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The Irish Apple (i)

It looks as though the economic strictures of the last while have stimulated people's interest in what they eat and drink, perhaps because those in the habit of eating in restaurants and discussing their meals have had to eat at people's houses (chiefly their own) a bit more, but haven't necessarily cut back on the discussions.

This has helped the likes of Bubble Brothers, who have interesting, varied wines to suit the interesting, varied outcomes of home cooking.

However, wine is all very well for you enlightened, progressive folk who embrace the benefits of international commerce without a second thought; some of us, who feel queasy about every novelty from beech trees to the loom and beyond, can't help wondering if all the hoo-ha about wine shouldn't have a local equivalent of some kind. Don't talk to me about beer. It's too painful. How can there be so few choices in a country that has the ingredients mostly to hand, and such a quantity of pubs? But that's a debate for another day, and I'm hardly qualified to comment.

Paying more attention to apples and what you can make from them would be a step in the right direction, though. What inspired me to put this post up was this recent crisp windfall from the extensive orchards of Blake Creedon, who is nobody's fool:

...of course the whole apples/juice/cider thing fits in perfectly with the local-and-in-season aspiration which has all but supplanted organics as the foodies’ touchstone...

but who nonetheless thinks it odd that we're not

fluent in, for instance, Irish apples and their terroirs...

I couldn't agree more. It would help us all feel a little less foolish with making the wine-speak if were used to flexing our epithets discussing the good things that grow here relatively uncomplainingly.

If you're one of the people I've spoken to who is making wine in Ireland, please don't take offence. Nor if you're one of the people who is doing great things with apples already.

I know the climate can be more than a little mouldy here, and that the fine, balanced acidity of apples from, say, England can be hard to achieve, but a little bit of effort with varieties that have shown their worth here in the past, or even - gasp - modern strains could work wonders in the redevelopment of an indigenous food culture. Wouldn't it be great to have a local cider?

If you'd like to have a go yourself, Cork Free Choice Consumer Group will be meeting at the Crawford Gallery in the centre of Cork on Thursday 28th at 7.30pm, when two very experienced fruit growers, Con Traas and John Howard, will be speaking on the topic of growing your own fruit.

If you do go along, you'll miss the launch of our new wine club, which takes place on the same evening.  Decisions, decisions.

6 thoughts on “The Irish Apple (i)”

  • The Beer Nut

    If you want to get hold of some top-notch Irish craft cider, Double L can be ordered from DrinkStore in Dublin.

    As for the development of the market for Irish cider, wine and, yes, the b-word, we've just set up a consumer group to represent people interested in these products and getting the message out about them.

    It's called Beoir, it costs €10 to join, and we're in the process of debating our constitution ahead of an official go-live date this July. It's all hosted at Irish Craft Brewer at the moment, with more details here.

    (With apologies for the spammage.)

    Reply
  • Julian

    Now that's what I call news. Good news.

    I'm doubly glad now that I thought better of turning the post into a lugubrious ramble about the exquisite cider James White used to make at Ashbocking in the old country (though now some very apple juices come from the current tenant, James White Drinks).

    Reply
  • Feaghal

    Great Post, one of my favourite things; good cider... Yarrrr

    Seriously.

    David Llwyellen used to sell some cracking stuff, several single varietals unfiltered and not pasteurized, from his stall in the Temple Bar Market, then he got shut down by customs!!!

    He still sells his excellent apple juices, or at least he did before I left on my little juant. I'm sure they'd ferment if left in the right conditions, though I doubt its that simple.

    Reply
  • The Beer Nut

    David is still making cider -- see my link to DrinkStore above. You can also buy directly from him by the case if you arrange in advance, or The Winding Stair restaurant in Dublin sells it. It *flew* out of his stall at SeptemberFest in Phoenix Park last year. Gorgeous stuff.

    Reply
  • Fearghal

    Great

    thats something to come home for : )

    Reply
  • Fearghal

    Jesus,

    I just real?sed I spelled my name wrong ?n the post above, dyslex?a as?de, thats embarras?ng : )

    Reply
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