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An unexpected call led to a
quick decision to head for Kenmare for a recent overnight stay. No rush on the
way down so we took the “long” route: lunch at Manning’s Emporium and a trip around the Beara Peninsula.
The Sea Shore, a well named guesthouse,
just about a mile from the town, was to be our overnight base. We got a
terrific welcome from Owen on check-in and a welcome cup of tea before we even
thought to ask for it. Met his wife Mary Patricia at breakfast in the morning, quite
a breakfast I might add, and she filled us in on places to visit and so on.
Of course, we had been out
the night before for a meal, this at the well known Lime Tree. Many of you will
know of this restaurant over the years but did you know that it is now owned
and run by one of its former chefs Michael Casey?
The Lime Tree
It remains a top class dinner
venue. My starter was the Oak Smoked Kenmare
Salmon with celeriac and apple remoulade and a caper and red onion
salsa. Excellent also was the Warm Sneem Black Pudding salad, served with
crispy fried potato cubes, apple compote and blackberry vinaigrette.
Duo of lamb
On then to the mains. Mine
was the superb eye-catching Duo of Lamb: a mini shepherd’s pie (served in its
own pot) and a rack of locally sourced Kerry lamb with a confit of garlic and
thyme juice, all served on a board. The other main course was also top notch,
also so well cooked, and it was Pan-fried breast of Skeaghanore free range duck
with a rhubarb and ginger chutney, apple and a cassis jus.
On the following morning we
visited Bonane Heritage Park which is crammed full of archaeological sites of all descriptions, including a
Stone Circle and a Ring Fort, all within easy walking distance. Amazing.
Nearby also is the Lorge Chocolatier and that also is worth
a visit. Soon we had a bag full of chocolates, nougats, marmalade, honey and
other foods. All great, though I didn't realise 'til later that the honey came in a plastic jar!
We didn’t touch the chocolate at that point as we had a
lunch date at the Boathouse in Dromquinna. This restaurant is on the northern
bank of Kenmare Bay, quite a setting. It is a lovely spot and they do excellent
food there. The same menu runs from 12.30pm until closing.
CL very much enjoyed her starter portion of Mussels in a gorgeous white wine cream sauce while I was delighted with the Potted Crab Mayonnaise, with crispy capers and tortilla chips. Off to a good start then.
Next up for me was the mains portion of mussels and I wasn't
disappointed. CL’s choice was the seared fillet of Hake and this too was top
notch, looked very well and tasted even better.
Just time for dessert then (before
heading to Killarney for a family visit) and this was the spectacular Boathouse
Knickerbocker Glory. Try it sometime! And do try Kenmare, well worth a visit,
even if for just twenty four hours.
I met Kerry chocalatier Benoit Lorge for the first
time at last Saturday’s Midleton Food Festival. You just couldn’t pass the range
of tempting creations at his stall. And, when you study his brochure, you
realise that this is only a fraction of his portfolio of chocolate goodies.
You can buy singles or boxes (with anything from two
to 54 pieces). You can fill a mixed bag, like I did, 10 for €6.00. He also does
chocolate bars including an award winning Praline and also Nougat (nice stuff
too – I got some in Manning’s Ballylickey two months ago). His truffles - buy
by the bag – are multi-awards winners, gold going to the Rum Bitter, the soft
Rum and Caramel and also to the Orange and Cointreau.
I had whiskey and rum included in my selection and
you may also get Baileys and other liqueurs.
But you may also avoid the
In a rural setting, between Kenmare and Glengarriff, in a Kerry village called Bonane, a French chef called Benoit Lorge makes exquisite chocolates that end up in all corners of the world.
This success story started back in 1995 and goes on and on. They ship worldwide via their website while local stockists here in Cork are Nash 19 (Princes Street) and the Sugar Cafe (Washington Street).