Slow Food is hosting a wild food festival in co Wicklow.
█ December 2 – Immigrant support groups’ wine tasting
NASC and Cois Tine are getting together to present an evening of delicious wine and food from 6.30pm on Friday December 2 at Cois Tine, beside St Mary’s Dominican church on Pope’s Quay, Cork.
Michal Lewandowski will present a selection of wines (courtesy of O’Donovan’s off-licences) accompanied by grub from (drool) three fine food specialists in the English Market — On The Pig’s Back, Heaven’s Cake and Iago.
Tickets are €19.10 – a fee that wasn’t picked at random: that’s the weekly allowance asylum-seekers receive.
 Cois Tine (pronounced kush tinn-eh, it’s an Irish language term meaning ‘by the fireside’ chosen to signify hospitality) is a Christian multicultural organisation working to promote “the integration of people from all communities, cultures and faiths”. It works primarily with asylum-seekers and refugees, particularly those of African origin. See www.coistine.ie for more.
 Nasc (it’s an Irish word meaning ‘link’) is The Irish Immigrant Support Board. It links immigrants to their rights, and works across a wide variety of fronts including combating racism, promoting the Cork City Integration Strategy through to direct provision of services. See www.nascireland.org for more.
█ December 2 & 3 – Curious Wines Christmas Wine Fair, Cork
THE Christmas Wine Fair at Curious Wines on the Kinsale road in Cork takes place from 4pm to 8pm on Friday, and from noon until 6pm on Saturday, with more than 100 wines open for tasting, along with tasty gourmet food. Tickets cost €10, and all proceeds go to Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Phone 1800-991844 or click here www.curiouswines.ie for more details.
This is precisely the sort of tasting I keep urging wine fans to check into. Yes, it’s a commercial showcase of one particular retailer’s range. But it’s also the sole opportunity you will get to dive in and sample any or all of this wide range of wines, free of commentary, advertising, and the suggestions of bloggers and columnists. And if you don’t often dip into such tastings, you may find some useful tips in my post suggesting how to get best use out of open wine tastings.
█ December 6 – Stickies and fortifieds at Hayfield Manor, Cork
█ December 7 – Stickies and fortifieds at Ely IFSC, Dublin
THERE’s any number of lesser-visited wine styles I’d urge everyone to check out. Off-dry riesling. Dry riesling. Portuguese wines (all of them). Loire reds and whites. Sometimes it feels like a hopeless mission to persuade people to try out dessert wines or port. Understandable really. After all, what more do you want towards the end of a good dinner than more of the same — a good white or red that you’ve been enjoying?
But discover how a dinner can be turned into a banquet — with tiny glasses of cold botrytis semillon as a beautiful foil to hot bitter coffee, or a rich round spicy port on the couch — and you’ll never look back.
If you’d like some inspiration, there’s an event next week at venues in Dublin and Cork — Ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, and Hayfield Manor Hotel respectively — that you shouldn’t miss. Courtesy of Wine Australia Ireland, they’re hosting a tutored tasting presented by winemaker Chris Pfeiffer whose Rutherglen Muscat has featured in my column a few times. He’ll present a top line-up of Australian stickies and fortifieds, accompanied by nibbles. The tastings in both venues cost €20 per person and begins at 7pm.
For the Cork tasting, book on email@example.com or 065-7077264.
For the Dublin event, book on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01-676 8986.
And if you want any further information on either, contact John at the Wine Australia contact details above.
█ December 8 – Martin’s Christmas Crackers Tasting
(Note change of date)
Martin Moran MW (who presents movies and booze on Newstalk with Sean Moncrieff) has put together an event that sounds practical and inspirational in equal measure. He’s trawled the shelves of the major supermarkets and put together a shortlist of approximately 25 wines chosen to compliment seasonal foods and parties.
But as Martin explains on his site, there’s more to it than that and if you want it, he can customise your choices and give you advice on hundreds more wines from the supermarkets’ ranges.
It all takes place at Darc Space Gallery, 26 North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Tickets cost €10, or €15 for two.
█ December 8 – Red Nose portfolio tasting, Clonmel
ON Thursday, December 8,
Rudolph the Red Nose Wine Shop Red Nose Wine is hosting a portfolio tasting from 8pm at Hickey’s Cafe, Westgate, Clonmel. Tickets are €15, or free if you buy a €50 voucher – a handy money-saving idea. Click on www.rednosewine.com for details. Last time I checked in, Gary was putting a list of the wines opening on Facebook – and says he’s open to suggestions from customers of further bottles to add to the tasting. Check it out! ♦
█ November 15 – Beer and food in Cork
EACH Tuesday in November, The Cornstore in Cornmarket Street, Cork is playing host to beer and food pairing events matching menu with beers such as Birra Moretti, Paulaner and Tiger, in association with Heineken Ireland. At each event a beer and food expert will be on hand to take you through the tasting of beers from around the world and how they match with the food on a specially designed menu. A three-course set menu with beer tasting is €24.95, it kicks off at 7.30pm and you can find out more on 021-4274777.
█ November 17 – Cases Wine Warehouse Christmas Wine* Fair
The great big annual wine* fair at Cases Wine Warehouse on the Tuam Road, Galway takes place from 6.30pm to 10pm on Thursday November 17. There will be about 120 wines open for tasting on the night, and there’ll be tasty food provided by Cava restaurant. Other antics include Cases annual blind tasting competition and live music….
*Kudos to Cases for putting good beer centre stage, as they’ve announced the tasting includes a range of delicious beers from Irish artisan beweries including Galway Hooker, O’Hara’s, Dungarvan Brewing and 8 Degrees from Mitchelstown. Tickets, €20, (with all proceeds going to Self Help Africa) from Cases on 091-764 701 or at email@example.com.
█ November 17 to 19 – Simply Wines tastings
SIMPLY WINES is probably best known as an online store but you can shop in person there too, and if you’re in the parish I’d strongly suggest you check out their wine fair. They’re holding it over three days with extended opening hours (until 9pm on both the Thursday and Friday, and until 7pm on the Saturday) to showcase more than 80 wines in their range.
You’ll find Simply Wines at Unit 2, Ballyogan Business Park, Ballyogan Road, D18, just around the corner from The Park retail centre, Carrickmines. There’s more details about the wine tasting opportunity here, and a map and stuff here.
And now for something completely different…
█ November 19 & 20 – Wild & Slow, Macreddin, Co Wicklow
This is big. The BrookLodge Hotel, Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow, is the HQ for a busy weekend of food inspiration from 11am to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday November 19 and 20. In addition to the food on sale from the stalls, there is a programme of wild-food workshops, tastings, talks and demonstrations around Macreddin presented by Slow Food and sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and Bord Bia.
♦ Harvesting hedgerows – what is available for free, where to look for it, and when it is best harvested.
♦ Photo safari in the National Park – a strenuous hike in and around Wicklow, to stalk and photograph the resident wild deer herd and game birds.
♦ Handling and plucking game – a masterclass with licensed game dealer Mick Healy, including a visit to the Wild Irish Game premises in nearby Glenmalure valley.
♦ Game tasting workshop – Taste pheasant that’s been hung for one, two and three weeks cooked for parallel tasting by Ross Lewis of Chapter One.
♦ Game tasting workshop – Tim Daly from BrookLodge presents a sensoray evalutation of three wild meats, rabbit, hare and venison.
♦ Matching game with wines – Martina Delaney, sommelier at l’Ecrivain will host a workshop pairing gamey wines with these traditional meats.
♦ Wild fish workshop – Mick Murphy, licensed traditional snap-net fisherman explores issues of seasonality and sustainability and fisheries management.
♦ Herbalists Freda Wolfe & Clodagh Mulvey on foraging from among more than 400 plant species used in mainstream medicine and alternative therapies alike.
♦ The gamekeeper’s year – Keith Wooldridge, the retired head gamekeeper of Ballinacor Estate will talk you through the year from preparations in spring through to winter shoots, with an emphasis on habitat and environmental management.
For more, see
█ November 24 – Cork Wine Fair
THE 11th Cork Wine Fair, organised by O’Donvans Off-Licences, takes place on Thursday November 24 from 4pm to 9pm at the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork. About 400 wines as well as beers and spirits will be open for tasting, and there will also be samples of gourmet foods. Two masterclasses, led by two of Ireland’s leading experts, will take place in a side room during the show, featuring the wines of Australia (John McDonnell) and New Zealand (Jean Smullen). All proceeds from tickets (€10) go to the Simon Community in Cork. Booking/enquiries at any of O’Donovan’s 16 stores in Cork city and county or phone 021 4296060.
█ Heineken Ireland is bringing beer and food tasting to top restaurants in Dublin and Cork. Ely Bar and Brasserie, Siam Thai and Roly’s Bistro in Dublin and The Cornstore in Cork will give food lovers and beer fans the chance to come together and sample the natural pairing of beer and food with beers from around the world like Birra Moretti, Paulaner and Tiger. At each event a beer and food expert will be on hand to take you through the tasting of beers from around the world and how they match with the food on a specially designed menu. So whether you’re a beer lover or have never even thought of drinking a beer with your food, there is a beer for you that will add a new dimension to the food you know and love.
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