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Rachel Allen and The Tipp Food Producers

November 30th, 2011

Top TV cook, Rachel Allen, will be making a special “Trip to Tipp” next month to host a Tipperary Food Producers Christmas Cookery Extravaganza.

Up to 500 foodies are expected at the Clonmel Park Hotel on December 7th to see the celebrity chef create special festive dishes from the best of local Tipperary artisan food produce.

Tipperary food producers xmas launch 2

Rachel Allen, who is part of the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork and who is well known from her regular Television shows and for her bestselling cook books, will prepare a variety of delicious dishes for the Tipperary food showcase. As well as her unique take on traditional Christmas favourites, she will also be offering exciting new ideas using the finest of local ingredients.

Cheese & Wine – Tipperary Style

Tipperary Cheese and wine will be served at the informative Christmas Cookery demonstration. Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine, will be giving guidance on wines to accompany the variety of dishes from the cookery demonstration. Well known food blogger Imen McDonnell, will give a live butter-making demonstration.

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“I am very excited about coming to Tipperary to do this demonstration. Tipperary food has such a fantastic reputation and the local producers are doing great work to promote this wonderful asset. I will be doing traditional recipes but there will be a few surprises thrown in there too” said Rachel Allen.

Keeping it Local

The evening has been organised by the Tipperary Food Producers Network, which is appealing to consumers this Christmas to support small, artisan food producers and to shop and buy local.

“For every €10 spent with local food businesses, €34 goes back to the local economy. But for every €10 spent with large retail multiples, only €16 is returned to the local economy. We have some of the best food on our doorstep here in Tipperary and we urge local people to support their local producers,” according to Chairman of the Tipperary Food Producers Network, Pat Whelan.

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“This Christmas we are urging consumers to visit their local baker, butcher, farm shops, cheesemonger, retailers and farmers markets – all who provide top quality food at reasonable prices.”

Mr Whelan said the network is delighted to have someone of the calibre of Rachel Allen coming to Tipperary to do the Christmas Cookery Extravaganza. “She is a huge supporter of local food and we look forward to seeing her put her unique twist on the ingredients we have to offer here in our County.”

The Tipperary Food Producers network has 30 members who between them employ approximately 220 people with an annual turnover of over €24m. The network includes producers of meat, beverages and bread, soup, sweets, pastry, catering, dairy, cheese, farm shops, preserves and condiments, jams, fruit and vegetables.

Tipperary food producers xmas launch 3

Special Care Baby Unit

There will be fundraising on the night to raise money for the Special Care Baby Unit in Clonmel which is terribly underfunded for the wonderful work it does.

Tipperary Food Producers
Members of the network include Cashel Blue Cheese, Crossogue Preserves, Crowe Farm Meats, Cooleeney Cheese, Cloughjordan house, Baylough Cheese, Boulaban Farm, Brownes, Fine Foods Cashel, Hickeys Bakery, Mags Home Baking, Tipperary Kitchen, Inch House, James Whelan Butchers, Oakpark Foods, Ponaire Irish Handcrafted Coffee, Red Nose Wine, Russell Catering, Seymour Organic Farm, The Apple Farm, The Cookie Jar, The Scullery, O’Donnell’s crisps and The Auld Mill Bakery.

The Christmas Cookery Extravaganza is part of a strategy by the Tipperary Food Producers Network to develop into a regional brand. It is continually highlighting what Tipperary Food has to offer, and the natural linkages food has to the social, economic, tourism and cultural aspects of life in Tipperary.

Tickets for the event on at 7.30p.m. in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, on Wednesday December 7th, are €20. Those interested are advised to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Tickets can be purchased from James Whelan Butchers or any of the businesses mentioned above. This is strictly a ticket only event and tickets will not be available on the night at the door.

www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com

The Day I met the King

September 23rd, 2011

The media is a funny fish. Nobody talks about you for months, and then in the same week, you get on TV and have the biggest DJ in the country plug your wines all week. I covered the TV appearance in my last article, but I didn’t tell you about Ray Foley.

Ray Foley and his wine guy

Ray Foley and his wine guy

For those of you who listen to Today FM from 12.00 to 2.30 every day, or watch TV3’s “Take me out” dating show, you will know Ray and his very personable style of broadcasting. He comes across as very down to earth on Radio and TV, and that’s exactly what he is like in real life. What follows is the story about how I got to meet the King of the Afternoon, as he known to his listeners.

Twitter is to blame

Last year I was happy on my holidays in France and took a very random check of Twitter, where I noticed a friend of mine suggesting rednosewine.com as an online wine merchant for Mr. Foley. He was looking to get a case sent out and he put out the call. I followed up Eimear’s tweet with some of my own and Ray ended up buying wine for me. I became Ray Foley’s wineguy.

 

During the week of the Long Table Dinner Ray and his team were having their own version of Come Dine with Me, where they took turns to have each other over for a meal. I tweeted that if he sent me on the menu; I would match and send up the wines.



Ray began to talk about it on air and brag that he had his own wine guy. He sent on the menu and I chose wines and had them sent up. He gave me a regular plug on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning saw me rise late after the equal success and excess of the previous night’s Long Table Dinner.

Panic on the streets of Clonmel

I tweeted Ray as I forced down my porridge and intravenously injected my coffee. “Did the wine get there OK”? A quick tweet came back and said “Not yet”. The hangover sweats were joined by the blind panic sweats.

I called the courier and was told that after the wines were collected on the Tuesday, the van was ploughed into by a car as it approached the depot. Was it a rival wine company or a simple twist of fate? I got myself together and showered and got to the office very quickly.

I rang Ray and explained what happened. On a seperate and slightly disturbing note, it is quite scary the amount of people who asked me for his mobile number after this whole thing gained momentum. If Ray is reading, fear not for it will never be released by me. Anyway, Ray was very nice about it and said he would use other wines and give me a plug when my wines got there.

The Stalker goes to Dublin

I had a choice. I could have crawled back to bed or I could seize the initiative. I had been getting such great publicity all week that I was not going to let it lie. I told Ray I would deliver the wines later that day to his house in Dublin. He tried to talk me out of it but I insisted and said I would be happy to do it. He may now have been worrying about my potential as a stalker.

I drank a lot of water and ate as much as I could. I rang my friendly butcher Pat Whelan and got one of his famous ice boxes. These are what he uses to transport meat nationwide and keep it fresh and cool. If it worked for Wagyu steak, it would surely work for chilling white wine ahead of Ray’s dinner that night.

As I started my journey, Ray’s show was in full swing and he told the sorry tale of the courier and his wine ‘crashing’ to the nation and I was getting major props and kudos from his crew in the studio for offering to get up the wine myself. We are now talking in radio street vernacular that some of you might need to translate.

I made it up to Dublin and his house. I didn’t expect Ray to be there himself but he was, and invited me in to the kitchen. I explained all about the wines and he was particularly interested in Chateau Miraval, which is owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I got my photo taken with Ray ( and the van ) and was on my way home.

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The next day as they dissected Ray’s ‘Come Dine with Me’ dinner, they gave more great publicity to Red Nose Wine. They did a great piece on Brad and Angie being stuck in on a Saturday night and grabbing a bottle of their Miraval wine. They fight over the remote as Angie refuses to watch Friends.

So a big thank you to Ray and his plugging of my business. I will of course be introducing The Ray Foley collection of wines. For a list of Ray’s wines, be sure to call in to the shop and I’ll tell all.

I am very often quoting lyrics from songs from Mr. Dylan or Mr. Cohen among others. Sometimes they are relevant to the article, and sometimes they are not. This week I would like to quote Mr. Phil Lynott. “When you came in my life, you changed my world”.

 

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog, visit our All New Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RedNoseWineFanPage or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Harry Potter and The Long Table Dinner

September 14th, 2011

Pat Whelan became Professor Albus Dumbledore and waved his magic wand on the Tipperary Food scene and turned the Senior Refectory at Rockwell College into the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The annual Long Table dinner was a massive success and a fantastic showcase for the positivity that exists in Tipperary.

Rockwell College Long Table Dinner

TV Debuts

However, before this wonderful event can begin to be described, I simply have to tell you all about my TV debut. Myself, Dumbledore, TJ Crowe, Una O Dwyer, Cate McCarthey of The Cookie Jar, Nora Egan from Inch House and Nuala Hickey were on TV3’s Ireland AM the morning of the dinner.

The TippFood gang at TV3

The TippFood gang at TV3

We had a 5am start and because we were ‘on air’ at 7.30, I wasn’t allowed to talk about wine. It was all about the Tipperary Food Producers and while everyone else spoke about their products, I had to cook them live on air. The pressure was immense and I think the fact that I was still asleep really helped. I woke up about an hour after we went ‘off air’.

The floor manager kept telling me to get more sizzle, but what he failed to comprehend was my cooking started at 7am for the teaser (that’s the section at the start of the program where they tell you what’s coming up later and go for a live feed). If I went for the sizzle at the start, we would end up with a cremated mess by time Alan Cantwell came around to say hello.

With the exception of one piece of Inch House Black Pudding that got away from me, I think I kept it all sizzling quite nicely. I would imagine that TV3 noticed too and I can foresee a new cookery show. A slightly greying man talks about and enjoys various glasses of wine as he cooks for various celebrities.

A star is born

A star is born

We were finished before 8 o clock in the morning, but still had a lot to do, so it was the long road to Tipperary and the preparations for the Long Table dinner we spoke so eloquently about on TV.

When Rockwell became Hogwarts

People started to arrive early and the Long Hall in Rockwell was soon crammed with expectant guests. Italian Prosecco from Red Nose Wine and Sparkling Apple Juice from The Apple Farm accompanied a symphony of canapés which were made from the very best of Tipperary Produce. I brought a lot of Prosecco and we very nearly got to the end of it. A clean glass became the thing to find.

We hunted the merry men and women from the Long Hall into the Great Hall, otherwise known as the Senior Refectory where three lines of tables were adorned with candelabras and lilies and as people found seats, the food began to arrive. I am sure Pat Whelan will describe them better than I could, so I will stick to the wine. Suffice to say that it was immense and a credit to the quality of product available in this great county.

A great atmosphere and a great night

A great atmosphere and a great night

I have mentioned Mas de Daumas Gassac before and we served their Classic Red and White. Some of you met Samuel Guibert during his tasting last year, and his brother Roman spent a year in Rockwell. They make organic wines that are famous the world over, and they were a great match to the bounty from Tipperary. Incidentally, if you want to try some more Tipperary Food, these wines can also be found in Inch House and McCartheys of Fethard.

One of the highlights of the night was the Singing Waiters and the clue is in the name. A fight over wine turned into an operatic battle of three wonderful voices. The Italians would always say that good food needs good wine, but opera just brings it to a new level of pleasure. I might have made that up but the opera we witnessed in Rockwell added a new layer to the atmosphere. After the food ( and wine ), I think it must have been most people’s highlight.

The singing waiter and the wineman

The GIY Guy

We also had Michael Kelly, the founder of Grow It Yourself (GIY) as a special guest, and he gave us a great talk on the harvest, seasonal food and the simple pleasure of growing your own food. I was in college with Mick, and was delighted to see his little adventure grow into something so positive and empowering. We have been enjoying the bounty of our little garden and also my father’s more sizeable venture these last few weeks.

Mick Kelly GIY

I know the work that goes into these nights and I would like to thank Pat Whelan and his team for their energy and vision in turning these events into a reality. I sat beside Tom Hayes and his wife Marian and enjoyed some good political banter. Every year we ask local representatives to come along and support the event. Tom and Marian come every year and it is greatly appreciated.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog, visit our All New Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RedNoseWineFanPage or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine
For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Article – A Taste of Japan

April 15th, 2011

To celebrate the increase in the ECB base rate, and as a tip of the hat to better times ahead, I am going to indulge in some luxury this week.

2 Juicy Ones

I was the very grateful recipient of two of Pat Whelan’s famous Wagyu steaks recently. I could pretend that I bought them, but in the wine world if a reviewer gets a free sample they are obligated to say it was a sample. I am assuming it is the same for food, so I hear by declare I was a happy guinea pig for the Rolls Royce of Steaks.

What is Wagyu and what does it have to do with wine? I decided not to waste the opportunity to taste one of these world famous pieces of meat and opened a very special bottle of wine that I had been saving. The best of food deserves the best of wine, and I will try and explain how a very fine Bordeaux tastes while matched with this very unique cut of beef.

Ahh… Bordeaux

I opened one of my favourite Bordeaux wines, the fabulous Clos du Marquis, which comes from the famed village of St Julien in the Medoc area of Bordeaux. It is the second wine from Leoville Las Cases, which is a part of the second growth wines from the 1855 Classification.

Leoville Las Cases - Bordeaux

Leoville Las Cases - Bordeaux

These are the wines you buy for a small fortune and keep them for a few years and they turn into a large fortune. As stated, the wine I opened was the second wine from one of these giants, and I got it as a present, before the chanting starts – “There’s no recession in that house”. I can assure you there is. Incidentally I do sell it as well and it is a steal at €56 Euros. If I could sell a few cases, it would help with the whole recession thing.

The Farmers Market

Anyway, the wine was opened and the carrots and parsnips courtesy of Paddy Stokes from the Farmers Market were prepared as well as spuds drizzled in olive oil, salt and pepper and popped in the oven. I am a big believer in letting top quality food and wine speak for itself, so no sauces for steak of this quality. The wine would be the sauce.

Let me explain a little bit about about Wagyu for those of you not familiar. Wagyu literally means Japanese Cow, and that is where this breed originates from. They are known for their unique textured flavour. The cattle are raised on a traditional diet of organic grains to give an authentic fullness of flavour and tenderness. According to Pat’s very informative website, during cooking the high concentration of inter-muscular fat or marbling melts and marinates the wagyu beef from the inside.

Is Wagyu cheaper than the cholesterol pills?

The really good news is that the “studies have shown Wagyu has major health benefits as part of a balanced diet. The high level of unsaturated fats and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is said to boost the immune system and also helps lower cholesterol as part of a balanced diet to fight diseases like diabetes and heart disease”.

Whatever about that all I know is that I never tasted anything like them. There was a texture to the meat that was very different to fillet or sirloin. There is a layer of fat that runs through the cut, and it instils a slow release flavour that lingers long, just like a fine wine.

The wine … at last

Speaking of wine, I think it is time that I described it and more particularly why someone might pay good money for the top stuff. Top end Bordeaux, from the Left Bank or Medoc is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc on the side.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine in the Barrel room of Leoville Las Cases

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine in the Barrel room of Leoville Las Cases

There are Proteins in beef and the tannins found in Red wine, and in particular Bordeaux, soak up these proteins and helps bring out the flavour. The tannins are those things that make your mouth go all dry when you drink the wine without food. Hence, heavily tannic wine needs aging or food.

When you match this tannic wine to a beef as complex and textured as Wagyu, this marriage of proteins is so much more pronounced. The tannins were neutralised and the fruit expression in the wine came to the fore. That almost buttery tenderness in the beef is filled with this fantastic expression of blackcurrant and red cherrys from the wine.

Here comes the Bulls%$*

Without sounding too full of rubbish, the wine and the Wagyu seemed to blend together and a kind of calm came over me. I felt I was walking in Japan among the cows with the vines of Bordeaux in the background. I think I’ve taken it too far. I can see Pat cringing.

My review of the Wagyu, for what it is worth, is that it is a sublime piece of meat that tastes like no other I have had. I would love to retry it in a barbeque as I imagine the flavours would be even more pronounced. If you ever have it, be sure to match it to a good wine. This beef deserves it.

The Chileans are Here

I must admit that both the wine and the Wagyu are a treat, as they are not the cheapest things on the menu, but the good news is that Pat also has Wagyu burgers and I have a new range of Chilean wines that I bring in direct from the vineyard. Once again, there are some great matches to be had, especially as BBQ season approaches.

As a proud Francophile, it has taken me nearly two years to find a Chilean wine I would commit to the larger quantities that are required to import direct. I found it in Santa Alicia and their wines come in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Carmenere. The prices start at €7.99 and then move to €9.99 for the Reserva range and it is only €12.99 for the Gran Reserva range. The Cabernets in particular are superb and a real alternative to the more expensive French variety. Try the discount case of 12 which has a little of everything and is only €99.99 ( from €124.88 )

Communion, Confirmation and Christening & Weddings

So, call in for a taste as we will have these wines open over the next few weeks and will be doing some really special deals on case prices, which are perfect for the three Cs, Communion, Confirmation and Christening. It’s also great for the big W.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog, visit our All New Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RedNoseWineFanPage or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine
For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist Apr 13 2011

Grow It Yourself ( Food that is, not wine – buy that from me )

April 8th, 2011

This is a blog about a very good idea that really took off. Michael Kelly wrote a book about jumping off of the Celtic Tiger merry-go-round and his hellish Dublin commute. He bought a house by the sea and grew his own vegetables. His 2nd book was about Growing It Yourself and from it came the GIY movement that is growing at an exponential rate. What is little known is that he also recorded an album and I have a copy ( signed !! ). I will take bids online. He has now completed 2 items on my bucket list.

We started GIYing last year (and by we, I mean my wife does everything) and we ate very well from a small raised bed in the back garden. We haven’t taken to pigs and chickens yet, but I have good thing going with TJ Crowe and Pat Whelan and other members of the Tipperary Food Producers Network. I don’t want to rock the boat. I am sure TJ would do the job on the pig for me. What struck me about everything we grew was the flavour and how easy the ‘crop’ grew. We had to water it when we had that 4 day sunny spell last summer, but other than that it was fairly easy to manage, or so my wife says.

The next generation GIYers

The next generation GIYers

Anyway, what has all of this got to do with wine? Most of my very best wine experiences have had some superb food involved. I remember an all day and all night dinner in Tuscany with many bottles of Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Trips to Provence and the Languedoc always involve as much food as wine. Most of the artisan winemakers grow their own food as well. They have huge respect for the land and all of its bounty. If you can at all, get invited to a winemaker’s house for dinner. They love showing off many vintages of their wines, and matching them to all manner of food. You may not want to eat for a week after it however.

Andrea Felluga hospitality

And now the point of this blog and the good news. We are delighted to join the growing band of GIY Friends who offer a discount to members with the Friends of GIY cards. It is only €15 to join and you get a range of great deals as well as a wealth of information on Growing your own. We are offering a 10% discount in-house and online.

Life is much too short to drink bad wine, and tasteless, imported & over-processed food.

#inishfood – Journeys End

March 21st, 2011

With about 4 hours sleep; I awoke on Saturday morning after the Odyssey of the previous day’s trip and the late night hospitality of the Lake of Shadows resident bar resting upon my shoulders. I felt less like the Greek poet Homer who charted Hercules long voyage from Troy, but more like that other Homer, of Springfield fame.

The breakfast room was abuzz with all manner of foodie debate as @pat_whelan and Mag Kirwan of @goatsbridge fame cut to the heart of the Irish food industry. It was not a conversation for a man who had only hours before heard the sirens song and crashed among the rocks that were the Drift Inn and the hotel resident’s bar. I ate my rashers, sausages and eggs and drank my coffee in silence. Incidentally, the breakfast at the Lake of Shadows Hotel is very good.

Coffee & Pigs

We arrived at Harrys Bar & Restaurant after the coffee demo ( which I had really wanted to see ) and just in time to see some pig carcases on display. Luckily there was still coffee a plenty and Ross from Bailies Hand Roasted Coffee and Juan from Coffee Angel sorted out by coffee cravings, and I thawed out about 11 o clock. Tipperary Pork hero TJ Crowe joined Ed Hick, Jack McCarthy and a dead pig on stage and brought us through the process of getting the animal to the table.

This little Piggy went to the market

This little Piggy went to the market

It was a joy to see craft butchery at its best and the bloody excess of Ed’s black pudding demo was the icing on the cake.

Ed Hick's bloody hands

Ed Hick's bloody hands

I recently found a Spanish wine with a Pig on the label and I dropped it down to TJ during his demo. He seemed happy with the present.

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I spotted Pat Whelan giving one of his passionate interviews to Ella McSweeney and promptly took a photo and tweeted it. Never let a #tippfood promotional moment get away.

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The Media were delightful

I had tweeted with Ella but never actually met her. Being involved with the Tipperary Food Producers, she had really helped our profile when she visited Crowes Farm and covered our Food Extravaganza last November. I was one of the members the crew chose not to interview on the evening, but I was determined not to dwell on that.

As the day progressed, I got talking to Ella and tried to embarrass her by getting a photo to show to my uncle, who is a dairy farmer in Tipperary. Ella is very well regarded by the dairy farmers of Tipperary. My advice would be for her to never visit there alone. There would be all manner of road frontage offered and quotas would be bandied about with gusto. The fact that she was so nice and down to earth was great. We talked about GIY, the Food Connect program run by the Tipperary Food Producers and also about our plans to hold a Salon du Blog as part of the Totally Tipperary festival planned for Cloughjordan in late June. I hope she can make it down, and I will keep the dairy farmers away.

Ella McSweeney gets to meet Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine

Ella McSweeney gets to meet Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine

The Food Bloggers of Ireland

It was great to meet so many passionate people that you come across online and in print on a regular basis. Sally McKenna was just lovely and the support that the Bridgestone Guides give to the local food ( and wine ) businesses is invaluable.

Food Heros from Donegal to Cork to Tipperary

Food Heros from Donegal to Cork to Tipperary

I had long been an admirer of Imen McDonnell’s very stylish blog “I Married an Irish Farmer” so it was great to meet her in person. I would love to say that I watched the butter making demo intensely, but last night’s exploits were catching up and a cure was needed. We snuck out the bar for a quick minute
I should state that I did watch #butterlive a few days later online.

Where everybody knows your name

Where everybody knows your name

Tipps best butchers enjoy a laugh

Tipps best butchers enjoy a laugh

The mood in Harrys on the day was electric with lots of interaction between everyone

Sleep & Rugby

Sleep was catching up on us and a Rugby match was looming at 5, so I slipped away and made my way back to the hotel and the bed that I was dreaming of. A bad rugby result was not an ideal aperitif for what was to come but the bus took us back to Harrys for the main event, the Inishfood no menu feast.

There are better food bloggers than me that can better describe the banquet that Donal and Ray put before us, and I would suggest you check Kristin and Caroline’s Irish Food Bloggers roundup of blogs to get a real flavour of all that was on offer.

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My highlights included the pork in all its guises ( obviously ), but the fish dishes were so fresh, and the langoustines and the Pollack were just superb. Donal was generous enough to include one of my favourite wines as part of the banquet. I think that everyone enjoyed Les Obriers de la Péira and the people who make it adhere to very similar principles to Donal and his team at Harrys.

Bob Dylan and the Lotto

Pat Whelan started a Twitter rumour that I won the lotto and there were some very interesting tweets flying about for about an hour. The band played Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and I think there was even some Tom Waits. A great end to a great odyssey and Donal Doherty and his team deserve huge praise for pulling off such an epic event.

My only regret is I did not spend more time seeking out and talking to more people. I am a little shy in such exalted company but hopefully some or all of them will come to one of our Tipperary Food Producers events. Look out for #totallytipp and #tippfood hastags on Twitter. April’s Dungarvan food festival will see many of the faces make a reappearance so I hope to be braver and introduce myself to more when I venture across the mountains to beautiful West Waterford.

The Long way home

We won’t mention the navigation on the way back and ‘someone’ getting us lost and finding ourselves on the backstreets of Belfast and then in Armagh. It’s a good thing he makes good rashers. So, just as Odysseus did in ancient Greece, we tied ourselves to the foodie mast, and had our ears plugged up with beeswax so as to safely sail past the Sirens and their song and we arrived safely back in Tipperary. It’s getting late, and this blog has lasted way to long and I’m starting to ramble so until the next foodie journey.

Article – Fethard Today, Moscow Tomorrow

January 28th, 2011

The Bridgestone Top 100 Places to Eat was published recently and John McKenna could be heard on various radio shows and was quoted in a number of national newspapers. As a proud recipient of a Bridgestone Award and having heard John speak on a number of occasions, I am always interested in his opinion of what’s hot and what’s not.

It is of course a subjective opinion and one person’s salt is another person’s pepper. However, one thing that struck me from the interviews I heard was the assertion that to save the national economy we must first save the local one. It is a subject that I have become very passionate about since opening Red Nose Wine (at the start of a recession), and more especially since getting involved with the Tipperary Food Producers. Wine and Food are two parts of the same experience for me.

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A Donegal Table

I spoke of food and wine last week and will again this week, but a few good news stories emerged from the despair that 2010 brought to the restaurant trade. When I spoke on behalf of the Tipperary Food Producers Network in Kilkenny last year at the FoodCamp seminar I met Donal Doherty of Harrys Bar & Restaurant in Inishowen Co. Donegal. This is a restaurant in a very remote part of the country that has become one of the most sought after eating experiences in Ireland. John McKenna mentioned them on radio and in print numerous times.

Local Local Local 

What makes them different is they have a very bold yet sincere declaration in terms of their promise to customers. All of the food must come from “one small beautiful penninsula – Inishowen”. This is taking local food to the maximum and they proudly list their local food partners as sharing in the glory. Myself and Donal are members of the Twitterati and you can follow the movements of the restaurant in real time. He is known as @harrysdonal in the Twitter world.

The savage winter would have cost them ( and many other restaurant owners ) a lot of business, especially in the critical December month. However, when the weather relented in the week after Christmas, according to John McKenna the restaurant did 2,000 covers. ( I met Donal in Dublin since the article was published and that number was actually closer to 2,100 ). Inishowen is a small place and that figure requires loyalty built with people who are travelling from far and wide.

As a Tipperary man talking about local food, then why should I talk about Donegal? It might be a long way to Tipperary but Donegal is surely further away. It is a model of success that I believe offers a great opportunity for Tipperary restaurants. I know that a lot of cafes and restaurants do buy local produce but I am not aware of one that does so exclusively. If there is one, please let me know.

Wow do you make your sauce?

There are a number of large food and beverage companies that supply a lot of the hotels and restaurants in Ireland at a very competitive rate. As well as choice, they also have that most useful of commodities, economies of scale. They offer a low cost alternative in a struggling industry so it is very easy to see why people use them. However, when the sauce on your chicken comes from a jar and tastes identical in Cork and in Sligo, then I believe you are losing more than you are gaining.

The business’s that are adapting to the economy best are offering something very different from their competitors and I think people want value, and as I have said before, value does not equate to price. If it did, we would all eat in McDonalds and I would never sell a bottle of La Péira.

A very special pub ( with great food )

I have had some really fantastic food in Tipperary and I think we are awash with great places to eat. I am trying to get Jasper in McCarthys in Fethard to put my picture up on the wall in the very famous pub. I have a space in mind beside Pricilla Presley. I am trying to argue that he would have it up before I am famous for the book I shall one day write. So far, he is not biting.

The Legendary McCarthys

The Legendary McCarthys

McCarthys do have a lot of local produce on their menu ( 90% of meat on the last order ) and I had a sublime meal out there recently. I had aged Tipperary beef in a Red Wine sauce which was cooked to perfection ( medium – rare). I have to admit I supply wine out there so when I say the wine was perfect with it, I am very biased. I am sure Brad Pitt is biased when says he has a great looking wife, but it doesn’t mean he is wrong.

The owner of Chateau Miraval ( on sale at Red Nose Wine )

The owner of Chateau Miraval ( on sale at Red Nose Wine )

Brad and Angelina also have a great wine called Miraval, but blatant plugs aside, McCarthys was a great night out and a good example of somewhere that people are wiling to travel to. The new chef has transformed the menu and the fish my wife had was “fresh as a daisy”.

Tipperary Food

Tipperary has a great opportunity to become the county of choice for food. Bord Bia released fantastic export figures recently and food is a strong positive in a very weak economy. Tipperary has the brand name, the location, but more importantly we have the food. As soon as it is possible to make quality wine in Tipperary, I will be the guinea pig, but until that time, I will match the local food to the wine of like minded people from around the world.

We just need people to buy into this idea of local business saving the national economy. The restaurants need to do it, but the people must support it and they must get value for money.

That is a lot of words about food in an article about wine, but I did warn you last week that I would talk about food for a few articles. I have a lot of plans to get Red Nose Wine to the next level in 2011 and many are ideas that involve food and local food at that. I am always looking to work with like minded people on these ideas.

I have just ordered my first container of wine from Chile with some other importers who are very like minded in what they are trying to bring to the Irish wine industry. We are competitors but we are also fighting the same fight and have many things we can help each other with.

Ham & Pinot Noir

Speaking of wine, I will now describe a typical Tipperary dish and I will match it to a wine for you. I was invited to a very food orientated party last weekend and there was all manner of food on offer. Among these was a perfectly prepared ham, sourced from the wonderful Crowe Farm in Dundrum.. A sweeter style wine is required here and Riesling or Gewurztraminer would be great white options. A medium bodied Pinot Noir ( possibly from New Zealand ) would be a great red to match the ham.

Ella Mcsweeney visits Crowes Farm

Ella Mcsweeney visits Crowes Farm

Apologies to Pat Whelan for stepping on his “Food” toes with the early part of the article but I think that Pat would agree with the sentiment. He is a very strong advocate of local food and Tipperary Food in particular. I appreciate that I am repeating myself but by saving the local economy we can save the national one. We need to become an exporting country, and food can play a big part of this. But this must start locally first. Fethard today and Moscow tomorrow.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

Please have a look at our Facebook site and ‘Like’ Us so we can share all the photos with you. Feel free to share this page with your friends and enemies.

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

The Twitterati & Bloggers Collaborate

November 23rd, 2010

This blogpost is a collaboration inspired by collaborators. Tipperary Food Producers produced an exciting event that showcased their work in Clonmel Park Hotel on Wednesday 10 November 2010.

A panel of social media users was specially invited to do their best – communicate with the wider world via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs – the new media… I wasn’t officially part of the Twitterati as I was an organiser and memeber of the Tipperary Food Producers. However being self employed instills one with the gift of multitasking, so I managed a few blogs in between pouring, tasting and talking.

Paul O Mahony pulled the Twitter Panel together in the aftermath of the night and they have all collaborated to publish this blogpost.

We hope you love it & the great work of the Tipperary Food Producers Network.

Pat Whelan, “James Whelan Butchers”  (@pat_whelan) says

A Taste of Good Food



For anyone interested in local food, the Clonmel Park Hotel was the place to be last Wednesday night for the Tipperary Food Producers Christmas Extravaganza.  It turned out to be a fun evening with things to taste, things to eat and plenty of artisan products to buy.

The food demonstration went really well with Bord Bia’s Sile Kelly rustling up tasty and quick family meals that anyone could conjure over Christmas without having to spend hours in the kitchen.  Bord Bia is very aware of the budgetary implications for everyone these days and so it was no surprise that all the dishes prepared were very economical.

Sarah Baker from Cloughjordan Cookery School was a huge hit when she prepared a fantastic black pudding and bacon salad that could be used as a starter or a main course.  Obviously all the ingredients were local; Inch House black pudding and Crowe’s farm bacon.

For me one of the highlights of the evening was the presence of Jane Boyce, Master of Wine.

Thanks to Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine there was huge added value to the evening as Jane matched each dish prepared with an appropriate wine.  She gave tips and hints and all in a very accessible and down to earth way particularly for the not so experienced.  A very warm and unassuming lady from County Down, Jane blended in seamlessly to the line up at the Clonmel Park.   She is highly experienced and her work with wine has taken her all over the world.  These days she has the luxury of working as an independent Wine Consultant and freelance wine writer.  There are only four qualified wine masters in the whole of Ireland and Jane is the only female to boot.  Her experience as a wine judge is wide ranging. She has been key judge and adjudicator for the Irish Wine Show for the past two years and last year was on the Burgundy and Austrian panels for London’s The Decanter World Wine Awards. Her international judging experience spans the globe including South Africa, France and as far away as Australia.  One of the most basic tips for food matching she gave on the night, and one which makes a great deal of sense, is to initially match the country of origin of the dish to the wine.  For example if you are having Italian food then an Italian wine might be a good choice.  Equally if it is a warming winter dish then it naturally goes better with a full bodied wine rather than a light crisp summery one.  Jane was also keen to point out the difference between cost and value.  She made the good point that by staying with the smaller vineyards and spending just a few euro more you are exponentially increasing the quality of wine you are buying when you take into account the duty, the bottling and transportation costs.

Whether you were at the event or not, Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine in Clonmel would be very helpful if you need advice.

All the canapés on the evening were prepared using Tipperary Food.  There was a feast of treats created with imagination and the producers acted as waiters for the night.  It was lovely to hear people chatting to the people who actually created the food; a rare thing these days to be that close to the source.  Indeed, some of the people at the event had travelled further than much of the food.  The idea was to show just what you could do for impressive nibbles over the festive season.

I was sure I would have a favourite but as I tasted each one I chopped and changed my hit list as the various flavours danced along my taste buds.  I was in heaven as the smoky taste of Crowe’s Bacon was matched with Daru Cheddar from Cooleeney Cheese to create a little quiche tartlet.  Then I compared it to the Cashel blue cheese and red onion tartlets and couldn’t quite make up my mind.  Una O’Dwyer’s cold sausage on savoury crackers with Crossogue relish was a heady, sticky revelation.  There were bruschetta selections using roasted peppers, chargrilled courgettes, cheese selections and chargrilled mushrooms creating a wonderful synergy between Munster Mushrooms, Hickey’s Bakery and Cooleeney Cheese.   O’Briens Farm Shop teamed up with Inch House and together came up with potato rosti topped with horseradish mayo and black pudding; sublime.

For my contribution I used a fillet of medium rare beef on little blinis with rocket and shaved parmesan which I considered to be quite the triumph until I swallowed the delectable delights of Mags Bergin’s brown bread simply topped with my chicken liver pate and Crossogue sweet red pepper relish.  It was like looking at a family of children and having to choose just one.

In the end I gave up and decided that they all had something to offer and while I loved individual characteristics, I had equal affection for all.

Thankfully the canapés took the edge off my hunger before the demonstration began and then it was back for dessert and coffee.

If the tastes from the canapés were exciting the climax came with dessert; tiramisu shots made with Ponaire Coffee and mascarpone cheese from the Tipperary cheese company and Karmine apple jelly shots with fresh raspberries.  The Apple Farm provided the ingredients for Pear and almond tarts along with hopping into bed with the Cookie Jar for Panna cotta, strawberries and chocolate chip cookies.  Had I died after a Cookie Jar confection on Wednesday night I would have died a happy man!  The Lemon curd and meringue tartlets were a huge hit and the Brownies from the Cookie Jar, topped with a blueberry curd were outstanding.  Crossogue preserves are standing tall these days.

Looking at all the stands and all the people who supported the event it made me really proud to be from Tipperary.

We have fantastic producers doing a brilliant job but we also have some really loyal customers who, at the end of the day, are the reason we do it.

Finally the icing on the cake for me came with a delightful footnote from Bord Bia’s Sile Kelly.  Just fresh from the highly regarded Listowel Food Fest, to my delight Sile announced that my book, “An Irish Butcher Shop, had won second prize at the event for food writing.  I was absolutely thrilled and even more delighted when I found out that I was only beaten by Darina Allen’s latest offering “Forgotten Food“.  To be in the company of such esteemed cook book royalty makes for a very nice feeling indeed.   All in all it was a great Tipperary food week. I welcome your feedback to pat@jwb.ie

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Yvonne Carty, Hey Pesto,  (@heypestoie)says…

Twitter Power!

I may have been labelled a ’social media whore’ by certain people, but I will admit that while I wholeheartedly embrace Facebook I lingered in the ‘tweetlight’ for a long time. But no longer. I am now a fully paid member of the Twitter community – I have made new friends; sourced suppliers: attended ‘twinnerparties’: participated in cookalongs and even lost weight on a ‘twiet’!

And all this must not have gone unnoticed as recently I was invited to take part in Ireland’s first Food Twitter Panel by the powerhouse that is Pat Whelan.

Hence on a wet and windy wednesday night in November instead of curling up in front of the fire I made my way to the Clonmel Park Hotel to meet my fellow twitterers. Our task – to tell the world about the amazing Tipperary Food Producers Extravaganza. Our assigned minder, Robert Harris, led us into a small, secret room behind the bar for coffee and sandwiches(I wanted to be in the foyer for the wine and mouth watering canapés!).

I was delighted to recognise two familiar faces – Caroline (@Bibliocook) and Mag (@goatsbridge) and to be introduced to the rest of the twitterati – Keith (@keithbohanna), Derry (@derryo),Susan (@queenofpots), Brian (@brianpcleary), Ken (@anygivenfood), Roger (@rogeroverall), Paul (@omaniblog), Michael (@clonmelinfo)

The panel

Once we had identified each other by our twitter names it was time to wander through the avenue of food to meet the producers including Inch House Black Pudding, Crowe’s Farm, Cooleeneey Cheese, The Scullery, The Cookie Jar, Crossogue Preserves and The Apple Farm…my apologies to anyone I haven’t listed.

Then Robert showed us to our table and we were off! You have never seen such frantic finger action – we told the twitterverse about Sheila Kelly’s beef chilli, Sarah Baker’s black pudding & bacon salad, Alistair’s choice of meat cut, Jane Boyce’s wine choice, Nichola Beresford’s entertaining ‘MC-ing’ and Pat Whelan’s empassioned pleas to support local food producers…… Phew!

I should mention there was competition between the iPhones and notebooks but I think iPad envy took over in the end (Dear Santa….)

Oh and I also learned about Audioboo – to be further investigated

Tweeting away

We were matched in our efforts by the TY students on #foodconnect program who are spending time with the various producers learning where and how the food is produced.

And then all of a sudden it was over! 400 people came to the event and between the panel I imagine at least 4,000 attended it virtually.

My only complaint – I never got to see, never mind taste, the dessert canapés!

If you haven’t entered the Twitterverse – do

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Keith Bohanna of BiaBeag.com says

I love artisan food producers and am very happy to share that passion with anyone who will listen over on www.biabeag.com. On my recent outing to the brilliant night organised by Tipperary Food Producers I decided to take a back seat and (for my first time) shoot some short video interviews with a couple of the producers and with Gary Gubbins, one of the active members of the group.

Thanks to each of them for being so facilitating.

Video 1 – Michael Cantwell Boulaban Farm Icecream.

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Video 2 – Jim Maher Cooleeney Cheese

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Video 3 – Sarah Browne, Browne’s Soup

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Video 4 – Gary Gubbins Tipperary Food Producers

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Caroline, Bibliocook: All About Food says …

Local food: Tipperary Food Producers

It was all about buying local at last night’s Tipperary Food Producers Cookery Extravaganza in Clonmel. Tipperary produce – local cheese, preserves, meat and fruit – was used for the elegant nibbles on offer at the start of the night, during the cookery demonstrations and for the rapidly hoovered up deserts which finished off the evening.

I was there as a member of the 11-strong Twitter panel, along with @goatsbridge, @HeyPestoie, @KeithBohanna, @Omaniblog, @RogerOverall, @BrianPCleary, @QueenofPots, @AnyGivenFood @ClonmelInfo and @DerryO.

We had a great time, down the back of the room with nothing to do but watch, listen and tweet (find us at #TippFood). Normally tweeting at the cottage is squeezed in between radio editing, article writing, pot stirring and toddler watching so it felt like a total luxury to have a couple of hours devoted to it, just me, my netbook, my fellow panel members (plus many iPhones!) and a 500-strong crowd of Tipperary food lovers.

For me, the best part of the night was a chance to chat with and buy from the Tipperary food producers that were showcasing their wares.

After all the demonstration and tweeting ended, I got a chance to pick up sausages from Crowe’s Farm, along with advice from John Paul on hanging and cooking my Bronze turkeys, a cute little box of Raspberry Streusel from The Cookie Jar, one of Nuala Hickey’s award-winning barm bracks now scenting the whole kitchen with fruit and spice, a chunk of the fantastic Inch House black pudding and a couple of cheeses from Cooleeney. I picked up Gortnamona, a soft goats’ cheese, to go with a tomorrow night’s warm lentil and roast pumpkin salad but couldn’t resist a wee Cooleeney, a Camembert-style cheese, for baking whole as a weekend treat.

Well done to the Tipperary Food Producers Network for putting such a great event together and thanks to Pat Whelan (check out his book here) at James Whelan Butchers for the invitation to participate.

Buy local? With food this good, the only question is why wouldn’t you

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Gary Gubbins, RedNoseWines says…

Oh what a night!

What a night was had on November 10th in the Clonmel Park Hotel. Nearly 500 food ( and wine ) lovers descended on Tipperary in a great show of support for local food and local business. Myself and Con Traas of the Apple Farm could not pour the wine and juices quickly enough as the crowds were three deep at the bar.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes. Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat’s recipes. 

A Master of Wine

The whole night was a great success and I was delighted to have someone like Jane Boyce MW matching artisan wines to artisan food. There are only 4 Masters of Wine in Ireland so it was a real coup to be able to convince her to travel from the North. She has a real warmth when she speaks about wine and does not talk down to her audience. The comments I received about her were all very positive and a number of people want me to do a dedicated wine night with Jane in the future.

Twitterati

I remember being at a Tipperary Food Producers meeting last year and I tried to explain Twitter to the group and the power of social networking. I am not sure everyone took me too seriously but Pat Whelan was definitely listening and he now has double my number of followers. He had the great idea to invite a panel of Twitter folk ( Twitterati ) and bloggers to cover the event. They sat alongside the Transition Year students participating in the Food Connect program and the hashtag #tippfood was a buzzing as the night went on.

The Tipperary Food Producers were genuinely humbled by the support from the public and we hope to build and improve on this going forward. Thanks to the Bloggers and Twitterati for their hard work.

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Susan Clooney writes…

Christmas Cookery Extravaganza

On the 10th of November last the Tipperary Food Producers’ Network, in association with An Bord Bia, provided an evening of artisan food displays, tastings and cookery demonstrations at the Clonmel Park Hotel.  I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to form a Twitter panel with several others on the evening, an offer I couldn’t resist having a genuine interest in local products, especially those of the edible variety.

The crowd that turned up on the evening, despite the bad weather, was phenomenal.  About 500 people gathered in the hotel lobby, shortly before the event commenced, where wine was supplied by local wine specialist Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine.  From there they filtered through a hallway lined with food stalls where a variety of producers offered samples of breads, meats, icecream, cake, sauces, in fact, every type of food you could think of.  Once the enthusiast foodies had satisfied their curiosity, it was into the function room for the cookery demonstrations.

The kitchen set up was impressive.  At the top of the room a cooking area had been laid out with a huge mirror overhead that gave everyone a great view of the worktop area.  Two big screens were arranged at either side of the cooking area that meant no one missed out on the events of the evening.  Our Twitter panel sat at the back of the room and were able to view everything perfectly and, despite the chattering that usually goes on at the rear of any hall, we had no problems hearing what was going on at the top.

Nicola Beresford was our hostess and compere for the evening.  She introduced the chefs and did a marvellous job of keeping us informed on the various dishes that were being cooked up, and in keeping the evening flowing.

Throughout the evening, our mouths watered as the smells and aromas of freshly cooked meat, veg, herbs and spices wafted around the room.  Sheila Kelly from Bord Bia cooked up four different dishes, including Mexican Chilli Beef with Avocado dressing and spicy red pepper salsa, and Stir Fried Pork with Gingered Noodles, both of which I sampled afterwards and was very impressed with.  Sarah Baker (@sarahbakercooks) prepared Inch House Black Pudding tart tatin using Con Traas apples, served up with a relish from The Scullery.  Jane Boyce, one of four Masters of Wine in Ireland gave recommendations on wine to go with each dish.

Pat Whelan (of James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel), the Chairman of the Tipperary Food Producers’ Network, spoke about the Food Connect programme that links transition year students in eleven schools across North and South Tipperary with food producers in the community.  Some of the students, many of whom tweeted from the hotel that evening, were followed by RTE’s ‘Ear to the Ground’ for the week, as they worked with various producers and gained a valuable insight into business operations.  Ear to the Ground also filmed the Cookery Extravaganza and we can look forward to seeing coverage on our screens very soon.

When the cookery demonstrations were over people mingled in the foyer enjoying canapés and wine, all provided by the Tipperary Food Producers’ Network.  The feedback to the event was similar from everyone.  They’d enjoyed the evening, were armed with recipe ideas and booklets for Christmas, and were more aware of the excellent choice in good, fresh, wholesome produce available on their own doorstep.  For more information on Tipperary Food Producers, what they do, and other events, just log onto: http://www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com/

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Derry O’Donnell, publisher of Life & Fitness says…

It’s not often that you have something to look forward to in November. Generally it’s batten down the hatches and hold tight for Christmas. However, this year was different. Last Wednesday, 10th November, The Tipperary Food Producers held a Christmas Cooking Extravaganza in The Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel. The weeks leading up to it were filled with anticipation. I was receiving press releases about the event and Twitter was alive with talk amongst foodies and folk living in Tipperary.

About a week or so before the night I received an invite from Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers to participate in a Twitter Panel whose job it was to tweet about the event on the night. Wow, I thought to myself, generally twitter distracts me from my job. At this, tweeting IS my job.

I’ve often been at events or occasions where a number of people and I have tweeted about what was going on at the time. But this was something new to me. This was an organised panel. And I mean organised. A room off the main bar was reserved for us. We were given tea, coffee and sandwiches before the main event. A table in the main hall was reserved for us. It had a sign on it ‘Twitter Panel’. Our usernames were printed on the sign! It was like being in a press box and I guess that’s what it was. But rather than journalists scribbling furiously into notebooks we were all tapping away on our laptops and iphones delivering live commentary to countless people. It wasn’t just written messages either. Photographs, video and audio were also being shared out to the World. ‘Tipperary’ and the hashtag #tippfood became trending topics on Twitter. I doubt there was a single person from Ireland on Twitter that night who wasn’t aware that a group of some of the finest food producers from Co. Tipperary had something cooking.

I was also pleasantly surprised and bemused to discover some transition year students from my old school St Josephs College, Borrisoleigh were also on the panel. They were part of the Food Connect Program run in conjunction with the Tipperary Food Producers. How times have changed, I thought. There were no mobile phones back in my school days, let alone Twitter.

The event itself was very professionally organised. Locally produced juices and wine were available in the hotel lobby on arrival. Trays of delicious canapés containing mouth watering samples of some of the food producers products were passed around.   Members of the Tipperary Food Producers had stalls along the walls of the corridor leading up to the main hall. You could chat with the owners, sample their produce and buy some to take home. The main hall had a fantastic set up. A large screen beside the stage showing what was happening on stage ensured no one missed a thing.

Bord Bia Chef Sheila Kelly began the cookery demonstration. Equipped with a radio microphone and excellent amplification every member of the audience could also clearly hear her instructions. A mirror overhead the worktop angled to face the audience meant you could see every slice and dice.

Jane Boyce a Master of Wine also provided some insightful snippets during the night. Cooking demonstrations were also provided by Sarah Baker of Cloughjordan Cookery School and Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers.

Outside in corridor it was great to get a chance to have a quick chat with some of the Tipperary Food Producers. Veronica Molloy of Crossogue Preserves had a wonderful display of jams and chutneys. Crossogue Preserves was the overall winner of the 2009 National Enterprise Awards County Competition.

I was speaking to Mags Bergin of Mags Home Baking when it transpired that we have spoken on the phone several times over the years but had never met before. This was due to her husband Pat, who runs a successful picture framing business in Nenagh. A slice of her bread with some Cooleeney cheese is simply divine.

It was truly wonderful to be part of such a positive night. A dark November night that brought a capacity crowd of around 500 people to celebrate what Tipperary has to offer.

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Mag Kirwan (@goatsbridge) says…

I spent an absolutely fantastic evening g at the Food Extravaganza in Clonmel last week. As you can see from the panel (photo above)  I was in very good company indeed.

The idea was very novel and I think it was a great way to communicate to the outside world the great work being done in Tipperary to promote the local artisan food movement.

From my point of view I think it was a good opportunity to meet some of the food producers I have learned to admire over the last few years and I also think it is very important to share ideas and hopefully work closely with them in the future.

Hats off to all involved but make no mistake we in Kilkenny will be back next year for the all-Ireland hurling final. They have started on their diet of trout already!!

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Michael Clarke, ClonmelInfo, says …

Christmas Cookery Extravaganza 2010

I have just attended the Christmas Food Extravaganza at the Clonmel Park Hotel and I must say it was a pleasure to be there.

As we entered the Hotel the crowd of people, I believe 500 in total were sampling various foods and drinks from the Tipperary Food Producers Stalls

James Whelan Butchers
Crossogue Preserves
Cooleeney Cheese
Brownes Soup
Mags Home Baking
The Cookie Jar
Crowe’s Farm
Red Nose Wine
The Scullery
Inch House
Hickeys Bakery
The Apple Farm
O Donnells Crisps
The Auld Mill Bakery
Fine Foods Cashel
Boulaban Farm Ice Cream

The Stalls went all the way to the ballroom where the cookery display was been held by Sheila Kelly of Bord Bia and Sarah Baker of The Sarah Baker Cookery School.

To add to this fine presentation was Jane Boyce Master of Wines offering her tips on which wines would go well with certain foods.

A special well done to the hostess on the night Nicola Beresford who asked the questions most of us were thinking and offered her tips and opinions during the course of the evening.

Overall the night was fantastic, it is great to see such variety of food and more to the point sourced right here in Tipperary. The quality of cooking was, let just say mouthwatering and leave it at that.

Congratulations to Pat Whelan and all at Tipperary Food Producers for organising the event, may it be the first of many.

And to my fellow tweeters well done on a good nights tweeting @ #tippfood

@Bibliocook @Derryo @brianpcleary @Queenofpots @keithbohanna @goatsbridge @omaniblog @anygivenfood @rogeroverall

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Roger Overall writes…

There I was, sitting at the back of a hall filled with 500 people, mostly housewives it seemed to me, watching cookery demonstrations at the “Food Extravaganza” organized by the Tipperary Food Producers Network. I was in one of the special seats, those reserved for the select few: the twitterati who had been invited to tweet live from the event.

What on Earth was I doing there?

Why would I travel over an hour on a wet Tuesday evening to tweet for several hours about a food event in Clonmel without any obvious compensation? Sure, it was an ego-massage to be invited, but did I seriously have nothing better to do with my evening than bother my twitter followers with a string of tweets about a food event?

Why indeed?

The short answer is: relationships.

My dream assignment would be to document a year in the life of a vineyard. I’m not overly fussy where the vineyard is located, though France would be preferable. Bordeaux would be nice. The Loire valley acceptable. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t turn anyone down as long as they were good people.

That’s still some distance from a wet Tuesday in Clonmel, but bear with me.

Wine is part of a wider interest of mine. Food and drink.

I’m not a foodie per se. I talk a good game, but I simply don’t have the time to satisfy my interest in the kitchen or at the tables of Co. Cork’s great food outlets.

Nevertheless, I can say this: I have rarely been happier than when I’m photographing passionate food producers. I enjoy their company, their stories, their insights, their enthusiasm. I’ve been very fortunate to have photographed with several superb food producers in Ireland: Burren Smokehouse, Ummera, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, O’Keeffe’s Bakery, Old Mill Confectionary, Follain to name a few that come readily to mind.

Being asked to attend a Tipperary food event was like waving catnip in front of a kitten. It would bring me into a new sphere of food producers. Who knew what relationships I might strike up?

Besides, the timing was perfect. I’m on a mission to expand my food portfolio. To this end, I’m selecting food producers to shoot personal projects with. Each one will result in a book. Once I have a series of these books, I’ll start approaching the big names in the business. The names you know. But first I need subjects to photograph for the portfolio books.

So how did I get on?

Well, I have arranged to explore the possibility of a documentary project with Pat Whelan, a truly visionary butcher. He is an interesting man and he has a story to tell. I would not have had the chance to meet him had I not agreed to tweet about the Tipp “Food Extravaganza”.

Additional benefits? It flushed out the foodies among my own followers on Twitter, providing us with yet another basis on which to deepen our relationships. And I met a whole new group of interesting tweeters to follow.

Besides, there was some very tasty food on offer.

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Paul O’Mahony (@omaniblog) MarketingWriteNow says…

It was a flattering surprise to get an invite from Pat Whelan.  I hadn’t a clue who he was, his business, reputation, connections… anything.  But the fact that a stranger took the trouble to invite me to an intriguing event in Clonmel whetted my appitite.

The thing that turned me on most of all was the link between food producers of Tipperary & the coming generation. Young people learning about food production, food presentation & the marketing of Tipperary thru new media was the clincher for me.

It pushed all my buttons.

I did all due diligence: found out lots about the butcher-on-line.  It was great that I already knew Susan Cloonan (@queenofpots).  But it was wonderful to find myself in the companyof so many new people  who are so active on social media.

Yes –  the heroes of the event were Tipperary Food Producers Network.  The buzz they attracted was marvellous.  But without the connection to the Transition Year students from St Joseph’s College (@st_joes_college) I wouldn’t have been half as excited.

Irish people (British too) love audio.  The angle I hit on was to make a series of AudioBoos before, during & after the event – as a sort of campaign to spread the buzz.  You can listen to the complete set of recordings below.

Collaborating is the name of the game?

Tipperary Food Producers collaborated.  Students collaborated. We collaborated.  Pat Whelan went out of his own business to build links with others in many directions. We have practised the skill of collaborating. Why?  Because it’s fun, intelligent, necessary… Because it’s stupid not to.

The art of collaborating is a sacred ritual – part of the most ancient art animals have evolved.  We humans live in the forcefield created by dual polarities: self & social.  I could indulge myself by launching into a tirade against the lack of collaborating skill I’ve experienced in various places.  But Tipperary people collaborated well. I feel encouraged by their example.

It was great fun. In my business fun matters.  My aim is to help others make a living while enjoying the process.  This experience has reinforced my hope that this is the best way.  The anthem “Thank you Pat” is right.

AudioBoo recorded before the event:

10 November – It’s a long way to Tipperary

10 NovemberGood Food Ireland in Tipperary

10 November - Arriving at  Clonmel Park hotel for the event : students, Cooleeney cheese, Roger Overall

AudioBoo recorded at the event:

10 November – Meeting the Twitter Panel: @queenofpots, Brian Cleary (Clonmel Chamber), @bibliocook

10 November – Interviewing Ann Power from  PowerHousePRa surfer from Tramore

10 November – Listening to Sheila Kelly Bord Bia demonstrating & Master of Wine & reporting on students

10 November – Sounds of demonstration, Twitter Panel working,  live-streaming by @anygivenfood, @goatsbridge too

10 NovemberJane Boyce wine master in action – the sound of her voice speaking

10 NovemberRedNoseWine & Ice Cream interview with Michael Cantwell from Boulabán Farm

10 November - Nora from Inch House Black Pudding, Michael Cooleeney Cheese from Moyne

10 November –  Gary Gubbins RedNoseWine Ciaran Rooney winemaker, @garyvee story, @curiouswines

10 NovemberHickey’s Bakery Barm Brack – interview

11 November - Pat Whelan – interview recorded on the night of the event (ends abruptly due to battery ran out)

AudioBoo  recorded after the event:

18 November – Reflections from Cork on the process of putting a collaboration together

Tipperary Food Producers

November 17th, 2010

Oh what a night!

What a night was had on November 10th in the Clonmel Park Hotel. Nearly 500 food ( and wine ) lovers descended on Tipperary in a great show of support for local food and local business. Myself and Con Traas of the Apple Farm could not pour the wine and juices quickly enough as the crowds were three deep at the bar.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.

A Master of Wine

The whole night was a great success and I was delighted to have someone like Jane Boyce MW matching artisan wines to artisan food. There are only 4 Masters of Wine in Ireland so it was a real coup to be able to convince her to travel from the North. She has a real warmth when she speaks about wine and does not talk down to her audience. The comments I received about her were all very positive and a number of people want me to do a dedicated wine night with Jane in the future.

Twitterati

I remember being at a Tipperary Food Producers meeting last year and I tried to explain Twitter to the group and the power of social networking. I am not sure everyone took me too seriously but Pat Whelan was definitely listening and he now has double my number of followers. He had the great idea to invite a panel of Twitter folk ( Twitterati ) and bloggers to cover the event. They sat alongside the Transition Year students participating in the Food Connect program and the hashtag #tippfood was a buzzing as the night went on.

The Tipperary Food Producers were genuinely humbled by the support from the public and we hope to build and improve on this going forward. Thanks to the Bloggers and Twitterati for their hard work. Keith Bohanna caught me after the end of the night for a few quick words. You can see the interview here

Article – A Tipperary Taste of Provence

November 15th, 2010

Red Nose for the The Frontline

This is the second attempt at this article. When I wrote the first, it was on the back of hitting a creative wall and not knowing what to talk about. Inspiration, for use of a better word dragged me into a political and social rant. I will shelve that article and save the argument for when Pat or Miriam ask me to rant in the centrally approved forum that is RTE 1. Until that happens, I will bring you sunshine and rainbows with a side of wonderful wine.

Pat Kenny tries to get Red Nose Wine on the show !!!

Pat Kenny tries to get Red Nose Wine on the show !!!

Tipp Food goes on and on

If you buy the paper on Wednesday you are no doubt very excited about tonight’s Tipperary Food Producers Extravaganza. If it is later in the week, you are in awe of the wonderful food (and wine) on your doorstep and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Alternatively, you missed the show and are avoiding all of your friends who were there, as they keep reminding you of how good it was. Wherever you fit in this little jigsaw please keep local business in your thoughts this Christmas. We need your support.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.


The Twitterati and Food Connect Program cover the Food Extravaganza

There are even more events to look forward to in the run up to Christmas. I had lunch last week with Gay McGuiness, the Kilkenny man who owns Domaine des Anges, the organic vineyard that lies in beautiful Provence, just over the hill from Chateauneuf du Pape. We are delighted to announce that the winemaker, Ciaran Rooney will be visiting Clonmel on November 24th and taking part in a wine dinner in Befanis.

Domaine des Anges Dinner Poster

Domaine des Anges Dinner Poster

Kilkenny & Tipperary meet again

Myself and Fulvio have been trying to organise a wine dinner for a long time, so I am delighted that it is with one of my own personal favourites. Places are limited and selling very well so if you want 5 different wines and a 4 course dinner for only 45 Euros, please contact Red Nose Wine or Befanis to get your ticket. There will be special prizes on the night as well.

I wrote about my visit there this summer, and will not wax lyrical about the room with the view this time. I will talk more about the wines and why they are constantly being reviewed as among the very best in France. Tomas Clancy gave them a huge write up in last week’s Sunday Business Post (although he forget to mention Red Nose Wine), and Oz Clarke has them in his 250 Great Wines book every year. My old friend Jancis Robinson is also a big fan.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Gay McGuiness at Domaine des Anges

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Gay McGuiness at Domaine des Anges

As well as the quality, the most consistent message from them all is the value. These are very well priced and if you don’t want to pay for Chateauneuf du Pape or White Burgundy, then you would do a lot worse than try these. They have been one of my big success stories this last year.

Some Tasting Notes

The Reds are based around Syrah and Grenache, the classic Rhone Valley varieties. The Classic cuvee (i.e. the cheap one) is dominated by Grenache just like its illustrious neighbour in Chateauneuf. The nose is a mix of raspberries, cranberries, chocolate, and liquorice with subtle notes of thyme and rosemary. But will we like it Gary? I believe that you will if you like full bodied wine with a long silky finish. I think it tastes much better when decanted and there is not a lot of 12 Euro wines you can say that about.

Domaine des Anges

Domaine des Anges

The L’Archange Red is a huge step up in quality and this Syrah dominated wine from old vines is a star. A Northern Rhone Syrah is one of the iconic wines in the world and usually has an iconic price to match. The likes of Jaboulet La Chapelle can put you back some serious money. The L’Archange is under twenty and offers spices such as nutmeg and clove complete with ripe blackcurrant and plum on the nose. The palette explodes with rich, ripe fruit and a refreshing note of lemon thyme all supported by spicy tannins. The finish is full, round and lingers long in the mouth. I cannot wait to try this with Befanis fillet of beef on November 24th.


 

Del Boy Trotter’s favourite wine

While comparisons with its Fancy Dan Red Wine neighbour over the hill are the most obvious, the critics would tell you that the real stars are the white wines. Tomas Clancy from the Sunday Business Post thoughts is closest to my own on the top wine. “For me, the star of Domaine des Anges, it makes only 750 cases a year as it is a single vineyard wine. Barrel-fermented Rousanne, letting the wine sit on its lees, and ageing in oak provides the kinds of kid-glove treatment you expect of a flashy and expensive Burgundy”. High praise indeed. This is an allocation wine for me. That means I can only get a very small amount every year. I have six cases to get me to the next vintage. We’ll drink at least one of those at the dinner, so hurry up.

 The Hills are Alive…. with Acidity

White wine from Provence is not supposed to taste like this, and the reason that it does? The vineyard is situated on a hillside facing Mont Ventoux, “The Giant of Provence”, which rises to 1912m in altitude. The mountain has a profound influence on the climate of the vineyards with cool evening breezes refreshing the vines in summer after the day’s intense heat, and so enabling the vines to maintain high natural acids and elegant tannins.

In fact, the best white wines from traditionally warm parts of the world nearly always share this altitude and cooling effect. The great white wines of the Loire Valley and Burgundy are much more northern so the climate gives them this coolness that acidity demands.

 Hollywood is coming

As I write this, tomorrow sees another new wine departing the vineyard for Red Nose Wine. I wrote about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s vineyard in Provence earlier this year and I am delighted to say that the wonderful Chateau Miraval is on the way. This is another Provence wine that sits high up in the hills, beside my old favourite Chateau Margui. I am delighted that Ciaran Rooney will be the star of Red Nose Wine’s first wine dinner and we are planning more. Will Brad and Angelina attend one of these? If they do, it will be first refusal for the people who attend the other ones.

Chateau Miraval

Chateau Miraval

If you want to taste Domaine des Anges but can’t make the dinner, don’t forget we are having our very first portfolio tasting in Hickeys Cafe at the Westgate in Clonmel on December 9th. There won’t be the usual winemaker talk and taste format. We will have a huge amount of wines open and it will be very informal as you taste what you want in a very social atmosphere. There will be food and maybe even some music – I will need to restring my guitar. I will have everything opened from the 8 Euro everyday wines to the seriously complex superstar wines. Book your tickets now.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

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For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”