Valentines Food Tour on 14th February in Galway City

The annual Homage to Love, Valentines Day, is close at hand and the inevitable “what are your plans” is sure to be asked!

If you’re single, the options are either hiding away or going out on the town! In a long-term relationship, well then its “how do you re-invent the wheel this year”? In a new relationship… it’s time to impress!

If you happen to be all of the above on February 14th this year, then there is the answer for you, in Galway City!

Galway Food Tours, the culinary walking tour of Galway by Sheena Dignam and Gosia Letowska is answering all the above love dilemmas with a special Valentines inspired Food Tour.

Join Galway Food Tours on Wednesday 14th February for a fun food tour in Galway’s Westend.

“We will introduce you to our own take on Valentine’s night for the foot loose, those in a relationship and those in-between people, who all love to eat, drink and be sociable,” said cupid wannabe herself Sheena. “You never know what could happen as we stroll around these streets!“

(The pizza mightn’t look exactly like this!)

The tour will take in Galway’s Westend including the award winning Dela Restaurant, John Keoghs The Lockkeeper, On The Crust Bucket pizza bus and Massimo Gastro Pub.

“At each stop, the food tour is treated to a flavour of just what each place offers as well as a little tipple, ” explained Gosia. “Each location has a story to tell and this is the beauty of the tour, you get to experience the inside track on all these brilliant food and drinks haunts in Galway’s Westend. As well as great food and drinks, we’ll also be playing some fun Valentines games and the night will be all about just enjoying yourself.”

The tour will take place from 6:30pm on Wednesday 14th February and is priced at €55 per person and as places are limited, booking is essential.

Call Sheena Dignam on 086-7332885 or book on www.galwayfoodtours.com

You can Like Galway Food Tours on Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming events
by Clicking the Like Button Here:

Enjoy!

Zack

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Posted in Culinary Tours in Ireland, Galway Food Tour, Valentines Day | Leave a comment

The Minister for Health must engage with the Irish Craft Drinks & Tourism Industry before the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill becomes Law

Visitors to Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitor Centres are up by a quarter in just two years proving “Irish whiskey tourism is a hot trend right now and an increasingly important part of Ireland’s tourism offer”. Currently there are 12 distillery visitor centres open on the island of Ireland, with plans to open at least 10 more in coming years.

However, the proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill may be a major threat to this growth and this threat applies to the further tourism development of all Visitor Centres and Tours to Irish Whiskey, Gin, Beer, Cider, Spirits, Liqueurs and Wine producers premises.

The number of visitors to Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres reached 814,000 in 2017, according to new figures published today by the Irish Whiskey Association. This marked an increase of over 11% up from 2016, when 733,000 visitors were recorded. More significantly, it marks an increase of 25% up from 2015, when 653,000 visitors were recorded. And that is only the tourism visitors to the Whiskey distilleries! Imagine the tourism potential for the whole Irish Drinks industry!

Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitor Centres offer a diversity of experiences, where visitors learn not just about the ‘grain-to-glass’ production of Irish whiskey, but also about the people and places that define the rich heritage of Irish whiskey. Currently, a majority of visitors to whiskey distilleries in Ireland come from the US, UK, Germany, France and Northern Europe.

In 2015, the Irish Whiskey Association, together with Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, launched the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy to support this growth. This strategy delivers a route-map on how Ireland can become the world leader in whiskey tourism by 2030 and sets out four key recommendations which are required in order to achieve that objective:

  • Support the growth of Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres.
  • Develop an all island whiskey tourism product.
  • Create an Irish whiskey trail and tourism infrastructure around distilleries.
  • Develop an embassy network of hotels, restaurants and pubs.

The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy forecasts that the future of Irish whiskey tourism is dependent on a collaboration of local communities and state agencies supporting the growth of Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres all around the island. It also proposes innovative ideas including the establishment of an all-island whiskey trail that will attract a significant number of tourists to Ireland, similar to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, which attracts nearly a million tourists every year.

Advertising of visitor centres throughout the Irish Drinks industry could be severely constrained

At present, the  Irish Whiskey Association members operates 12 distillery visitor centres on the island of Ireland. This includes two new distillery visitor centres which opened during the last year at Slane Distillery in Co. Meath and Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. A new distillery visitor centre will open on the 21st of January at Rademon Estate Distillery in Co. Down. 2018 is also likely to see the opening of further visitor centres at new whiskey distilleries in locations ranging from Clonakilty, to Drogheda, to Dublin 8, and planning permission for the Sliabh Liag Whiskey Distillery & Visitor Centre, in County Donegal, has recently been approved. In total, Irish Whiskey Association members plan to open at least 10 more visitor centres in the coming years.

Craft Brewery Tours could also be affected by the restrictions on promotion and advertising

William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association said today, “Whiskey tourism is delivering tourists, jobs and investment to local economies right across Ireland, from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities. Continued double-digit growth proves that Irish whiskey tourism is a hot trend right now and an increasingly important part of Ireland’s tourism offer.”

Mr. Lavelle explained how the promotion of  Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitor Centres is vital to the future success of this new Irish tourism product. “Irish whiskey remains the fastest growing spirits category in the world and whiskey consumers, both domestically and globally, are interested in knowing more about the origin and authenticity of the spirit. Increasingly, the promotion of a whiskey brand goes hand-in-hand with the promotion of the home distillery.”

For this reason, the promotion and advertising of Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres is often inseparable from the promotion and advertising of the Irish whiskey brands produced there. And, as the saying goes, there-in lies the rub!

The Irish Government is attempting to restrict the promotion and advertising of Irish Alcohol products through the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. It does include some worthy changes to the present law governing the advertising of alcohol at children, by curtailing advertising at or near places or events that children attend, visit or regularly pass by. It also includes changes to minimum pricing, reduced-price promotions and point-of-sale display and advertising.

However, the present wording of the Bill means that the advertising and promotion of Distillery & Brewery Visitor Centres could be severely constrained and adversely affect the enormous tourism potential that entrepreneurs in the Irish drinks industry have worked towards over the last ten years.

New proposals under the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will also restrict the new entrants and smaller distillers that are crucial to promote sustainability through depth and diversity in the Irish whiskey tourism industry.

“This”, added Mr Lavelle, “is unfortunately an unintended consequence of the Alcohol Bill that could prevent the advertising of whiskey tourism, negatively impact this growing industry and put jobs at risk in communities which are heavily reliant on the influx of visitors to the local distillery visitor centre.”

The Full Text of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill can be read HERE

The apparent refusal of the Department of Health to engage with industry means that the consequences of this legislation have not been fully assessed.

With the Alcohol Bill due to come before Dáil Éireann again, soon, the Irish Whiskey Association are calling on the Minister for Health and interested TDs to engage with them on reasonable amendments to the Bill, ensuring that the growing Irish Craft Drinks & Tourism industry is protected. Interesting times ahead.

Zack

Posted in Food Tourism, Irish Whiskey, news, Public Health Alcohol Bill, tourism | Leave a comment

Chef Swap at Aniar, Galway, to continue through 2018

The very successful “Chef Swap at Aniar” programme continues into and throughout 2018 and will see more acclaimed international and Irish guest chefs collaborating with Chef/Owner JP McMahon in his Michelin-starred Aniar Restaurant in Galway, Ireland, on different weekend dates throughout 2018.

Confirmed so far are Danni Barry, formerly of Michelin star Deanes Eipic, Belfast, and now leading the kitchen at Clenaghans Restaurant, Craigavon, on the 9th and 10th February; Amanda Cohen of cutting-edge New York City vegetable restaurant Dirt Candy on the 6th and 7th April; Christophe Dufau of Michelin star Les Bacchanales restaurant, Vence, France on the 15th and 16th June; and rising Russian star Stanislav Pesotskiy of Björn, a new Nordic restaurant in Moscow, on the 16th and 17th November. Gunnar Karl Gíslason from Michelin star, new Nordic Restaurant Dill in Reykjavík, Iceland is also due to join JP in the Aniar kitchen in 2018 at a date to be confirmed.

ChefSwap at Aniar Galway will feature Danni Barry, Stanislav Pesotskiy and Amanda Cohen among others

JP McMahon said, “Chef Swap is a wonderful way of visiting chefs to learn more about the produce we have here in Ireland. As part of the experience, I travel with each chef to visit local producers and experience how the produce is harvested. On the other hand, for the team in Aniar and our guests, it gives us an insight into each chef’s unique way of cooking and every time is a surprise. Many chefs bring signature dishes to their menu while challenging themselves to use Irish ingredients. Feedback, both from our guests who book dinner and from the visiting chefs, has been overwhelmingly positive so it’s exciting to extend the programme into 2018.”

The Chef Swap at Aniar programme, which started in 2017, has innovation, education and the strengthening of Irish food at its centre.

In 2017, Aniar welcomed guest chefs Ross Lewis of Chapter One, Dublin; Sasu Laukkonen, now of Ora, Helsinki; Nathan Outlaw of Outlaw’s at the Capital, London, and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac; Syrco Bakker of Pure C, The Netherlands; Alexandre Silva of LOCO, Lisbon; Benoit Dewitte of Restaurant Benoit Dewitte, Ghent; Daniel Burns of Luksus-Tørst, Brooklyn; and Adam Reid of The French, Manchester.

The 2018 Chef Swap at Aniar programme kicks off in February 2018 and each of the Chef Swap at Aniar dinner menus follow the same menu format as the regular Aniar tasting menus – 6 courses at 65 euro, 8 courses at 85 euro, or 10 courses at 110 euro.

For more information and reservations see www.aniarrestaurant.ie, or phone +353 (0)91 535947.

Follow Chef Swap at Aniar on Twitter – #ChefSwap | @chef_swap

Zack

Posted in Aniar, ChefSwap, galway, JP McMahon, news | Leave a comment

Ireland Rugby legend Keith Wood opens Upstairs at Wood & Bell, a new Fine Dining Restaurant

A new restaurant by the celebrated former Ireland rugby player Keith Wood is now open in Killaloe, Co Clare, called Upstairs at Wood & Bell. Keith, who is from Killaloe and has a long-held enthusiasm for good food, co-owns the new restaurant with his business partner Malcolm Bell.

Talking about the opening, Keith said, “I have wanted to open a restaurant in my native Killaloe for as long as I can remember. Having travelled the world with rugby and eaten in some incredible restaurants, I relished the thought of one day having the opportunity to put a twist on some of their famous dishes.”

Upstairs at Wood & Bell stems from a conversation over dinner in Chicago with Malcolm Bell, on the eve of the magnificent Ireland win over the All Blacks. Twelve months later we are ready to make that dream into a reality,” he said with a smile.

Keith Wood, Chef Paddy Collins & Malcolm Bell

Keith has installed a confident restaurant team led by executive chef Paddy Collins and sous chef Noel Heaney. Paddy has created a succinct and assured menu offering classic, French-influenced Modern Irish dishes, featuring plenty of seasonal, locally grown and locally supplied ingredients.

All of the herbs and most of the fruit and vegetables are supplied from the restaurant’s own gardens year-round, an extensive and picturesque plot overlooking Lough Derg and managed by Keith’s wife, avid gardener Nicola Wood.

Starters include: Langoustine & Shellfish Bisque with Sourdough & Pancetta Crumb; Lamb Belly with Puy Lentils, Squash & Mint; Beech Smoked Salmon, Sexton Crab, Apple & Yuzu; Goat’s Curd, Charred Gem Lettuce, Figs & Truffle Honey; and Seared Chicken Livers, Shallot Tarte Tatin, Crispy Skin & Port.

Main course dishes include: Skeaghanore Duck, Roast & Pickled Beets, Onion & Confit Leg; Trout, Rainbow Chard, Clams, Squid Ink & Kombu; Beef Fillet, Oxtail & Marrow, Turnip Texture & Chanterelles; Black Sole, Seared Scallops, Saffron Potatoes, Sprout Tops & Lemon; and Corn-Fed Chicken, Confit Leg, Smoked Thigh, Celeriac & Tomato Essence.

Dessert will include: Fried Brioche, Spiced Plums & Vanilla; Semolina Pudding, Morello Cherries & Biscuit; Gingerbread Parfait, Candied Ginger & Hazelnut Brittle; Flourless Chocolate, Honeycomb, Soil & Air; and a Cheese Board with Quince.

Executive chef Paddy Collins said, “Having worked and run kitchens for 16 years, it is every chef’s dream to find owners with the same drive, passion and vision as I have with Keith and Malcolm. It’s not often that a chef has the opportunity to run a kitchen with everything we could need growing in our own gardens and glasshouses overlooking Lough Derg. With my sous chef Noel and all the Wood & Bell team, we hope to help make this beautiful village of Killaloe the next great Irish food destination.”

The restaurant is a smartly presented room, decorated in classic tones and colours, with lots of period details and impressive furnishings, fitting in with its charming location in the beautiful, lakeside village of Killaloe in Co Clare. 

Keep up-to-date by following Wood & Bell Restaurant & Café on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 

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Upstairs at Wood & Bell is located on Main Street, Killaloe, Co Clare.
Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 5.30-9.45pm. Advance booking is advised by calling 061 517 480, or email info@woodandbell.com.

Posted in County Clare, Keith Wood, Killaloe, news, Paddy Collins chef, restaurant | Leave a comment

Watch the Newgrange Winter Solstice 2017 Live Online for the 1st time!

Fáilte Ireland and the OPW have teamed up to give everyone an opportunity to watch the 2017 Winter Solstice effect within the passage tomb at Newgrange.

A unique live stream will be established from the visitor attraction on the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday, December 20-21 (from 8.30am both days).

Welcoming the initiative, Minister of State for Tourism and sport, Brendan Griffin TD said: “This is a fantastic way to share the unique magic of Newgrange with a much larger audience. It is also a great way to highlight the type of compelling history and heritage that Ireland offers as a destination.”

Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran added: “Newgrange nestled in the Boyne Valley is an important historical site in Irelands Ancient Heritage which attracted over 207,000 visitors in 2016.

“Our annual Winter Solstice Lottery received over 33,000 applications to witness this event with winners from as far as Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the United States of America, showing the continuing fascination the Solstice has the world over.”

The live stream will also be embedded and available to watch on the Ireland’s Ancient East website on a special page at www.irelandsancienteast.com/wintersolstice which will also provide context within the wider ancient Ireland and Boyne Valley story.

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles, today explained the importance of Newgrange for the tourism brand: “The Newgrange site is one of the jewels in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East and we are delighted to be teaming up with the OPW to share its story with as wide an audience as possible.

“The history, heritage and the ancient atmosphere of Newgrange conjure up everything special about Ireland’s history and unique past and we are really happy to bring these elements to a wider audience.”

Interested viewers who subscribe in advance to the Ireland Ancient East YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/irelandsancienteast will get alerts and be prompted to tune in at the appropriate times.

Zack

Posted in Failte Ireland, Newgrange, news, OPW, Winter Solstice | Leave a comment

"The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings" Cookbook launched for Our Lady’s Hospice

In 2011, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Dublin, launched a cook book called The Mixing Bowl, which contained a collection of recipes contributed by the residents and clients of the Extended Care Unit (ECU) and the Community Reablement Unit (CRU) in Harold’s Cross. The cookbook was a great success and sold 9,000 copies, raising over €95,000. Six years on, they are now delighted to bring you the sequel!


The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings is a special collection of tried and trusted family recipes that have been generously shared by 67 patients, residents, volunteers and staff of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services. A longtime volunteer at the Hospice, Cepta Lyons, spent two years working with staff and patients to bring the book together.

With 77 recipes and beautiful photographs, the eclectic mix in the book includes typical family favourites served from breakfast through to supper time, in homes all around Ireland for generations and still today.

Some of the featured recipes include:

  • Una and John Fletcher’s Lemon Butter Cake, a recipe that has been part of their repertoire throughout the 57 years of marriage they have shared.
  • Patricia Betts’ Boatman’s Stew, so named in honour of her father, Patrick, who created it while working as “Master” on a coal barge on the Royal Canal.
  • Alice Victory’s Speedy Banoffee, which although now has been safely tried and tested, it once caused the ruin of her kitchen as a result of an exploding can of condensed milk!

Charity patron and renowned chef Neven Maguire shared his recipe for ‘Chicken Thighs Braised in Cider with Sweet Potatoes’ saying, “This is one of my all-time favourites, one that I find myself returning to again and again. It has tons of flavour but takes very little time to get in the oven compared to traditional casseroles”.

Neven added, “This book is a beautiful collection of firm family favourites that every home should have in its kitchen. It contains not only the recipes of meals enjoyed by families throughout the country but the memories of the moments that have accompanied them. This is the type of book you pass down to a son or daughter and I’m very proud to be supporting such an important book for such a worthy charity.”

The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings costs €15 and is available in all good books shops nationwide. 

It is also on sale in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross and Blackrock or online at www.lightupalife.ie/product/mixingbowl/

Zack

Posted in Irish Cookbooks, news, Our Ladys Hospice, Second Helpings, The Mixing Bowl | Leave a comment

Sliabh Liag Distillery Launches An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin

Sliabh Liag Distillery is Donegal’s first distillery in 175 years and the directors, James and Moira Doherty, are passionate about creating brands inspired by local lore and legends, rooted in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where the new distillery will be built on the slopes, near the Sliabh Liag Cliffs.

The Sliabh Liag Distillery will officially launch An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin this weekend, on Friday 27th October. An Dúlamán is inspired by the Donegal coast and the ingredients found around the Sliabh Liag peninsula.

The new gin’s name comes from the traditional song Dúlamán na Binne Bhuí, translated as Collecting Seaweed from the Yellow Cliffs, which was sung by the famous Donegal band Clannad, among others.

The inspiration for An Dúlamán came about during a foraging seaweed trip in Donegal, as James Doherty explains. “My wife Moira was out picking Dillisk (Palmaria palmata) with my aunt at Muckross Head, close to Killybegs, and she asked the question ‘has anyone ever put this into alcohol?’. The seeds of an idea were born that day and we’re delighted to be able to share the result this weekend.”

An Dúlamán Gin has a recipe unique to the gin category. The coast around the Sliabh Liag peninsula has long held a rich bounty for the shore gatherer and, in An Dúlamán, that knowledge and some modern innovation have brought a unique “umami” twist to the world of gin.

“An Dúlamán is made using only the finest Donegal Sweet Kombu (Sugar Kelp), Dillisk (Dulse), Pepper Dulse, Carrageen Moss and Channel Wrack”, adds James. “The Pepper Dulse, sometimes known as the “truffle of the sea” is the most sensitive of these coastal treasures and can only be harvested on a full moon when the tides and the wild Atlantic work in our favour”.

“Once collected, each botanical is treated on its own merits. Some are dried to intensify their flavours and others frozen to capture the delicate umami essence. Following this, some of the ingredients go into Méabh, our hand beaten copper pot still, and we add the more challenging ones into the flavour basket to be distilled into An Dúlamán, Irish Maritime Gin. The result of this devilishly narrow cut is a taste that captures fresh juniper, an umami richness and the dry tang of sea breeze,” says James.

James knows the drinks industry well having held senior positions with major drinks suppliers SABMiller in Asia, Foster’s in Australia and William Grant & Sons. He and his wife Moira are joined by James Keith, the Hughes family, Dom De Lorenzo and John Davidson in their mission to reclaim the distilling heritage of Donegal.

“The artisanal gin category is exploding and with Donegal officially the coolest place on the planet”, say Moira. “We feel it’s an exciting time for the county and we want to thank everyone from the local community and further afield who helped us along the way.”

James believes the new distillery will boost employment in the local community, while also bringing more visitors to the area. “We have 5 employees today and with construction on the main Sliabh Liag Distillery, we will create employment for up to 40 people once the distillery and visitor centre is fully operational. The Sliabh Liag Cliffs are Donegal’s main visitor attraction with almost 200,000 visitors each year.

Impression of the Sliabh Liag Distillery, when all the work has finished

Food & Drink Tourism in Ireland is an area of huge growth and there’s been an explosion of craft gin in recent years. Construction of the new distillery will begin next year. The company has a portfolio of four spirits brands and has already launched its first expression, an independent bottling of Irish Whiskey named The Silkie.

An Dúlamán is presented in a dark bottle reminiscent of those found on the Armada wrecks along the coast of Donegal. The bottle’s labelling in drawn by a local artist and inspired by the Book of Kells. Each bottle is hot wax sealed and the batch numbers are linked to the lunar phases!

The launch of An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin takes place on Friday 27th October, from 8pm – 10.30pm at An Dúlamán Gin Palace, Sliabh Liag Distillery, Line Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal.

For more information visit  www.sliabhliagdistillery.com

Follow An Dúlamán Gin & Silkie Whiskey on Twitter here:
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For further enquiries contact the distillery at info@sliabhliagdistillery.com.

Zack

Posted in donegal, Dulaman Gin, Irish Gin, James Doherty, news, Sliabh Liag, Slieve League | Leave a comment