Showing posts with label Sligo Food Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sligo Food Trail. Show all posts

Thursday, May 6, 2021

For riveting pivoting and canny cooking, Michael's your Gaz man.

For riveting pivoting and canny cooking, Michael's your Gaz man.


Few restaurant owners around the country have responded as quickly and effectively to the restrictions of lockdown 2020 as Gareth ‘Gaz’ Smith who owns Michael’s and Little Mike’s in Mount Merrion, Dublin. His restaurants regularly top the list of favourite Dublin restaurants and the awards cabinet is bursting at the seams. This Sligo Food Trail open event “Riveting pivoting and canny cooking”, gives you a chance to hear his typically honest and frank assessment of all that has happened in the last 15 months and how he has responded. It’s a Zoom event on Tuesday 18th May at 10.30am.


Gaz has been a revelation (and a revolution!) on the Irish food scene since he and his wife Rita took over Michael’s six years ago. Despite leaving school at 15 and starting work as a kitchen porter, he has accumulated quite some CV having worked his way to the very top. His experience includes prestigious restaurants like Chapter One, The Chart House (Dingle) and the two Michelin star Ledbury (London) as well as six years working in Vienna.


He’s charismatic, outspoken, and a whizz on social media. He has a passion for seafood that is nothing short of contagious and is generous in praising the team around him. Gaz was hit hard by the pandemic but bounced back bigger and better than ever, running his restaurants successfully on a collection model and recently opening a new retail arm to his business and launching a range of branded sauces.


Bringing it all back home to Sligo, Gaz will be joined for a panel Q&A session by restauranteur Anthony Gray (Eala Bhán and Hooked) and Carolanne Rushe of Sweet Beat, both of whom have a tale to tell about weathering the recent storms.


Anthony Gray is passionate about Sligo food and was crowned ‘Local Food Hero’, as well as receiving countless awards for his restaurants and business acumen. He has always been prepared to take responsibility within the industry having held positions as President of the Restaurant Association of Ireland and as the inaugural Chair of Sligo Food Trail. He is currently Chair of Sligo Tourism.


Carolanne Rushe has been a real trendsetter in Sligo food. Having travelled extensively, she brought back new ideas about plant based food and launched them onto a public who realised this was exactly what they had been waiting for. Combining all she had learned in Ballymaloe, Australia and the Middle East, she created flavour sensations in her salads which have sent reverberations countrywide.


Tickets for Riveting Pivoting and Canny Cooking are free of charge. Registration is essential, through the website or social media. Members and non members are welcome.


Sligo Food Trail is celebrating its fifth birthday this month with a series of events, videos and live events. Details are available on the website

press release

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sligo Food Trail celebrates 5 years... with taste

Sligo Food Trail celebrates 5 years with taste

Sligo Food Trail on the "Chew, chew train"


Sligo Food Trail are celebrating their fifth birthday with taste and in trademark style, launching a commemorative video entitled “A tasty trip around five years of Sligo Food Trail” as well as a series of exciting online events showcasing some of the talented members. It’s quite a milestone for the network which began in 2016 and has matured into one of the best recognised food networks in the country.


Cllr. Marie Casserly, Chair Sligo Food Trail said, “I’m so proud of all that Sligo Food Trail has achieved. Over the five years it has put Sligo firmly on the map in terms of food and drink, drawing national and international attention to our county. The strength of a network like this and the power of the collective working as a group is really visible”.


The video neatly closes a circle, as it is very appropriately voiced by Aoife Carrigy, Chair of the Irish Food Writers Guild who was guest speaker at the launch event in The Model, Sligo. It’s a real trip down memory lane, featuring showcase events like the Harvest Feasts and the special Sligo ‘chew chew’ train that brought media on a culinary journey from Dublin to Sligo town. Taste The Island, networking events, several series of videos and the Irish Food Writers Guild visit are all remembered in glorious technicolour. “A tasty trip around five years of Sligo Food Trail” will be released online to kickstart celebrations.


Everyone is invited to join in an appetising series of online food and drink events. The tastings, demonstrations, recipes and Zoom events will run from Tuesday 4th – Friday 14th May showcasing some of Sligo Food Trail’s talented members. Try a tasting, learn tips and techniques from the experts, and marvel at the breath-taking showstopper created by one very talented chef.


Grainne Gilmartin from Sligo Wellness Centre focusses on cooking for teenagers in her live Zoom event ‘Teenage Brains’ on Thursday 6th May. On Friday 7th, it’s the ice cream man - Neil Byrne from Mammy Johnston’s in Strandhill. ‘Creptastic facts and ice cream trivia’ will be entertaining and educational in equal measure. Saturday sees Anthony Gray, ex-Chair of Sligo Food Trail and owner of Eala Bhán and Hooked Restaurants, take to the stage, demonstrating a delicious “DIY Smashed Burger” recipe. “Aw Shucks” is the intriguing title of Sunday’s demonstration when Aisling Kelly of Sligo Oyster Experience shows everyone three ways to serve the delicious bivalves.


The seaweed queen herself, Prannie Rhatigan (Irish Seaweed Kitchen) presents ‘Seaweed the Superfood’ on Tuesday 11th May, introducing everyone to cooking with seaweed, making seaweed pesto and even a seaweed smoothie. ‘Brew Coffee with Carrow’ on Wednesday is a Zoom event with Andrew Willis of Carrow Coffee inviting everyone to join in as he talks about their new Peruvian coffee 'Alberca' while brewing with an aeropress. You can purchase some in advance if you’d like to brew along with him. On Thursday evening, Dave Raethorne and Ollie Alcorn (head distiller) of Lough Gill Distillery present a virtual tour of their distillery in Hazelwood combined with an Athrú Whiskey tasting.


The finale is ‘Pure Poetry in Chocolate’ a demonstration by executive chef Alan Fitzmaurice from the Glasshouse Hotel.  Drawing together ingredients from Sligo Food Trail producers and inspired by the landscape and beaches, he has created a true floral masterpiece fit to grace the finest dining tables in the land. An appropriate culmination of a fantastic five years of Sligo Food Trail.


The project is funded by CEDRA, Dept. of Agriculture and supported by Sligo Tourism.


Registration is required for the live events. See ( for details.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sligo Food Trail launch new Christmas hampers

 Sligo Food Trail launch new Christmas hampers


Brand new from Sligo Food Trail are two fabulous Christmas hampers, The Deluxe Sligo Food Trail Hamper and The Taste of Sligo Food Trail Hamper, showcasing the very best from the north west. It’s like a tasting tour around the county, a combination of delicious tastes and flavours with sweets, savouries and more besides. A limited number of signature Sligo Food Trail hessian bags are a complimentary gift with the first Deluxe hamper orders. 


“We’re very proud of our new hampers, and of the exceptional quality of the products all from Sligo”, said Marie Casserly, Chair Sligo Food Trail, “It’s wonderful to see Sligo Food Trail members working together to create these gorgeous Christmas gifts”.


As the old adage says “there’s eating and drinking in it”. In fact, there’s reading in the Deluxe Sligo Food Hamper too – with a copy of seaweed queen Prannie Rhatigan’s “Irish Seaweed Christmas Kitchen”. Most of the goodies will be enjoyed immediately, but the elegant Lough Gill Brewery beer glass, the charming Sligo Oyster Experience candle, a Yeats print from WB’s Coffee House and the book will all find permanent use in your home. A reminder to buy again next year perhaps?


Sweet treats include handmade chocolates by award winning chef Alan Fitzmaurice of the Glasshouse Hotel alongside sweets from Mammy Johnston’s better known for their world beating ice creams and sorbets. “Chocolate making is my passion”, enthused Alan Fitzmaurice, “I’ve perfected my techniques over the past few years and I really hope everyone enjoys the results over Christmas”.


The enticingly named, ruby coloured ‘Christmas Cordial’, comes from the lovely folks at Murson’s Farm as does local Apple Juice, chutney and preserve. Along with aromatic coffee from Carrow Coffee and handmade Granola from WB’s, that’s Christmas breakfast done and dusted. A Christmas Pudding from The Gourmet Parlour and some craft beer from Lough Gill Brewery complete the festive hamper.

The Taste of Sligo Food Trail Hamper features a smaller selection of the above products. Both hampers can be ordered through the website .The cost is €150 for The Deluxe Sligo Food Trail Hamper and €65 for The Taste of Sligo Food Trail Hamper. Courier delivery is available within Ireland or orders can be picked up from WB’s Coffee House in Sligo Town or Murson’s Farm in Grange.


That’s Christmas all wrapped up with a celebration of Sligo food – hamper style.

press release

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Sweet 16 for Sligo Food Trail. Members still open for business

Sweet 16 for Sligo Food Trail
Members still open for business with creative solutions to Covid crisis
Nook: Grazing Box with Wine

Although the Covid-19 restrictions have hit food businesses very hard, 16 creative members of Sligo Food Trail are still open for business. From cafes and coffee roasters to brewers and egg suppliers, they are offering some great food and beverage, often in innovative new presentations. With the Restaurants Association of Ireland claiming that a staggering nine out of ten restaurants are facing permanent closure, every bit customers can do to help a local food business is both important and appreciated. 
Here are some examples of Sligo Food Trail enterprise:
Nook Café in Collooney are taking orders from Monday for a Saturday pick up. Their wonderfully named Grazing Box (cheese and charcuterie) with wine is perfect for that weekend treat. There’s also a great choice of their regular dishes on offer. 
The new Sweet Beat Café online shop offers an innovative Build Your Own Sweet Beat Burger Box with everything you need for plant-based perfection at home. Orders are taken online for collection on Saturday or Sunday. They also offer online ordering of freshly made dinners, lunches, sweet treats and sides prepared daily. They are serving drinks, smoothies and treats from the hatch on Bridge Street, 7 days a week 9am-4pm. 
Pudding Row Café in Easkey have delicious boxes of goodies for collection or delivery. Their Comfort Box is already proving a real winner packed with goodies like bagels, brownies and caramel squares. Alternatively, the Build A Box option is like a pick ‘n’ mix of tasty treats. 
Shells Café have put together an innovative Brunch Bag which changes every week. Order and pick up at the Baker Boys Café in Strandhill. Their tempting Treat Box is packed with favourites and sent out on Thursdays. Orders of breads, muffins, cookies, quiches, tarts and more are by phone (083 3474673) for collection Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-1pm.
Dinner isn’t complete without a delicious drink to match and Lough Gill Brewery are busy with their online shop offering cases of individual beers (in cans) or a mix n’match box if you think variety is the spice of life. 
The Hatch at The Little Cottage Cafe
Some members are also supporting the FeedTheHeroes initiative, providing essential and nutritious meals to frontline heroes fighting COVID-19.
Sligo Food Trail are encouraging everyone to support small food businesses today – it’ll be a great experience and could be the difference between a business surviving these unprecedented challenges.
The Jam Pot in Grange has launched a Call and Collect Menu with all the favourites from brown bread, scones and brownies to beef and Guinness hotpot, curries and a goats cheese quiche. Order by 3pm Thursday for Saturday collection or delivery. Call 087 1644228.
Kate’s Kitchen in Sligo Town is open online and have a new grocery section too. They’re offering Click and Collect on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (12-2pm) and on Saturday (9am-12pm). Limited local delivery is available for €5 (and national delivery for €7.50). Fare includes their popular homemade dinners, scones and treats. 
Davis’s Restaurant at Yeats Tavern have a large takeaway menu including pizza and wines which can be ordered from their website (or phone 071 9163117). 
The Gourmet Parlour are taking orders online or by phone to 071 9144617 for a large menu with everything from breads, scones and cakes to soups, salads and mains. They also have gluten free options. 
The Little Cottage Café have a drop by station at their hatch with a full range of takeaway coffees, teas and drinks as well as scones, croissants, breads and bakes. They’re open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm. 
Sligo Wellness Centre is open Monday to Friday 8.30am-6pm and Saturday 9am-6pm. They are encouraging pre-ordering and pre-payment by phone (071 9153828) and can arrange delivery in Sligo Town too. As well as drinks and smoothies, organic oat bread, oat scones, banana bread, carrot cake, muffins, fresh salads, daily hot pots, goats cheese tarts, soup, vegetarian lasagne and frittata are all on offer. 
Lyons Café and Bakeshop are taking orders by text to 087 4050429 up to Wednesday at 6pm for collection on Friday and Saturday mornings. Walk in customers are also welcome – but be warned everything is selling out fast. The range includes takeaway dinners for eating or freezing, sourdough breads, cornbread and baguettes. 
Ballysadare Eggs are open for free range egg collection, just call Anne (087 2734903) and collect direct from the farm.
Murson Farm in Grange have an honesty box system for eggs and have a wonderful range of homemade goodies like sausage rolls, scones, breads, potato bread, granola cakes, salad greens and preserves available by pre-order for Tuesday and Saturday collection. Local delivery is offered to the F91 eir code area. Contact them on 087 8218080 / 087 7984076.
Hooked restaurant have a new takeaway menu full of their signature favourites and are open 12 to 7 pm, Thursday to Sunday, for call and collect orders. Payment is contactless. Phone 071 9138591 to pre order and pay.
Carrow Coffee are selling online and their aromatic brews are also available in Kate’s Kitchen. Sweet Beat and Sligo Wellness Centre.

press release

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Celebrating Café Culture on Sligo Food Trail with a new video series. No 1: Pudding Row, Easkey

Celebrating Café Culture on Sligo Food Trail with a new video series
No 1: Pudding Row, Easkey

Sligo Food Trail is richly endowed with incredible cafés and to celebrate them are launching a new video series entitled Café Culture. Each will feature a different café on Sligo Food Trail. Pudding Row in Easkey is first up and it is a true gem in every way. Opened five years ago by Easkey native Dervla James and her husband Johny Conlon, Pudding Row has become a destination café on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Dervla has brought the vast experience garnered in Dublin’s iconic Cake Café, The Pepper Pot and a stint in Germany, to this cosy café and bakery. Every one of the tempting breads and cakes are baked in house every day. They are proudly committed to local, organic produce where possible using Carrowgarry Farm for organic fruit, veg and salad leaves and Andarl farm in Mayo provide free Range Pork and bacon. Free range eggs come from Woodville Farm and award winning local honey from Zoe Lally in Rathlee.

Pudding Row has received a slew of awards including Cafe of the Year in the Irish Restaurant Awards, Vogue Magazine Editor’s Choice, McKenna Guide’s Café of the Year and an appearance on the McKenna Guide's Top 100 Restaurants every year since opening.
Their signature dish is a stunning pear and bacon sandwich on homemade white bread. Food writer John McKenna says "I'd walk all the way to Easkey for a slice of Dervla's Victoria Sponge!" … and who are we to argue?

Watch out for the next in the Sligo Food Trail Café Culture series. They will be released regularly on social media and will be available on the website

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Finding the food of love on Sligo Food Trail

press release
Finding the food of love on Sligo Food Trail

The food of love on Sligo Food Trail. Find these Valentine's Cakes at The Bakehouse at Lyons Café

St. Valentine’s Day is synonymous not only with love, but with food as well. To celebrate the most romantic night of the year everyone loves to dine out in style. Here’s the Sligo Food Trail guide to finding the most fabulous food of love without a tacky plastic rose in sight.

Castles in the air …What could be more romantic than whisking your Valentine away on a luxurious overnight break in magical Markree Castle. The lavish package includes early check in and a very late check out (2.30pm) as well as afternoon tea with Prosecco, chocolates, Voya seaweed products and a 5-course candlelit dinner from chef Lee Mastin. Treat the love of your life to this very special break for just €145pps. Email to book.

Take the love tour
Sligo Food Tours fare kicking off their 2020 season with a Valentine’s Special on Friday 14th February from 2.30-5pm all around Sligo town. Hans and Gaby Wieland promise a food experience packed with flavour, freshness and fun not to mention the food of love, aphrodisiac ingredients and some special treats too. Book the Sligo Love Tour here

Fine dining Valentine fare
Award winning fine dining restaurant Eala Bhán along the Garavogue River has a very special Valentine’s Menu from chef Marcin Szczodrowski. It’s four delicious courses with a glass of bubbly Prosecco for just €44.95 and it is available from 13-16 February.

Super sexy Supper ClubsSupper Clubs are the casual side of eating out with your loved one. Three fabulous cafés on Sligo Food Trail are offering Valentine’s Supper Clubs to make you swoon. In Strandhill, Shell’s Seaside Café invite you to bring your beloved and celebrate Valentines with a lovely three course meal for €35. You can even bring your own bottle (BYOB). Call 071 9122938 to reserve your table.
Nook in Collooney promises four 4 courses of seasonal sexy food, Prosecco cocktails and cheesy love. It’s perfect for couples, groups of friends, double daters and lovers of good food and costs €40 (BYOB). Call 0719118973 to secure your spot on either Friday 14th or Saturday 15th February.

The Jam Pot in Grange are also taking booking for their Valentine's Supper Club on Friday 14th February at 7.30pm. Ideal for couples or groups of friends, the cost is just€40 for 4 courses. To book, call 087 1644228.

Stay in Sligo – the land of hearts desireA one (or two) night stay in The Glasshouse in the heart of Sligo town could be just the ticket for Valentine’s weekend. Star Chef Alan Fitzmaurice has created a sumptuous six course menu including his signature hand crafted chocolates. You’ll find more of those chocolatey delights plus a bottle of Prosecco awaiting you in your room on arrival. Available from 14-16 February from €250 per couple. Non-residents can enjoy dinner for just €45. Phone 071 9194300 to book. Sligo Park Hotel has a two night romantic escape with dinner in their award winning AA Rosette Hazelwood Restaurant. Book on 071 919 0400.

Love TokensIf gift giving is more your style, you’ll find Sligo Food Trail rich in tasty treasures to suit your love. Choose some elegant wines from Hargadon’s Wine Shop, a Lough Gill Brewery craft beer set or a voucher for any of our delectable dining spots, food tours, food experiences or a romantic break away. Ideal fare for every food lover.
You’ll find details on all Sligo Food Trail members on the website.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sligo Food Trail launches sizzling Taste The Island calendar

press release
Sligo Food Trail launches sizzling Taste The Island calendar
Pictured at the launch of Sligo Food Trail’s calendar for Taste The Island were (l-r)
Back: Hans & Gaby Wieland, Chef Marc Gallagher, Niall Tracey (Director of Marketing, Fáilte Ireland), Carolanne Rushe, Chef Joe McGlynn, Neil Byrne
Front: Anthony Gray, Prannie Rhatigan, Cllr. Marie Casserly (Chair Sligo Food Trail), Coeurine Murray, John Neary (Wild Atlantic Way, Fáilte Ireland)

Sligo Food Trail officially launched a compelling autumn calendar packed with Taste The Island events at Sligo Oyster Experience on Tuesday 10th September 2019. The new Fáilte Ireland Taste The Island programme, celebrating Ireland’s seasonal ingredients, adventurous tastes and bold experiences, dovetails perfectly with Sligo Food Trail experiences. Network members have produced some really creative and attractive food-related events, with the Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast on Friday 18th October as the showcase event.

Speaking at the launch, Niall Tracey, Director of Marketing with Fáilte Ireland, said “Initially Taste The Island is targeting places easily reached by the visitor. In year 1 the focus is on domestic visitors from places like Donegal, Dublin or Longford. The second year will target international destinations with direct access from Knock.” He spoke about the Sligo specific promotion, saying, “There are two Sligo specific promotions this year – at the end of August and the end of September. This includes five half page ads in national papers as well as social media and radio campaigns”.

The full Taste The Island programme includes more than 700 food and drink-related events and experiences across the country. Taste the Island Sligo style is an eclectic combination tasting, trying, making and learning including sushi and seaweed, a tapas trail, food tours, farm to fork, fermented foods and Japanese Kaiseki. It comprehensively covers all five pillars designated by Fáilte Ireland: Taste of Place, Meet the Maker, Make it Yourself, Trails and Networks Festivals and Events

Marie Casserly, Chair of Sligo Food Trail spoke about Sligo Food Trail’s Taste The Island events, saying, “Sligo Food Trail is proud to spearhead Taste the Island programme in Sligo. During the 12 week Taste The Island campaign this year Sligo Food Trails has created 30 events. Collaboration is key for all these experiences. We have the people, the passion and the produce to make Sligo a leading food destination”.

Meet the Maker video seriesSligo Food Trail premiered the first of their Meet the Maker video series on the launch night and network member Couerine Murray of food producer Murson Farm introduced it to the audience. The inaugural video features Carrow Coffee Roasters from Beltra. Husband and wife team Andrew and Paola Willis were inspired by a four year stint in Colombia to launch their own coffee roasting business.

Full details of all the Sligo Food Trail events for Taste The Island are available on the website

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sligo Food Trail launch flagship Taste The Island event

press release
Sligo Food Trail launch flagship Taste The Island event
Sligo Food Trail chefs and producers taking part in the Harvest Feast include: Back (l-r): Alan Fitzmaurice (The Glasshouse), Marcin Szczodrowski (Eala Bhán Restaurant) and Yvonne Kathrein (Waterfront House Hotel). Front: Prannie Rhatigan (Irish Seaweed Kitchen), Joe Shannon (Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa), and Aisling Kelly (Sligo Oyster Experience at WB's)
Sligo Food Trail is delighted to announce their flagship event, the Harvest Feast which takes place on Friday 18th October 2019. This significant gastronomic event is part of Taste The Island, the international Fáilte Ireland initiative. Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast consists of a sumptuous nine course tasting menu, each specially created by one of Sligo’s top chefs collaborating with artisan producers. The gala banquet will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa and numbers are strictly limited. MC for the evening will be RTE celebrity chef Shane Smith.

“Sligo Food Trail is proud to present Harvest Feast 2019”, said Marie Casserly, Chairperson of Sligo Food Trail, “This is an opportunity to showcase both the enormously talented chefs and also the remarkable artisan producers we have on Sligo Food Trail. The combination is truly electric and we guarantee another outstanding event”.

The combination of award winning chefs and the best of local produce is a real winner. Anyone lucky enough to be at the Harvest Feast 2017 was bowled over by the incredibly high standard of dishes presented. And those dishes just kept on coming – nine delicious courses, competing for attention. Harvest Feast 2019 will be equally thrilling for the taste buds.

“It was such a wonderful experience for everyone involved, we just had to do it again. The chefs love the unusual experience of working together and celebrating the wonderful artisan producers on Sligo Food Trail”, said Anthony Gray, of Sligo Food Trail, “We are so proud of all of our achievements and have put Sligo on the world culinary map with hard work and dedication from all involved”.

The Harvest Feast isn’t just an outstanding dining experience; it is an outstanding event on the Sligo social calendar. From the Canapé, Craft Beer and Drinks reception at the beginning of the evening to the live music throughout, this is a glittering affair in every way.

The chefs involved are a truly outstandingly talented group, many are award winning and all are true ambassadors for food in the northwest. They are keeping the menu a closely guarded secret until the night itself, but we can introduce you to the award winning chefs:

Joe Shannon (Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa)
Well known TV3 personality chef who has cooked for all kinds of personalities including Hillary Clinton.

Marcin Szczodrowski (Eala Bhán Restaurant)
Talented Polish born chef with a penchant for classical French cuisine. Marcin revels in creating culinary masterpieces with top quality ingredients sourced in the northwest.

Alan Fitzmaurice (The Glasshouse)
Chef, chocolatier and dedicated forager who loves to take classical dishes and add his own contemporary twist.

Joe McGlynn (Hooked)
Donegal born Joe is head chef at Anthony Gray’s eclectic Hooked restaurant.

Marc Gallagher (Sligo Wellness Centre)
A leading light on the thriving Sligo organic food scene.

Yvonne Kathrein (Waterfront House Hotel)
Originally from Austria, Yvonne has a passion for seafood, artisan foods and local suppliers which is strongly reflected in her menus.

Chris Friel (Sligo Park Hotel)For Chris, being a chef is a true vocation and classical training an essential.

Representing the artisan aspect of Sligo Food Trail, courses will also be presented by Neil Byrne (Mamma Johnston’s) and Aisling Kelly (Sligo Oyster Experience at WB’s).

Tickets are just €75 each and can be booked online at, by contacting Marie Casserly (086 3182529) or calling to Hooked, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, WBs Coffee Shop, Ósta Café and Wine Bar or Sweet Beat. A special overnight rate of €109 single and €119 double is available, just quote Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast when booking.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Six of the Best from Lough Gill Brewery

Lough Gill Beers
Six of the Best
During a recent visit to Lough Gill Brewery in County Sligo, we got to taste a good few of the beers and left with a bagful to try out at home. Got a chance to do just that at our leisure recently. We started with three of their core beers, the first three below, and then moved on to some of their limited editions, the final three. Great variety coming from the banks of the Garravogue, one of Ireland's shortest rivers. Keep them coming lads and great to see them available in Bradley's on Cork's North Main Street.

Lough Gill Thieving Bastards Pale Ale, 5%, 440ml can
Just a small family owned brewery in Sligo taking on the big beers from God knows where. And making a right fine fist of it. And some mighty fine beers too.

Amber is the colour of this not so pale ale, indeed it's not too far off the red ale colour. Rich and malty on the palate and a lip-smacking dry finish. Recommended.

Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut Brown Ale, 5.5%, 440ml can
The guys at Lough Gill admit to having hand-toasted “trays upon trays of macadamia nuts” for this brown ale. No doubt about the colour here, a rich dark brown. Rather handsome overall from the introduction that deposits bags of flavours. It has an excellent body and a nice balance of hops and malt. Not unlike the Newcastle Brown Ale that you find in a pint bottle.

Macadamia nuts, by the way, are native to Australia and are full of healthy fats. Highly Recommended.

Lough Gill Round the Clock Breakfast Stout, 5.2%, 440ml can
I’m a sucker for oatmeal stout and this, with oats from Flahavan’s no less, is a temptation. Add in a dark coffee and it becomes irresistible. 

The brew is black of colour, intensely flavoured and, if Neven can serve Irish Whiskey in his porridge, then surely I can have this rich smooth (as any former taoiseach’s silky shirts), for breakfast.

Never too early, never too late for this Very Highly Recommended Round the Clock stout.

Lough Gill Wild Rosé Wheat Ale, 5%, 440ml can
This is from their Wild Atlantic Series, promising Big, Bold, Extreme Flavor (Note US spelling!). Expect wild sour and funky beers reflecting their location in these limited releases.

Not too sour at all is the initial impression from this “Golden Blush” coloured ale but it does grow on you. There is an undeniable tartness, quite a refreshing one, and also an excellent balance between the bitterness and sweetness. Doesn't say it in the ingredients but I thought I heard there was the odd hedgerow rose in the mix. Recommended.

Lough Gill Hoppy Scotch Ale, 9%, 440ml can
And, from the Irish Punch-up Series, comes this Scotch Ale, also known in Scotland as “Wee Heavy”. Lough Gill will fill this series with “even bolder flavours and higher ABVs (starting at 8%)”. Again it is a limited release.

It’s a dark ruby colour, aromas of malt and fruit, rich malt and caramel flavours, sweet and smooth, quite intense, yet little outward sign of the high alcohol which is well camouflaged. No big sign of the hops either. Did they mean Happy Scotch Ale? In any case, I'm quite happy with it. Highly Recommended.

Lough Gill Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Cream Stout, 11%, 440ml can

Another limited release, this from the Rebel Stout Series, the ones your mother didn't tell you about. As you probably expected, it is black (good guess!), coffee aromas with a ultra smooth palate featuring malts and coffee. Again, very well balanced. Hard hitting at 11% but it is a smooth customer, delivering a velvet punch. Very Highly Recommended.

Read all about our brewery visit here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Taste of the Week. Super Kale Pesto

Taste of the Week
Super Kale Pesto

Carolanne Rushe describes herself as the Chief Sweetie on our pack of her Sweet Beat Super Kale Pesto, our current Taste of the Week.

“Our raw kale pesto harnesses the awesome power of fresh kale. We’ve also added Activated Almonds to feed your brain too.” It is gluten free, dairy free and sugar free.

And it tastes well! We used it as a spread and as a dip. But the packet says you may stir it into some pastas, soups and stews as they do in the Sweet Beat Café in Sligo.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Swagman Rocks in Sligo

The Swagman Rocks in Sligo

It’s a busy Friday evening at The Swagman in Wine Street, Sligo, and owner Dale Barber is on duty, as always. There are Australia flags (Irish too!) and memorabilia around the walls and ceiling but Dale is cheering Ireland this evening as they take on Moldova in the World Cup. The Australian has been in the news in the town over the past few days having cooly helped stop the robbers of a nearby phone shop.

Ireland score and there's a large cheer. Dale tells me that goal will be cheered in small towns across Australia. It is important to the diaspora, something that we don't always recognise in this country. Dale is sometimes puzzled by the lack of enthusiasm for the national team when things aren't going well and amazed by the contrast when we qualify for a finals tournament.

The no frills pub is a bit like the straight talking Australian from Tangambalanga (Victoria) where his parents had a busy pub offering food and drink and accommodation. And indeed, many years and countries later,  advice from his visiting parents helped him decide on buying the Swagman. Wife Sinead, whom he had met on his travels, came up with the name and so, the Swagman was born at the start of the decade.
Soul in a Bowl. Tequila, Lime,  Garlic and Beef Stew 

The Swagman has over one hundred craft beers and we enjoyed an ale from local brewers, The White Hag, as the conversation turned to food and its provenance. Dale offers a simple but very good menu, well sourced and served on white plates!  It is all about fresh, local and fair here, the fair meaning that it is well priced. And, aside from the Kangaroo offering, a nod to his heritage, the source is local because that represents his values.

Dale is something of a gardener himself and indeed would love to do more on that front but that would take from his work at the pub. He speaks enthusiastically of picking your own in the tunnel and almost poetically when describing the fresh taste of home-grown tomatoes or indeed of any fruit or vegetable. And of course, much of the produce from home is used here in the Swagman where you can expect a daily special called “Soul in a Bowl”, a roast of the day, and pizza (making pizzas is another of his accomplishments!).

The two of us and Dale were keeping an eye on the match but as it approached half-time we had to leave. We had a dinner reservation nearby and would, as always, honour that. But it would have been good to stay and eat and watch the rest of the game in this pub with soul. Instead it was firm handshakes all round as we headed into the street.

While The Swagman has a rustic, maybe outback, feel, the newly opened Anderson’s on the banks of the dark Garavogue is a creature of the 21st century, inside at least. It is plush and colourful and lively with a cocktail menu on the counter. 

But some craft beer as well and that harks back to the origin of the building which once housed a brewery owned by the Anderson family and called Lough Gill. Their Anderson’s Red Ale was the biggest selling beer in Connaught in the 19th century and that original brewery closed early in the 20th.  The exterior has been retained.

Earlier, I had visited the new Lough Gill Brewery (just a few miles away) and was told the story. The new brewery (2016) started by making their take of the Anderson’s Red Ale and it is on sale around the town and also, right here in the revamped old building, there is a tap. I very much enjoyed that Ale here in Anderson’s, the purpose of my little pilgrimage.  

Before I headed off for another dinner, I also drank, for the first time, an offering from Dublin’s Five Lamps, a very enjoyable Liberties Pale Ale. Didn't see their Monto Red on the taps. Maybe, one bit of red is enough in Sligo town.

Other pubs with grub on the Sligo Food Trail include: Fiddlers Creek, Hargadon's, Harrison's, and the Strand Bar.
See also: Lough Gill Brewery
 Strandhill Food Festival
Sligo Cafés
Embassy Steakhouse