FoodCloud Hubs (formerly the award-winning Bia Food Initiative) is an internationally acclaimed-Irish social enterprise that has pioneered the redistribution of surplus or ‘waste’ food from retailers to local charities, beginning with its first distribution centre in Little Island, in Cork, and they have just launched the third national hub, in Oranmore, in Galway. With Irish households and businesses generating enough food waste annually to fill Croke Park to the brim, two-and-a-half times, Food Cloud/Food Cloud Hubs have to date redistributed over 41 million meals to 7,500 charities all over Ireland and the UK and this latest centre increases the focus on the West of Ireland, where it has already distributed more than 400 tons of food. Food businesses anywhere in the country seeking to donate their own surplus produce can find further details at https://food.cloud
WINTER SEASON MENU
The wonderfully-appointed Greene’s Restaurant, in Cork’s Victorian Quarter, on MacCurtain St, are introducing a new Winter Season Menu in which chef Bryan McCarthy continues his sterling support of local Cork producers including many Menu faves such as Ballinwillin Organic Farm Venison, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, Union Hall Fish, Ahern’s Organic Milk, Kilbrack Organic Farm, Killahora Orchards and Richard’s Little Organic Farm in Mallow. www.greenesrestaurant.com
THE GIFT OF FOOD
Looking for food-related gifts that don’t necessarily take up valuable storage space in the freezer in the run-up to the big day? A firm favourite over the last few years, James Whelan Butchers’ Beef Bonds facilitate the gift of premium Irish beef to be delivered long after the Yuletide dust has settled, bonds typically maturing within 14 to 22 weeks after purchase, offering a guaranteed return on an animal (Hereford, Angus, Waygu) divided amongst a fixed number of bond holders — any excess is shared by bondholders — with a variety of top cuts delivered anywhere in Ireland and UK (www.jameswhelanbutchers.com)
Vouchers for an EATGalway Weekend Package entitles the bearer to an edible excursion to the City of Tribes dining at Cava Bodega, Michelin-starred Aniar restaurant and finishing with Sunday brunch in Tartare Café + Wine Bar while the Aniar Experience Weekend Package includes six-course Saturday evening dinner at Aniar and a one-day cookery course the next day. www.aniarrestaurant.ie
Also in Galway, Galway Food Tours have teamed up with some of the local food institutions on their radar including McCambridges, My Shop Granny Likes it, Tigh Neachtains, Pálás Arthouse Cinema and The Tasting Room (America Village Apothecary) offering a variety of customised gift packages along with GFT vouchers to be used in 2019 (www.galwayfoodtours.com)
In a household where some class of stock pot is invariably bubbling on the stove and its deeply flavoursome contents venerated as if the very elixir of life itself, the arrival of a consignment of The Chicken Inn’s Chicken Bone Stock may have seemed the equivalent of bringing coals to Newcastle but this clear jelly-ish 100% Irish chicken broth, entirely free of any artificial flavourings or preservatives, was deemed a very worthy contender indeed, ideal for turning an otherwise average gravy into a truly stellar condiment or for adding additional depth and flavour to a pot of delicious Puy lentils but The Menu’s Progeny especially enjoyed it re-heated with some thinly sliced scallions, udon noodles and a drop of naturally fermented soy sauce for an excellent post-school restorative. www.facebook.com/ChickFoods
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BEER OF THE WEEK
Mescan Beoir na Nollag 8.8%; 330ml — €3.59
Stockists: Castle Tralee; Bradleys; Egans; Michaels; Redmonds; McHughs and every decent bar and off-licence in Mayo.
Mescan from the foothills of Croagh Patrick is the creation of Bart Adons and Cillian Ó Móráin who have specialised in Belgian style beers in recent years (Adons is Belgian).
Watch in the new year however, for a dry hopped lager and other small batch brews in their new Seven Virtues range.
Meanwhile, they have a new Christmas beer and it’s fab.
A robust dark amber made with Belgian Abbey yeasts and conditioned for six months before further ageing in whiskey casks and then bottle-conditioned.
Rich, spicy, dark fruit and nut aromas, textured dried fruits on the palate, balanced and surprisingly light and refreshing despite the high ABV.