing (and this was also said by Ferg) is that the premium paid in each case is not passed onto the consumer.

So more work and less margin. But she is adamant that it is so important to her personally and she also believes in it as a core brand value for Ponaire.

She also spoke about something that she does which is to buy the entire crop from either a small holding completely or a given area of it. All helping to build up the connection back to the grower.

Ferg Brown, Roasted Brown

This is a quiet man on the press and blog side so the majority of what he had to share on the night was new to me. He is “only” in business for a couple of years in his current location (having started off as a mobile coffee stand (#streetfood) and after an initial rocky start he bought from Brock for a while and learned loads from him!

When he moved into Curved Street he initially sourced from Hasbean and then, via a roasting course in the UK, came across someone who was about to invest in a roaster (Notes Roastery in London) and they came to a con-acre arrangement! So every 2 weeks Ferg goes to the UK and roasts half a tonne (this is from memory, I take zero responsibility for its accuracy) of coffee and bags it. They share the fun of sourcing green beans together from a Norwegian based direct trade supplier – Nordic Approach and he again learns loads from his roasting partners.

Ferg is growing the business slowly and does not yet want the pressure that his own roastery in Dublin will bring in terms of the volume required for payback on the investment. He expands by waiting for new business to come in (mostly from new cafes/coffee shops that are opening). As he puts it Dublin is too small to be poaching business off other roasters – it is not a game he wants to play.

He also wants to build up relations with one or two coffee farmers directly and to be able to visit them and work with them to develop and grow both businesses simultaneously.

Brock Lewin, Badger and Dodo

Brock got the chance to coffee-geek out a little as the last speaker and you could tell how much he enjoys it. He is the largest of the 3 with 150 trade customers and plans for his own place in Galway which is opening in October.

So he shared a little of his back story (with a sidebar on the strong coffee culture in Melbourne), and then spoke about the growth of his business and how he has changed and adopted to that growth. Stuff like being a judge in the Barista championship had to be stopped (because of time pressure) but the importance of Barista’s in the chain is carried through in the business through his insistence on his customers having fully trained barista’s on staff with training from Vin being provided as part of that.

On the geeky side of coffee brewing you will need to watch the video – wayyy too much detail to include here and if I got it wrong there is a chance he would hunt me down :-).

Thank you’s

Thanks to Jennifer, Brock and Ferg for coming to Highbank and sharing their passions. Thanks to the audience who came along (including a couple who travelled from Northern Ireland! They worked it into a visit to friends in Callan). And thanks to Ken for his pics and video and to our hosts Julie and Rod in Highbank Organic Orchards for the unseen work they put in each time to set the stage for this events.

Improvements for next time

A couple of things that will be done to improve the next one – Meet the Chocolatiers and Chocolate Maker. We will start at 18.30 and not 18.00 to give people a chance to finish off Saturday commitments and get in on time. And I will work harder to ensure that the sharing by the panel is opened up to questions and interaction with the floor :-)

Comments and feedback welcome as always.

Keith

Great @slowfoodhq video that explains Slow Food Movement clearly in under 2 minutes

This is worth a quick watch – really clearly communicated and executed by the team in Italy.

Slow Food South East will be briefly explained and introduced at Meet The Roasters on Saturday and we will have membership forms and be there to answer questions. Inbetween coffee imbibing :-)

keith

If you were in an Irish hotel room and snacky – what products would you like to see?

This request came in (great to see) from a soon to open Irish boutique hotel – they want to use Irish artisan long life food products in their mini bar.

So I’m thinking the following with addition of suggestions just now on Twitter (I will keep adding to this and please add comments too).

Crispy and Savoury

Keoghs Crisps

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Veronicas

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Scratch My Pork (with thanks to Jaq)

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O’Donnells

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UPDATE – Joe’s Farm Crisps

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Sweetness

Natasha’s Living Food (ta to Tommy)

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Wilkie, Bean and Goose and Hazel Mountain

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Wiltons (ta to Nassir)

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UPDATE – Foods of Athenry – Cookie Shots #gf #vegan

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Apple Juice

Highbank

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The Apple Farm (ta to Bernie)

sparkling

Other snack things

Boilie Goats Cheese Pearls

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Cherries – Bee Sensations

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D P Connolly – all sorts (ta to Emily)

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Tastefully Yours Chilli Sauce for dipping into

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Irish Craft Beers – so so many

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UPDATE: Dee’s Moroccan Veg Pot

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Thats it for now – please leave comments with other suggestions and I will pass onto the hotel concerned. Ta to all who helps on Twitter!

Keith

Meet The Roasters – the backstory of a @planetbeancafe coffee bean

On 20th September we will be looking at how to properly roast great coffee beans so that their magic can be tasted and enjoyed. But that taste starts with the grower and harvester. 

This 5 minute video (from Fairtrade company Planet Bean in Ontario, Canada) tells the story of their growers, pickers and dryers.

Thanks to them for sharing. For more on Meet The Roasters click here

Keith

Meet The Roasters. Brock, @badgeranddodo

Brock kicked off in 2008 and I have been a consumer of his beans for a couple of years (or longer). I do stray from time to time but keep coming back to his fair-trade and organic bean: Sumatra Aceh – Gegarang village.

He started at the front end of the trade (as a Barista and now a judge for the Irish competitions) and moved to roasting. Like our other two roasters at Meet The Roasters he’s proud of the end product and equally proud of the roasting that is part of the process that leads to an outstanding cup of coffee.

Here he is on his roasting machine…. “DOCTOR O”

Our customised cast iron, 30Kg roaster. Roasting entirely via a soft fluid bed of hot air, gives a smoother richer flavour. We coupled this a state of the art modulating profile system which allows us to develop ideal ‘roasting recipes’ (ie profiles) for every bean type. This profile system ensures precise repeat-ability – right down to the degree and second. In an industry where ‘consistency is king’ this is a vital piece of technology.

More information on the Saturday 20th Sept event and bookings here.

K

 

Meet The Roasters – Ferg, @roastedbrown

Back in 1996 I learned HTML in a premises on Curved Street in Temple Bar. I can’t remember if coffee was a thing for me then – I suspect it wasn’t and couldn’t have been given the lack of roasters and good coffee shops in Ireland.

It is now. And Curved Street is home to Roasted Brown, a small scale coffee roaster and coffee shop too. I’ve never met Ferg who is the owner/roaster so I’m looking forward to that on the 20th at Meet The Roasters.

Right now (and as far as I can tell from their Facebook and Twitter feeds, no website?) they roast for Love Supreme, Grove Road, The Happy Pear and Bias all in Dublin.

And a video of Ferg via The Happy Pear :-)

More on the event on the 20th here (which also features Brock, Badger & Dodo and Jennifer, Ponaire)

Keith