Behind every great gingerbread man is a great gingerbread woman

Food File: Get your hands on top Italian olive oil, beech serving boards and a coffee treat

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread (wo)man

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread (wo)man

 

Olive toil

Olive farming is never easy, but the 2018 harvest in southern Italy has been described as “difficult and challenging”, by Lino Olivieri, who lives in Ireland but makes olive oil at his ancestral home in Puglia.

Alate frost, followed by an unexpectedly wet and humid summer, and drought in September, when the trees were needing rain, resulted in what Olivieri describes as “one of those years when everything went wrong”.

Despite the challenges he has managed to make what he describes as a good-quality oil, “quite sweet, with notes of almond and grass”, although the yield is down almost 40 per cent.

The extra virgin oil, which is unfiltered, goes on sale in Ireland this weekend. It is available online at oliveoil.ie, and at the farmer’s market in Naomh Olaf GAA club in Stillorgan (Fridays), and the Supernatural Foods Market, 114-116 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 (Saturdays). In addition Olivieri will have a stall at the Dublin Christmas Flea Market at Point Square this weekend.

It is available in a variety of sizes, from five-litre cans (€60) to 750ml bottles (€12), which would make a nice change from gifting a bottle of wine.

Olive harvest in Puglia
Olive harvest in Puglia

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A special Christmas coffee

Arran Street East has launched a pour-over coffee brewer addition to its range of quietly stylish ceramics, just in time for Christmas. The dishwasher-safe ceramic piece is designed to fit the company’s range of small water jugs, big mugs and beakers, and comes in three colours – pomegranate, cabbage and Portland stone.

It was developed in collaboration with the cafe and deli Brother Hubbard North, which has its own coffee roastery – Farmhand Coffee – onsite at the Capel Street premises. It costs €75 and is available there, as well as from Arran Street East online and in-store at Little Green Street.

Arran Street East’s newest product, a ceramic pour-over coffee filter, €75
Arran Street East’s newest product, a ceramic pour-over coffee filter, €75

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Beech boards

Copper Coast Woodcrafts in Tramore, Co Waterford, is producing a range of food serving platters and boards for the Christmas market, including a handsome sushi board and chopsticks (€40) made from spalted beech. The platters vary in size and price (€45-€70), and there is also a retro-style beer bottle opener made with a bent nail (€15). The range is on sale at the 35th annual Waterford Crafts Fair at Garter Lane Theatre in the city until December 23rd, and online from facebook.com/coppercoastwoodcrafts.

Spalted beech sushi serving platter made by Copper Coast Woodcrafts
Spalted beech sushi serving platter made by Copper Coast Woodcrafts

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Gingerbread women

The Parlour at The Address, a cafe within a hotel on Amiens Street in Dublin 1, is striking a seasonal note for equality with its gingerbread women – as well as men – which are on sale until December 21st. They cost €2.50 each, and proceeds from sales will go to Barnardo’s.

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Food-growing funds

There is €75,000 in funding available to community groups and voluntary organisations for food-growing projects to be undertaken next year. The Energia Get Ireland Growing and GIY fund for 2019 will be divided between successful applicants across three categories – sow, grow and harvest. The awards will range from €500 to €2,000, with one group being allocated €5,000 for an ambitious project.

Get Ireland Growing. Pictured are twins Ultan and Erin Rohan (7) at the launch of the Energia Get Ireland Growing fund
Get Ireland Growing. Pictured are twins Ultan and Erin Rohan (7) at the launch of the Energia Get Ireland Growing fund

This is the sixth year of the fund, which has backed more than 500 community food-growing projects so far, to the tune of €410,000. Previous endeavours include a grow garden for the Irish Wheelchair Association in Carlow; the Dublin Migrant Women Community Garden, and The Edible Landscape Project, a training and education initiative in Westport.

Applications are being accepted until January 18th, online at giy.ie.

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