A few weeks ago, myself and Nicola had an enjoyable afternoon at The Royal Highland Show where the highlight for me was the Food and Drink village. Whilst walking around, sampling the wares of independent producers from all over the UK and Ireland, I took time to chat with the producers and gave them the opportunity to have their story told on Gerry's Kitchen.
The first people to get back to me with answers to their '5 Questions' were the team at Coole Swan, the producers of a wonderfully rich Irish Cream Liqueur. Coole Swan takes it's name from a WB Yeats poem - 'The Wild Swans at Coole' and is produced on the same family farm in County Meath where the dairy cows live and breathe.
Here's their story;
How did you get started?That is a good question. We are farmers in County Meath in Ireland (about 1 nour north of Dublin) and love producing quality produce and we also love cream liqueurs.... So a 100% natural cream liquor seemed like a no brainer. It took over 18 months and 100's of tastings of whiskey, chocolate and cream to get it right....hard life I know!!!!
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
Ideas are the easier bit. Execution is the key. To execute an idea or plan you need humour, friendship, determination and flexibility. Also, you must never compromise. Ever.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Going from strength to strength but maintaining the same level of contact and friendship with our customers and partners.
If you could only enjoy Coole Swan just one way, what would it be & why?
Coole Swan in a glass neat or over ice. That is the most perfect drink. If I were to add anything it would be a bowl of fresh seasonal berries (strawberries / raspberries / blueberries) along with good conversation and warm summer evening. Bliss!
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why?
That's a tough one but anyone who has given life a real go and achieved something from it - that something could be real success (Olympic Gold Medal) or simply a better understanding of their own strengths and weakness. The human spirit is a greatly unvalued resource. We can do anything and are limited only by the horizons of our own imagination.
To dine with people who have tested that would be exhilarating. What’s on the menu? Fresh seasonal food - starting with prawns or lobster followed by a good steak with a strong, full bodied red wine and fresh garden salad. For dessert we would tuck into a Coole Swan Lime and Chocolate Mousse before finishing off dinner with Irish cheese with homemade biscuits and a Coole Swan coffee.
In addition to sending back their answers to '5 Questions' in a prompt fashion, Mary at Coole Swan very kindly sent me a box containing my very own bottle of Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur and a few other bits and pieces including recipe books, chocolates and Coole hot chocolate pots. At this point I would like to thank Mary and the rest of the team at Coole Swan for their generosity in sending these samples to myself.
So after a busy Sunday of wandering around garden centres before doing a little work in the garden later in the day, it was good to settle down on the sofa with glass of chilled Coole Swan in hand. There are a number of well known Irish cream liqueurs on the market and I'm a big fan of most of them but as a non whisky drinker sometimes the whisky can be a little stronger than I like. The great thing about the Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur is that the whisky is balanced perfectly with Belgian white chocolate to give a rich rounded flavour. Perfect over ice but I'm already looking forward to trying some of the recipes from the Coole Swan recipe books.