Two Major Awards at the 2017 Butcher’s Awards

We are delighted to announce that we have won two major awards at the 2017 Butchers Awards.

We have won shop of the year for our newly refurbished shop and Jack won lifetime achievement for contribution to the Irish meat industry.

These awards are the only awards taking in butchers from all over the Island of Ireland and we are delighted to be lucky enough to be nominated never mind win 2 major awards.

Thanks to all our customers for their continued support allowing us to continue doing what we love.

Watch this video where Tim talks about this great achievement!

Posted by Mc Carthy's of Kanturk on Monday, November 27, 2017

Our New Look Kanturk Store

We are delighted with our newly refurbished store in Kanturk. It looks amazing, call in for a look if you are in town.

We have changed the orientation of the shop and added lots of new refrigerated space in a bright new interior.

We’ve managed to keep some traditional features and add some lovely new ones like the storyboard on the back wall showing the history of McCarthys since we first opened five generations ago in 1892.

tim in the newly refurbished shop in kanturk


Local customers can save with BLocal

McCarthys have teamed up with BLocal so local customers can avail of the loyalty scheme in the Kanturk Shop.

Every time you shop at McCarthy’s you collect points on your card and for every euro spent you get a point.

When you have 300 points you get a €10 euro voucher that you can redeem with us.


Sizzling start

the award winning black puddingDelighted that Roz Crowley listed our black pudding top of her pudds again.

Try it and see why it is consistently top of the ratings. Click here to go to the online shop.

These are Roz’s comments on our pudding.

“Bacon trim, spices, seasoning, rusk, blood, oatmeal, water, onion and pearl barley are used well here to make a creamy, smooth style of pudding which I liked more than some tasters who found it a bit too dense.

The understated spices and subtle flavour were enjoyed by all tasters. Delicious spread on buttered toast like a paté. SuperValu and independents.”

Roz Crowley


Brewing Business Success

A few weeks ago Kevin Dundon visited town and I sat down for a cup of coffee with him in the daily grind to record an interview for episode 2 of “Brewing Business Success”.

Tim explains some of the intricacies of being part of a fifth generation family business.
Watch the video here it’s subtitled in case you can’t understand Kevin!!

Join the Platinum Club

Join the Platinum Club now!

Redeem coupons to get even more savings in the months to come.

Until the end of October you can save €10 on orders of €120 or more and still avail of complimentary delivery by using the coupon code PLAT2017

We have introduced a new regular customer discount.

All customers who use the PLAT2017 discount before 31st October will receive a voucher that they can redeem in November.
Customers who redeem the November voucher will receive one in December and so on.

We will only reopen membership subscriptions periodically, according to availability, so don’t miss out – join before 31st October 2017.

Join the Platinum Club today!

Regular savings for regular customers from McCarthys of Kanturk

*Orders over €100 have no delivery charges – we can only deliver to addresses on the island of Ireland.

Black Pudding – The New Superfood!

blackpudding super foodAt McCarthy’s we take huge pride in our black pudding so we were delighted to see it being celebrated as a new “Super Food” in the media this week.

According to a report from the Daily Mail, black pudding has joined seaweed, black beans, avocado oil, teff grains and birch water as key superfoods for 2016.

Black pudding contains protein, potassium, calcium and magnesium, plus it is practically carb free and rich in iron and zinc – two minerals frequently missing from modern diets.

Two slices of black pudding provides the recommended daily amount of iron for an adult man.

Another reason that black pudding is such a good thing is because it contains offal. Offal is used a lot by celebrity chefs but not so much in modern homes. By eating offal we ensure that all the animal is consumed and we reduce waste. This is a very good thing for the planet.

You don’t need to serve your black pudding in a greasy fry up – if you really want to reap the benefits of Black Pudding you should grill it and serve it with a salad or accompany it with a risotto of grains such as pearl barley or brown rice.


Blas na hEireann Awards

dingle food awardsThe awards keep on coming. Our traditional black pudding and our famous Bramley sausages won gold for being the best in the land at the national food awards in Dingle at the weekend.

Now in its 8th year, Blas na hEireann, The Irish Food Awards is the biggest competition for quality Irish produce on the island of Ireland. Over 2500 products were entered into this year’s competition.

The Blas na hEireann awards are the most prestigious food awards in Ireland and to win double gold for two of our products is a massive honour. Thanks to all our customers who continue to champion our product and support us.


Filming with Ear to the Ground

ear to the groundWatch Ear to the Ground on 24th November.

We were delighted to be involved in the filming of Ear to the Ground both at the shop and at one of our prime beef suppliers farms – Glensouth Farm, the farm of Frank Murphy.

At Glensouth Farm the welfare of the cattle takes an absolute priority and the use of innovative new technology has given them the edge. You can find out more about Glensouth farm when the show is broadcast on 24th November.


Bringing home the Treble

awardsMcCarthy’s were proud to win three awards at the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland competition this year.

Cork may not have brought home Sam or the Liam McCarthy cup this year but all has not been lost as Jack & Tim McCarthy, McCarthy’s of Kanturk ran away with cups at this year’s Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI) National Sausage and Pudding Competition and Speciality Foods Competition, winning Best Black and White Pudding and the Supreme Speciality Food Champion title for their Smoked Air Dried Beef at this year’s awards held at retail and hospitality expo, Food and Hospitality Ireland in Citywest . Cork did the double in 1990 and the McCarthy’s did the treble this year.

John Hickey CEO, ACBI presented Jack McCarthy owner and of McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk with the prestigious accolades.

The competition has been running for over 11 years now says ACBI, who were delighted to say that this year was an extremely successful year for entries, with over 40 finalists in the National Sausage and Pudding Final and over 100 entries flooding in for the Speciality Foods Competition. The competition was judged by the highly knowledgeable Leslie Williams, food writer for the Evening Herald and Irish Examiner and member of the Irish Guild of Food Writers and the very experienced Marilyn Bright also a member of the Irish Guild of Food Writers.

Overall the judges were impressed with the quality and innovation of the products, Leslie Williams Food Writer for the Evening Herald and Irish Examiner was very impressed by the quality of the products saying, “Craft Butchers know about Irish food and using the very best of Irish ingredients. Getting the balance of flavours right while still tasting the quality of the meat is key to cooking with Craft Butchers meat. Craft Butchers are expert craftsmen and are central to our Irish food heritage. You cannot go wrong if you start off with good quality meat from your local Craft Butcher.”

Leslie Williams described McCarthy’s Black Pudding as being “full of flavour and well-seasoned” and their White Pudding as “nicely balanced with good texture and perfectly seasoned.“ Their Supreme Champion title winning Smoked Air Dried Beef was described as being “expertly crafted slices of beautiful beef, bursting with flavour.”

Julie Cahill Marketing Manager ACBI said “McCarthy’s Butchers produce so many innovative products using traditional techniques; from Black Pudding fit for a queen to Beer Cured Black Bacon to Smoked Air Dried Beef, they continue to keep meat interesting. McCarthy’s have the perfect balance; they practice traditional butchering techniques but yet are contemporary in their product offering which is key to meeting consumer demand and changing lifestyle trends, they are at the top of their game when it comes to quality Irish meat.”

The McCarthy’s were delighted with the win on the day, thanking all their staff and loyal customers, “I am delighted with the win, we take quality meat and turn it into creative award winning products, we put a lot of time, energy and passion into what we do, it is a marvelous achievement, it’s good for business and it’s good for Kanturk.”
Jack and his son, Tim McCarthy, are fifth generation butchers in the family run shop in Kanturk. McCarthy’s are well known for their value-added beef and pork products. McCarthy’s bacon and rashers have won international awards and the Blackpudding has received acclaim from the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding and was even served to the queen at the banquet on her visit to Ireland in 2011.

With quality at the foremost of their minds, and the clean air and lush pastureland providing healthy livestock, you can rest assured that Jack and Tim will source the finest meat for your plate.

McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble: Kitchen Hero – Donal Skehan

It has been a pleasure to work with Donal Skehan this year. In July our wonderful award winning Apple Sausages played a big part in Kitchen Hero:Donal’s Irish Feast on RTE. Donal made McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble. If you want to cook the recipe

Donal also published the recipe in his column in the Independent newspaper. We thank Donal for his support of McCarthys and all the other Irish Food producers that he has featured in the series.

McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble

Jack McCarthy’s black pudding is championed by some of the best Irish chefs – it was served to the Queen on her state visit in 2011 and his Bramley apple sausages are made from free­ range pork. Fortunately they are now becoming more widely available in specialist stores and online.
2 tblsp Rapeseed oil
1 Large onion, very finely sliced
2 tsp Plain flour
1 tblsp Chopped fresh sage
330 ml Bottle artisan dry cider
1­2 teaspoons crab apple jelly
8 Bramley apple pork sausages (preferably jack mccarthy’s) 1 Slice black pudding (preferably jack mccarthy’s)
For the parsnip mash:
675 g Small parsnips, peeled and cut into 2.5cm pieces 25 g Butter
2 Small leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Splash of cream
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. For the parsnip mash, steam the parsnip for 15­20 minutes until tender.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the leeks in the butter in a frying pan until softened but not coloured.
3. Mash the parsnips and season with salt and pepper, then beat in the sautéed leeks with the mustard and cream.
4. For the sage & cider gravy, heat half the rapeseed oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 10­15 minutes until lightly golden.
5. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute, then gradually add the cider and allow to reduce down by half.
6. Add the sage and then whisk in enough of the apple jelly to taste. 7. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Important information regarding cookies and RTÉ.ie (
8. Heat the remaining rapeseed oil in a large non­stick frying pan and sauté the sausages until lightly golden all over, turning regularly with a tongs.
9. Transfer to a baking tin and place in the oven for another 10 minutes or until cooked through and tender.
10.Break up the black pudding into small pieces.
11. Return the frying pan to the heat and quickly sauté the black pudding for a couple of minutes until sizzling.
12. Arrange the parsnip and leek mash on warmed serving plates with the Bramley apple bangers and spoon over the sage & cider gravy. Scatter over the black pudding crumble to serve.

Blas na hEireann food awards 2014

blas na heireannJack and Tim were pleased to see their new speciality product Guanciale do well and secure a silver medal in the Blas na hEireann food awards. Guanciale is tasty cured and spiced pig’s jowl – a very flavoursome ingredient, used like you might use a pancetta. They also received a silver for their special black pudding, using the recipe that was used to serve the Queen at the state banquet.

Summer News from McCarthys

Best Butchers in Ireland

Georgina Campbells

We were very pleased to be listed as one of the ten best butchers in Ireland by Georgina Campbell on her website. She wrote, “The small shop is beginning to enjoy a comeback and it all started a few years ago with shoppers giving a renewed vote of confidence to the local butcher. Here are just ten iconic businesses that are at the forefront of the shop local revolution.”


See the list by clicking here

Jack McCarthy was also featured in May’s Hotpress “Best of Ireland” Magazine, which was also a great honour.

Visited by leading German food journalist, Michael Vetter

McCarthys were delighted to be amongst a handful of Irish food producers to be featured on a forthcoming German TV programme. We were delighted to welcome Michael and his team to Duhallow and show him local grass fed Hereford cattle and how we produce our wonderful Sliabh Luachra air-dried beef.

Michael Vetter

Practical Home Butchery Courses

We are planning to run courses in Dublin and Kanturk in the coming months, watch this space.

Extended Barbeque Product Range

We have new barbeque products in the online shop – including gourmet sausage grillsticks and beef kebabs with fine sirloin steak.

Click here to buy online

Order by 9am on a Thursday and get delivery on Friday!


Best in Ireland – Georgina Campbell

We were very pleased to be listed as one of the ten best butchers in Ireland by Georgina Campbell on her website. She wrote, “The small shop is beginning to enjoy a comeback and it all started a few years ago with shoppers giving a renewed vote of confidence to the local butcher. Here are just ten iconic businesses that are at the forefront of the shop local revolution.”

See the list by clicking here

Gold Medal for International Creativity

BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme covered this years event and did a special feature about the McCarthys. Jack and Tim were delighted to receive the only Irish gold medal from La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, or the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding in 2013. Not only was it the only Irish medal it was an International victory as it was for “International Creativity”.

boars head puddingWhat did they do to earn this accolade you wonder?

Jack and Tim created a pudding inspired by the centre-piece of a medieval feast. Kanturk is derived from the Irish, “Ceann Tuirc”, which means “The Boar’s Head” so in honor of their home town they stuffed a locally sourced boar’s head with a special rum and raisin black pudding. The judges were wowed by their creative approach.

bbc radio 4Not only did they win the medal, BBC Radio 4 covered the event in The Food Programme and visited Kanturk to interview Jack and Tim.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here

Spring Courses Announced


Spring Courses Announced

Following the success of the courses that we presented in 2012 we have announced our spring programme. Book online now

  • 8th March
    Blood and Guts,
    butchersblockSausage and Pudding Masterclass
  • 13th March
    Practical Pig Butchery Course
  • Friday 12th April 5pm to 9pm
    Easter Spring Lamb Workshop
  • Wednesday 24th April 5pm to 9pm
    Knife skills and Beef Butchery

Click here to find out more!

Have a Spit Roast at your Party

For the months of January & February we have a red hot special on our spit roast pig service. Free range spit roast supplied, cooked, carved and served anywhere in Munster for a crowd of up to 150 people for 500euro. This is unbeatable value, so book soon.

An Off-shore Food Adventure in Inishbofin, Galway


We travelled to Inishbofin recently for a special “nose to tail” and Pork Products Workshop held by Adrian of the Beach Bar and Restaurant on the Island.

As it was our first offshore food venture, we were really excited and looking forward to it. The two day masterclass was a fantastic success due mainly to the interaction with the islanders. We learned as much, if not more, than the skills we imparted.


jack and tim

To Adrian, Mary Lavelle, all the fantastic Day girls + GENTS, the great Francie O Hallohran, the mighty John Burke, and all the great great Bofin people we met. I thank you for one of my greatest trips of my life and be assured I will be back for Inis bo finne in first week of October which will be the island’s first food festival. Be warned book early because I honestly think this is going to be a world class event.



Kenmare Food Carnival 13th – 15th July

We are delighted to be stall holders at the Kenmare Food Carnival from 13th – 15th July. We will be joining some of our good friends from the Irish food scene and the event promises to be fantastic.

Kenmare Food Carnival is a fun family food event showcasing the best of Kenmare’s eateries, local food producers and spectacular scenery. Nestled where the world famous Ring of Kerry meets the beautifully unspoilt Ring of Beara.

The event incorporates a carnival style atmosphere with street theatre, parades, music, food trails, jazz lunch, afternoon teas, demos, kiddies events and lots more!

Come and say hello if you are at the event.

Special Award for Exceptional Contribution to Irish Food

Award for butchers behind the queen’s black pudding
Irish Independent

THE artisan butchers who created the bespoke black pudding that was served to Queen Elizabeth during her state visit to last May were among the winners at yesterday’s Irish Food Writer’s Guild awards.

McCarthy’s of Kanturk, in Cork, were one of five food producers awarded for their exceptional contribution to Ireland’s reputation as a top food-producing country.

Jack McCarthy and his son Tim come from a long line of butchers who have been producing meat products for five generations.

Also among the winners were David Tiernan for Glebe Brethan Cheese, which is based in Co Louth.

Their product had its beginnings 20 years ago, when they imported two French Montbeliarde cows; now they have more than 70.

Other winners included Brendan and Derek Allen of Castlemine Farm for Castlemine Farm Free Range Pork in Co Roscommon; Patrick and Carol Rooney for Derrycamma Farm Rapeseed Oil in Co Louth; and chairman of the Irish Apple Growers Association, Con Traas of The Apple Farm in Tipperary, honoured with the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards took place at Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Ecrivain.

Irish Independent


Jack is awarded the “Twitter Award”

Jack’s twittering reached a climax when he was awarded the “Twitter Award” by Lucinda O’Sullivan. If you want to follow Jack on Twitter and enjoy his insights into Irish food and rugby you will find him @mccarthykanturk or click here

Old faithfuls, and some newcomers
Sunday Independent January 1st 2012

Lucinda O’Sullivan serves up her choices for the best, and ‘could do betters’, of the nation’s dining experiences

IT’S been a year of value menus and early birds, pop ups and pop offs, bloggers and blaggers. My annual awards are a reflection of a colourful dining year for all of us. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lucindas 2011!

Click here to see the original article

The Lofty Sardine Award
The Butcher’s Grill in Ranelagh, Dublin, where my feet didn’t touch the ground and my ass was
perched on a high stool, squashed in like a lofty sardine.

The Old Faithful Award
Tom O’Connell, who at a time of deep recession held his nerve and created the excellent
O’Connell’s of Donnybrook, Dublin, where his faithful followers flock.

Small is Beautiful Award
Kosi Moodley’s Indian gem Bistro Spice right in the heart of Monkstown Village, Co Dublin, where
you can also bring your own wine.

The Disappointing Harvest Award
Matt the Thresher in Dublin’s Lower Pembroke Street. Crab claws were small and smaller, and
everything else lived down to the same mantra.

The Strictly Come Dancing Award
Tadgh Foley, who manages the Green Barn Cafe Bistro at Killeagh, Co Cork, will sweep you to your
table in a move that even SCD judges could not whinge about.

The Sour Note Award
Coda at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, didn’t rock on any score. Ghastly food, and already setting up for
breakfast shortly after we sat down to an early dinner.

The Braveheart Award
Mel Gibson acted the part but John Healy, maitre d’ on TV show The Restaurant — whose grace and
charm astounds all as he awaits a heart transplant — lives it and life to the full.

The Western Stars
JP McManus & Drigin Gaffey, whose Cava and Aniar in Galway are two of the hottest restaurants
west of the Shannon.

Downton Abbey Award
Carton House in Maynooth, Co Kildare, rivals the TV show for grace and beauty.

The Top Roost Award
Joe Macken’s pop-ups Crackbird and Skinflint in Dublin are hitting the highest perches.

The Apprentice Award
Sandra Murphy is more master than apprentice when it comes to running Rising Tide in Cork.

Revolving Door Award
La Stampa, where Louis Murray is now tangoing with Ronan Ryan. Let’s hope they stay in step.

The ‘X Factor’ Award
Finin’s in Midleton, Cork, where Finin O’Sullivan’s vibrant personality is matched only by the quality of his gastropub grub.

The Odd Bird Award
Rachel Clancy’s Magpie Inn in Dalkey, Co Dublin, has been attracting the locals looking for all that glisters.

The Shining Light Award
Electric in Cork city, which turned a bank building into something useful!

The Brangelina Award
Paul Byrne and Fiona McHugh, whose Fallon & Byrne in the capital’s Exchequer Street spawned a whole new dining quarter.

The Top Cat Award
Garret Byrne of Campagne in Kilkenny, whose superb food must be another All Ireland contender.

The Twitter Award
To master butcher Jack McCarthy, who would make Kanturk the Irish capital.

And finally…
Every year I have the Rear of the Year Award — though this year it’s the Fairy Tail End of 2011 as
the beautiful Sally O’Brien of Farmgate in Midleton walked up the aisle yesterday.

Project aims to save rural meat industry

The Corkman


At the launch of Meat Matters at IRD Duhallow headquarters, Newmarket were from left, Cathal Cronin, Cronins Butchers's, Kanturk; Minister Sean Sherlock who launched the programme; Isobel Fletcher, programme co- ordinator and Tim Mccarthy, Mccarthy's... Credit: Photo by Patrick Casey

A PROJECT to help the local meat supply chain to survive and thrive was launched in Newmarket recently.

The two year project which was launched at IRD Duhallow and its aims is to help small abattoirs, butchers and meat processors across the EU.

THE number of abattoirs across Ireland has fallen in the last two decades from 1,000 to just over 200, and this is a trend which is also repeated across Europe.

However, the ‘Local Meat Supply Chains (SLMSC) project, which is funded by the EU lifelong learning programme, now aims to stem the decline and, importantly, develop an e-learning training programme for small abattoirs, butchers and meat processors throughout Duhallow.

Minister for Research and Development Sean Sherlock officially launched the project and said that supporting the agri food sector is vitally important and will be a major contributor to helping Ireland recover economically.

“It is heartening to see a project addressing some of the challenges faced by the rural meat sector in maintaining profitability and competitiveness,” he said.

Project Co-ordinator at IRD Duhallow Isobel Fletcher said that abattoirs play a key role in the meat supply chain, but yet they have been closing down in the last number of years.

She said that given their rural location, small abattoirs are also faced with the difficulty of retraining and reintegrating staff into the labour market.

“The decline is partly due to external factors such as stringent international legislation, dominance of multinational retailer as well as rising consumer quality demands and scrutiny by environmental and nutritional groups,” said Ms Fletcher.

She told The Corkman that the project has been enthusiastically received by many working in the meat industry.

“They recognise that the future to long term survival depends on developing additional business skills and adding creativity to products and the way in which they do business. The project comes at a time when the industry itself is gearing up for change, she said.


Black Pudding that is fit for a Queen

It was with some excitment that Jack and Tim received the news that their pudding was to be served to Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Ireland.  The State Banquet took place at Dublin Castle on 18th May 2011 and was prepared by award winning Michelin star restaurant Chapter One in Dublin. The restaurant prides itself not only on its food but also the hospitality it offers.

Head chef Ross Lewis focuses on local & seasonal produce to create an array of modern dishes with a combination of robust flavours. For the Queen Chapter One were looking for the best product from some of the richest land in Ireland. Tim took on the challenge and created the pudding to end all puddings.  The recipe is a secret known only to Tim himself, but here are a few of the main ingredients.

Chapter one presented the dish to the Queen as a black pudding and veal sweetbread boudin with smoked bacon and organic quail’s egg poached in red wine, parsnip puree and horseradish glaze. Sound absolutely a dish fit for a Queen.

Unlike most butchers McCarthys do not used dried blood in their puddings, instead they use fresh blood from free range pigs.  Combining this base with top quality Cork products, oatmeal from Macroom, special reserve whiskey from Midleton Distillery and fresh Cream and Butter from the North Cork Dairy in Kanturk.

You can buy “Boars Head” Kanturk Black Pudding in the online shop.

All right on the night

The Irish Examiner

By Pól Ó Conghaile

Behind the clockwork-efficiency of the state dinner for Queen Elizabeth lay tales of last-minute mercy flights to Dublin, six-hour dashes across the country with smoked salmon and ‘forever secret’’ ingredients. Pól Ó Conghaile gets the real story

AS DINNERS go, it will take some beating. On May 18, 172 guests — their names reading like a who’s-who of Irish society — filed into Dublin Castle for a black-tie banquet with Queen Elizabeth.

Liam O’Flynn played the pipes, the queen addressed “a Uachtaráin agus a chairde”, and the crowd was wowed by a sensitive speech and a dress embroidered with more than 2,000 hand-sewn shamrocks.

In the headiness of the moment, of course, it was easy to overlook the food on the plate. Organised by the Department of An Taoiseach, the state dinner menu was designed by Ross Lewis of Michelin-starred restaurant Chapter One, and catered by corporate banqueting company, With Taste.

The menu showcased a stellar range of Irish food and producers, and it was only shortly before the event that many suppliers learned they had made the grade.


“What an opportunity,” was Birgitta Hedda-Curtain’s reaction when Lewis called her at the Burren Smokehouse, asking if she would smoke some salmon for the occasion. “I was excited but you have to keep yourself contained and get it right. It was a great adventure.”

Birgitta and her husband Peter set up their smokehouse in 1989, and have since watched the Lisdoonvarna-based business grow into one of the most successful smokeries in Ireland. Products are mailed all over the world and, as of this year, are stocked at Fortnum & Mason in London.

As fate would have it, the morning before Lewis phoned, Birgitta had been speaking with one of her salmon suppliers, Barbara Grubb of Dromana House in Cappoquin, about wild salmon.

The window for netting this year’s strictly-controlled quota on the River Blackwater had just opened.

“It was unbelievable,” Birgitta recalls. “I drove three hours down and three hours back to get it. The draft netting season started on May 12, and I brought it to Dublin four days later. It was gorgeous fish. Ross wanted wild salmon because, flavour-wise, it’s the best you can get hold of.”

In total, she smoked eight fish for the state dinner. “It was only the queen’s salmon in the oven. When it came out, I did nothing to it. No vacuum-packing, no pin-boning, nothing. It was virginal. I drove it straight up to Dublin and hand-delivered it to Ross in the catering kitchen.”

When her salmon arrived, Birgitta recalls, the chefs immediately went about trimming it, pin-boning it and taking off the smoked skin. At the state dinner, it was served as a cream in the starter course, along with cured Clare Island salmon, lemon balm jelly, horseradish and wild watercress.

“Ross and I both tasted it, and it was fabulous,” she says. There’s a mischievous reaction when I ask whether the queen enjoyed it. “Of course she did — there wasn’t a spot left on her plate!”


Meanwhile, in Drimoleague, Co Cork, an email pinged into the inbox of the Kingston family, requesting samples of unsalted butter, milk, cream and crème fraîche for a top secret event in Dublin.

“We were told what they were being used for but it was confidential,” recalls Valerie Kingston, who runs Glenilen Dairy Farm with her husband Alan. “We were told not to tell anyone because the suppliers wouldn’t be announced until the dinner was served. It all just added to the buzz.”

Shortly after receiving the samples, Ross Lewis confirmed that Glenilen had made the cut. For Valerie and Alan, it was a highpoint in generations of family farming. They went about assembling the order. Everything went to plan, until a crucial item was left behind.

“The products were to go up on the Friday before the dinner, and everything went up except the butter,” Valerie laughs. “Alan came into me on Saturday morning and said that the butter never went. He thought he was going to have to go all the way up to Dublin with it.

“Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law had visitors down from Belfast, so we asked would they mind taking the samples up.

“Several phone calls and passwords had to be related, and I think the box even had to be opened to confirm the contents, but everything got delivered anyway.”

Glenilen Farm has come a long way since 1997, when Valerie began making cheesecakes for the local country market.

This year, the family won an annual contract worth €500,000 to supply Tesco UK with its homemade cheesecake, enabling them to hire more staff in the recession.

At the dinner in Dublin Castle, the Kingston’s milk and cream featured in a carageen set west Cork cream served with strawberries, fresh yoghurt mousse and soda bread sugar biscuits, and Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue.

“I suppose it’s the honour of it,” Valerie reflects. “It puts our products and west Cork products on another plain. To be able to say they were fit for the queen … the menus are like gold dust but if we do manage to get a copy I’m going to frame it.”

Though the state dinner was assembled in a matter of weeks, and devoured in a matter of hours, the evening had been generations in the making for many of the producers.


Take McCarthy’s in Kanturk, the butchers that supplied the black pudding for the canapés.

Today, the business is run by Jack McCarthy and his son Tim, but their story goes back five generations to 1892, when a local baker swapped his dough hook for a meat cleaver.

As the story goes, the baker, Callahan McCarthy, was disappointed with the quality of meat available to him at the time, and vowed to do something about it. Almost 120 years later, McCarthy’s pudding had won a prestigious gold medal at La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, and was served to Elizabeth II.

“Everything was hush-hush,” Jack McCarthy recalls.

“Tim made up a special batch of pudding the Saturday night before. I asked him what was in it, and he said it was the same base ingredients as always — local pork, dry-cure bacon, local onions and herbs, butter and cream from North Cork Co-op and Donal Creedon’s Macroom oatmeal.

“I asked him was there anything special added, and he said there was ‘a touch of Cork magic!’. I think he added a drop of Midleton whiskey! I can’t prove it though, because he won’t tell me.”

When he first heard the queen was coming to Ireland, McCarthy says, he was sceptical.

But the proof was in the pudding, and he sees the state dinner as a supreme vote of confidence in Irish produce and suppliers that are fast making a name for themselves on the international stage.

“We’ve got the water, the air, the grass and the environment,” McCarthy says. “It’s pristine. Why we’re being fed by foreigners I don’t know. We should be feeding the world.”

How Irish suppliers served up dishes deemed fit for a queen

The Menu

Cured salmon with Burren smoked salmon cream and lemon balm jelly, horseradish and wild watercress, Kilkenny organic cold pressed rapeseed oil

Rib of Slaney Valley Beef, ox cheek and tongue with smoked champ potato and fried spring cabbage, new season broad beans and carrots with pickled and wild garlic leaf

Carrageen set West Cork cream with Meath strawberries, fresh yoghurt mousse and soda bread sugar biscuits, Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue

Irish Cheese Plate

Tea and Coffee

Château de Fieuzal, 2005, Graves Pessac-Léognan

Château Lynch-Bages, 1998, Pauillac

The suppliers

Smoked salmon — Birgitta Hedda-Curtin, Burren Smokehouse, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare
Salmon — Clare Island organic salmon, Clare Island, Co Mayo
Lemon balm — Paul Flynn, The Tannery, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Organic cold-pressed rapeseed oil — Kitty Colchester, Drumeen Farms, Co Kilkenny
Wild watercress, cabbage, carrots, chive flower and garlic leaf — Denis Healy Farms, Co Wicklow.
Rib of beef — From a Co. Wexford farm, produced by Kettyle Irish Foods, Drumshaw, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh.
Ox cheek and tongue — M & K Butchers, Rathcoole, Co Dublin
Black pudding — McCarthy’s of Kanturk, Co Cork
Potatoes and spring onions — McNally family farm, Ring Common, Co Dublin
Butter, milk, cream and crème fraîche — Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague, Co Cork
Irish apple balsamic vinegar and apples — David Llewellyn, Llewellyn Orchard, Lusk, Co Dublin
Strawberries — Pat Clarke, Stamullen, Co Meath
Milk — Cleary family, Glenisk, Tullamore, Co Offaly
Dittys Irish oatmeal biscuits — Robert Ditty, Belfast
Stoneground wholemeal flour — Kells wholemeal, Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny
Buttermilk and butter — Cuinneog Ltd Balla, Castlebar, Co Mayo
Glebe Brethan cheese — produced by David Tiernan in Dunleer, Co Louth
Cashel Blue cheese — produced by the Grubb Family in Fethard, Co Tipperary
Milleens cheese — produced by the Steele Family in Milleens on the Beara Peninsula, Co Cork
Knockdrinna cheese — produced by Helen Finnegan in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Jack is named Local Food Hero by Irish Public

The Irish Restaurant Awards are an important event in the Irish food calendar. This year the Sunday Independent sponsored the award for the Local Food Hero. With tough competition in the category, Jack McCarthy was thrilled to be honoured with the award in recognition of his innovation and creativity, as well as his popularity with his customers.

Still reeling from being the creator of the Blackpudding served to Queen Elizabeth at the state banquet, Jack was blown away to receive another honor, this time voted by the Irish public.


FEATURE: Madeleine Keane on the Irish Restaurant Awards

Sunday Independent 29th May 2011
“The Local Food Hero for 2011, sponsored by Life Magazine and presented by Independent News and Media deputy MD Declan Carlyle, was Jack McCarthy, from McCarthy’s of Kanturk, who, judging by the rapturous reception, was an extremely popular winner.”
Read more:

Naughty or Nice?

Foodies Aoife McElwain and Aoife Barry must have heard of Jack’s wonderful chocolate pudding – which is both naughty and nice – because they gave him a mention in today’s paper.

You can read the full article by clicking here

Irish Independent

Foodies to follow:



Jack McCarthy is the patriarch of McCarthy’s of Kanturk, a north Cork butcher that

has been providing locals with top-quality meat since 1892. Jack communicates with

customers via Twitter and has opened an online shop. Try their delicious north Cork

pancetta or the array of outstanding sausages, as well as the notoriously addictive

black pudding. See

The butcher, the baker and a fascinator-maker

The Sunday Independent.

In the past two years, 23 small businesses have opened in Kanturk, writes Lucinda O’Sullivan

‘TRY Town First’ is the slogan in Kanturk, the north Cork town where two rivers, the Allow and the Dallow, converge in a surge of rushing waters.

“We know it is not realistic to expect everyone to do all their shopping in the town, but we encourage people to buy a bit more locally, and we are promoting the town as a viable place to shop in,” said Kieran Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Insurance and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.

Kanturk is a very attractive town, with a Georgian influence, a 17th century castle, a market square, two bridges, three riverside parks, and an imposing church. ‘Kanturk’ is derived from Ceann Tuirc (Boar’s Head) and a stone marks the spot where the last boar in Ireland was reputedly slain. The town has a lot going for it in that it is also less than an hour’s drive from Cork, Tralee, Limerick and Killarney. There is a strong community feel in the town, which has an annual arts festival, but most extraordinary of all, it has seen the opening of 23 new small businesses since February 2009.

I had only been in Kanturk once before at a funeral where we had ended up in the Alley Bar — a fantastic old-style pub and shop with nooks and snugs, and history hanging off its walls.

The Alley Bar is owned by Eilis O’Connor and her husband John D O’Connor. The premises was always a pub and shop, which Eilis’s father, Ned Jones, had traced back to the 1890s. There was a famous ball alley at the back, hence its name, and from the Thirties to the Fifties, there were “famous All Ireland games there”. It was owned back then by a husband and wife team of two Doctors O’Toole. In 1959, Dr O’Toole retired and the pub remained closed for a couple of years. Eilis’s father, Ned, working in the creamery company across the road, would look over and bemoan the closure of the pub where he used drink as a young man. One day he said to his wife Mary, “We’ll buy the pub!” They bought it in 1961 and now it is run by Eilis.

One of the longest standing businesses in the town is McCarthy’s Butchers. Jack McCarthy is a very pro-active artisan food producer, and a great public relations man for Kanturk. He is the fifth generation of his family business which was founded in 1892 by Callaghan McCarthy, a baker who put down his dough hook and took up a butcher’s cleaver because he couldn’t buy decent meat for his table. Looking at the old ledgers you could see where the business suddenly changed from selling bread to the next day selling meat. All of the old Kanturk names are in the book, and all are still in the area, Sullivan, Conway, Clancy, Mahony, Dillon, O’Connor, Barrons. You could also see too that the British Army was in occupation. There is also a great picture taken of a group of men “the day Parnell visited town” and Jack’s son, Tim McCarthy, the sixth generation in the business, proudly showed me his two great grandfathers.

The McCarthys, father and son, produce the most wonderful charcuterie. Last year they were crowned members of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding, won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants in the ‘Black Pudding Capital’, the Normandy town of Mortagne au Perche, by La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin — who visited here in force last year.

The future for Ireland is tourism and food — we have to push our wonderful artisan produce. Specialities at McCarthy’s include Putog Ceann Toirc, Boar’s Head Pudding, Irish Whiskey Haggis, traditional dry cured bacons, honey cured roast pork, French style boudins with cream and apple, honey, garlic, an Ardrahan cheese sausage, the regular Cork-style white pudding, a new seafood sausage, and many many more inventive delicious puddings. “Pudding has gone through the roof,” says Jack, “they want it everywhere.”

Around the corner is Mark Reidy of Duhallow Seafoods, who opened his compact fish shop about six months ago and is “delighted with it”. He has been in the fish business a while, working at one point in a fish shop in Skibbereen. He was then selling fish from vans, door to door, but “it was too hit and miss” so he decided to give himself a base and open his own fish shop.

“I keep my prices reasonable and I round it down, say if it was €10.60 I’d give it for €10, I’m not stuck in my prices. The more someone buys, the better the discount.” Business is good, he says, and he is a firm believer in giving back to the community with everyone supporting one another in local business. Mark has also developed his product further by working with a local restaurant, Bob’s, which produces lasagnes, fish cakes and seafood pies which Mark sells in his shop. “These dishes offer great value; if you were to buy the ingredients yourself you couldn’t do it cheaper.”

A few doors down is Tina Sheehan, who opened her children’s clothing shop, Jemma Jim, in October 2009. “It’s great,” Tina says, “we have a lot of fun. We haven’t been here in times past when people were having massive profits whereas, you know, we think it’s going great.”

Tina worked with Mallow Urban Council for four years but then her contract was up. “I have an eight-year-old daughter, I always loved clothes and fashion and previously worked with children, but I just didn’t want to go back into a formal setting.”

Tina’s motto is to be “more affordable — that’s what we are looking for. If people want to spend €10 or €25 on a couple of things, great. We supply gift wrapping it keeps customers’ costs down.” They have outfits for children of all ages, equipment and toys, First Communion plus debs dresses. “Some little girls don’t want to spend a lot so I have lovely dresses from €65 up to the very top at €300, likewise Communion dresses run from €50 to €200.” Tina encourages girls to buy classics that they can wear again, and also to loan dresses to one another. “All I wanted to do was to bring affordable fashion, and also to do big sizes for children, I am very sensitive about that, I want shopping to be fun for kids, not a nightmare!”

Across the street from Duhallow Seafoods is Kanturk Photo Framing, where Bertie Harman originally had a “chipper” in 1994. He then bought the building and started a video business, moving into the photographic business and framing.

“After Christmas was quiet,” Bertie says, “but it has really picked up particularly with the recent arts festival.”

Madison Avenue is a shoe shop owned by Geraldine O’Callaghan from west Limerick, which opened in Kanturk in December 2010 after two years in Mallow. “The first year in Mallow was going okay but my location wasn’t good. If you are not constantly being seen by the customer on the main thoroughfare, you are forgotten very rapidly.”

Geraldine stocks children’s shoes such as Startrite, Ricosta and Pablosky. She also stocks ladies’ shoes, including Rockport, an American label. “Obviously price points have had to come down hugely in the recession. The first year I opened you could easily sell shoes for €150 to €200 but now it is hard to sell anything past €80. There is a massive change so you have to have different price points, stocking ranges that are good for this economy.”

Kate’s Kitchen is a deli that also opened in December 2010. “It’s up and down but it’s good, I always have people coming back for repeat orders,” says owner Catriona O’Keeffe.

Catriona, who has twin girls aged seven, bakes scones, brown breads, carrot cakes and lemon drizzle cakes every day — you would hang around just for the aromas! Catriona also makes daily potato salad, pesto pasta and Waldorf salad. She boils her own hams, glazes them with honey and brown sugar and she gets steak mince for her shepherd’s pies from McCarthy’s, of course. She also stocks jams and preserves, Ardrahan cheeses and Ardrahan Lullaby milk, which has a naturally higher level of melatonin so helps you sleep. “I am busy until 2 o’clock every day cooking and baking. I have total control over quality when I do it myself but I now also have three girls working part-time to help.”

Denise Hickey took over the Perfect Fit from previous owners in November 2010. Denise also has a DVD, games and consoles shop but was always looking for the right underwear and shapewear for herself and the right shop came up! “It was a big jump from DVDs to lingerie,” she says. “In general, you do have your quiet days but occasions have a lot to do with the business. People want the right bra for a wedding, Communion, Confirmation, or under a dress for a Saturday night!

Martina Drew of the Crowning Glory opened her shop in 2009. “I was unemployed for six months and I decided this was either the time to do it or not. I am delighted with the business.” She started out with accessories, handbags, jewellery and fascinators. “I now make my own fascinators in all colours to match people’s outfits for weddings and special occasions and in the last month I have gone into ladies’ fashions, going up to size 26.”

“We work off one another here — I send people over to The Perfect Fit for underwear and Denise would send people to me. The wedding season is big and I have lots of orders now for fascinators — cerise pink is big this summer — but I have to make sure people aren’t going to the same wedding.” Wise woman!

Finally I met Teddy Ambrose of Ambrose Ironworks. Teddy comes from a long line of blacksmiths who have been in business in Kanturk since the family came to Ireland from Heidelberg in Germany in the 18th century.

So from putogs to bras, seafood to shoes, cupcakes to iron craft, there is plenty on offer in Kanturk. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and it is imperative that we remember this when we spend our euro. It’s all about Meitheal!

Jack McCarthy is Bridgestone Man of the Year

At the end of December, Bridgestone’s John and Sally McKenna announced the results of the Megabytes awards for 2010.  Jack McCarthy was honoured to be awarded the title of Man of the Year.

Other categories included Artisan of the Year awarded to Anna Leveque, Triskel Farmhouse Cheeses, Portlaw, County Waterford and Restaurant of the Year: Harry’s Bar & Restaurant, Bridgend, Inishowen, County Donegal.

Find out more by clicking here.

Kanturk welcomes the Knights of the Black Pudding

pudding2The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding, a colourful French food fraternity visited Kanturk in celebration of the Gold Medal Winning Black Pudding by McCarthy’s of Kanturk.

The brotherhood paraded up Strand Street, with their banners and ceremonial dress, accompanied by local ilen pipe players to arrive at the Gourmet food festival outside McCarthy’s premises on Main Street.

Representing Good Food Ireland, Peter Ward of Country Choice is no stranger to the finest Irish food. Indeed, he was declared Good Food Ireland Person of the Year in 2009. He said, “I say to people, don’t make anything exotic at all, just make something really really good that will bring people to your door. Here Jack McCarthy has, with a bucket of blood in either hand, made something really really really good.” He went on to say that, “It is great that our authorities are coming round to realise that the expertise of the producer is the greatest safe guard we can have in the production of food in Ireland.”

Jean Claude, chair of the fraternity spoke, “The Black pudding fraternity has been in existence for nearly fifty years and in that time we have seen over 30,000 different sorts of black pudding. We very happy to know, and to see, how much the Irish people enjoy black pudding and how the Irish pork butcher made a really good black pudding.”

pudding3The food festival included stalls from local businesses such as IRD Duhallow Community Food Services, Cork City’s On the Pigs Back” and new local enterprise, and also drew gourmet emporiums from further afield, Sheridan’s Cheese Mongers, Mannings Emporium, Soul Bakery and Gubbeen Farmhouse to name just some of the stall holders.

Brotherhood of Black Plackpudding visit Cork

The 25 strong group of representatives from this French Fraternity will be parading in their regalia in honour of Black Pudding in Kanturk on Tuesday 21st September at 5:30pm.
There will be a spit roast and traditional music in celebration of this event on Main Street Kanturk to which all are welcome.

The brotherhood of the knights of the Black Pudding is one of the worlds greatest authorities on Black pudding. At the annual international awards three Irish Butchers were awarded medals. So impressed were the French by the quality of the puddings presented by the Irish that they decided to make Ireland the location of their annual pudding pilgrimage.

The Black Pudding Fraternity was established in 1963 at Mortagne-au-Perche in the heart of the Perche region of France by a group of foodies to promote traditional black pudding. Black pudding has a history dating back over 2000 years and there are variations in many countries, so that the annual pudding festival hosted by the fraternity has become a major international event with over 600 entries in 2010.

The Fraternity has welcomed some 2,250 people into membership since 1963. These are food connoisseurs from all walks of life; included are personalities from the worlds of politics and the arts both French and from abroad. Thus thousands of members worldwide support the efforts of the Fraternity with its core leadership of about thirty dignitaries entitled to wear its regalia, which is a tradition amongst French gastronomic societies. Dignitaries of the Fraternity are ambassadors for the Perche’s most noble product, its black gold!

Kanturk father and son join the Brotherhood of Black Pudding


AWARD titles come in many forms, but McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk can justifiably claim to have one of the more unusual under their belts.

Jack and his son Tim can now be known as members of the ‘Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding’ – a title they won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants from across Europe in a black pudding contest held in France. The title also goes by the name – La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goúte Boudin.

Tim McCarthy told The Corkman that, considering the last wild boar in the country was slain in Kanturk — and no doubt his red blood was made into tasty black pudding — that it was fitting the accolade should to to Duhallow country.

The father and son team spotted the competition on the Internet, entered it and sent off their produce. The annual competition in Mortagne-au-Perche in Normandy is taken very seriously and the entire town is decked out in flags and balloons for the competition. There is also a parade through the town and where entrants showcase their puddings.

This reporter remarked that the title of the accolade had all the hallmarks of a Monty Python sketch. “That is very true, particularly when people are decked out in costumes and there’s music and a parade all in homage to the humble black pudding,” laughed Tim.

Recently, McCarthy’s launched a new online website and can have their produce at anyone’s door throughout the country in 16 hours. Tim explained that all foods are put in a specialised cooled container and once they receive an order, it is prepared and delivered.

He said that, with the downturn in the economy, the day of the “Celtic Tiger fillet steak,” is well and truly gone and people are going back to basics. “A belly of pork is now back in vogue and it’s also great comfort food. People are going back to recipes that their grandmothers had,” he said.

When a customer signs up on McCarthy’s website, they will receive a deluge of recipes with cialities that include Sliabh Luachra beef, Guinness and cider spiced beef and North Cork pancetta.


Summer News from McCarthy's

It’s been a celebrity packed couple of months with lots of events taking
place. With the sun shining, barbecue season was upon us and the shop has
been packed with customers looking for something special to cook on the
coals. The new spit roast service has been proving popular in the summer
sunshine and with more excitement to come over the coming months the
McCarthy’s are really enjoying the season

Kings of the Black Puddings – Again

McCarthys were awarded a Gold Medal for their black pudding at the annual
awards organised by La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, or the
Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding. This was the highest award
received by an Irish entrant in 2010.

The ancient brotherhood will be visiting Kanturk in September in order to present the prestigious gold medal in person.  McCarthy’s believe that their use of cream and whiskey leads to a pudding more in a European style, that it is sweeter and more delicious. The 22nd of September heralds a great deal of excitement with the arrival of French pudding connoisseurs and the town looking forward to a pudding parade and a night of entertainment. There is also an official reception for our distinguished visitors in Cork City with the Lord Major.

We hosted a cookery demonstration by Rozanne Stevens, with the Black Pudding as the central theme. Rozanne was wonderfully friendly and spent a good while chatting to the many people who had attended the event. After the demonstration Jack gave Rozanne a complete lesson in the production of the pudding from a visit to a free range farm to the making of the famous pudding. It was Rozanne’s first visit to North Cork and one she will remember for a long time.

The Following week Rozanne did a piece about the trip on the Pat Kenny show. Rozanne made the pudding that was on this show whilst she was in with Jack. She got up to her elbows in pig blood. Pat was delighted to savour the delicious Black Pudding that is available online and in the store. You can hear the feature by clicking here.

News of the Black Pudding Award lead to a feature on McCarthy’s in the Irish Daily Mail. John Daly was very positive and complimentary about the business in this extended article.

“In a business that has straddled three centuries and adapted to the changing tastes of each era, McCarthy’s example of commercial survival and independence presents a miniature image of where the nation as a whole might go.” To read the article in full click here.
Good Food Ireland Village at the Curragh and on Ireland AM

Tim McCarthy was on Ireland AM in June helping Good Food Ireland to promote the Good Food Ireland Village at the Dubai Irish Derby at the Curragh. Tim gave the crew a good feed of breakfast after the live
television shoot. You can see the piece by clicking here.
This was the first time that Good Food Ireland have put on such an event. The Village consisted of of 23 speciality stalls selling everything from tarts to ice cream to sausages. There was a fantastic atmosphere amongst the stallholders.

Tim and Jack had a stall at the Curragh for all three days of the meeting and sold superior hotdogs of artisan rolls from the acclaimed Bretzell Bakery filled with McCarthy’s own award winning sausages.

The TV3 crew were back for more of the sumptous sausages, and over the weekend they met Tracy Piggot, the Teasoich and Martin Shanahan from Fishy Fishy, Kinsale.

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers Food Fair

Sheridans Cheesemongers is run by Kevin Sheridan, Seamus Sheridan and Fiona Corbett. The company was founded in 1995, when Seamus and Kevin started selling Irish farmhouse cheeses at the Galway market. Shortly after they opened a shop in Galway with Irish farmhouse cheeses piled from floor to ceiling. The Irish cheeses were quickly joined by their European cousins as well as a huge range of other artisan foods including olive oils, cured meats, condiments and pasta sourced during travels in Europe. The business has expanded to include a total of four retail outlets, 11 market stalls and a purpose built Warehouse premises in Meath. McCarthy’s are proud to supply free range dry cured hams to Sheridan’s.

The Food Fair welcomed producers of delicious food form all over Ireland with stands and stalls, as well as wine tasting, a barbecue, and craft demonstrations, face-painting and workshops. It was a ambitious idea and it was a resounding success, despite its rural location over 5000 turned up for the day. There were many food writers and journalists at the event also. It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase McCarthy’s in another area. McCarthy’s stall sold sausages on sticks in many varieties.

Spit Roasts

McCarthy’s of Kanturk are as you know specialists in Free Range Pork, seeing a gap in the market they have begun offering a spit roast service.

This is catering for a memorable special occasion. A spit roast Free Range pig served up to your guests by a qualified experienced chef. McCarthy’s provide everything down to napkins and plates and a qualified chef will cook carve and serve your free range pig. It will be served with freshly baked buns, homemade apple sauce and delicious pork crackling.

Our locally sourced free range pork and solid fuel spit assures the most succulent hog roast you could imagine. Plus we have complete farm to fork traceability, a fully licensed and insured caterer and an emphasis on quality and service.

Bookings must be made at least 10 days in advance.

Top of the Puds


by John Daly

How a dash of whiskey helped us win France’s gold medal for black pudding

If revenge is a dish best taken cold, it’s been worth the wait to put one over on the French. After the disenchantment of Thierry Henry’s “hand of fate” the nation can finally take a degree of vengeance having nabbed a gold medal from under the noses of the gauls.

Jack and Tim McCarthy of McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk were last week crowned members of the “Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding” – a distinction won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants from across Europe, at La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin, a festival devoted to the joys of superior black pudding held each year in the Normandy Town of Mortagne au Perche.

“Last year was a tester for us, a way to suss out the opposition and find out what was required.” explains the affable Jack, a man who the epicurean delights of dried pig’s blood have made the toast of the international black pudding fraternity.

“Like Franz Beckenhauer said years ago, “I may not be the fastest man from A to B but I don’t always start at A.” There are ways around these things”, he declares with a cheeky wink.

“Seriously though, it was really about making the pudding in a contemporary style, but still maintaining the integrity.”

To those of us whose only familiarity with the joys of blood sausage is the Saturday morning fry up, the standard on display at this annual pudding face-off in Normandy is light years above and beyond the factory made product found in your local supermarket.

“This gathering at Montagne au Perche is really the best of the best,” says Jack. “It’s a place where the French truly genuflect at a tradition that dates back centuries. And while we might question their attitude to fair play in soccer, there’s no doubting the high esteem they hold their food in.”

During the week long festival, gastronomic stalls dot the town squares, whilst specialist butchers demonstrate the art and mysteries of sublime black pudding creation. Up to 10km of the delicacy is consumed by the eager multitudes during the week, and prizes are awarded for Best Black Pudding Eater and Best Pig Squeal.

In France, boudin noir varies from region to region but generally has apples, onions and mashed potatoes as a filler. “We found the reception to our product extremely good out there,” says Jack. “They have even indicated they would like to bring the competition to Ireland, which would be enormous and we are encouraging them in that direction.”

With a history dating back to ancient Rome, Black Pudding has its variations across the world from the Netherlands’ bloedworst to Italy’s buristo and Finland’s mustamakkara. Even South America has its moreilla, where the blood is mixed with rice and spices.

“Black Pudding really began as a survival food around the world, and is a very different creature tot eh so-called fancy cuisine we’ve been putting up with in recent years,” the Kanturk man explains.

“It came from the times when waste was not an option, when all parts of the animal had a nutritious use. Nowadays, wer’re throwing away half the animal – and we wonder why things are the way they are.”

As Ireland digs deep to cope with the new economic reality, a return to old traditions is on the cards. “We’ll have to reinvent ourselves and learn again how to survive again,” says Jack.

“We have dispensed with the techniques and methods of producing local foods, and it’s got to the stage where more is put into the packaging than the product itself and us Irish have some of the best traditions in the world but we don’t seem to realise what an incredible resource is lying under our noses.”

The McCarthy business began in 1892, when Jack’s ancestor, Callaghan McCarthy, an accomplished local baker in Kanturk, got a poor cut in his local butcher’s and saw a niche in the market.

Deciding to change career, he put away his dough hook and replaced it with a set of butchers’ knives.

In a business that has straddled three centuries and adapted to the changing tastes of each era, McCarthy’s example of commercial survival and independence presents a miniature image of where the nation as a whole might go.

“We need to learn how to sell what we have to the world, and our food is top of that list,” he believes. “A golfer, for example, will come to Ireland and venture on the course once a day – but he has to eat three times a day.

“I often look in restaurant windows on my travels around the country, and I remember well the day I saw ads for American-style rins in one place, Mediterranean – style prawns in another and Cajun-style chicken in a third. In the name of God, where is Ireland in all this? Have we forgotten what we have to sell here?”

Ireland needs a serious wake-up call, he says, to focus on the goods the world wants are part of our plan to survive the economic cataclysm.

“We need to nurse our own culture, and aren’t black pudding, brown bread and full salted butter all intrinsic parts of that?” he asks.

But while the world has a proven appetite for all things Irish, much of our economic renaissance will rest on the quality of salesmanship employed to push the product, he feels.

“I travel all over the world to trade fairs with Good Food Ireland and I see some poor creatures on stalls who wouldn’t be able to sell ince-cream in the desert. You can have the best product in the world but you still need to know how to sell it.”

So what’s the McCarthy secret? Well on top of the traditional curing techniques, innovative spice combinations, and delicious smokes and Irish Whiskey employed to impart unique flavours and tenderness to their wide range of products, the McCarthys’ emphasise their free range pigs as a fundamental ingredient in their success.

“There should be nothing unusual in seeing pigs digging for roots in open fields,” Jack says, pointing to the nearby pasture where dozens of contented porkers happily snort.

“Sadly, scenes like this are a rare occurrence for the majority of pigs farmed intensively. Our pigs enjoy wide open spaces to dig and play in the open air, to exercise and maintain a natural diet. The good life they lead is the essential ingredient that makes our puddings what they are,” he says with obvious pride.

Before returning to attend the steady stream of customers in his shop who have come in search of today’s delicacy, Jack McCarthy finishes with another sporting reference.

“When Cork win the All Ireland this year, we’ll make the finest black pudding ever seen in these parts,” he promises, “Now that will be something special.”

Cookery Demonstration

We will be hosting a cookery demonstration on Saturday from 12pm by R.T.E celebrity chef Rozanne Stevens in store.
Rozanne will be cooking a black pudding starter and some other delicious specialities, she is the resident chef on the Pat kenny radio show so come along meet the delightful Rozanne and learn some delicious meat based recipies on Saturday.

March Meat Madness

adNew Meat Hampers

Spring is in the air and to celebrate the new season we have launched two new great value hampers to fill your freezer and fill your stomach. There is a €50 hamper which not only includes sausages, bacon, chicken and puddings but also a few of our delicious speciality products, such as Sliabh Luachra beef and North Cork Pancetta. The €100 hamper contains a huge amount of meat including high quality steaks, pork, chicken, sausages and rashers.

blackpuddingMcCarthy’s Black Pudding Wins international Award

Last week McCarthys were awarded a Gold Medal for their creamy new black pudding, at the annual awards organised by La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, or the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding. These are people who really know their puddings. This is the first gold medal won by an Irish establishment.

Sliabh Luachra Beef in the RTE Guide

Don’t miss this week’s RTE guide which contains a fantastic recipe pull-out. Along with many other tasty recipes, it features Kate O’Tooles dish with McCarthy’s Sliabh Luachra Beef.

Beautiful New Irish Cookbook is Launched

colmanandrews Jack McCarthy was at the launch of Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews. Jack impressed Colman with his award winning spiced beef which is cured with guinness and cider. This new cook book is both big and beautiful with wonderful recipes. Colman Andrews is one of America’s leading food writers. The launch was organised by Good Food Ireland and was attended by many of Ireland’s leading quality food producers. Also at the launch were Darina Allen, John McKenna, Myrtle Allen, Peter Ward, food writers and politicians. McCarthy’s are mentioned in the book in the artisan section. If you have been trying to re-create the meals you loved at your Granny’s house this is the perfect book to own and is available to buy online from Good Food Ireland.

A Real Treat for the Embassies

Another great accolade this month was that McCarthys Dry Cured Gammon, Roast Beef and Spiced Beef were sent to every Irish embassy in the world on Paddy’s Day by Sheridans Cheesemongers in the Government’s Official Hampers.

August 2009, Awards, Events and New Products

McCarthys were mentioned on Rozanne’s Cookery Corner on the Pat Kenny Show in August. Rozanne was singing the praises of the South African sausage called Boerewors and let listeners know that they could purchase it from McCarthy’s of Kanturk. Jack and Tim had a great time at the Taste Kildare Festival, won a Gold Star Award at the Great Taste Awards for Sliabh Luachra Beef and Tim attended the launch of Rozanne Steven’s Cookery School in Dublin.

Venison Available Online Soon. We will soon have venison from Millstreet Country Park available from us exclusively and online soon.

Nitrate Free Bacon Now Available Online.Bacon has been cured for thousands of years this way, without any salt peter, nitrite or any artificial aditives or ingredients. This is bacon cured bio-organically from free range pigs. Bacon doesn’t get any more natural than this.

The Taste Kildare Festival

The Taste Kildare Festival on 23rd August was a great experience. Jack and Tim travelled up and down on the one day with a van load of produce and merchandising material not knowing what to expect so taking everything they thought they could possibly need.

On the day Jack and Tim mainly concentrated on selling breakfast packs (soon to be available online so watch out) that included the award winning black pudding which sold very well.

McCarthys also had their produce featured on the day on the Miele stand where Rozanne Stevens cooked a fabulous black pudding starter and venison with a chocolate chili sauce.

One lucky individual from Kildare won a €50 speciality hamper in the draw in aid of enable ireland, who the whole event was in aid of. Jack and Tim took great joy in supporting a worthy cause and that gave a great feel good factor on the long drive home.

Six Nations and Triple Crown visit McCarthys

Tim McCarthy is a proud man
Tim McCarthy is proud to hold the All Ireland

Everyone in McCarthys was thrilled to welcome the Six Nations and Triple Crown Trophies into the shop recently.  It is the first time in 61 years that Ireland has won both championships. The McCarthys are keen rugby followers, Jack is even the Vice President of Kanturk Rugby Club, so you can imagine the buzz caused by this unexpected event.

Ollie, Tim & Jack and, of course, the Trophy
Ollie, Tim & Jack and, of course, the All-Ireland

Major European Award for Black Pudding

Medal of Honour
Medal of Honour

Jack is a proud man at the best of times, but winning this beautiful medal for his blackpudding has really made his week.  La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, or the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding awarded a medal and certificate in celebration of his achieving third place in this major international competition.

Another Prestigious Award
Another Prestigious Award