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Networking day!

Yesterday, October 15th.,  started off with the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Networking event in the Ambassador Hotel in Cork; good to meet up with a number of County Cork restaurateurs and some of their suppliers. this was one of nine roadshows around Ireland in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Bord Bia.

A quick drive down to the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery  for the monthly meeting of West Cork Open Coffee; having been alerted of speed traps it took slightly longer than expected!

For any readers of this in the West Cork area and are wondering what West Cork Open Coffee is all about I quote the following from Calvin Jones, one of the forces behind it:

“West Cork Open Coffee is an on-line and off-line group who enjoy regular meet ups in West Cork. We are mostly innovation and entrepreneurial people who work in or from home or in small businesses in the area.

“Micro enterprise is easy to overlook when it comes to investment and support from state agencies,” said Calvin Jones, a West Cork based freelance writer and core group member of Open Coffee West Cork. “They’re simply too small to register on the radar, and yet they have a disaproportionately beneficial impact on the local economy.

“If you look at the scope, diversity and ingenuity of very small businesses across Ireland, it’s simply staggering. I’m not sure if there is data out there, but I suspect that collectively, micro-enterprise contributes a significant chunk to the national economy. I’m convinced that the little guys, if properly nurtured and supported, can make a real difference,” he said.

Open Coffee West Cork is now attempting to do just that, harnessing the potential of independent enterprise throughout Ireland’s southwest, and providing a forum for interaction, innovation, collaboration and learning both through online and  regular off-line networking opportunities. Join now and help expand the network for yourself and everyone else.”

So if this fits you, then register your interest at WestCorkOpenCoffee.Com.

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The Butler’s Pantry Artisan Harvest

This Saturday, September 19th., we are taking part in celebrating the Artisan Harvest at two of the renowned Butler’s Pantry shops in Dublin.

I will be at their Monkstown shop at 1a Montpellier Place, Temple Hill, Blackrock from 11.30 to 2.00pm and then at the Sandycove shop (19 Sandycove Road, Sandycove) from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. There will also be tastings of our Award winning Smoked Salmon and our Smoked Chicken, not just at these two shops, but at all the Butler’s Pantry shops all day on Saturday.

Do call by and say hello!

If you can’t make it,  Butler’s Pantry have a lovely recipe for Ummera Organic Smoked Salmon with Orange Dressing and Avocado Pate . Try it!

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Discover a World of Food in West Cork

West Cork is the driving force behind Ireland’s modern food revolution.  The earliest artisans of the region put the place on the culinary map over thirty years ago, and many more have joined in since. Slow food enthusiast and Good Food Ireland member Ruth Healy,  of Urru Culinary Store in Bandon, herself a driving force behind the support of local artisans, has put  together wonderful itinarary of touring, meeting local producers and enjoying their delicious offerings en route. The Farm to Fork Discovery Days, which take place on two dates in August, include a guided tour of various West Cork producers, sampling of wares, country walks, riverside picnics, cookery demonstration and a summer supper with wine, in fact, a real culinary experience to be learned from and enjoyed.

The day starts with a light breakfast at Urru in Bandon, a brief talk on the days events, and insight into what’s to come.  The group will then travel by mini bus to Drimoleague, in the heart of rural West Cork,  where dairy farmers Alan and Valerie Kingston at Glenilen will showcase their fabulous selection of cream, country butter, yogurts and desserts made from milk from their own herd.  The farm location is idyllic, and after seeing production and sampling, the group can take a short stroll through lovely countryside by the river, and even have a quick dip if desired, before moving on to the next port of call.

In Enniskeane, the Hollies Sustainable Centre is pioneering a ‘no dig’ market garden packed with produce sold at farmer’s markets in Clonakilty and Bandon. John Conway who works the garden with partner Selvi, will give a talk on this unique method of growing, and answer all those difficult questions! The group will also get an insight into achievable sustainable living which takes place in this small community.  The peace of the countryside here is beyond compare, and visitors always come away feeling calm and at one with the world.

As lunchtime beckons, it’s time to travel to nearby Ballineen village to enjoy a picnic from Good Food Ireland member Susan Fehily’s River Lane Café, to be enjoyed on the grass by the by the River Bandon just down the road. A short drive from here, Anthony Creswell’s award winning Ummera Smokehouse produces a variety of artisan specialities, including smoked organic Irish salmon, wild eel, smoked chicken and smoked bacon. His environmentally friendly smokehouse uses a vermi-composting unit to dispose of production waste and has a natural wetland for water waste.  The smokehouse is by the river Argideen, a few miles outside the seaside village of Timoleague, with its ruined abbey.

The last stop is Barry and Catherine McLoughlin’s Good Food Ireland restaurant, The Poacher’s Inn.  Barry is an expert fish chef who uses freshest fish and shellfish from the waters of the Atlantic, to create a vibrant menu full of local flavours. He will demonstrate a tasty summer evening supper, to be enjoyed with a glass of wine, as the group reflect on the day’s activities.  The world of West Cork food is just waiting to be discovered!

Bookings at: Urru Culinary Store 023-8854731, or Poacher’s Inn 023 8841159 for discovery days on Thursday 13th and 27th August, 9am-7pm. €125 per person Payment secures booking. What to Bring: Wear comfortable outdoor clothing & shoes .A flask of tea or coffee if you feel like it. Car can be parked at The Poacher’s Inn on Clonakilty Road. Picnic lunch served indoors  if weather dicates!

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New Newsletter and a warning!

Ummera has been a bit distracted since our last post!

We have been caught up in exploring and trying to understand the most recent addictive substance – Twitter!
If you have no idea what Twitter is, then we suggest you dive into and have a quick look.

However,  you have been warned!


Yesterday, our new Newsletter hit the streets – or rather the cyber highway.
And how remarkable!

From the moment we pushed the send button, details of who had received it, who had opened it, where they went too, when they clicked on a link – all this was available to us during the day!

If you haven’t received a copy of the Newsletter you can join by clicking here. It is an Opt-In list, with a two-stage registration process  – but very simple and quite painless!

One of the interesting things we have been able to do with the mailing list is to ask people on the list to check out their own Preference Control Center; here you can indicate where you come from, what products of ours you are interested in, if you are a private or trade customer; this will enable us to tailor-make future e-mails to your specific interests. All new subscribers will automatically be asked to complete their profile, but if you have received our newsletter and would like to amend your details, please click on the Preference link at the head of your last newsletter.

We have a little offer coming out within the next couple of days – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and Mothers Day.

But you’ll only know about if you susbscribe to the Newsletter, this weblog or Twitter!

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Euro-Toques School Food Workshops

All this week, a number of Euro-Toque Chefs are talking and demonstrating to school children in schools and in their restaurants around th and feel foode country about food, what it is, where it comes from, how important it is, how to taste, how to source local foods, how to take healthy fun lunches to school.

Today, Richy of Richy’s Bar & Bistro in Clonakilty, asked me to come along and talk about what we do here at Ummera. My audience was 35 or more 11 and 12 year olds from Clonakilty’s Gaelschoil. They were given and introduction by Richy followed by me rambling on about smoking foods. Then Richy organised a blind fold tasting of interesting and unusual foods, challenging the children to identify the food by feel, smell and taste. 

It was a fine effort by Richy and his team who have given over every morning this week to pass on to the children  his passion and knowledge of food; it is so important that children of today know about food and where it comes from.

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Terra Madre 2008 and Salone del Gusto

Bags almost packed and last minute bits and pieces sorted before heading out to Turin for my fourth visit to Salone del Gusto and third to Terra Madre

For anyone who has any interest in real food, this is one of the events that really inspires one to persevere with doing battle with the regulators, civil servants, bankers and all those who conspire to make the life of food producers hard! 

Go to the Salone dl Gusto and Terra Madre websites and see what’s going on. I believe that there will be live video feeds as well.

And remember to check in to Slow Food Ireland for local events here in Ireland, or Slow Food for international links.

If I can get to the Internet, I’ll attempt to keep these posts live whilst there.

Subscribe to our email updates or to our RSS Feed for the latest news from Italy!


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Artisan Food and The Tastes of Cork at La Rochelle

John McKenna of The Bridgestone Guide has unearthed a great definition of Artisan Food.

I was at the Food Link Food Law Conference in Cork yesterday and this definition would have been most helpful to Sara of Teagasc!

The Tastes of Cork at the Grand Pavois de La Rochelle was a great success.  An Interview and images, en francais, can be read and heard here.

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What is it about September!

It seems that every food event in Ireland takes place in September – and it is impossible to do them all!
There was the fantastically successful weekend in Waterford with

The National Organic Food Conference organised by Bord Bia on the Thursday, September 4th.

Slow Food Ireland‘s Terra Madre workshop day on the Friday was followed by a stupendous banquet and an impassioned speech by Carlo Petrini, the President of Slow Food International. A special post will be made shortly as soon as I have come down to earth!

Now we have tomorrow, September 13th,  the Midleton Food Festival with lots of  actitivities for all the family; we will be lingering around Kate O’Donovan’s stand for a while! Hot Dogs and Ummera Smoked Chicken!

Ireland’s National Organic Week begins on Monday 15th

The Taste of West Cork Festival starts on Tuesday and we will be there at the open-air Food and Craft Market on Sunday September 21st.  Full details at A Taste of West Cork.

For music/opera lovers,  there is a special evening of opera at Burren House in aid of the RNLI on Saturday the 20th. Details and tickets from the Burren House website or from the Cork Opera House

On Sunday September 28th, Slow Food’s Cork City Convivium is hosting a farm trip to Paul Johnson’s Dexter Cow Farm near Dunmanway. Click here for details

Next a visit to the Good Food Ireland Awards dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel in the heart of Dublin.

And to conclude September, a visit to Shop 2008 at the RDS.

And you expect us to smoke salmon during September!

Then we must prepare for Slow Food‘s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, Italy from the 23rd to 27th October.


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The loss of the Asgard II

Quite a shock this morning to discover that the Asgard II has sunk, but the good news is that all on board have been rescued and are all well.

I knew that our good friend, Otto Kunze, was on board so we were naturally very anxious. Otto is well known to many people in the world of food as the passionate owner of Dunworley Cottage Restaurant here in Cork; he sold up earlier this year to devote his time to sailing the seas. He has sailed several times on the Asgard II and was obviously in great demand as Galley Cook!

The Asgard II was on its way to La Rochelle to take part in the Salon de Grand Pavois, a major international Boat Show, and this year Ireland is the Guest of Honour Country, and Cork is featuring in The Tastes of Cork there – including some excellent Smoked Organic Salmon from …..!

I gather that she may have encountered a semi-submerged lost container as the weather was calm – unlike here for the last couple of days!

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Chrome and Ummera

Bit techie this post, but I installed the new Google Chrome browser just now! 

So far so good! Certainly fast and clean.

Like the fact that it will create application shortcuts on the desktop for things like gmail and google calender.

No doubt more to follow, but I am heading out the door to the centre of all matters food for the next few days, Waterford, the National Organic Food Conference and Terra Madre Ireland.

Hope to see you all there!