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.