Meet the Roasters – Ferg ( @roastedbrown ) replaces Petesy ( @3fe )

Colin in 3FE pinged me last week to let me know that Petesy his roaster has departed for a new phase of his caffeine journey. That being the case a gap emerged in our threesome for 20th September so I needed to pull my finger out.

And I did. After a couple of attempts (he was on holidays) I got hold of Ferg Brown today. He’s the founder of Roasted Brown on Curved Street and he roasts for the likes of The Happy Pear and Love Supreme. I’ve been in his place (split my time in that area between there and Staple Foods who use 3FE beans) and its good :-). Colin recommended him too. Nuff said. 

So welcome to Ferg and thanks for taking the time to join us on the 20th.

You can find out more about Meet the Roasters here and also book tickets. 



Meet 2 Chocolatiers and 1 Chocolate Maker on 8th November


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

Venue: Highbank Orchard – 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 –

UPDATE Friday 7th – only 20 tickets left – 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 here, Lyss, Mary and Karen


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.

blyss chocolate

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.


Teagasc encourages glyphosate use – linked to Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers

I am not comfortable that a state agency here in Ireland actively encourages the use of Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. This was mailed out to their client base in the last month. 


As reports by Reuters in April 2013 a peer-reviewed report expressed strong concerns on the health impact of this chemical

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In 2009 Scientific America published the results of findings showing that Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

From Wikipedia:  Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe. It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.[3] Monsanto brought it to market in the 1970s under the trade name “Roundup”, and Monsanto’s last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.




Meet the Brewers postposed – sadly :-(

This is the third in the series of the Biabeag Meet The Maker evenings and tickets sales to date are too low to risk bringing Caroline, Cuilan and Grainne together on Saturday evening in front of what could be a crowd less than the 60+ we have had to date.

Not fully sure why – suspecting that next year the first three Meet The Maker events will be scheduled tighter together and finish mid-May before summertime and the plethora of food festivals fully kicks in.

I am disappointed for those of you who have already booked tickets (I will do full refunds shortly to you) and personally disappointed because I was looking forward to it 🙂

FYI the Slow Food meeting which is scheduled to happen at 4pm on Saturday in Highbank is still happening.



Bord Bia Branding Workbook

Thanks to Bord Bia for giving us 20 copies of this workbook to use during Outstanding By Design on 10th May.

It steps through the various stages of developing a consumer focused approach to building a strong food brand in a well written and bound workbook. These are rare now – they have come towards the end of the print run – so treasure your copy if you get one!

All this and loads more on 10th May – click here for the full line up on the day.


Outstanding By Design – a teaser

This one day event on 10th May is for food producers who need a new brand or packaging or want to refresh an existing one. You will learn about how to achieve the following:

(1) Write a strong brief

The starting point of great design is for you to be clear on what you want from it. The final hour of the day will see you will leave with a branding or packaging design briefing template (from Bord Bia) which the designers will guide you through filling out.

(2) Pick the right designer

Understand more about the various options you have when you try to select your designer.

(3) Manage the process

Designers need love. They also need managing – pick up tips on how to be an active partner in the process.

Why is all of the above important? Sarah Maguire from Brand Union on their work on Paddy O’Granola

“The rebrand has been hugely successful for Paddy. By sharing his new brand look and feel as part of his entry into a media competition, he won €150,000 worth of outdoor advertising space, has had a 100% lift in sales since June 2012, and increased nationwide listings of the brand.”

For information on the full day click here.


25th January – Bread and Cheese?

Ailish from Knockdrinna Cheese Co very nicely contacted me to point out that they are running one of their cheese making courses on Saturday 25th January, the day of the first BiaBeag Meet The Makers events.

So for foodies this has the makings of a lovely day out.

Head to Stoneyford for 11am and enjoy being shown how to make cheese by Helen Finnegan (award winning cheese maker) , a cheese tasting lunch, teas & coffees.

helen 2

That finishes at 3pm and then you can hit town for a browse around some of our great independent food stores like:

Gourmet Store (Arbutus and Spelt Bakers)

Shortis Wongs (Spelt Bakers, Knockdrinna)

The Little Green Grocer (Spelt Bakers, Knockdrinna)

The Good Earth Health Store (Spelt Bakers)

and maybe grab a bite to eat in Zuni, Cafe Sol, Grapevine or Mugshot before coming out to the RealBread event at 6pm 🙂