Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jacobs Creek & Pop Up Restaurants

Cork City Goal
I saw the other day a notice that Jacobs Creek were hosting a Dine & Wine Experience in Cork City Goal and applied for tickets. The City Goal is a brilliant location for Pop Up Restaurants and I was delighted to have gotten the tickets.
Michael Ryan & David Whelehan

So far I didn't have much experience with Jacobs Creek - always a bit suspicious of large vineyards with all types of grapes but David Whelehan who hosted the night, convinced me that there is more to Jacobs Creek than meet the eye. Most of you might know David from TV3 where he is IrelandAMs wine correspondent - he is a talented speaker and his passion for wine came through in each word. He was not only entertaining but educational.

We were welcomed by friendly staff who offered Sparkling Rose - I love a glass of bubbly as much as the next girl and didn't say no when offered top-ups. The sparkling went surprisingly well with the canapes. The food was provided by Isaacs Restaurant, Michael Ryan and Canice Sharkey. We were treated to canapes which included McCarthy's Black Pudding in pastry, salmon ceviche on a spoon, chicken croquettes and prawn skewers. Each mouthful was tasty, well prepared and absolutely delicious.

The dining tables were impressive with their flower arrangements. Each setting had little cards with wine trivia (how many bubbles are in a average bottle of Champagne? 49 million - I learn something new every day). Mr T and I shared the table with Sheila Kiely (author of 'Gimme the Recipe') and her charming husband Denis (Mr T and Denis enjoyed the evening talking about GAA) and Cully & Sully with Cully's lovely wife - so you can imagine how entertaining our table was.

Chardonnay & Reserva
Wine Trivia
We were given blindfolds and had to guess the grapes of wines - amazing how different you taste the wine when blindfolded. But yours truly (me) guessed correctly that the first wine was a Chardonnay and the second one was a Shiraz (with a bit of Grenache) - so Mr T was impressed with me.

The starter was a warm crab salad - one word - yummylicious. It was served in a ramekin and topped with a crumble. Have to try to re-create this dish.
Roast Lamb

Chocolate Mousse
Our main course was Roast Rack & Shoulder of Lamb with mint Bearnaise sauce and rosemary potatoes - the Bearnaise was to die for. The vegetarian option was a selection of curries (a nice change to the usual stir fry). The lamb was succulent and went down a treat.

The cheese board offered the best of Irish - Cashel Blue, Gubbeen, Coolea & Ardsallagh served with crackers and Arbutus Medieval Walnut Bread - I was in heaven (have to ask Declan Ryan for the recipe of the walnut bread - although mine isn't bad at all). A selection of desserts included chocolate mousse and cardamon panna cotta.

Blind Smelling
Shiraz with a little mix
A game in between the courses entertained us but also showed us how difficult it is to smell, taste and guess flavours. One person per table was asked on stage (Sheila was our ambassador) and were blindfolded. A little bottle of aroma was held under their nose and they had to guess the flavour. Everyone got lemon but after that it all went wrong - no one got prune (which I guess is really difficult) or strawberry (which I thought would have been easy). No one had blackcurrant - one woman guessed Cassis and only one man got pineapple right (we cheered when the first one guessed it right - so all others followed)...difficult difficult.

Cully & Sully Black Glass Tasting
Velvety Choc Truffles
Cully & Sully were then asked on stage, 3 glasses of wine were offered to each - but in a black glass. You can't see the colour of the wine in a black glass. It was all the same wine - Chardonnay - but one glass had it chilled, another glass was warmed and only one was the correct temperature. Both thought they were drinking different wines - shows how important the correct temperature is to wine.

I had a ball at the event and have learned a lot. It was great to meet Sheila in a more private environment and to see Cully & Sully up close (serious funny guys by the way).

Congratulations to Jacobs Creek for an amazing event......and now I am off checking my wine cabinet....

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