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John McKenna's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribbin make a shiitake mushroom soup that would secure the fate of nations. Up there in the hills of North Cork, up in Ballyhoura, they grow mushrooms and demonstrate, in the most dynamic and creative way, just what you can do with them. Nice fresh oysters and shiitakes; beautiful mushroom powders; mighty pates; delicious cep oils; terrific mushroom pestos.

And that mushroom soup: dark, lingering, beefy, intense, silky, umami. The country is gone to the dogs, you say? Taste this. See? It isn't gone to the dogs just yet.

Gregan's Castle 2012

Gregan's Castle 2012

Pictured: Mushroom crisp with goats' cheese; foie gras royale with blood orange and celery; Liscannor Bay lobster, crispy chicken wing, Granny Smith, truffled celeriac; Tipperary rabbit, Serrano ham, carrot, wild garlic; rhubarb, lemon & olive oil, pistachio and sunflower seeds; citrus soufflé, white chocolate sorbet; petits fours

 

 

Eating a Rainbow

Eating for Colour

“We eat first with our eyes” is one of the hoariest old clichés in the book of culinary arts, and it’s hoary and ancient for a simple reason: because it’s true.

For example, should your little darling be disinclined to finish his or her dinner, then play a colour trick on them.

Irish Craft Beer

Imagine buying a piece of someone’s dream.

It’s not difficult. In fact, these days, as the number of Irish craft brewers increases steadily, it is getting easier and easier to get a taste of someone’s dream.

All you have to do is to buy an Irish craft beer and, what you will get, along with the delicious taste of that ruby ale or that coal-black stout, is a piece of the brewer’s desire to make the ideal drink, to create the wine of Ireland, to fashion a craft beer that comes from a place because it belongs in that place, and because it is made in that place.

An Apple A Day... John McKenna writes about Longueville Cider

Longueville Cider

Some of the smartest country house restaurateurs have long realised that using their acres to produce speciality foods is a smart option to open up new revenue streams. No one has been more creative at this than William and Aisling O'Callaghan, at Longueville House, just outside Mallow, in north Cork, who have sold their produce both through the house and via Farmer's Markets.

Ed Hick's Bacon Jam

Hick's Bacon Jam

“Ed Hick's Bacon Jam: it's a relish”, says the label.

Except Mr Hick's newest product isn't merely a relish, as the label happily says. It is also a game-changer, one of those products that seem fated to be created, so long as a brilliant, creative artisan can free the idea from the ether.

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