Showing posts with label Ardkeen Superstore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ardkeen Superstore. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2019

Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and The Queen. Fruit Cakes and Steeplechasers. All in a Tipp Day-trip


Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and His Queen. Fruit Cake.  Steeplechasers. 
All in a Tipp Day-trip.
Ormond Castle


Shopping at Dove Hill
The Butlers may have moved all the best bits to their castle in Kilkenny when they were forced to downsize but that means you get to see more of the basics when you visit their ruined castle and restored manor house in Carrick on Suir. You get the impression from the Ormond Castle guides that they’d prefer to have some of those paintings and tapestries back from Kilkenny. Yet there is much to be seen in the castle and house on the banks of the Suir. 
At the Apple Farm

The Butlers (original family name was Walter), by the way, did start off as royal butlers, and their initial land here was a gift from the crown. But, well known to the crown and related to Elizabeth 1, they got more and more as time went by and eventually held sway over large areas of Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary, castles all over including substantial ones, as in Cahir, and small ones like that at Farney. Indeed that Farney building has a butler’s pantry “hidden” in the 12 foot thick walls. Clonmel's Main Guard is another Butler building.

Situated in the middle of Carrick, Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. It, along with extensive gardens, was built by Thomas, the 10th Earl of Ormond in the 1560s. Closely integrated into the manor house are two 15th century towers. It is the country's only major unfortified dwelling from that turbulent period. The state rooms contain some of the finest decorative plasterwork in the country, including plasterwork portraits.
Clonmel's splendid Main Guard

The above paragraph is a direct quote from the Heritage Ireland entry. The Butlers abandoned the home after James' death in 1688. It remained a possession of the family until the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 the house was given over to state agencies who restored the historic structures. The restoration continues.

Admission to the site is by guided tour only and there is a small fee. There is a video show detailing the history of the Butlers and you can see that before or after your tour. As you walk between the walls of the derelict castle, you’ll note that there was a large arched door ahead of you. This opened directly on to the River Suir, the main source of traffic at the time. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth was expected to walk through here but died before she could fulfil the promise of a visit to her cousin (rumours, continued within these walls to this day suggest the relationship was more than innocently familial). 
Clonmel mural

The house is the “star” of the visit, and the long room is the highlight. Much of the plasterwork is original and is indeed very impressive. The timber, much of it original (dating back hundreds of years), is amazing. You get a great view of it up in the attic, all held together without nails, the kind of basics view you don’t get in Kilkenny. Outstanding workmanship from the 16th century and the OPW guys of more recent times don’t come out of it too badly either! 

After a slow walk up the river by the small marina and a quick cuppa in the town we headed west towards the Dove Hill Design Centre on the Clonmel Road. Disappointed to find the large garden centre has closed but we did get some shopping done, mostly kitchen gear (from Meadows and Byrne) and food. The latter included Flahavan’s Hi8 muesli and Lismore Food Company’s Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins (delicious!) from  the Ardkeen shop there, Skellig’s Chocolate and more from the Blarney Woollen Mills’ large selection.
Hotel Minella, a friendly place.

Time then to check in at the Minella Hotel, splendidly sited on the south bank of the Suir in Clonmel. We also got a splendid welcome here and were soon relaxing with tea and cake! While seemingly isolated on its own extensive grounds, the hotel is within 15 minutes walk of the town centre and we checked that on our way for an evening meal at the Kyoto Asian Street Food restaurant in Parnell Street but not before we had a look at the Main Guard, a distinctive and nicely restored 17th century building.

Kyoto, upstairs over Boyle’s bookmakers, is popular and was busy. The menu is wide-ranging with options under various headings such as Sushi, Curries, Donburi, Noodles, and Wok. There was even dessert, an interesting one. We hadn’t come across Banana Katsu (with ice cream) before so we shared it and the deep-fried crumbed banana (4.95) was delicious. Also delicious was the plum wine (5.50). I took the wine instead of the sake (6.00).

Back then to the hotel for a pint in the bar. After a good breakfast we said our goodbyes and the friendly folks at the front desk didn’t allow us go empty-handed, gifting us a top class fruit cake on exit, one that we still enjoying!
The Full Irish, local produce, at the Minella

Later, on their website, I noted that the Minella is well known for its cake baking. It is also well-known for its association with horse-racing and all their runners (most if not all over fences) have Minella in the name.

We were heading home now in the sun but had one final call to make. You really shouldn’t drive the Clonmel-Cahir road without making a stop at the Apple Farm, owned and run by Con Traas, just be careful entering and exiting as this is quite a fast road (well, let me say there are fast drivers on it).
Sunset in Clonmel

The farm is beautifully kept; even the shed where the shop is situated is brightened up with some thriving roses. You may pick your own strawberries here but we took the easy option and bought a few punnets of the beauties. Also came away with lots of bottles of juices (some of cider too!), jars of jams and packets of his apple crisps (yet to be tried). 
The Apple Farm

I have often mentioned his sparkling apple juice here and it is still a lovely product. But my new favourite is the Apple and Raspberry juice, an ideal summer-time drink. Thanks Con. Cheers.

On this trip:
Enjoyable lunch at historic Barron's Bakery

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Lunching in Munster. Inland Treats off the Main Roads.


Lunching in Munster
Inland Treats off the Main Roads.
Take a stroll on the banks of Lough Derg. Maybe a cruise after lunch at Wood & Bell in Killaloe. 

Did a fair bit of munching in Munster during 2018, much of it away from the coast. Seaside dining venues are of course extremely popular but there are some excellent spots too inland, quite a few just off the main roads.

When you are on the main roads and motorways and need a lunch, you sometimes wonder where to stop. Tipperary is one such county and its towns are well served by cafés and restaurants.
Sweet, at Lava Rock.

You’ll often see Cahir on motorway signboards. If you get peckish in the area, why not try Lava Rock? It is on on Castle Street (park down by the castle, which can also be visited) and has been gathering good reviews and awards since it opened four years ago. 

With the kitchen open to the main room of the restaurant, we could see the attention to detail and that showed too on the appetising plates. Lunch was very enjoyable and I’m sure that the evening meals would be even more so. Choices aren't as expansive in the middle of the day but still they had plenty to offer.
Lovely outdoor dining area at Mikey Ryan's

You’ll be well fed too in Cashel especially if you call to Mikey Ryan’s . Artisan food producers are supported here and you’ll see Toons Bridge, Cashel Blue, Galtee Honey, Gubbeen, KIllenure Castle (dexter), The Good Herdsmen, Annie’s Organic Farm and Comfrey Cottage Cashel among those mentioned. 

The menu “is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care”. My kind of restaurant and very highly recommended.
The ancient walls of Fethard

Prime 74
In historic Fethard, Dooks Fine Food has a prime position at the bottom of the main street, alongside the Clashawley River, at the junction of the Clonmel and Urlingford roads and opposite a large car park. Richard Gleeson’s restaurant and deli is spacious and bright, lots of local food for you to enjoy inside, or on the seats outside and, of course, you can easily put a picnic together if you shop at the deli.

Before our lovely lunch here, we took a walk along the medieval area of Fethard, and afterwards we called to the Apple Farm, near Cahir, on the way home. 

Tipperary Town is serendipitously situated in the centre of a great food producing area. Not just Tipperary county itself but all the neighbours, though the county itself includes the world class cheese producers Cashel Blue. The near neighbours also include the likes of Crowe’s Pork, White Gypsy Beers and Cashel Fine Foods. And a bit further away, in the south west, nationally known producers such as Gubbeen and Skeaghanore Duck. 

You can get all these and more on your plate at Prime 74, a relatively new restaurant in Tipperary Town, not too far from the motorway.  Chef and owner Martin Lavelle is dedicated to seasonal and local and is doing a great job in this lovely premises at 74 Main Street (park in nearby Market Place).

After seeing the venerable buildings, including Hayes Hotel, in the square at Thurles, the Source Arts Centre around the corner is something of a pleasant surprise and even more pleasant when you find yourself in the cheery bright room where Stef Hans serves up delicious food. Shame that this lovely café has recently closed. But do check out Cafe Hans in Cashel. Must call there myself sometime soon.
Watch out for Farmers Markets across the region, like this one in Killavullen
Head over now to County Clare and lunch by the Shannon at the Wood and Bell in Killaloe. This restaurant was opened in late 2017 by local and Irish rugby legend Keith Wood and business partner Malcom Bell.
Call to the Apple Farm in Cahir for fruit, including these delicious cherries

Wood and Bell has the advantage of having their own walled garden nearby, overlooking Lough Derg and the river. The garden, cared for by Wood and his wife Nicola, now produces much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. We enjoyed our lunch here and can certainly recommend Wood and Bell.

It seems that I’ve neglected inland Waterford, and Limerick as well, over the past year. If you have any tips, please let me know. One of the very best lunches we enjoyed in 2018 though was in the coastal village of Ardmore at the Cliff House, just off the main Cork-Waterford road.
Lunchtime view at the Cliff House

And back to the main roads now. If you are heading out of Cork and looking for breakfast or lunch then make your stop at Mitchelstown and visit O’Callaghan’s Café  on the main street. Here, the extensive menu changes daily. On a recent visit, there were no less than three soups on the specials and also a tempting starter based on Crowe’s crispy pancetta. Crowe’s are just one of their many local suppliers.

Lots of main course specials too, all priced around the 12 to 14 euro mark. There was a Red wine braised boeuf bourguignon, a pan-fried fillet of cod, Vegetarian baked flat mushrooms, and a vegetarian quiche,  just to give you an idea. All substantial dishes indeed. And there were salads and sandwiches of course.
Munster has many delicious cheeses, including the very special St Tola
that you'll see on quite a few menus.

By the way, if you find yourself travelling from Mitchelstown in the direction of Kilkenny or Waterford, you could make a stop at the Dove Hill Irish Design Centre a few miles east of Carrick-on-Suir. Meadows and Byrne and Blarney Woollen Mills are among the outlets here. Fashion, Homewares, Furniture and Food are the main areas of interest. Quite a few Irish producers represented in the major food display and there is also a very large stand-alone garden centre on-site.
Sweet things at the Ardkeen Quality Food store in Dove Design Centre, Carrick-on-Suir

There is a busy café Lily Mai’s on the mezzanine of the main building. We weren't long after lunch in Mitchelstown, so we called to the newly opened Ardkeen Food café for a coffee. It has its own cottage-style entrance but is also part of and fully open to the main building - more shopping here, Pandora Bell nougat and Lorge chocolate included - before enjoying a cup of Joe from their barista. The coffee was good but I must say I always find it hard to enjoy it fully in a paper cup - I know I may be in a minority here!
A wall of whiskey at Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder in Killarney

No shortage of visits to Kerry. Recently I’ve enjoyed my lunch-time calls to the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney. You may eat as much or as little as you like here in this friendly place, anything from soup of the day to a substantial pie. Speaking of which, one of our favourites was the very tasty Chicken, Leek and Mushroom pie. Others to watch out for are the Lamb Liver, with streaky bacon and slathered in a delicious onion gravy and served with sourdough toast and their Roast Barbary Duck Salad.

Heather, on the Gap of Dunloe, is well worth a visit.  And don’t miss out on The Strawberry Field and Pancake Cottage about 3 kilometres out the Sneem Road from Moll’s Gap. 
Strawberry Field

You'll find craft beer across Munster
at restaurants such as Blair's Inn.
Believe it or not, this rural treasure has been here, not forever, but since 1997. Then Margaret and Peter Kerssens opened their family business, now very popular with locals and tourists alike. The farmhouse itself has stood here looking out over the Kerry mountains and valleys since the 1800s and these days it is both a restaurant specialising in pancakes and also a craft shop (includes oil paintings by Margaret).

Back to Cork then and in the village of Cloghroe you’ll find Blair’s Inn. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. 

And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from. Excellent well sourced well cooked food is a given here. A laugh and a smile are also guaranteed, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 

So no need to worry if you're on the motorways of Munster and start to feel hungry! A good lunch is never very far away. Happy Munching as you visit the Munster towns.




Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Taste of the Week. Flahavan’s Flapjacks


Taste of the Week
Flahavan’s Flapjacks

Did you know that the Ardkeen Quality Food store has, very recently, opened an outlet in the Dove Hill Design centre near Carrick-on-Suir? I called there recently and, among other goodies, picked up these Flahavan’s Flapjacks, our current Taste of the Week.

I really enjoyed the crunch and flavours from my six pack of Cranberry and Orange; delicious and wholesome they are made with wholegrain oats and are a source of fibre. And, importantly. the oats is grown and milled locally, and the flapjacks themselves are baked in Kilmacthomas. 

I fully intend to make these a regular here and glad to see variety in the selection. They also produce the flapjacks in other versions: Multiseed, Fruit and Nut, Choc Chip, and Original.

Kilnagrange Mills,
Kilmacthomas,
Co. Waterford,
Ireland
+353 51 294107

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest: Wines, Spirits and Beers. A Wolf in Town!


CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers


At The Bierhaus Cork, this Thursday, 7.30pm
Wicklow Wolf X Anspach & Hobday (London) Tap-takeover
Meet the Wicklow Wolf Team & Anspach & Hobday owner/brewer (Jack Hobday) 
3 Beers from Wicklow Wolf 
3 Beers from Anspach & Hobday 
1 Collaboration beer 
Tastings promos on the night! Details on the Bierhaus Facebook page.

and if you want more Wicklow Wolf then you’ll find them teaming up with their friends Dungarvan Brewing Company at Dungarvan’s Merrys Gastro Pub for a 6 Course Beer Dinner, celebrating Irish Craft Beer on Friday the 23rd November.


Spanish Wine Evening at Rostellan Chocolate
Friday, November 30, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM
An evening of tasting 6 varieties of Spanish Wine with cheese and pates. Alejandro from Heart of Spain will present this event which promises to be a fantastic evening. Strictly limited tickets are on sale at an introductory price of €25 each. Contact Peter at 087 2908774 to purchase a ticket.

SuperValu Case Deal

Kate Barry of Barry & Fitzwilliam has been on to tell me about the terrific Villa Maria Case Deal exclusive to SuperValu.

6 different bottles of Villa Maria wine per case.  The RRP for the pack is €105 – it is on offer in selected SuperValu stores at €70.00

The Buy 6 Save €10 starts next Thursday 22nd November and will run until December 24th -  hence this will bring it down to €60.

Please note the Villa Maria Case Deal is a limited offer and once it’s gone it is gone!!

Mezze & wine pairings night in Ardkeen Quality Food Store. 
Join us at the Barista Bar in Ardkeen Quality Food Store on Saturday 24 November for a Mezze & wine pairings night. Husband and wife team Dvir and Nicola of Mezze (Waterford locals) will prepare an authentic Middle Eastern feast with shared plates using the amazing locally sourced produce from Ardkeen Quality Food Store. Experience casual authentic Middle Eastern dining, ideas of how to use local produce to prepare bright and vibrant foods, and learn which wines work best with Middle Eastern flavours - all chosen by resident expert Julie Ward.

Tickets include 4 course vegetarian meal with wine tastings and must be purchased in advance. 


Les Gourmandises have a Malbec wine & dinner on November 27th (7.00pm); details on their Facebook page.

Premium Irish whiskey tasting and 4 course tasting menu at Cronin’s Pub.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:30 PM – 10 PM
"Join us in Cronin's Pub, Crosshaven for a premium Irish whiskey tasting and 4 course tasting menu. We will be joined by Irish Distiller's whiskey ambassador Michael Cowman. Each whiskey will be paired with a specially prepared tasting menu from the Mad Fish Kitchen at Cronin's Pub.

Be amongst the first to taste the newly launched Red Spot, 15 Year Old Single Pot Still, which was discontinued in the mid-1960s and now rejoins Green Spot and Yellow Spot in Irish Distillers’ Spot Whiskeys range. It has been created using an old recipe handed down by the Mitchell & Son family of wine merchants, who created the original Spot Whiskeys in the early 1900s. We will be tasting this alongside Yellow Spot 12 Year Old.

This will be a night to remember! Starts at 7.30pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance."

Cillian of Mescan Brewery has a special for you

Westport’s Mescan Brewery
“Delighted to announce the release of our Christmas beer, Beoir na Nollag!

We made a version of the beer 3 years ago and it was a huge success. This year's beer follows the theme but it's a new recipe. It's a strong dark beer 8.8% which was brewed in the spring and was cold conditioned in bulk for 6 months before transfer to Irish Whiskey casks for 2 months of barrel ageing. It was then dry hopped and bottle conditioned. 

The flavour profile is malty, with dry fruits, warming alcohol and sublte notes of whiskey, wood and hops. Over time it will demonstrate an evolving complexity as it matures farther in the bottle so it's a beer that can be enjoyed now or cellared for later drinking. 
We only bottled 1,000 litres but we hope not to run out before Christmas!”

And, speaking of Christmas specials, Eight Degrees have two beauties. Check them out here 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Harvest Days in Waterford. Visiting the Viking City

Harvest Days in Waterford
Visiting the Viking City
Harvest Festival
Hadn't been in Waterford in a while until we headed east for the recent Harvest Festival. Just ninety minutes after leaving Cork City we were parking in Bolton Street. It was the day before the festival started and we had decided to see some of the city, like any visitor.

First on the agenda was the much heralded Viking Triangle. It is based around Reginald's Tower, the Medieval Museum and the Bishop’s Palace and you can see them on a combined ticket. Amazing collections of exhibits, everything from a 12th century dog’s collar and Brendan Bowyer’s Hucklebuck shoes to exquisite jewelry (12th century) and the sword of a Viking warrior (broken on his death and buried with him).  And don't forget to visit Christ Church Cathedral. It is all on an easy walk.
Wine vault under the Medieval Museum
 We started in the circular Reginald's Tower, once part of the town's defences, built in the beginning of the 13th century, with a second phase in the 15th century. It was also used as a mint, prison and military store and now houses an exhibition. Here you will see that broken sword and much more as you wander its three small floors.

The modern Medieval Museum, incorporating the 13th century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault, is Ireland's only such purpose built medieval museum and the first thing you are offered is an opportunity to try out as an archer! You may also mint coins here.


Impressive vestments
There is an Art of Devotion Tour (with many statues having been collected from old churches), models of Waterford, the stunning Vestments Room, read (and see) about James Rice and Luke Wadding, see the Waterford ring brooch, the city’s huge involvement in the import of wine and so much more. Check it all out here.

The Bishop’s Palace, the city’s “exquisite Georgian jewel” starts where the Museum leaves off and brings us right up to date. It houses a lovely cafe, where we stopped, and here you can have breakfast, lunch, morning coffees and afternoon teas, even private functions.


Medieval Museum
 You enter the tour via the Garden Hall and its beautiful fireplace. Portraits and another magnificent fireplace decorate the Grand Landing. Later, see the 18th century painting of the city. Read about General Thomas Francis Meagher.  And bacon problems in the 1890s.

Here you will see old Waterford glass, including the Penrose Decanter (the oldest surviving piece), the John Redmond/Ballybricken room, stories of the First World War (read about 14 year old John Condon, the youngest soldier to die in WW1)  and wars nearer home. Then peace and poverty, and sport of course. And then the better times, the nights of dance and music as you enter the Showbands Room and see those white shoes!


Oldest piece of Waterford glass
That night, following a gorgeous dinner at La Boheme, we met Nollaig Brennan at Downes Pub, an old rambling building (even contains a squash court). Here in the snug, we sipped the local Metalman Pale Ale and were introduced to the pub’s own whiskey, Downes’ No. Nine, smooth as the darkness slipping into the narrow streets outside but much warmer!

Busy too the following day with a visit to Waterford Crystal. By Friday lunchtime, the Harvest Festival had started in earnest and there were stalls in virtually every square around the Mall and the Viking Triangle.

 We were looking for a snack after the visit to the Crystal factory and found it in the Enterprise tent where Walsh's Bakery and the Bodega had combined in a Reuben Sandwich, well maybe a Reuben-ish one. In any case, the spiced beef in the local blaa was absolutely delicious. Other stalls around were offering exotic foods with Portuguese, Kenyan, Polish and more available.

The threatened rain arrived later in the afternoon and we headed out the road to the Ardkeen Superstore, on the face of it a normal supermarket. But inside you'll see that a high proportion of the offering is from small artisan producers and we picked up some nice things there.


Elliot Organ in Christchurch
 That evening saw us head out in the rain to the Bodega. The warm colours, the buzz and excellent food inside soon warmed us up.

The sun shone the following morning and the crowds were out in force, walking around the stalls and sampling. We followed suit of course and had a lovely conversation with Maire Power, the Sea Gardener. She has some interesting produce and after a few tastings, we bought some of her Mushroom and Olive Caponata (with seaweed), some bars (including my favourite Coconut and Lime) and a wee bag of Dillisk!


Great choice at Ardkeen Superstore
Also had a chat with Jeni Pim, busy volunteer (husband Nigel was helping out too) in the GROWfest Demo Tent in Blackfriars. Time too for a coffee at the excellent Momo cafe.Then we took a break from the busy streets to call into Christ Church, which houses the tomb of James Rice - quite a story!

I had seen in the week previous two big organs, one at St Luke’s in Cork and the other at St Coleman’s in Cloyne. But the one here certainly caught my eye as it looked so well. This is the Elliot Organ, restored in 2003 after vandalism, at a cost of some €300,000 euro! Now it is in regular use for services and concerts. Read all about the cathedral and its history here.
Saturday's blue sky
Our visit was now drawing to an end. But we had  a lunch date before departure, guests at the EAT Waterford meal in the marquee on the Mall. After that, just time for a quick browse through the stalls on the Mall and a call to Mag of Goatsbridge to buy a few of her tasty trout products. Back to the car then and, with traffic light, we were back in Cork in an hour and a half, bags full and bags of happy memories too!

Down on the quays