Monday, June 3, 2019

Amazing Selection of Produce at Cork's Quay Coop

Cork's Quay Coop
Huge Selection of Produce in this Multi-Roomed Store 
With Arthur (left) before the mid-week breakfast meeting

You probably know where the Quay Coop is. On Sullivan’s Quay. A wren’s flight from the west end of the South Mall. But do you know what’s behind the door? The doors? Here, you may need a guide. Room after room filled with good things: a coffee dock downstairs, a restaurant upstairs. In the maze of the shop, you’ll breads, teas, a health area, and their own products including soups and nut loaf.

You’ll even come across Key Books. It is run by volunteers as a not-for-profit venture, benefitting a range of charitable and cultural ventures the Quay Coop support. Drop into Key Books for a browse – Tuesday to Saturday 12 to 5pm.

Still with me? Now we’re out the back and crossing the street to their production facility. Fr Matthew probably lived on this spot. A later building housed a lap-dancing club. And on this site now, with its contrasting stories, the Quay Coop are modernising their production facility, bringing it  up to the standard and speed necessary to serve the export market. Already, they export to the UK and now the Benelux countries are next in line. They are in fact currently looking for a production manager.

Out here too, you’ll see their electric delivery van, unless of course it is off delivering. They are very happy with this economical and environmentally friendly workhorse which is regularly on the road to their other two shops, one in Carrigaline, the other in Ballincollig.
A fraction of the selection of teas here

Add caption
We were here for breakfast and to meet the people behind the venture, have a chat and share tips. We being a blogger or two like myself plus people from various city bodies such as Chamber of Commerce, Cork City Library, the Metropole Hotel and so on, all invited in by Marketing Administrator Mia Tran. 

Arthur, who has been with the Quay Coop since its foundation in 1982, is our guide both to the history and the geography of the very impressive operation. The coop is quite an employer with 70 currently on the books, spread across ten different nationalities.

So the food here is vegetarian and vegan. You could say “alternative” and Arthur says that in the early years they were also a source of alternative information, helping the many backpackers and so on find accommodation and entertainment of their liking. They still do a bit of that but the internet has taken over that function as well.
from the sea

So things have changed, many alternatives now. And the Coop sometimes wonder where they stand now. Because Cork is small, they think everybody “knows about us”. “But do they? And that is why we are reaching out today.” Reaching out with hands full, I hasten to add, as they supplied us with a delicious breakfast, a terrific start to the day.

Arthur and Una and all the staff are rightly proud of their achievements here, especially their exporting business. Their nut loaf is the export star at the moment and you can find it even in Harrods!

On the other hand, Arthur is disappointed that there is no Irish organic vegetable grower capable of satisfying the daily demand in the Quay shops and restaurant. They do deal with quite a few but none have the scale to keep the Quay Coop going every week of the year. There are some though talking to Bord Bia about upscaling and Arthur is hopeful something will come of that.

What can you expect to find in this many-roomed store? Here’s a list that will give you a good idea: organic fruit and vegetables of all kinds, organic wines, fresh bread from our in-house bakery, herbs and spices, an extensive range of gluten-free products, chilled and frozen foods, meat alternatives, environmentally friendly household and cleaning products, health supplements, natural baby products, natural and organic cosmetics.

Upstairs, the restaurant has a diverse menu including a wide range of vegan and vegetarian starters, salads, main courses, specials, desserts, teas and coffees, with plenty of choice for those with dietary requirements, or on a tight budget. It is famous for its fantastic grub, extensive menu and generous portions.
The Coffee Dock in the Sullivan’s Quay Shop offers delicious breakfasts, lunches, sandwiches, salads and desserts; a wide range of vegetarian or vegan. Everything is available to eat-in or to-go.

Since 1982, The Quay Co-op was and is a workers op-operative based on Sullivan’s Quay, in the heart of Cork City. It follows a green policy, in food, in packaging, in energy and transport, and in recycling. Read more about the coop and its philosophy here.  Better still, call in and explore.

Quay Co-op Vegetarian Restaurant, Organic & Health Food Shop,

24 Sullivan's Quay,

Cork City

Co. Cork

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Amuse Bouche. Bank Holiday Special.

Inside, the house was already full to overflowing. There were mimosas and an omelet station. There were caterers offering bite-sized quiches and poached eggs in puddles of velvety hollandaise. There was a three-tiered pink-and-white cake.. with a sugar figurine of a baby holding the number 1…. pink and white streamers unfurling their triumphant way toward..where Mirabelle McCullough, the birthday girl, nestled in Mrs McCullough’s arms.

From Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017). Very Highly Recommended.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Amuse Bouche

You pass a coffee shop you hate because it’s always hot and flies constantly swarm the front of the shop, where a big patch of sun seethes with some invisible shit the flies love and where there’s always just that one seat left in the heat with the flies, which is why you hate it, on top of the fact that it doesn’t open until ten in the morning and closes at six in the evening to cater to all the hipsters and artists who hover and buzz around Oakland like flies, America’s white suburban vanilla youth, searching for some invisible thing Oakland might give them, street cred or inner-city inspiration.

from There There by Tommy Orange (2018). Highly Recommended.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The New Oar Restaurant in Doolin. Style and Quality on the Plate

The New Oar Restaurant in Doolin. 
Style and Quality on the Plate

The Oar Restaurant in Doolin, opened just a few months back, is fast making a reputation for itself as a stylish and quality dining venue. Good to see too that supporting local, including Clare craft beer, is a priority here.

Took the opportunity to check it out recently and it was a delight from start to finish. Some great choices here, even if the menu is not the longest. Quite a choice of drinks available , including a longish wine list that covers most bases, though we concentrated on the beers by Western Herd from Ennis.

The dining room is beautifully designed and decorated, very comfortable seating, good space between the tables and the welcome and service is friendly and politely attentive. If you want somewhere special to eat in the evening when visiting the many local attractions, including the Doolin Cave, the Burren, the islands, and of course the Cliffs of Moher, then put this on your shortlist.


King Prawn and Crab Fritter with carrot and cardamon purée

St Tola’s Goat cheese, with pickled beetroot, apple and hazelnut


Spiced Rump of Lamb comes with celery, feta and pomegranate

Herb Crusted Cod fillet in a tomato and basil fondue is cooked to perfection. With buttered asparagus.
Even the sides look classy!

Some ales from the Western Herd brewery in Ennis.
Check out the full range at McHugh's, also in Ennis.

 Passionfruit Soufflé with a Passionfruit sorbet. Highly recommended

Toomullin, Roadford, Co. Clare
Tel: 065 7047990
Also in Clare recently:
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
The Burren Brewery
A Tour of Clare
St Tola Goats Cheese visit
Burren Gold Cheese
Henry's Bistro & Wine Bar Ennis
Red Cliff Lodge Restaurant Spanish Point
Noel's Restaurant at Bunratty Manor
Naughton's Kilkee
Coast of Clare

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Two Outstanding Wines from Lesser-known Grapes.

Two Outstanding Wines from Lesser-known Grapes.

“Semplicemente Vino” Bellotti Bianco 2017, 11.5%, €22.75 

A simple wine, made for everyday drinking. Will do well at weekends too, I’d say. Highly Recommended. 

Cascina Degli Ulivi is a biodynamic farm located on the hills of the Gavi region (South Piemonte, Italy) and it is here that the Cortese grapes for this white wine are grown biodynamically. No sulphites are added and unusually the closure is a crown cap. 

The Cortese are raised in 11 ton oak vats (50%) and the rest in stainless steel. The result is described by Le Caveau as “like a Jura wine”.

It has a mid yellow colour. Aromas are a rich mix of white fruits from the orchard (think apple peel), honey, with some spice too. More citrus-y in the mouth. It is subtle on the palate, complex too with a long dry finish, toasty, nutty, hints of sherry. 

Crown cap
Simple yes but not for slugging. Just take a sip, it has got so much going for it in terms of flavour and aroma and satisfaction. Best drunk young and here are a few food recommendations from the winery: great with vegetable starters, egg based pasta or soft cheese.

Cortese is not that well-known, though it is the grape from which Gavi is made. Can have too much acidity but barrique fermentation can counter this. No over-acidity in this young and well-made Bianco so it looks as if those huge barrels have done their work well.

In 2017 the estate lost 80% of production due to the frost in April and the summer drought. “In order to be able to produce this wine we have bought biodynamic grapes from various friend producers whom we trust and thank."

Adega Cachín “Peza do Rei” Ribeira Sacra (DO) 2015, 13%, €19.35

Ourense is the name of both a city and a province in Galicia in North West Spain and here on the steep hillsides you’ll find the spectacular vineyards of Ribeira Sacra (the sacred riverside). Adega Cachín is a small (70,000 bottles), compact no-frills winery built into the hillside.

Many of us will not have heard of Ribeira Sacra, the DO, and the grape Mencía is also among the lesser known.  It is pronounced “Men-thee-ah”, according to Wine Folly, who go on to say that it is a  “medium-bodied red wine grape that produces high quality wines with floral and red fruit flavors. If you love aromatic red wines like Pinot Noir and Gamay, Mencía is definitely worth tasting.” This Peza do Rei would make an excellent start on that particular journey of discovery.

Colour is a mid-ruby. Aromas of medium intensity (lighter red berried fruits). Fresh and fruity with good acidity, not unlike a young Cabernet Franc from Chinon or Bourgueil. Redcurrant and raspberry in the flavour mix. This is a balanced, soft easy-drinking wine with a long refreshing finish. Highly Recommended. 

Le Caveau indicate matching it with local chorizo stew, cured meats, even the local pulpo a la galega octopus with paprika and olive oil. I think the “local” is in Galicia but I’ve no doubt we could come up with some very worthy Irish equivalents! Think too it would go well with some of those sharing boards down in Kinsale’s Crackpots Encore. Pulpo, piano and Peza all night long!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Taste of the Week. St Tola Hard Goat Cheese

Taste of the Week
St Tola Hard Goat Cheese

You’d better get a move on if you’d like to enjoy out superb Taste of the Week: St Tola Hard Goat Cheese.

This is only made when there is a surplus, as there was last year - there was no hard cheese for a few years before that. It is tasting very well at present but stocks at the Inagh farm are beginning to run down! And running down even faster now that it is available in SuperValu.

This rare and delicious cheese is made in a Gouda style, pale, fine and smooth, boasting a distinctive tangy flavour. As there is no overpowering goat taste many people are amazed that it is made with goat milk. This makes a super addition to any cheeseboard; try pairing it with the Killahora ice wine or apple port. And take it easy - a small wedge goes a long way such is its outstanding flavour and texture!

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Riesling to remember and a Chardonnay with a difference

Let the drums and trumpets sound for this outstanding German Riesling. The label does it well: A Riesling dry in style and well balanced like its Rheingau predecessors from the glorious age of Riesling a century ago: a contemporary classic and a perfect partner for many foods.

Don’t know anything about the Rieslings of a century ago but this light gold coloured wine is a gem for sure. Intense aromas of apple and pear indicate a good year in the Rheingau, a year for the grape to flourish. And that’s soon confirmed on the palate with its crisp acidity and yellow stone fruit (peach, apricot), a striking minerality too maintained to the persistent finish. Very Highly Recommended. No wonder Wilhelm Weil considers it as one of the best he has produced in 30 years (reported by none other than an enthusiastic Robert Palmer). 

You can hardly talk of Riesling without mentioning acidity and minerality. In his book Reading Between the Wines, Terry Theise says "Acidity is innate to the berry". "Minerality, " he continues, "is inherent to Riesling, because the variety is, in its essence, more mineral than fruit. The Riesling genre is one of a mineral-tasting wine into which are woven various strands of fruit, depending on site and vintage."

Fruity, tangy, yet charming and harmonious, you’ll find it this Weil typically versatile at the table. A couple of suggestions, one “a merry table companion to a wide range of cuisines” and another, this via Google Translate, “goes brilliantly with fried fish, poultry and Asian dishes. But even without banqueting - he can sip excellent …"

The Mornington Peninsula, just over an hour south of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, is perfectly suited to growing Chardonnay and “a foremost region” too for Pinot Gris”. Chardonnay here though, according to Halliday’s Wine Atlas of Australia, “is markedly different from any other Chardonnay produced in Australia”.

Stonier was established here in 1978 and are noted for their Burgundian style cool climate wines. The vineyards overlooks the ocean. Chardonnay is a signature wine for Stonier and this is a gem.

It has a yellow colour, with green tints. The aromas are gentle, of exotic fruits. Even the background flavours are delicate with melon and citrus to the fore. There is excellent texture, a pleasant creaminess, and complementary acidity. And it boasts a long and distinctive finish too. Delicious and satisfying, this is well made, harmonious and Highly Recommended.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Superb Dining at Red Cliff Lodge in Spanish Point

Superb Dining at Red Cliff Lodge
 in Spanish Point
Beautifully presented starter: 
Chicken liver paté, with Hennessy brandy, hazelnut crumb, cherry gel and sea salt toasts
Christopher and Eimear King, newly returned from Spain, took over the Red Cliff Lodge early in the year and are doing a great job in this well located restaurant that overlooks the sea at Spanish Point in County Clare. An impressive location and also a very impressive, spacious and comfortable room.

I'm sure quite a few of you are familiar with Lanzarote. Perhaps you know the award winning Kristian's? It's in Puerto Del Carmen and our duo ran it for the five years before their recent return to Ireland and the Red Cliff.

The emphasis will be very much on local produce. Of course they don't have to go too far for fish and seafood in any case and suppliers include Cathal Sexton, Gerrighy's and Burren Smokehouse. "All meat and chicken on our menus are locally sourced by fourth generation master butcher Noel O'Connor and certified Irish."

Chef Christopher certainly knows how to handle this excellent produce and the dishes are superb. We had an excellent meal here as you see from the photographs. The only "bad" mark was a few undercooked potatoes with the Hake but the potatoes in the side dish were perfect! Very Highly Recommended if you're in the area.


I loved this Warm Thai Beef Salad, with caramelised cashew nuts,
 pickled vegetables, sweet chilli and curry sauce
Delicious breads and that beetroot hummus was superb


Perfect: Baked Silver Hake, potatoes, radish and shrimp

Another well-executed dish: Salmon with Asparagus, 
leek, bacon, sumac dust and lemon butter, well cooked and delicious

You're in luck if this is on: Apple and blackberry crumble with Vanilla ice cream and creamy custard 

Meringue (strawberries and cream with mango and strawberry coulis)
The Venue
This is the ante-room,  a few tables here but main restaurant, in much the same style, is to the left.
Also in Clare recently:
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
The Burren Brewery
A Tour of Clare
St Tola Goats Cheese visit
Burren Gold Cheese
Henry's Bistro & Wine Bar Ennis
Oar Doolin
Noel's Restaurant at Bunratty Manor
Naughton's Kilkee

Old Butter Roads Festival's Major Offering in Watergrasshill Today

Old Butter Roads Festival's Major Offering in Watergrasshill Today
Joanne of Thatch and Thyme is producing some great reasonably dishes here, including a delicious plate with something from all the producers. I tried the burger and it is a treat. You get Twomey's Wagyu beef, Hegarty's cheese, Wild Garlic (foraged by Joanne herself), all on a superb Arbutus bun.
The Old Butter Roads Food Festival has a big day in O'Mahony's, Watergrasshill, today (Sunday 26th May). The focus will be very much on the Darina Allen led Symposium on food tourism and specifically how the Old Butter Roads can benefit from the trend. But many will come for the food being cooked and displayed here by the region's producers and restaurants.
To see the full programme, including the participants in the symposium, please click here
Be sure and try the juices at Future Orchard. And get yourself a pack of wild flower seeds. And then there's the mystery tastes. Will you guess correctly!
If you're still going strong by early evening, you won't want to miss the Cocktail Contest. at 5.00pm, Bertha’s Revenge Gin, Longueville House Apple Brandy and Killahora Orchards Pommeau and Apple Ice Wine all step into the ring to see who can produce the finest Old Butter Roads cocktail with the audience as judges! Oh, by the way, children will be catered for too with a Puppet Show, Face Painting and Food of course!
Longueville House have been part of the festival since the start. And Rubert Atkinson, Sales Manager at Longueville Beverages, is a key figure, always helping out his fellow exhibitors. And always giving out samples of their delicious ciders and apple brandy. There is a bar alongside and, of course, a large bar inside.
Jam makers come and go in Ireland but my long-time favourites are Folláin for their quality, variety and consistency. Recently we've been tucking into their sugar-free range. They have those colourful topped pots in Watergrasshill but it the relishes that caught my eye here. Or should I say, excited my tastebuds. Needless to say, we brought a few jars home with us. And here's a tip, bring a shopping bag with you.
Top chef Michael Quinn (formerly Waterford Castle, now lecturing at WIT) will give a series of rolling cookery demos over the weekend, presenting delicious yet simple recipes all featuring produce from OBR members and producers, with plenty of samples available for the audiences. There will be additional opportunities to sample during the Blind Tastings, in which the general public competes for prizes by identifying various foodstuffs while blindfolded.

To see the full programme, including the participants in the symposium, please click here

Friday, May 24, 2019

Amuse Bouche

Marianne brings a cold bottle of sparkling wine out… and asks Niall to open it….. A crest of white spills over the lip of the bottle and Niall pours the wine into Elaine’s glass. The glasses are broad and narrow like saucers. Jamie..says: Do we not have proper champagne glasses?
These are champagne glasses, says Peggy.
No, I mean the tall ones, Jamie says.
You’re thinking of flutes, says Peggy. These are coupes.

from Normal People by Sally Rooney (2018). No Recommendation.

Henry's Will Have You Smiling in Ennis

Henry's Will Have You Smiling in Ennis

Looking for a good meal in Ennis? Why not try the recently opened Henry's on Market Street? Here you get a royal Déise welcome from Dermot Fetton and some excellent dishes based on superb Banner produce. Nothing overly fancy here mind you, though cooking and presentation is excellent. Dermot, for so long the main man at the Cloister, gives his customers what they want, not what the chef thinks they should have.

Dermot and the team have moved to this new venue in recent months and it was abuzz on the April night that we visited and the man himself is very happy with the new venue (including its smaller more manageable size). I had forgotten my reading glasses and my host had a few pairs to try (including his own!). Where would you get that kind of service? By the way, they also do lunch here.


Once back with the glasses, I began to study the menu. My pick was the Slow Roast Pork Belly, Kale, Wine Jus. Excellent and a generous portion. Other starters included Sautéed Mushrooms and Spinach, Poached Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart, Chowder and Soup. CL was very happy with her pick: Henry's Fishcakes, Leek and Smoked Bacon Fondue. As you can see from the picture, there was a dollop of cream in that. And you will see more cream in the menu!


The regular wine list contains the more popular types with seven of both white and red available by the glass. There is also another list with a step up in quality, and price. And, on the night we were in, there was also an offer list containing bin ends. And there is also a selection of Champagne, Dessert and Sparkling Wines. And, if you are in for a drink, Henry's has a separate wine bar with tall tables and seats, on the other side of the entrance, that can also be used as a waiting area or overflow from the restaurant itself. 

More cream again as my mains, one of the evening's specials, arrived. The John Dory came with a basil cream sauce. It was a lovely dish, with both the vegetables on the plate and on the side cooked to perfection, providing a tasty crunch to the delicious fish. CL's Duck Leg Confit came with a Lentil and Vegetable Ragout. The duck was perfect though the ragout seemed to have taken a touch too much wine!

You'll have quite a choice of mains here, eight or nine on the night we were in. The ten ounce
10oz Hereford Ribeye is always popular. There's also a braised daube of beef with a wine jus. A Lamb Shank with an unusual rosemary jus. The Chicken Breast Burger always goes down well. There's Fish 'n Chips of course, another popular choice; haddock is the usual fish. There’s the Roasted Salmon Fillet with Ratatouille and another fish offering is Hake with cauliflower and broccoli.


There's no shortage of desserts at Henry's. The list includes favourites such as Chocolate Cake, Bread and Butter Pudding, and Apple Tart-Tatin. You may also try Eton Mess, Glenown Farm Ice-Cream, or a Profiterole Sundae. And he could well have a special on offer as he had for our visit. We struck it lucky with a lovely Pear Tart served with caramelised walnuts and ice-cream. 

Prices are pretty keen here also and in the evenings watch out for the attractively priced two and three course offers. These are served all evening Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday and until 6:00pm Saturdays and are priced at €21.50 and €25.00. And, with Dermot leading the front of house, service is friendly and helpful here.

Upper Market Street
Co. Clare.
TEL: 065-6899393
Also in Clare recently:
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
The Burren Brewery
A Tour of Clare
St Tola Goats Cheese visit
Burren Gold Cheese
Red Cliff Lodge Restaurant Spanish Point
Oar Doolin
Noel's Restaurant at Bunratty Manor
Naughton's Kilkee
Coast of Clare

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Tasty Morning With Karen Coakley On Kenmare Foodies Tour.

A Tasty Morning With Karen Coakley
On Kenmare Foodies Tour.
Enthusiastic Emma at Maison Gourmet
Henry Street is abuzz this sunny mid-May morning. Shoppers out and about, drivers trying to find parking. All kinds of small shops here, cafés and bars too. But we’re in a back lane watching bakers at work. We’re privileged because we’re with Karen Coakley, the Kenmare Foodie herself, and her Kenmare Foodie Tour takes you to places you won’t get to on your own, allows you see what goes on behind the scenes (away from the bustling street and the busy counters) and in most places you get to chat with the person or persons who started the food (or drink) business.

Margaret of Kenmare Ice Cream is one of those protagonists. Rose also plays a key role but she has to leave on business and it is Margaret that tells us the story. Both are Ballymaloe trained and were looking to start something in 2007. A gourmet deli was the first aim and they did much work on that before a discouraging coffee stop in Adare put them off. By the time they got back to Kenmare the ice cream idea was born but not yet taken seriously!

Margaret at Kenmare Ice Cream
But after research, it quickly gathered momentum and they got some equipment. How do we sell? They bought a tricycle, added three planks, and Margaret went off selling while Rose made the ice-cream. By the end of that summer, with over 11,000 scoops sold, they knew they were on to something.

Soon they had to scale up. They found “proper equipment” , including a 24 flavour cabinet, and a UK expert came over to give them two days training. They had  started making French style ice cream but now switched to the Italian style. “Because it’s all about flavour,” said Margaret. “More so than the richer (egg based) French style. Raspberry Ripple was our first flavour, and still my favourite. We stay as clean and green as we can. Four years ago, we started making whipped ice cream and that is now a big success. We do high quality but at a good price.”

Their Bia Bia is a full scale cafe, including ice-cream of course, in Railway Street while Kenmare Ice Cream, where we visited, can be found on Henry Street (open 11.00am to 11.00pm in season when Margaret and Rose have 22 people employed). Oh yes, you may still see that tricycle around Kenmare on special occasions but their famous cow, Moodini, is parked up for a while, awaiting a suitable grazing spot!
Patrick and Emma talk sourdough
If you’re arriving in Kenmare from the West Cork side, you’ll spot Maison Gourmet on top of Henry Street on your left. It was here, on the terrace at the rear that we joined up with Karen and her group. Soon, we met Emma, the French lady behind the bakery/café. And she took us out the back, to the lane where the bakery is and where we got our hands on the dough and fashioned our little baguettes (which we would collect, nicely baked, at the end of the tour).

Here they use a rather special butter, the Isigny AOC (now AOP). They can’t use Irish butter. It is good but it doesn’t have the same elasticity as the Isigny. Emma, having been part of large bakeries in Carcassonne and Toulouse, is delighted to be in Kenmare and you can see that Kenmare is delighted to have her and her bakery. Amazing too how many French visitors find their way to Maison Gourmet. Maybe it's that tempting smell of the breads, cakes and Java coffee.

Thirty years ago, she met Patrick who was already a baker, fell in love with the baking and the baker. Emma has “flirted” with Ireland since she came here as an au pair when she was twenty. Then, 3 years ago, she and husband Patrick “took the path of our dream and we opened a bakery in Kenmare. That was the best idea that we ever had.”
Beara Gin truffles at Lorge

Their butter and flour may be imported from France but they also use lots of high quality Irish produce in the busy café. But it is the breads (including sourdough) and pastries that attract me, all those classics from butter croissants to pain au chocolat (again the very best of chocolate is used) to Macarons to Mille Feuille, strawberry tartlets and more.
Olivier (On the Wild Side)

More chocolate down the street where’ll you find the Lorge shop. Hard to believe he started making chocolate by accident. His “factory” at nearby Bonane is housed in the old post office and is now a thriving business. Karen told us he is currently working with Beara Gin and indeed we sampled some of those delicious white chocolate truffles and, later, bought some bars and a bag of his marshmallow.
Alain knows his wines

Soon we found ourselves down by the town park where the weekly market was in progress. As we walked, Karen was dispensing food and recipe ideas, lots of tips all the way through the morning. 

At the market, we sampled the cured meats (including a beetroot and pork saucisson and a delicious chorizo) by Olivier of On the Wild Side. Later we called back to get some of his paté and also those Merguez Lamb Sausages. Cheese samples then, including Milleens and Coolea, from Christian’s cheese stall where he had many choices for his customers.

“How about a glass of wine?,” said Karen. Oh yes was the answer. We headed for the Vanilla Grape, a wine and card shop owned by Alain and Christine. “We are here 15 years now,” said Christine. “though those shelves are over 100 years old.” Frenchman Alain is always on the lookout to give his customers wine at a good price, not easy though considering we “had two tax hikes since the recession”.

But he did have just the job for us, a Cà Vittoria apassimento style, not from the Veneto but from Puglia, and well priced at €19.50. As we sipped the Nero D’Avola, we discussed serving temperatures with Alain saying the fridge is not a friend of wine. Had another chat with him later in the afternoon and bought myself a bottle of Chateau Vincen from Cahors much to the delight of Alain who himself is from the area (Figeac).
Making coffee with the Syphon

Alexa and Dave are the duo behind Babors Beans at the Brewhouse in the Square. Here they are serving top quality coffees, sharing bites, monstrous burgers and zesty cocktails to brighten up your day. But we’re here for the coffee that they roast themselves.

Dave told me they have eight single origins and five blends. He has to keep an eye on the price. “You have to watch the market as the price changes every day. It is too expensive to buy from the individual farmers. I get mine from Inter America Company. 

He is, of course a passionate enthusiast. “You can drink 10 to 15 cups a day and it’ll do no harm if you drink a lot of water as well!” He showed us two ways of making coffee, with the Syphon (which I preferred) and with the Chemex. We also enjoyed an espresso. By the way, not alone can you buy 250 grm bags of the various coffees here but you can also get the implements including the Syphon and Chemex. The new roastery is close to being ready and then he’ll be doing classes and demos and no doubt Karen will have that on her tours as well!

After all that, it was back up to Maison Gourmet to collect our loaves and say goodbye to one another. The tour takes about three hours but it was so enjoyable, with so many different and informative chats, that the time flew.
Christian and his cheeses

Get all the info on Kenmare Foodie Tours here.   Karen is always working on varying the tour and soon there’ll be a fish call.