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.

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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?

or

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 🙂

Keith

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.

Keith

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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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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

Theatre of Food – a lot of fun during Electric Picnic. Thanks to @McKennasGuides

This is a little different from my usual run of posts here. I was given the opportunity to help Sally McKenna out with the Theatre of Food element of MindField this year and jumped at the chance. Given that I enjoy running events (food most recently and non-food previously) it was an opportunity to see a 3 day packed schedule in action.

I enjoyed it so much and it was a privilege. Sally (and John, who plays a background role in this one) have, over the years, put together a team of people who are professional supportive and focused in their delivery of this event. Fun too :-).

For me, because I focus so much on food products and producers, this was a chance to see so many chefs in action and that was a real learning. 

I’m not going to name anyone here with one exception because I’m lousy at names and I’d leave far too many out. Exception is a thanks to Sam McKenna for working alongside of me on a/v for the weekend – he was great to work with 🙂

This is a short video extract of bits of TOF.

Keith

Meet The Roasters – Jennifer Ryan, @ponaire

Jennifer is one of only a few female coffee roasters in Ireland (could be the only one, we must ask her :-). She is one of 3 roasters with us on Saturday 20th September

She is also one of the few roasters in Ireland with a formal certification for fair-trade beans and those beans, together with many of her non fair trade ones, have netted Ponaire 14 Great Taste awards over the years. They are available to buy from Dunerana, Donegal to as far SouthEast as Wexford town and as far SouthWest as the Dingle Penninsula. 

 

And finally a clip of Jennifer in action in 2012

For more information on the event and on Brock (Badger & Dodo) and Ferg (Roasted Brown) click here.

Keith

Grainne Walsh, Metalman (@metalman_gra) 7th June, Meet the Brewers

Genuine pleasure to have a female brewer with us on 7th June who was also the first full-timer in Metalman. Photo below taken by Peter Grogan.

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Grainne interviews far and wide as part of her role and so I have picked a couple of the more interesting quotes from those interviews in preparation for the 7th.

First from the National HomeBrew website on her initial contact with Cuilan from White Gypsy

“In general it was a great experience, although there is a lot to be said for being in control of your own production rather than at the mercy of someone else’s priorities. When I first contact Cuilán about brewing for us, he was extremely positive and helpful – there’s no doubt that he was laughing inwardly (and sometimes outwardly!) at this pair of jokers from the IT world who had it in their heads that they wanted to get into the brewing industry. But he never once discouraged us from following our crazy dream. When I first shared the recipe for our pale ale with him, he hesitated, then said “that’s a lot of hops!”. I almost faltered here to be honest. After all, here was a seasoned brewing professional who had a wealth of experience that we could only aspire to. So maybe we were wrong with the recipe? Maybe the hopping was just too much? Maybe the beer would be wildly off-balance? So I hesitated myself before I responded. “Yep! It is a lot of hops!” He was dubious, but then hoppy beers were not exactly his modus operandi at that point. Now however, he makes a very nice pale ale called Mustang made with American hops, so we like to think that at the same time we were learning from him, he was also learning from us! We’re obviously glad we stuck with our plan, as the pale ale came out pretty well even from the first batch.”

Since then they have moved into their own brew house.

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From their own website on the latest of their collaborative brews  – Grainne has a wee bit of a name for experimentation 🙂

“Some time ago in Dublin, we met Ann and Dave from Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria, and over a few beers, the conversation inevitably turned to collaboration brewing. Emails were exchanged, Skype conversations were scheduled and rescheduled until eventually, a date was set for the deed. The Hardknott folk travelled to Ireland, we finalised a recipe, and Yerba was born.
Coming up with recipes for collaboration brews is not very easy – fun certainly, but easy, no! Perhaps we would have been better set to brainstorm the recipe over a few beers, but instead what happened was, we sat down with a cuppa on a rainy afternoon at Metalman, the day before we planned to brew, and said “right, what are we making then?”
Silence.

Some “umms” and “aahhs” while we waited for the creative juices to kick in, but sometimes forcing things along can be quite strenuous! Thankfully though, there is nothing like a deadline, and once the caffeine started to kick in, the ideas starting firing forth. We bandied about flavour combinations that we thought would be interesting, and then we wondered about style definitions that might work with them. We thought tea might be an interesting ingredient to use, so we called up the nice people at Kingfisher Tea to see what delights they might have. It turned out that Mico’s description of her Sweet Orange Maté was simply irresistible to us, and with that as our starting point, it felt like everything fell into place.”

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From the Drinks Industry Ireland website on the occasion of their winning the Beoir Beer of the Year in 2013

“Each year, Beoir has its members vote for their favourite beers from all commercially available beer brewed on the island of Ireland. The results this year placed Metalman Pale Ale at the top of the list with Jameson Stout from the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork taking second place and Leann Folláin from Carlow Brewing Company third.

Metalman Pale Ale is an American-style pale ale brewed in Waterford with hops from the US west coast to deliver a citrus kick with hints of grapefruit and mandarin.

Director at Metalman Brewing Gráinne Walsh commented, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award – there are more great Irish beers available now than ever before, so to be told that ours was voted the best makes us very proud – we’re thrilled!”.
Having launched its first beer on the market in March 2011, Metalman Brewery now makes a range of beers available on draught only in a selection of stockists around the country.”

Looking forward to hearing her on the night 🙂

Full Meet The Brewers event details and booking here.

Keith