Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: A Celebration of East Cork's Finest Foods...

Recently, I wrote about an upcoming Slow Food Movement event, Celebration Of Local Food which took place last night in Pizzeria San Marco in Midleton, East Cork. The night was a brilliant success, with talks from the real 'food heroes' in Ireland. The evening started with a welcome address from Marco Brouwers, owner of the very popular Pizza San Marco, Midleton East Cork who gave us a background to Italian food and heritage.

Marco along with his wife, opened Pizzeria San Marco in August 2010 with a 'Venice theme'. The interior of the restaurant was elegantly painted over the course of three full days by Venetian artisans. An incredible amount of thought has gone into the decor and most importantly, the high quality pizzas which are made from locally sourced ingredients in East Cork. Since opening in 2010, the restaurant has gained a 'cult following' with customers traveling miles just to sample their pizzas.

The evening started with an Antipasto Patter made up of the following:

Homemade mini-arancini filled with Cooleeney cheese.

A selection of Cured Meats & Cheeses:

- Smoked Ardsallagh Goat Cheese (Carrigtwohill).
- Durrus Farmhouse Cheese (Bantry).
- Toons Bridge Dairy, Macroom, Buffulo Mozzarella (Toby Simmonds).
- Gubbeen Pistachio Salami and Black Pepper Salami (Gubbeen Smokehouse).
- Parma Ham (Pasquale De Vivo).

A tour of the pizza kitchen followed which has an Italian built wood burning oven which reaches temperatures of 450ºC for the perfect crispy pizza. We were shown how the dough is rolled out for the perfect crust and we got to see Ireland's only metre long pizza being made from the best of local ingredients. 

Here is a picture of Ireland's only one metre long pizza being baked in their specially designed wood fired oven:

Following the tour of the pizza kitchen, we were treated to the highlight of the night which was 'Pizza a Metro'. The one metre pizza made from the following ingredients:

- Rocket and Courgette flowers from Orchard Cottage Farm (Maura and Ray O' Grady, Midleton).
- Pork mince from Darina Allen, infused with foraged Wild Garlic, Organic Sage and thyme from West Cork Organic Herbs.
- Ricotta from Toons Bridge Dairy, Macrom (Toby Simmonds).
- Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese (Carrigtwohill).
- Gubeen Chorize (Schull).
- De Roiste Putog Dubh Blackpudding (Toby Simmonds). 

While we were tucking into our delicious pizza, Ray O' Grady, from Orchard Cottage Farm gave a quick chat about his walled garden produce which included the salads and vegetables based in East Cork..

If a metre long pizza was not enough, our next course was 'Italian Beef Stew' with Homemade Gnocchi using the following local ingredients:

- Aberdeen Angus beef from Dan Ahern (Dungourney).
- Organic potatoes from Orchard Cottage Farm (Maurs and Ray O' Grady, Midleton).
- Organic greens and herbs from Orchard Cottage Farm.

To finish the evening, we were given a medley of Homemade Desserts with eggs From Dan Ahern's farm in East Cork. These desserts included:

- A deliciously light homemade lemon profiteroles.
- Homemade Raspberry Crostata with Raspberry Conserve from Little Red Gate Ballydehob.
- And of course a wonderful light homemade Tiramisu.

Of course, no Tiramisu would be complete without some delicious Italian Coffee, 'Intenso' a true authentic Italian coffee.

A brilliant Slow Food Evening with many more happening throughout the year. More information on the slow food movement can be found here

If you are in the Cork area and enjoy Italian foods, check out The Boot Italian Produce who stock the very finest of Italian foods based two miles from Cork Airport. You are sure to receive a warm welcome!