Back home again after my third and wonderfully successfully culinary tour of Ireland and one of my hi-lights was our dinner at the Lough Erne Resort.
My friend Noel McMeel and his culinary team presented the Shamrock and Peach tour group with a menu inspired by the food that was served a the G8 summit. The Catalina restaurant was awarded the best hotel Restaurant in Ulster 2013 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland and there is no doubt why when you taste and see that it is good.
The emphasis and respect is on local product and sourcing and promoting seasonal produce. Hotel bookings are at a record boom since the G8 summit and we arrived in the middle of a full blown Irish wedding reception. Needless to say our American guests were highly entertained with wedding guests rolling down the grassy banks overlooking the superb golf links and singing at 3 am but what else can you expect in Ireland? The hotel staff and culinary team very relaxed compared to our last visit in June prior the arrival of the world leaders.
Noel McMeel is raising the bar for Irish food and his creativity and passion is matched with his belief in endless possibilities and active participation! Way to go Noel and Lough Erne culinary team! Looking forward to returning in 2014!
So, it’s almost time for me to kiss goodbye to hubby pack the bag and head off to the green fields and warm welcomes of Ireland to lead another Shamrock & Peach Culinary tour – (www.shamrockandpeach.com) and I can’t wait! And this time we will be visiting the ancient walled city of Derry right in the middle of their ‘UK City of Culture’ celebrations, including the Fleadh music festival…thousands of people from across Ireland and Europe indeed will be flocking to this most interesting city to soak in the culture and ‘craic’…
Don’t know what I’m taking about? …then let me invite you to watch the video from the URL link below. This video actually brought tears to our eyes when we watched it as we are so proud of how far our wee country has come!
…Derry city of culture video
So it’s off I go, hi-ho hi-ho!….check out my updates as the food and fun is going to be grrrreat!
Judie the Irish Foodie
The Shamrock and Peach just participated in the annual Irish dancers of Savannah Irish Feis held at the Savannah convention center.
So often it’s all work and little pressure (that’s what I tell my boys at home) but this weekend I decided to splurge on a local upscale restaurant aptly named Local 11 ten. I have to take my hat off to Chef Brandy Williamson who has just got it right with respecting local ingredients and simple farmhouse table cooking concepts but still retaining an element of sophistication and effort.
Our meal experience began with a bowl of warm green olives imported from Italy packed with local marinated vegetables and hints of preserved lemon and the perfect bottle of pinot noir – and as an entree we ordered the day boat fish with a choice of 6 different sauce options and for sides perfectly cooked okra with shallots and brussell sprouts with Italian sausage. Yum indeed!
An article in Food and Wine recently described vegetables as the new big thing in dining, and for me they were the most memorable part of our meal. -In saying that though, the peach cobbler could not be passed up as I am in the Peach State, and I am the Shamrock and Peach after all right? Yup, one look and I was sold on the house made cinnamon ice cream and the cobbler was packed with fruit and very little batter just the way it should be.
Best of all is that I walked away inspired by good food and the evident love and respect of local ingredients. Tonight it’s back to reality with piled high laundry and cooking dinner for 3 hungry boys but last night I had dinner in the garden of good and evil and it was good! Tomorrow, I am buying the classic novel Midnight in the garden of good and evil set in my favorite city in Georgia where I want to return to again and again.
Our local farmers markets are full of summers best seasonal produce and with a little respect and a lot of love we can create food memories and those can be made with often the most inexpensive and simple ingredients. It’s all good!
Judith the Irish foodie (just back from Savannah, GA)