Showing posts with label Le Fournil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Le Fournil. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Taste of the Week. Clo’s Wind Atlantic Bar

Taste of the Week
Clo’s Wind Atlantic Bar

Called into Le Fournil, a bakery and chocolatier on the Sligo Food Trail, during a recent visit to the town. And I immediately spotted some truffles that I had seen in Dingle during the Blas na hEireann tasting, truffles that had won for Clo who makes the chocolates here.

But is was one of her bars that next caught my eye. I always like chocolate with a little salt and when I spotted the Wild Atlantic Bar I couldn't resist. It was every bit as good a expected and is our Taste of the Week.


It is a milk chocolate bar and, of course, Irish Sea Salt is one of the important ingredients. Another is Knocknarea Honey. A delicious blend made in Sligo and also a Blas winner for Clo, this in 2015.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sligo Cafés. Variety is the Spice

Sligo Cafés. 
Variety is the Spice 
Naanwich
Vegan friendly dishes at the Sweet Beat in Bridge Street. A Naanwich and Leitrim roasted coffee at The Nook in rural Collooney. Chocolate and French Baking at Le Fournil in Tobergal Lane. Oysters and Prosecco at WB’s in Stephen Street. Just a few examples from the lively café scene in and around Sligo.

Growing up in Brittany, Clotilde (known in Sligo as Clo and I read somewhere her Friday doughnuts are Clonuts), saw just how important bread was in their lives so no big surprise that she and her partner Tomasz Giderewicz run Le Fournil bakery in Sligo. There is also a related Le Fournil in Donegal.
Le Fournil. Including Friday's "Clonuts"

A sweet tooth led Clo to pastries and chocolate and indeed she won two Bronze at the recent Blas Awards. She has a fiercely loyal staff and they told me in no uncertain terms that it should have been two golds! We did, of course, leave “this little corner of France” with some chocolate. If Clo “wandered” in to Sligo, some of the other café owners here wandered out, for a spell.

Sligo Food Trails neatly sums up Carolanne Rushe of Sweet Beat. “The grass will never grow under Carolanne’s feet (though if it did, she’d probably turn it into a pesto)….. Going from running a market stall on her own to employing fifteen in Sweet Beat in just two short years, Carolanne is proving that plant based cuisine can taste great.” Coffee is pretty good there too as I found out on a brief visit to Bridge Street.

It seems that many in the Sligo food scene have been abroad (not just on holidays) and Carolanne is no exception. She’s been to the Middle East, Himalayas, Australia, South Africa. An extended course in Ballymaloe helped her bring all her food knowledge together and now Sweet Beat is a revelation, even for many committed meat eaters. She describes her plant based cuisine as “just food that’s good for you”.

Aisling Kelly is another Sligo “wanderer”, having spent many years on America's West Coast. Back in Ireland she became involved in the travel industry before returning home to Sligo to open WB’s in the old family pub. A larger than life statue of WB Yeats stands a few yards away.

She had learned much about coffee on the US West Coast and now makes sure that coffee culture is alive and well on Ireland’s West Coast. They also have an unusual offering. For under a tenner, you may enjoy a couple of local oysters and a glass of Prosecco.

Ethna Reynolds, of the Nook Cafe in Collooney village, is another who wandered out, not so much from Sligo, but from her native Leitrim. But the food bug had already struck through her part-time work in cafés in her student days. Several years travelling around Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and working in different types of kitchens helped to further mould the budding chef.
Curry Roll

And indeed those years led to the slightly exotic cuisine at The Nook where the best of local produce gets a Reynolds twist. The signature dish is perhaps the Naanwich. “We can change the menu and we do, but we can never take that one off,” one of the staff told us on our visit there for lunch.

CL picked that one. So what is the Naanwich?  A soft folded Naan bread with a Tandoori spiced mouth watering filling of Donegal buttermilk chicken, tikka mayo, house local veg pickle, local grown salad and slaw. A plateful of colour and flavour, altogether delicious, at a very reasonable price.

My pick was the Curry Roll and I was surprised by both the quantity and the quality! It’s a Tortilla wrap stuffed with curried roast chicken, Dozio’s Chilli Zing Cheese (from Mayo), Mango Chutney, Red Cabbage Slaw, Markree Farm herb tossed couscous, paprika fries. You’d have to be palate paralysed not to appreciate the flavours here. An amazing dish (€11.00) to find in a small rural village. 

No wonder though that the new venture (May 2016) is well supported and already winning awards (including Georgina Campbell Newcomer of the Year 2017). By the way, they do breakfast here as well.

There are, of course, many other cafes in Sligo, and you may check them out here on this Sligo Food Trail list.

We had a great base in the Riverside Hotel, so conveniently situated for walking to the cafes, bars and restaurants in Sligo town. It has a marvellous location on the Garavogue River, at 50.7 kms, one of Ireland's shortest. The hotel overlooks the weir. 

The lovely restaurant room, where you also take breakfast, takes full advantage of the location and you can enjoy the waters on two sides. As I say, a really convenient location and we were able to walk to bars such as the Swagman and Anderson's, cafes like WB's and Sweet Beat, and restaurants Rugatino and Embassy Steakhouse.


See also: Lough Gill Brewery
 Strandhill Food Festival
Clo's Chocolates
Rugatino of Sligo
Embassy Steakhouse





Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Castle, Crafts and Super Food. A Taste of Donegal Day 2

Castle, Crafts and Super Food
A Taste of Donegal Day 2
Le Fournil

It is late evening in Donegal town, the tide is out and the crows have wheeled away en masse to their night perches. The marquees in the food village are quiet, the stallholders taking a well deserved break. But it's entirely quiet! A few pink shirted ladies, with Mary right there in the middle, are hard at work near the entrance, sweeping up and making sure everything is ready for the Sunday. Volunteers in uncomplaining action. What would A Taste of Donegal do without them? What would Ireland do without them?

Our day started with another visit to the Food Festival to link up with Eve Anne of the Local Enterprise Office. I was giving a hand with judging the best stall and that gave us another chance to do the rounds, sample some more food and drinks, everything from ice-cream to coffee to beer to various bits of meat to cheese, all the time looking for that little bit extra that would put a stand on the shortlist.
Donegal Castle

We did our bit and met up with Eve Anne to compare notes. The decision was announced on the following day (we were in Mayo by then) and the winners were Le Fournil. This is a French bakery in Donegal town run by Franck Pasquier and they had a terrific display of their aromatic and tasty produce.

It was a fine morning and the crowds kept coming, difficult enough to get parking. If you are going next year, do check the website as they have a long list of parking sites and once you have that info, you’ll be fine.

Fireplace detail in Castle

So after “grazing” our way through the stalls for lunch, we walked the short distance to Donegal Castle and paid the small entrance fee. The castle was built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell and destroyed in 1595 by Red Hugh O‘Donnell to prevent its seizure by the British. It was rebuilt around 1614 by Sir Basil Brooke.

For most of the 19th and 20th centuries the majority of the buildings were in ruins but it was almost fully restored in the 1990s and was visited last May by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, during their official visit to County Donegal. It is an interesting small castle with a number of artefacts in position.


Taste temptations

Perhaps the highlight is the large ornate stone chimney piece in the great hall, installed by Brooke and including the coats of arms of his family and that of his wife’s family. The castle is next door to Magee’s, another Donegal icon. Magee’s are best known for their tweeds and you’ll see some great examples here for both men and women. It is a high quality upmarket store with various departments and brands e.g. Newbridge and Kiltrea.

Out on the Diamond, the sun was shining and the music playing as the kids gathered round for their entertainment, all nice and relaxed with parents and grandparents taking it all in. Indeed, we watched and listened for a a good few minutes - the long queue at the ATM was slow-moving!


McGonigle Glass Studio

Cash in hand, it was time to to collect the car and head a mile or two out of town to the Donegal Craft Village and do some purchasing. There are seven craft shops here, including hand-weaving, Paper Craft, Jewellery/Sculpture, artist, hand felted landscapes. One or two were closed.  One that caught my eye were Michael Griffin’s RAW studio (pieces from ancient boxwoods, very impressive pieces).

Another was the McGonigle Glass Art and Jewellry Studio, and not because it is run by three sisters! “We love colour and we hope this shows in our work!”. It certainly does and it was here that we bought a few of the smaller pieces. This village is well worth a visit and another craft village that we like to visit is the one in Spiddal in Connemara.


Village Tavern, Mountcharles

And, like Spiddal, there is a also a coffee shop here in Donegal. It is called Aroma and is quite popular. We enjoyed our coffees here. On going in to pay, a twenty euro note was the smallest I had in the wallet but their machine was acting up and the man said, rather than holding us up, that we could have the coffee for free. Very nice of him, But not fair to him. So I went back out to our seat and searched through bags and pockets and got the five euro and paid up. He was delighted and we were happy too. Smiles are worth more than euros.

On the way back to our lodgings, we called to Mountcharles to have a drink at the Village Tavern. A couple of bottles of local beer, Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone Amber ale and the Ballyshannon based Donegal Brewery's Blonde, a refreshing drink, quenched the thirsts for us.

Room with a view, Ceol na Mara

Did I tell that our accommodation, Ceol na Mara in Summerhill, has lovely views over the bay. We were back there late in the afternoon and took a walk along by the calm water just as the packed Donegal Bay Waterbus was starting its tour. We could hear the commentary on the shore as it gently headed out with a shadowy Ben Bulben in the background.

We were back in town, alongside the castle, for dinner that evening in the Olde Castle. This is a busy spot but we were comfortable upstairs in the restaurant and I enjoyed my lobster before finishing off a pleasant day, a pleasant stay indeed, with a pint of their own Red Hugh Ale, bottled specially for them in Ballyshannon.

It was off to Ballina, County Mayo, the following morning, after another lovely breakfast at Ceol na Mara.
See also: Food Festival and Amazing Cliffs. Donegal Day 1

Donegal Bay Waterbus