Irish Breads from Irish Grains

Since the real bread sector started to kick into life 5 plus years ago one of the most exciting things to watch has been the emerging collaborations between growers, millers and bakers.

This taps into trends around local food, connecting food products on the shelf back to farmers and also into our use of heritage grains.

Saturday 14th September, 6.30pm for 2 hours in Highbank Organic Orchard. 

Book tickets here or read more.

Growing, milling and baking Irish breads

Joining us will be:

  • Sarah Richards (Seagull Bakery, Tramore) and Rob Mosse (Kells Mill, Kilkenny) who will talk about their work in re-establishing local grain growing and milling.
  • Joe Fitzmaurice (Riot Rye Bakery, Cloughjordan) and Bruce Darrell (organic grower, Cloughjordan EcoVillage) who will share their joint project to grow grains in Cloughjordan and then make bread on the same site.
  • Emma Clutterbuck (Oak Forest Mills, Kilkenny) who are starting to grow and mill organic (in conversion) grains such as spelt, wheat, einkorn and barley.

There are many challenges as well as excitements in making Irish bread from Irish grains and we will get to hear about them all – and taste great breads too 🙂

Click here to book tickets.

Whiskey. The Real Thing…..

The revitalisation of this sector has been fascinating me for the last number of years and when my close friends Rod and Julie Calder Potts set up their own organic distillery a couple of years ago I started learning a lot more about distilling, whiskey and the challenges around labelling and marketing. 

Join us for 2 hours of passion, story telling and tastings as we chat with

– Jenn Nickerson – Chief Dogsbody, Tipperary Distillery
– Ned Gahan – Head Distiller, Waterford Distillery
– John O’Connell – Head Distiller, West Cork Distillers

and special guest Bill Linnane, freelance journalist with a very particular grá for whiskey.

We will absolutely talk about whiskey labelling, the provenance of brands and the terroir of barley. We will actively explore the various routes open to a new Irish Whiskey Brand and the importance of absolute clarity in how a new brand is positioned in the eyes of consumers.

Hosted as always by Highbank Organic Orchard who are distillers of distinction in their own right and a tour of the orchard and distillery is included with your ticket.
This will take place at 17.30.


Buy Tickets Now

See you on the 29th September 🙂

Keith and Julie

The Magic of Fermentation. 2

It was too good to not repeat. Mid January we held the Magic of Fermentation and it was really popular and enjoyed by around 80 people.

So we are bringing 3 great food producers and 1 great nutritional therapist back to explore some more of the magic.

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Mostly its liquid this time. We have Gerry Scullion, the King of Kefir alongside Adrian Hyde from Holo Organic (Kombucha) and then a man more known for his vegan chef’ing in Cornucopia James Burke. He is with us on this evening as he is launching a new food business making Tempeh initially and then branching out to other fermented foods….

Providing some observations on how fermentation helps our health will be Jemma Kehoe who was previously with us for the Fats evening in November.

Fermentation 2 crop

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See you on the 16th 🙂

Keith and Julie

Oats, ABG (Anything but gruel) – Sat 3rd March – CANCELLED DUE TO thebeastfromtheeast

Took the decision this evening (27th) to not risk people having issues or accidents trying to get to Highbank on Saturday to the event. 

Next up we visit our breakfast and swerve rapidly to avoid what would be the traditional Irish fry up ;-). You can buy tickets here or read some more…

Oats, porridge, gruel (maybe not so much). A traditional grain which, if you are anything like me, gets consumed with a lack of imagination. So this evening we are joined by one previous guest and 3 new to use to explore the world of oats past, present and future.

Thats Saturday 3rd March at 6.30pm in Highbank Organic Orchard.

Jemma Kehoe, Nutritional Therapist will set the scene by exploring the benefits of this wonderful grain in our diets.

Kevin Scully, The Merry Mill is next with his story of how himself and his family moved from being farmers of oats to now growing and milling organically on their farm.

Maria Betts, Maria Lucia Bakes will share her journey from business woman and coach to being the founder of this granola business based in Dublin.

Finally John Flahavan, great-great-great-grandchild of the founder of Flahavan’s, will share a little on their heritage, their work with farmers around Ireland and how they are now using oats as the basis for a wide range of products.

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Tickets available here.

See you on the night and be sure to explore the range of Highbank Organic Orchard products including the new fermented organic apple vinegar and the balsamic variant – both available to refill into your own container.

Keith (Biabeag) and Julie (Highbank Organic Orchard)


The Magic of Fermented Foods

Venue: Highbank Orchards & Distillery

Date: Saturday 13th January 2018
Time: 6.30pm for 2 hours

Tickets: €9. CLICK HERE


This evening is all about fermentation. “Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process, creating beer, wine, bread, kimchi, yogurt and other foods.

Fermentation comes from the Latin word fermentare, meaning “to leaven.”

Our three producers & one nutritional therapist are:

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– Joe Fitzmaurice, Riot Rye bakery on sourdough breads and the starters which power them
– Rod Calder Potts (the other half of our host Julie) on the journey of apples into vinegar
– Hayley Milthorpe, The Cultured Food Co.
– Eleanor Duggan (The Little Green Grocer)

We kick off at 18.30 and finish 2 hours later…..there will be tastings :-).

The evening will explore the reasons why food producers use fermentation, their stories and passions and will also look at the positive impacts of those foods on our health.

Tickets: €9. CLICK HERE

Real Bread Celebration with Andrew Whitley (@breadmatters) – 2nd December 2015, Dublin

When we kicked off Real Bread Ireland in January this year (2015) in Highbank Organic Orchards in Kilkenny we were 6 bakers and 2 supporters with a shared vision of how things could and would be better.

We are at 42 members now with a hell of a lot of support and good wishes from all across Ireland and that deserves a small celebration 🙂

So on Wednesday 2nd in Dublin we are having an open house in The Bernard Shaw on 11 Richmond Street South, Dublin sponsored by Bretzel Bakery who are also celebrating the 15 year of William Bretzel’s custodianship of the bakery.

There will be a supply of real breads from bakers around Ireland and a chance to listen to a chat on where Real Bread is at in Ireland and UK with a discussion being run by William from Bretzel:

The perspectives will be interesting.

Especially great to have Andrew Whitley with us. He founded Village Bakery in 1976 and the Real Bread Campaign 7 years ago. He has written a number of books on baking and for bakers alone is a true legend!

Details on the event on Facebook here.



2010 to 2015 – Then and now

For many years my passion for food lay dormant as other aspects of my life took priority. Then in 2010 I took my experience of running Bizcamp style events and working with Mags (Goatsbridge) and Ken (anygivenfood) kicked off a series of foodcamp one day events alongside Savour Kilkenny.

In January 2013 those events spawned the Biabeag series of evenings of which there have been 11 in total which have been so much fun to do. Mostly with Julie and Rod in Highbank (thank you for encouraging and supporting me both of you) and also with Cooks Academy and Sally in Theatre of Food and in October 3 during Savour Kilkenny.

The first Biabeag event featured 3 bakers and from that came Real Bread Ireland which launched in January 2015.

Because all of this is a hobby (very enjoyable but unpaid) and because running events brings a stress of its own to get attendees in for the food producers who give their time I now need to refocus so the three Biabeag events over 2015 Savour are the last ones I will do in this way.

That focus for the next while is helping any way I can to achieve the vision of having a good craft real bread baker in every provincial town in Ireland.

I believe the demand and circumstances are here to support that in the same way that every county has at least one craft brewery with amazing support from consumers. All it can be is good for us.

Thanks to every food producer who gave their time during the series – your passion for great food done properly is such a pleasure to be around and it was my privilege to share time with each of you:

  • Joe Fitzmaurice, Riot Rye
  • Josephine Plettenburg, Speltbaker
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus
  • Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith, St Tola
  • Tom Burgess – Coolattin Cheddar
  • Helen Finnegan – Knockdrinna Cheese
  • Brock Lewin, Badger And Dodo
  • Jennifer Ryan, Ponaire
  • Ferg Brown, Roasted Brown
  • Karen Keane, Bean and Goose
  • Mary Teehan, Truffle Fairy
  • Alyssa Jade McDonald, Blyss Chocolate
  • Thibault (Tibo) Peigne, Tartine
  • William Despard, Bretzel
  • Eoin Cluskey, Firehouse Bakery
  • Patrick Ryan, Firehouse Bakery
  • Ed Hicks (Hicks Traditional Pork Butchers)
  • Peter Reynier, Wicklow Wolf
  •  Julie Calder Potts, Highbank Orchard
  • Sarah Richards, Seagull Bakery
  • Tom Jones, Sea of Vitality
  • Nichola Beresford, Muldoon Whiskey