Meet The Brewers, @cooksacademy 15th June

After a great initial evening with the Real Bread Ireland bakers on 27th April the next Biabeag event in Cooks Academy is on 15th June when I will be chatting to 3 superb craft brewing brands.

You can book tickets here.

Caroline (first below) helped us put the lineup together and we have deliberately gone for a spread of experience so that, amongst other things, we can contrast the changing landscape for craft brewery startups over the last 4 or 5 years.

Caroline Hennessy, 8 Degrees (founded 2011)

Caroline has been closely involved with 8 Degrees since day 1 and she is also the co-author of Slainte, The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider.

Daire Harlin, Brú Brewery (founded 2013)

He left his job as a solicitor to co-found Bru Brewery and that cost €250,000 for the kit out.


Photo courtesy of the Irish Times


Barry O’Neill, O’Brother Brewing (founded 2015)

Three brothers, hows that going to work out? Barry (pictured here with his siblings Brian and Padhraig) will let us know.


Photo courtesy of the Irish Independent


For more information and to book tickets click here.


Next Biabeag event is in Cooks Academy, Dublin – Monday 27th April

With a lull in the Highbank Orchards series because I want to focus some time on Real Bread Ireland an opportunity came up to do a couple of events with Cooks Academy on South William Street in Dublin.

It is owned and run by Vanessa and Tim Greenwood and their genuine passion for great food is what drove them to open up 10 years ago. So I was happy when they asked me to bring some of the Meet The Producer conversations to their place of work.

We are kicking off on Monday 27th with a chat with 3 Real Bread Ireland bakers.

  • Thibault (Tibo) Peigne, Tartine
  • William Despard, Bretzel
  • Eoin Cluskey, Firehouse Bakery

will join us and share the deep passion that each of them have for proper bread and baking. It will be the first outing for Eoin who apparently has been carrying Patrick Ryan for years now and is finally going to emerge from under his bosses shadow 🙂

You can find out more about the evening and book tickets here.

Look forward to seeing you on the night.




Videos of Meet the Chocolate Makers @thetrufflefairy @BLYSS_choc @Beanandgoose

Thanks as ever to Ken McGuire, AnyGivenFood, for videoing and editing/design of these rough cuts of the evening. This was a fixed camera as he had to head away but captured most of the evening 🙂

And thanks to the crowd who turned up, to Julie and Rod Calder Potts for their work in hosting and to Karen, Mary and Lyss for sharing their passion and stories with us 🙂

Karen Keane, Bean and Goose

Mary Teehan, Truffle Fairy

Alyssa Jade McDonald, Blyss Chocolate


Competition Time – Win a behind the scenes tour of the new @highbankorchard distillery

On Saturday 13th December Ireland’s smallest legal distillery launches in Highbank Organic Orchard.

This one is special for a number of reasons. Apart from the distinction of being the smallest it will also be the only organic spirit distillery in Ireland and also the only one where the raw material for the spirits is grown on the farm the distillery is based on.

Thats important to Rod and Julie Calder Potts who are the driving force behind this.

Saturday 13th will see a big crowd turn up for the opening of the distillery and that will be the first time that the spirits will be for sale. Its a food production facility so everyone who turns up will get to see the distillery through a special viewing window.

still viewing window

But for a special group it will be different – you will get a tour of the facility behind the scenes (booties and the works) with Rod (the master distiller) explaining how this lovely machine works and showing you a batch of spirits in production. One of this special group will also win a signed bottle of the first production batch made :-).

This is RTE journalist Sarah McIntyre having that same tour yesterday.


What do you need to do to be in the winning?

Answer one of 2 questions either

a) in the comments here

b) on Twitter using #orchardspirit

c) on the Highbank Facebook Page

d) do a blog post and leave a link here or on their page

Q1 – what is the capacity in litres of the still?


Q2 Come up with a word or phrase for the labelling on the spirit that best describes the idea that the spirit is distilled on the farm from crops grown on the same farm. In chocolate this can be referred to as Bean to Bar, you can also see references to a Single Estate food product. What would best capture this for you?

Enjoy and look forward to seeing you on the 13th 🙂


The 4 minute guide to Cacao Bean’s by @BLYSS_choc

As the Biabeag series of talks and sessions develops it is good to move further back and explore the provenance of the raw materials and the early processing that they are subjected to.

In this short video Lyss talks us through the word of cacao beans and helps us to understand how vital they are to the end product. Get them wrong (and we covered this a lot during the Roaster event) and you are guaranteed to fail.

You can meet, listen to and discuss cacao with Lyss, Karen from Bean and Goose and Mary from Truffle Fairy on Saturday November 8th. Click here for more info and to book.


Slow Food Gatherings and Food Writing Workshop – Events coming up

A couple that might be of interest to you.

Dalkey Creates: Food Writing Workshop: 18th & 19th October

October sees the kick off of an inaugural writing festival for Dalkey from Thursday 16th– Sunday 19th October 2014. Of relevance to people who enjoy food is the workshop being run by Aoife Carrigy.


Aoife is Secretary of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, and an experienced editor, food writer and freelance journalist. She is a regular contributor to FOOD & WINE Magazine, The Irish Independent, The Sunday Times and The Irish Times, and was employed as a local editor for the Zagat guide to Dublin restaurants.

In Dalkey Aoife is presenting a food writing workshop with a strong practical focus and designed to appeal to writers of all levels of experience. Spread over two morning sessions to allow for hands-on workshopping of written material, this unique event will include a Q&A session with entrepreneurial restaurateur Rachel Clancy, a skills-based demonstration from head chef, Hadi Fahes, and a convivial three-course lunch designed to get your creative juices flowing.

For more information download this PDF Dalkey Creates Press Release_Food Writing Workshop details

To book click here.

RiotRye – Sourdough and Introduction to Baking: starting October 18th

For anyone who wants to learn the wonders of home baking and #realbread check out Joe Fitzmaurice and his Saturday courses starting in 2 weeks time.


Slow Food Northern Ireland – Learn “Sourdough Bread”: Saturday 11th October

For those of you closer to the North this is a one day bread course by David Semple.

Booking details and info underneath (interesting to note that the oven pictured as well as some of the breads, are RiotRye‘s!)

Microsoft Word - Sourdough Bread Workshop V1.docx

Wild And Slow: 8th & 9th November

This annual Slow Food event, held in Wicklow each year, celebrates everything that is good about Irish food: fresh, local, traditional and wild. With over 20 speakers and workshops and 5,000 people attending last year this is a great one to go to.