Augh….We are in the foodie destination heaven here in the grounds of Ashford Castle and the Lodge at Ashford Castle! Our group got to steal Chef Jonathan Keane away on Father’s day on a foraging walk of the grounds and tour of the Polytunnels, vegetable and herbs garden. Lucky for us we also got to dine in the famous Wilde’s restaurant for two evenings and experience the delicious flavors we had tasted, smelt and seen on our walk in a stunning settling, over the waters of Lough Corrib. So, with full hearts and memories to last a lifetime we are departing Cong as we adventure further North on our Legendary Irish tour! Big thanks to Chef Jonathan and the team at the Lodge for such a brilliant stay yet again….
Chef Jonathan Keane and his team forage daily on the 350 acre Estate at Ashford Castle and were willing to share their experiences with Shamrock and Peach tours this summer. Eating Wild foods is growing in popularity in Ireland and so has the idea of working with what we have. Certainly, a value my parents taught me and I feel ingrained in the Irish psyche. There’ nothing like the flavor of fresh wild greens, flowers and berries just hand picked that day. Our guests got to taste this first hand when dining at Wilde’s restaurant. One of the culinary highlights of our meal at Wilde’s restaurant was the wood sorrel sorbet. The tangy acidic herb (also know as sourgrass) has a tart green apple flavor and it was the perfect palate cleanser with our feast.
May you enjoy the bounty of fields, forests, gardens and coast!
So, what is Modern Irish food anyway? I am so glad to answer probably the most frequently asked questions as a professional cook living in the United States. This new blog series is going to explore just what Irish food and Chefs are cooking these days. Foodies and travel lovers who come with me each year on my Shamrock and Peach tours are literally ‘blown away’ by the Chef driven meal experiences planned each day. It’s hard to nail down the top 5 things I have ever eaten in Ireland but I am going to attempt a series to share flavors that inspire me; and my tour guests were still raving about over breakfast the following morning and still prevalent in our memories.
My series one story begins when the talented Executive Chef Jonathan Keane of Wilde’s restaurant at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo served this Fois Gras Trifle it was the talk of our table. At first bite we were stunned by the combination of new flavors and tastes of Rhubarb, Passion Fruit, Bitter Cress and Tuna in a showstopping Foie Gras Trifle. It’s not very often I am stunned with a culinary tasting pleasure and I want to say a huge thank you to Chef Jonathan Keane for surprising us.
We are returning to dine at Wilde’s this coming June 2016 on our Castles and Culture Irish tour and I cannot wait for my guests to experience another culinary food adventure. Irish food created in Ireland by Irish Chefs cooking with local ingredients has to be tasted to be believed!