A nod to the east

Posted on: 17th January, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

‘OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet’ –
The Ballad of East and West, Rudyard Kipling

West Cork is justifiably feted as the start (or finish) of the Wild Atlantic Way, but our neighbour East Cork also has its attractions and charm. Midleton has the popular Whiskey Distillery Visitor Centre with the largest pot-still in the world. Castlemartyr has Pat Short’s pub and the superb Resort Hotel set on 220 acres with three restaurants to choose from. Ballycotton is one of Ireland’s prettiest seaside resort-fishing villages. The jewel in the East Cork crown has to be Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry.

The restaurant was founded in 1964 and is famous worldwide now. The Lonely Planet has this to say about founder Myrtle Allen. ‘Myrtle is a living legend, acclaimed internationally for her near single-handed creation of fine Irish cooking.’

We stayed in Ballymaloe last month for a sapphire celebration and had the most wonderful time.

The room was gorgeous (no TV yes Bose radio!) grounds are stunning including a bird sanctuary. Staff were gracious and even arranged a personal tour of the amazing 5,000 bottle wine cellar for the Wine Buff. I held in my hands a Saint Emilion Grand Cru 1964, though chose a more modest and yet delicious Rioja for our fine dining that evening. Ballymaloe takes the wine side of dining seriously and have many wine awards to prove it.

They hold regular wine events during the year, but what impressed me the most was the fact that they had two qualified and helpful sommeliers on duty the night we dined and that the wine list is most exemplary.

Here is what I loved about the wine list. Although extensive it is easy to negotiate. While there are plenty of expensive gems, there are also many well-chosen and reasonably priced labels as well. Each entry has a helpful description including something important missing from many wine lists, namely the alcoholic content of the bottle to make it so much easier to choose between a lighter or stronger wine to match your meal.

All in all it was a terrific experience and it is only a hop and a skip away from us here in ‘the West’!

Wine Recommendation:

It is so hard to find quality California wines in our shops and that is why I was delighted to come across Meadowhawk Cellars Zinfandel 2014 in Aldi (Bandon and Skibbereen) at only €12. Looking closely at the label I note it is made by Cline, one of the best producers in California’s famous Lodi Valley, which explains the exceptional quality of this perfect winter-warmer. Think dark cherry and spicy vanilla notes.

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West Cork Flag Day Collections
in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Cork ARC Cancer Support House’s annual West Cork Flag Day collections are set to take place in Bandon on Friday 21st April and in Castletownbere, Bantry, Ballylickey, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Macroom on Thursday 27th April, 2017.

Hilary Sullivan, Head of Fundraising / Corporate Affairs at Cork ARC Cancer Support House says: “Please remember on our annual Flag Day collection that all our collectors are volunteers, giving their time freely to raise funds and increase awareness about our cancer support services at our West Cork centre.” Acknowledging the ethos of volunteering being the driving force behind the charity’s work in the community, Hilary also says, “As all of the services at Cork ARC Cancer Support House in West Cork are supported by a large volunteer base, we hope that our volunteer collectors’ generosity of spirit will be rewarded by a warm reception from the public despite the difficult financial conditions experienced by so many people.”
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19th April, 2017  ·  

ECCLES Hotel Glengarriff to host April 30th Wedding Showcase – Newly refurbished ballroom and bedrooms on show – Tasters of Chef Nick Davey’s delicious menus

ECCLES Hotel in Glengarriff has been helping guests to experience West Cork in all its serene beauty for over 250 years. And with the Eccles Team now being led by General Manager Aileen Hanley, that tradition is set to continue.

Aileen joins the historic West Cork Property from Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare where she held the position of Sales & Operations Manager. Firmly re-establishing the award-winning property, during her tenure, along with her husband Patrick (now Park Hotel Kenmare General Manager) Aileen plans to continue her success and work her magic at ECCLES Hotel, along with a dedicated team to bring it back to its former glory and re-establish its place in the local community.

Aileen and the team at ECCLES Hotel will host a wedding showcase on Sunday April 30th from 12 to 5pm. The showcase will present the refurbished Ilnacullin ballroom to couples. The ballroom which can comfortably host up to 320 guests, will be set up in all its splendour to help couples visualise their wedding reception at ECCLES Hotel. Some of the hotel’s newly refurbished bedrooms with stunning bay views will also be available to view on the day.

Rose O’Sullivan, wedding coordinator at ECCLES Hotel said, “As well as larger weddings ECCLES Hotel is a wonderful venue for more intimate wedding celebrations too as well as civil ceremonies and blessings. Couples can come and see all we have to offer and enjoy a prosecco and canape reception at the showcase, to give them a flavour of our delicious new wedding fare by Head Chef Nick Davey.”

For more information visit www.eccleshotel.com, call 027 63003 or email weddings@eccleshotel.com
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19th April, 2017  ·  

Clonakilty Cruinniú na Cásca event

As part of the “Cruinniú na Cásca” initiative, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage has organised a complimentary guided historical walk of Clonakilty town starting at 12.00 noon at the Michael Collins statue on Easter Monday.

The event is totally free and the walk will be led by Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage committee member, Fachtna McCarthy.
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13th April, 2017  ·  

The Peninsula Players' stage their new play "The Cripple of Inishmaan" on April 28th & 29th in the Beara Bay Castletownbere. Tickets at the door. Unsuitable for younger audiences. Not for the faint-hearted! ... See MoreSee Less

10th April, 2017  ·  

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