Foodie adventures in the wild west (of Ireland)

It’s been at least a week since I’ve posted any baking photo’s or recipes but I’ve just returned from an amazing trip visiting a good friend in the Wild West of Ireland. So for the time being I hope a healthy dose of Irish food porn will suffice…

My mate Brig lives in a gorgeous little village called Kinvara in an area of West Ireland called the Burren in Co. Galway and runs The Burrenbeo Trust, a landscape charity dedicated to protecting the future sustainable management of the Burren region. As part of the charity they run Cafebeo, where I worked for two days and which I completely fell in love with. 

Cafebeo is Ireland’s only conservation cafe, it serves only Burren produce and 100% of its proceeds go back into the work of the Burrenbeo Trust. They serve delicious homemade soups, Burren organic smoked salmon with local goats cream cheese on homemade brown bread and fresh salad and cakes and the most amazing scones baked by a local lady.

I didn’t realise how popular scones are in Ireland. They’re a whole different ball game to English scones…apparently the main difference is the addition of buttermilk. I’m intrigued by them so I’m going to source a recipe and attempt to make my own.

Brig is well aware, as are most people, of my passion for cafe’s, cakes and food in general and did a sterling job of taking me on a tour of all the culinary hot spots in the area. First stop was the Gallery Cafe in Gort…

where, amongst other things, we ate a yummy goats cheese and beetroot pizza. I forgot to take any photos as I was overcome by hunger after a long day working in the cafe 🙂

Every Friday Kinvara hosts a farmers market, my own little slice of heaven…

It had everything….live music…

cheese…

and the most amazing cake stall serving chocolate fudge cake…

carrot cake…

even the gluten free lemon cake looked amazing…

and a chocolate and guiness cake…not a traditional Irish recipe as you may imagine…apparently it’s one of Nigella’s – another to add to my ‘to bake’ list.

After much deliberation and drooling I decided to buy a slice of mango, banana and coconut cake…it was quite similar to a hummingbird cake that I made a while ago from the Hummingbird Cookery book but substituting pineapple for mango. It was one of the most moist, fruity cakes I have ever eaten…

That evening we popped into Galway and paid a visit to Bar No.8 on the docks. It didn’t look much from the outside but the food turned out to be a real hidden gem. The menu sounded so amazingly good that we decided to share a couple of things…

Parsnip, wild garlic and red cabbage fritters with beetroot yoghurt…

Potted crab with Jess’s Brown Bread. The crab was rich and creamy, mixed with celery and spring onion and was accompanied by a scrummy dressed salad. Simply perfect!

We couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie with wild berry biscuit ice cream for desert. It arrived looking like a true work of art, decorated with edible flowers (well at least we hoped they were edible because well…we ate them). They even cut the brownie in half for us so that we didn’t get into a fight about who had eaten most 🙂

We spent my last day on a mini road trip taking in the beautiful scenery of the west coast and despite not being in the least bit hungry, managed to fit in one last cafe trip to the Burren Perfumery

for carrot cake…

and a chocolate cupcake…

After such a wonderful trip it was a real struggle making myself leave Kinvara and get on the plane back to London…I have no doubt that I’ll be back.

 

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