Showing posts with label Dungarvan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dungarvan. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dungarvan Wrap-Up. West Waterford Festival of Food

Dungarvan Market Wrap-Up
West Waterford Festival of Food
Pesky wind!
The wind was rising and bringing with it reminders that rain was not too far away. Yet the hardy market stall holders were setting up in Grattan Square, Dungarvan, last Sunday morning for the final big event of the marvellous West Waterford Festival of Food. I was up early(-ish!) and took a walk around as the likes of Badger & Dodo and Boeuf A Lolo prepared for the long day ahead.

We had met some of the West Waterford producers on a Bus Bia tour on Saturday morning and met a few more in the Emerging Producers Tent that afternoon. Here we got some lovely honey from Glenmore organic farm and enjoyed a taste of the various apple juices - they had different sweet/sour make-ups - from Crinnaghtaun, whose orchards are in the Cappoquin Estate.
The people will be fed!
The shopping bags were with us again on Sunday as we left our excellent centrally located base at Lawlor's Hotel and we made our rounds - no point in going to a market unless you bring bags! Great to meet up again with Joe and Sandra Burns from East Cork who were selling their innovative vegetable crisps.
Is it shelter or that excellent coffee they want?

The couple have a vegetable stall at Mahon Point and indeed there were quite a few from Mahon in Dungarvan including Cloud Confectionary with their big selection of delicious mallows. Local drinks, gin and beer, were included in some but my favourites were the Blueberry & Lemon and the Strawberry & Champagne.

Have often seen Annie’s Roasts at markets and festivals but this time we had a chat as we waited for a couple of her delicious burgers. While we spoke, her ten year old daughter took over the stall and took it over impressively! We carried the burgers to the big tent where we found a seat and we enjoyed our lunch!

It wasn't all for immediate consumption of course. Picked up a tasty sourdough and a cake or two from the excellent Seagull Bakery stand. Great then to meet up with the lads from Piedmontese Beef. We had enjoyed one of their steaks in the Fairways (near Nenagh) not so long ago, so were glad to be able to bring a couple of the steaks home for Sunday dinner. And a delicious dinner it was!

Happy Nuns.
Neither was the market all about food. There was a big stage and entertainment galore. Some hardy entertainers too, though I suppose the lively Sister Act were well wrapped up in their habits and also kept themselves warm with their all action style. Felt sorry though for the solo singer that followed. She can't have been that warm, Still, the show went on.

And not just in the square. Talks and discussions on food topics were being held in venues all around the town, just as had been the case over the previous days. It is overall a marvellous festival, well run and with something for everyone! Take a note for next year.

Great beef! Healthy fast food.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tannery Kitchen Supper

Tannery Kitchen Supper.
Superb Food And Company.
The Kitchen Supper in the Tannery Cookery School was the highlight of our first day at the West Waterford Festival of Food. Paul Flynn’s “festival” was confined to four courses but flavours, textures and colours were unconfined. The  large group at the table certainly enjoyed the meal and the friendly input of hosts Maíre and Paul.

We had taken the long route to Dungarvan, heading up the main Dublin Road before breaking east in Mitchelstown towards Ballyporeen and Clogheen and eventually the heights of the Vee. I like that road through Tipperary, the mountains to the right and, all along the road, well kept cottages and farm-houses, even the roadside grass outside the gate is cut.

It was bright but cold high up on the Vee and we didn't linger too long but had a few stops to watch the newly born lambs and their mothers on the roadside. After checking in to Lawlor’s in Dungarvan, we took a stroll around the town and ended up in Merry’s, a lively busy pub that sells lots of craft beer and increasingly craft spirits. They also do food but we held off for the Tannery event! Beers enjoyed included the Wicklow Wolf Brewery’s American Amber and Franciscan Well’s Chieftain Ale.

Perhaps the main ingredient for the convivial evening at The Tannery Cookery School was a common interest in good food. And in addition we were, of course, in the right hands and in the right place. And it all led to a relaxed well paced evening, as is usually the case with good food and good company.
This was a set menu and the starter was Pea and Wild Garlic with Crab Cream, seasonal, local and delicious.
The humble carrot played a leading role in the main course, at least I thought so. Of course, the ensemble of Silver Hill duck leg, the McCarthy Black Pudding, with Colcannon sauce, that superb glazed carrot, and Star Anise, was a delight, a marvellous mix of flavour and texture.

Rhubarb is absolutely superb at the moment and was included in the dessert: Orange and yogurt panna cotta with rhubarb and sticky orange cake (these last two really combined superbly). The cheese course, two Waterford cheeses including Brewer’s Gold (a favourite of mine), made for an excellent finalé to a lovely meal, to a lovely occasion at The Tannery.

Monday, April 13, 2015

On The Bus Bia Tour

On The Bus Bia Tour
Cheese, Ice-Cream, Bread
Wheels of fresh cheese, waiting to be stored.

It is ten o’clock on an April Saturday morning and we’re on the Bus Bia, heading into the countryside north of Dungarvan. The Bus Bia (Food Bus) is just one element in a packed weekend of activities organised by the West Waterford Festival of Food. We’re on the Blackwater tour and there are two other tours to different areas.
In the sunshine, we pass the house of famous local chef Eunice Power and the memorial to the renowned racing greyhound Master McGrath. Soon we are in Cappoquin. For a while we follow the spectacular Blackwater River, its big houses Dromana and Camphire standing proud, before cutting off deeper into the countryside for the farming area known as Knockanore. 
Bus passengers at Knockanore Cheese

First call is to the Knockanore Cheese company where we are greeted by Donal. They have 120 cows milking here. The milk is left unpasteurized and none is bought in. He tells us they make cheese in six flavours. The most popular is their Smoked version though the Black Pepper Cheese is well up there as well. They smoke it themselves, two weeks with oak-wood.
It is a long day in the dairy, from about 6.30am to 4.30pm. They process over twelve hundred gallons three times a week, producing about 190 wheels a batch. Each wheel weighs 2.8 kilograms. The cheese is then stored for around six months before being sold on at home and abroad (including Denmark, California and New York).
Tom Baldwin

They have grown the business gradually but now are in the throes of expanding their facilities at Knockanore, concentrating on more refrigeration and a bigger cutting area. Around six people are involved in the operation that was started in 1987 by Eamonn Lonergan who is still at the helm. The range is widely available and is stocked in SuperValu shops.

Baldwins are neighbours of the Lonergans and here we were greeted by Tom. Tom found himself with a conundrum in around 2005, whether to move from farming or whether to add on an enterprise to the existing farm which was being smoothly run by the family in any case. Inspired by Eamonn Lonergan he took a course in ice-cream making and started the Baldwin Ice-Cream business.

“We make ice-cream the traditional way. Sarah (who plays a similar role at Lonergan’s) does production for me two days a week. The eggs used are free-range, and all ingredients are natural. We sell to cafes, restaurants, hotels, retail. We pride ourselves on the unique quality and that comes out in the product.”

It is all manual work “at the moment”. “It suits me, is very flexible. For instance, if a chef wants a particular small order, we can do that special.”

Esther Barron
 The ice-cream enterprise has seen the dairy herd grow from 50 cows to some 100 plus. He still delivers direct to the customers: “We have no central distributor. I’m happy the way I'm going as it is a sustainable model. Most of our customers are in Waterford and Cork and we have built a good reputation.”

Back then to the bus and we retraced our journey to Cappoquin. Here we stopped at Barron’s Bakery which has been operating for five generations, serving only the local community (up to an 11 mile radius) for all those years. Esther Barron was our passionate host at the oldest bakery in Ireland and she underlined the importance of spending locally.

Oven closed
 They have 12 employed nowadays and bake during the night, using the amazing old-fashion Scotch Brick ovens. Bread-making here is a slow process but the bread is all the better for it. The bread is two hours in the making before it even gets to the oven whereas a factory process take only 20 minutes. “Hand-moulded bread is always more flavoursome. The bread can't be rushed. My father used to say ‘the art of bread-making is beyond science’”.

The bakery was established in 1887 and is one of the last bakeries in Ireland that still uses the Scotch Brick ovens. These give the bread an unique taste, flavour and crust as we found out for ourselves thanks to a parting gift of a Waterford bla from Esther and Joe.
A great half day on the bus, all for 15 euro. Put it in your diary for next year!

Oven open, like a small room inside

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.
Breakfast at Cliff House
Ardmore is a gem on the Waterford coast. Fortunately, one the generous Deise folks don't mind sharing. Generations of people from neighbouring counties have made Ardmore their summer destination for its beaches, history, walks and the nearby mountains.

We headed there last Friday, the fabulous Cliff House Hotel above the village our final destination. But, as usual, we had a few stops and detours. First halt was in Youghal. It is not looking its best at the moment and hopefully the paint and brushes will be out and used before the season starts.

But there is no shortage of eating places here, well known like Aherne’s or newer and more casual such as Clancy’s. We were looking for a light lunch and Sage (not related to the restaurant of the same name in Midleton) had been recommended. It was bright and busy and I enjoyed my quiche and salad there. Details here.

Plan then was head to Helvic and work our way back through the Rinn gaeltacht. The fishing boats gathered in the harbour were a bit like some of the shops in Youghal, looking the worse for wear, but then the boats and the seaside towns (there are still sandbags in Youghal) have been through some horrendous weather in recent months and we are all hoping for better to come


It was sunny and windy when we arrived in Helvick and now the rain made its appearance. So we wasted little time as we drove through Sean Phobal and so on, past the familiar beach at Ballyquin and on to Ardmore itself and up to the Cliff where a warm welcome awaited,a brolly held open even as we stepped from the car (a hint of the excellent service to come).

Soon we were installed in our room with a view and quickly made our way to the fabulous swimming pool, equipped with sauna and steam room and which also enjoys a great view over the bay.


When the rain died down, we walked down to the town (to work up an appetite!) and made a loop back that took us past the famous round tower built in the 12th century. St Declan was here in the 5th century and his name is associated with some of the walks. Many (including a loop around the cliffs) start by the hotel and the staff there will give you all the information you need and indeed will provide a guide if necessary.

Your excursions from Ardmore needn't be confined to the coast. You may head for the nearby mountains. Mahon Falls is one of the attractions up there. If you want to do some shopping, then Cork and Waterford are each about an hour away while the lively towns of Lismore (for its castle and heritage centre) and Dungarvan are much closer.

The Cliff House has some fantastic facilities though the outdoor dining areas were out of bounds last weekend! Do take time to explore. You will find quite a few books in your room but there are many more in the spacious and comfortable library which has one of the best views because of its height. The hotel is also unusual in that when you enter from the parking area, you are already on the fifth floor!

We enjoyed a memorable dinner there that Friday (details here). It was dark at that stage so we weren't able to take in the view but we did get it in the morning at breakfast, a very enjoyable breakfast I might add. In between, there was a call to the bar. An extensive menu of drinks here, as you'd expect, and delighted to see a terrific selection of Irish craft beers (and cider) on the list.
View from Cliff House room

Saturday was quite a decent day and we headed east to Portlaw (Waterford) and Turkstown (Kilkenny) to visit relations. Indeed, we visited Kilkenny, Waterford and then Tipperary in quick succession as we made our way home via Clonmel, Cahir and the M8. Only problem: what would we eat for dinner? The answer was in the freezer, the second portion of a curry made with Green Saffron’s Tikka cook-in sauce. Not quite Michelin! But just perfect.  

Looking towards Ardmore from Cliff House library

Tuesday, September 20, 2011



In you are in Athy this sunny morning for the ploughing, or indeed for any day of the event, I’ll bet you won't easily pass the stand of Amandine Confectionery. 

This Dungarvan based company makes delicious French style cakes of all shapes and sizes and all are tempting, especially the succulent Pear & Almond and Lemon Meringue Tarts that have been shortlisted for the 2011 Irish Food Awards in Dingle at the end of the month.

But you don’t have to go to Athy to get your hands on these sweet things. Amandine has a permanent stand in the mall at the Mahon Point Shopping Centre and also at the City Square Shopping Centre in Waterford.  The products are also available in Dungarvan (in (Dunnes Stores and Twomey’s Eurospar in Abbeyside) and in Midleton (Hurley's SuperValu).

Claire O'Connor is a busy person and, aside from the Ploughing Championships, you see her at various food festivals in the southern half of the country – I met here most recently at Midleton. Claire is from France, from the Var department in the region of Provence. She was educated at the Ecole superieure de commerce de Montpellier and now lives in Dungarvan

Claire, a follower of Munster rubgy, has brought a real taste of France to Ireland, her delicious selection of artisan confectionery includes cakes, tartlets, birthday and photocakes and more. Why not have a look at her Facebook page .