Milking it: Bailey's ditches the dairy

Food File: Baileys goes vegan-friendly and venue revealed for Food On The Edge

Vegan-friendly Baileys

A vegan-friendly, dairy-free beverage has joined the Baileys range, with the launch of Almande, a "creamy" alcoholic liqueur that combines almond oil and extract with vanilla. Baileys Almande is now available exclusively from Dunnes Stores nationwide and costs €25 for a 700ml bottle. Serving suggestions include over ice, or mixed with coconut water.

Have your chocolate and drink it

Canadian chocolatier Allison Roberts has introduced cocoa husk tea to the range of products she makes at Clonakilty Chocolate, in Co Cork. She has been in west Cork for 10 years and her bean-to-bar production facility is one of only four in Ireland.

The tea is described as having “flavours of buttery roasted chocolate, honey and soothing spice”, and Roberts says it has “uplifting qualities”.

Nutritional claims made for the beverage, which is infused in boiled water before drinking, include having six times the antioxidant value of green tea.

“Hand-processing cocoa beans without the use of chemicals means every part of the bean can be used, including the husk, which contains so much of the whole bean’s goodness – the same way the skin of any fruit or vegetable contains so much of its goodness,” says Roberts.

"We have been developing it with Limerick Institute of Technology. When we received the lab results of high nutrient and antioxidant content, our instinct that it was doing us good was confirmed."

The tea (€7.45), which Roberts sells under her Exploding Tree brand, is made with husks from cocoa beans she imports from Ghana to create her range of handmade chocolate bars. These include Milky Milk, made with goat's milk and sweetened with coconut blossom sugar; Chilli Chai, with five spices, and Wild West Salty, with Irish seasalt and seaweed.

The packaging is bio-degradable, low carbon and sustainably manufactured. Customised wrappers for the 25g bars are proving popular as wedding favours and can be personalised with the bride and groom's names, and special messages. The full range is available to buy online at clonakiltychocolate.com.

Food On The Edge conference

The Bailey Allen Hall at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) has been announced as the venue for the 2018 chefs' symposium Food On The Edge, which takes place on October 22nd and 23rd. This is the fourth consecutive year of Food On The Edge and two-day tickets for the event, with some meals and entertainment included, cost €300.

Myanmar magic

Katrina Crawford and her husband, John Jenkins, have expanded the range of products they import from Myanmar and sell under their Bayin brand to include pickled tea leaves and a nut and bean mix.

The pickled tea leaves are actually fermented, after spending six months wrapped in bamboo, and are then preserved in oil. The dry nut and seed mix, which can be sprinkled over salads, noodles and curries, contains cashews, peanuts, bengal gram pea, butter beans, flat beans, mung beans, sesame seeds and garlic.

Both are a constituent part of a salad called lahpet thoke, which is a Burmese national dish. Crawford makes it with cabbage, tomatoes, coriander and chilli.

The company is a social enterprise venture the couple started up after a honeymoon trekking trip to Myanmar. The Bayin product range also includes organic cold-pressed sesame and peanut oils. The oils (€4.99) are on sale in branches of SuperValu and Avoca, and the tea and nut mix is available at Asia Market in Dublin's Drury Street (€7).

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