Cork is one county which seems to consistently deliver. Is there something in the water down south?
When it comes to food and drink products in Ireland, we're spoilt for choice. Here at FOOD&WINE, we love to champion smaller producers who are doing big things. Or indeed highlight places with buckets of potential. One such area is County Cork, a fiercely proud place where quality counts. The Rebel County is full of surprises. Here are just some of our favourite products to watch out for.
Apple juice from the Longueville House orchards is offered fresh and also used to produce their own delicious, naturally fermented and additive-free cider – and Longueville House Irish Apple Brandy.
North Cork is Ireland’s dairy central, home to some of the country’s best grazing and several of its biggest commercial dairy plants, notably at Charleville. Tom and Lena Biggane have been making cheese on their farm since 2001; their highly regarded gouda-style goat’s cheese, Clonmore, was developed from recipes passed on to them by a Dutch neighbour and they also make a hard cow’s milk cheese, Shandrum.
Handcrafted in the rugged Ballyhoura region in Ireland by Scott and Cam, a Kiwi and an Aussie, the Eight Degrees mission is to make modern interpretations of traditional Irish ale and lager styles. Their full flavoured ‘naturally adventurous’ beers have distinctive malt and hop characteristics, and they’re going down a treat. Recently acquired by Irish Distillers, owners of Jameson Whiskey, Eight Degrees will now sustain the growth of Jameson Caskmates as well as continuing to produce new brews. The founders said of the acquistition, “When we set up Eight Degrees Brewing in Mitchelstown in 2010 we wanted to brew great-tasting beers that were more exciting and innovative than anything else in the market. Becoming part of the Irish Distillers family means that we have the long-term capabilities to continue on this mission as well as being part of the very exciting Jameson Caskmates story.”
Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribbin’s enterprising company was singled out for an Irish Food Writers’ Guild Award in 2014. Not only do they grow a unique range of speciality mushrooms but they also supply a wide range of wild and foraged foods. They offer dried mushrooms too, and an interesting range of mushroom products. An extraordinary product to seek out is shiitake bacon – ‘bacon without the pig’.
Whatever it is about north Cork and Aussie talent, the results are great for the growing number of coffee lovers who will drink nothing but the range from Brock Lewin’s Badger & Dodo boutique coffee roasters. The quality of their coffee is endorsed by the carefully selected cafés and restaurants they supply.