The Maltese Supper
More than a Meal.Gleeson’s & Roscommon Support Join Our Boys
|Butter beans, with garlic & parsley.|
Malta met Roscommon last week as part of the Roscommon Lamb Festival. In Dingli village, Malta, amongst the gnarled olive trees and low-hanging carob branches, there is a family run farm set in an idyllic valley on the sun-kissed island, producing some of Mediterranean’s finest and most iconic food, including olive oil and wine. The family are the Mifsuds, their project is called Diar il-Bniet and their restaurant on the farm uses only the produce of the farm.
Gleeson's Town House, members of Good Food Ireland, are recommended in all the guides and rightly so. The Gleesons met the Mifsuds in Malta and invited them over. Gleeson’s are an integral part of the town and it is no surprise that they are fully behind the Join Our Boys , a charity founded here last year. The supper was a fundraiser and so instead of paying for a ticket, you made a donation. By Sunday morning, over a thousand euro had been raised.
|Calm before the supper.|
The ultimate aim of Join Our Boys is to ensure a treatment or cure is found for this catastrophic disease in time to save the lives of Archie, George, Isaac and all the children in this generation diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. To be told that one of your children has a fatal disease, that currently has no treatment or cure, is devastating. To be told your three children (including your twins) have a fatal disease that currently has no treatment or cure is beyond comprehension; it is beyond words.
Virtually everyone in the town was dressed in orange for the fund-raising on Friday and we got to take part in a parade through Roscommon and out to the castle before we came back to Gleeson's for the supper.
Here we met some of the visiting Maltese, including Dorianne, Darren, Can and chef David. Dorianne and Can took us through the “starter” buffet and we enjoyed samples of their farm food.
|Archie (at rear) with twins George and Isaac|
pictured on the twins' 5th birthday cake in Gleeson's last Friday.
There was a delicious Baby Broad Bean Paste which you took with a crispy biscuit (gallette). They had a peppered sheeps cheese and a plain one, both hard. Their own olives, marinated with Maltese garlic and parsley, were gorgeous and we also sampled the Goat Cheese Pie with Broad Beans. Perhaps my favourite was the Butter Beans with Garlic and Parsley. And there was no shortage of a superb Tomato Paste (known in Malta as Kunserva).
In between, there was entertainment and young Archie belted out a number on the drums and followed up with a some fast paced rap.
And no shortage of wine either with Willie Tindal on hand with a couple of excellent samples from the vast range of Tindal Wines, a Chenin Blanc/Viognier from South Africa and a Cabernet/Merlot from Australia.
|Broadbean paste and olives|
|Mary dishing out the main course.|
We didn't have to travel too far for the beer as local craft brewers Richard and Michaela from the Black Donkey brewery were there with their two beers - they hope to have another two before the end of the year. I sampled both. First up was the Sheep Stealer (5.5% ABV) a Belgian-style saison, ideal with food. The other was their amber ale, their own style: “not a hop bomb, this one’s a malt bomb”.
Main course was Braised Spicy Lamb Shanks, Maltese style of course, with salad, big green beans, tasty roast potatoes (with seeds). Overall, this was delicious and cooked to perfection. And their desserts didn't disappoint either, especially the Maltese almond biscuits. There was a whole table full of desserts, chocolate very much in evidence! We also had the chance to taste some of their lovely breads.
|We're pictured here with Dorianne (left)|
The Mifsuds contributed hugely over the weekend and their food was sampled again on the Sunday at the aptly named Global Village in the park, just one of many events (including of course, sheepdog trials) staged as part of the Lamb Festival, now a well established annual get-together.
With all the international cuisine available - we had a Brazilian Barbecue on the Saturday night - we never got to taste Mary Gleeson’s famous lamb stew. Next time Mary!