The first of these 3 special Biabeag Meet the Makers events kicks off with a trio grounded in Kilkenny. The theme is the After Dinner Treat and our producers will be messing with your taste buds a little bit with their tastings. Tickets for all 3 events here.
Each of these evenings has a lead producer – the one whose works with the others to shape the evening and on Friday its Julie Calder Potts from Highbank.
Julie and Rod (her husband and parter on the farm) have farmed organically for over 20 years and now they have the largest organic orchard in Ireland. Having moved from apple juice to orchard syrup (like maple but nicer!) they then developed a range of ciders before reaching the pinnacle of their range – the Single Estate Gin, Vodka and Brandey which they launched in December 2014.
I’ve known Julie and Rod for over a decade and they have become great friends of mine. I admire their ability to constantly develop and refine and their dedication to organic farming.
For just over a decade Mary has been making a range of award winning chocolates in Kilkenny. Starting at home and selling at farmers markets she make the jump to her own production area and cafe in Thomastown and started to export as well as sell here in Ireland.
For the first couple of years of her business I couldn’t buy from Mary as the limited space she had meant she could not do a vegan range. Since she moved she has always had at least one truffle in the range that is vegan and also produces a constantly evolving range of raw chocolate slices. Happiness for me!
Helen Finnegan, Knockdrinna
Helen set up a year before Mary (2004) and she slowly expanded with the help of Carlow based cheese maker Elizabeth Bradley. In 2008 she took over the cheeses made by Lavistown in Kilkenny and in the same year she became involved with the Little Cheese Company – an organic cheese collective based in Waterford.
She has won stacks of awards, the most special being the win of Knockdrinna Gold semi-hard goats cheese at the 2013 British Cheese Awards where it was named ‘Best Modern British’.
I know Helen since she worked in Local Rural Development in Kilkenny where the obviously glamorous life of food producers lured her to start up herself. Oops 🙂
Tickets for this event are €10 and you can buy them here
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.
Market Stalls are great for sales and awareness
Wonderful reddish beans
A younger Brock 😉
More information on the Saturday 20th Sept event and bookings here.
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.
This man has no shame apparently
A day in the life of a roaster
Loving this packaging
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)
This will be a godsend for any small early stage food businesses in Kilkenny and surrounds – a daily let on a commercial HSE approved kitchen just outside the ring road in Kilkenny.
So crucial in the early stages to have somewhere to experiment with recipes and formulations and even use this facility to cook up and package batches to sell. Further details:
- 6 ring industrial gas hob / oven
- Industrial fridge
- industrial glass washer
- Upright stainless steel deepfreeze
- Double drainer sink and separate hand washing sink
- PVC clad walls throughout
- Industrial wall sockets and tiled floor with stainless steel gullies
- Electricity and gas supply metered
For more information contact Kevin Mahon on +353 (86) 828 6863
Helen is the local representative in this Meet The Cheese Makers event on 5th April and what a great one to have with her award winning goats cheese.
The extra special Ardkeen Stores in Waterford put up this video of Helen so thanks guys 🙂
More information and booking here.