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Tag: Avoca

Tipp Top Traas

Even before cattle were here, apples were grown

Con Traas of The Apple Farm

Somehow, during the course of the dinner, I managed to make a note of the comment above by Con Traas.

The venue was Avoca’s Salt Café in Monkstown a few weeks back, and dinner, frankly, seems like too restrained a word for what was, in fact, a glorious celebration of people, of place and of produce, masterminded by the dynamic Tipperary Food Producers group, under the stewardship of meat meister, Pat Whelan. Course after course of Tipperary’s best – spiced lamb koftas from Sheepwalk Organic Farm, Crowe Farm pig’s cheek pastilla, Gortnamona goats cheese with Inch House black pudding, sirloin of beef à la Pat Whelan, Apple Farm apple crumble, a raft of Cooleeney cheeses, treats including the impossible-to-resist Holycross chocolate biscuit cake from the Tipperary Kitchen, wines supplied by Red Nose Wine – and chat after chat with the great and the good of Tipperary food, and the charming company, among others, of Cate from The Cookie Jar and Kate from O’Donnells Crisps. Tipperary food had come to Dublin and claimed its place on the menu with considerable aplomb.

Galtee Mountains

The Galtee Mountains, in the heartland of Tipperary

Glen of Aherlow Walking Trail

Walking Trail in Tipperary's Glen of Aherlow

By sheer coincidence – and very lucky happenstance – having been thus kindly treated by the Tipperary Food Producers on my home turf, the following weekend I made the proverbial trip to Tipp at the invitation of the Aherlow House Hotel. The hotel itself – comfortable, rather than swish – is crowned by its location in the Glen of Aherlow, with views across to the Galtee Mountains. The big draw, however, was that the trip would include a visit to The Apple Farm, home to the aforementioned Con Traas. It is an ancient and elemental thing that Con does in farming apples. It is also a difficult job – when 95% of the apples sold in Ireland are imported – to farm apples in Ireland these days and make it work. Con Traas does it, and does it with style.

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Have Opinions, Will Eat

Remember when you were young (or maybe even not so young) and you thought that the bestest job in the whole wide world would be as chief taster in a chocolate factory?

“‘magine gettin’ paid to do that,” my young self would think, and would dream a daydream that was equal parts Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Willy Wonka.

While the chocolate tasting idea eventually lost its sheen, being a contributing editor for John and Sally McKenna’s independent and unfailingly opinionated Bridgestone Guides would be my decidedly adult version of that same dream. It’s a remit to seek out and experience the best in Irish food and hospitality, and it’s an honour and a privilege – not to mention a responsibility – to have been asked to do just that.

Without further ado, you can click through to read what I had to say – in a Bridgestone capacity – both about the wonderful Eastern Seaboard in Drogheda and about the new Avoca food market and Salt Café in Monkstown. You can also see some of the delights of the Avoca food market below.

Cheese room

They have a cheese room, need I say more?

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