Food and drink events

These are in the past tense but I’ve left them up here as a sort-of diary. For the latest events, see here.

The wine and beer events here range from dinners showcasing particular wine ranges, through to massive open-ended freestyle wine tastings,  and a beerfest next weekend. Any of them would be well worth getting to, and a few are in my view particularly good value for fans of fun and flavour.  To add an event, email me – firstname. lastname @examiner.ie – using my name of course. You might also like to take a look here at my guide to making best use of open wine tastings.

October 22 and 34 Halloween apple picking, Co Tipp

A small deviation from the wine, beer and cider — but something that is closely connected: The Apple Farm is offering a great way for families to celebrate Halloween with pick-your-own days this weekend. From 2pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, they’re opening the youngest orchard meaning it’s the smallest and easiest to-reach trees (and a memorable hands-on reminder of where our food comes from). There’s no cover charge — you only pay for what you pick. €1 per kg with a minimum of 10kg. See their website here for more details.

October 24 Portuguese Wine Fair, Dublin

One of the highlights on the calendar is the Portuguese Wine Fair which this year takes place at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin 8 on Monday October 24 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Phone 086-8168468 or email jean@jeansmullen.com for details.

October 24 Dylan supper club: wine through the ages

The latest in the current series of cleverly-themed wine and food event at the Dylan Hotel (Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 4) is a vertical comparison of vintages from what they say are ‘renowned vineyards’, paired with a four-course supper. €55 per person. From 7pm. Email: reservations@dylan.ie or phone 01 660 3000.

October 26 – Port and chocolate tasting, Port House, Dublin

Graham’s Port and Lily O’Briens chocolates are collaborating to present a port and chocolate masterclass with Henry Shutton, winemaker with Graham’s Port in The Port House, Dublin 2 on Wednesday October 26 at 5.30pm. Out-of-towners – make sure you don’t confuse the venue with the equally splendid Porterhouse in Temple Bar. The Port House tapas bar is at 64a South William Street, Dublin 2, near the Powerscourt Townhouse. Phone 01 6770298 or see www.porthouse.ie. Speaking of porter…

█ October 28 to 30 – Octoberfest Cork 

WHILE the Franciscan Well microbrewery’s big Easter event is all about indigenous beers, its autumn/winter counterpart is a showcase of international craft beers – with one exception: the brewery’s brand-new limited edition Shandon Century Extra Stout. Whatever way this beer turned out, its launch is enormously significant as it’s the first one the Franciscan Well has ever put in bottle. This is an enormously significant move, as it means the brewery might now begin to address the many many people who can’t (or don’t want to) savour its wares in pubs. Hurrah! 

I haven’t tasted it yet and look forward to doing so. I’ll keep you updated in my beer and cider columnlet in the food pages of the Irish Examiner Weekend.  [Update – Saturday October 22] I got to try it since this post went up, and it features as my Beer Of The Week in the Irish Examiner today. That ferocious full-throated alcohol level is certainly at the upper end of the scale, and your palate will feel it. Crucially though, the whole is really well balanced:  Pouring with a short-lived foamy head, the stout is dense and viscous with (surprisingly) quite a delicately fragrant, hoppy liquorice aroma. Would I stand in a pub with a pint of Shandon Century Extra Stout? No I would not. But I certainly would consider sharing it at the dinner table replacing, say, a sinewey shiraz to accompany a rich roast or a few steaks.

As well as the Franciscan Well’s own pub on Cork’s North Mall, you will find Shandon Century Extra Stout at the Bull & Castle in Dublin. Retailing at just under a tenner, the only off-trade shop they’ve told me about so far is Bradley’s off-licence just a stone’s throw from the brewery on North Main Street, Cork. There’s a note about Bradley’s and its beers here.

Beerfest is back at the Franciscan Well in Cork at this weekend.

Anyway, back to the festival: On the Saturday between 3pm and 6pm, the Franciscan Well, in conjunction with Bord Bia, will present a cheese and beer tasting, pairing local artisan cheeses with various beers, ales and stouts.

You’ll find the brewpub on the North Mall in Cork city. Visit  them online here or phone the bar on 021-4393434 or the brewery on 021-4210130.

November 2 Wine dinner at Star Anise, Cork

ON Wednesday November 2, Tim and Judy Finn from the Neudorf Winery in Nelson, New Zealand, present a wine dinner at Star Anise restaurant, Bridge Street, Cork.

I haven’t yet encountered the wines from that estate (something I hope to remedy soon) but four factors suggest this will be a particularly promising and great value wine dinner.

(1) While price certainly isn’t everything, you may take the €20+ per bottle retail price of these wines as some indication of the level they play at. (2) They are imported by the multi-award-winning James Nicholson Wines www.jnwine.com whose range I regard as one of the best on this island. (3) The venue: Even with its various awards and highly reviews, Star Anise is one of the most underrated restaurants I’ve ever visited — exquisitely-prepared food served with cheery informality.  (4) Value: After a glass of James Nicholson bubbly you’ll be dining from a menu created to match some of the Neudorf wines, all for only €65 a head.
To book, call Star Anise on 021-4551635.

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 info@cases.ie.

November 24Cork 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.  ♦

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