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August 3, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

by Julianne Mooney

I love food. Let me clarify, I love good food. On holidays, I awake to thoughts of what will be on the breakfast buffet; fresh local fruit, baked pastries and a variety of home-made breads and jams. Freshly brewed coffee and eggs of some type. Whilst eating breakfast I fantasize what I will have for lunch. Afternoons are spent prowling side-streets in search of the perfect dinner venue. Peering in restaurant windows, reading menus and eyeing other diners dishes is akin to visiting a museum for me.

Embarking on my journey around Ireland, people reminded me of Ireland’s reputation for lousy food outside the main cities and towns. However, not far into my journey (one day) I realised the country had shrugged off this reputation and upped its game. Let me assure you, plates of limp cabbage, boiled ham and mashed potato are a thing of the past.

Today’s restaurants, cafes, hotels and pubs are taking their food seriously. A move to using organic, seasonal produce is supported by associations like Good Food Ireland and it’s not uncommon for restaurants to list local suppliers on their menu displaying their commitment to using fresh, seasonal, local produce.

The rise of gourmet hideaways like the stunning Old Convent, Tipperary, Ballyvolane House, Cork or The Cliff House, Waterford, where foodies congregate for weekend of gorging on banquets fit for for a King, illustrates an existing and flourishing market for this type of experience. Other establishments have gone one step further, combining the experience of creating dishes in their on-site cookery schools with that of dining, such as The Tannery, Ballymaloe House and Dunbrody House.

So you can rest assured, nowadays, food lovers are well catered for, in cities, towns and often than not, in the middle of nowhere. I would list more favourites here, but I have a chocolate roulade begging to be eaten it, a kitten needing attention and a cup of tea brewing.

But there’s an idea. I’ll do the Best of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Cake over the next few days. Yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do!

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