Food File: The weekly food news round-up
Marie-Claire Digby with all the latest food news
Pizza the action at Kelly’s new cafe
When a newly opened cafe in a retail park draws crowds of up to 700 customers a day, there’s something interesting afoot. Kelly’s Café, operated by the team behind Kelly’s Hotel in Rosslare, has been an immediate hit since opening its doors at Drinagh Park, just outside Wexford town, a fortnight ago.
“A baptism of fire”, is how Bill Kelly, the hotel’s proprietor and general manager (check) describes the 120-seat cafe’s first few days, which coincided with the Opera Festival and the Bank Holiday weekend.
An imposing Italian Morello flat bread pizza oven is at the core of the fit-out of the cafe, which sits alongside a Meadows & Byrne lifestyle store and a garden centre. The pizza bases are made to an unusual recipe, with a blend of four types of flour, just a gram and a half of yeast per kilo, and a three-day prove, explains Kelly’s executive chef Eugene Callaghan. The recipe for the bases was developed by chef Bruno Trehu who runs a pizzeria in the French ski resort of Megève and who spent a fortnight training the Kelly’s chefs in the art of great pizza.
“We’ll also do six salads, two terrines, two quiches, hot and cold fish and chicken, four sandwich options and pies and bakes, different every day,” Callaghan says. The cafe is using the same local, Irish suppliers as the hotel, and is managed by the hotel’s pastry chef Stephane Rochard.
An interesting and prettily presented range of mustards, oils and vinegars, preserves and confectionery from French brand Le Comptoir de Mathilde sits alongside Irish brands on the cafe’s merchandising shelves and will be a good source of Christmas gifts.
Callaghan and Rochard will be joined by Neven Maguire for a series of cookery demonstrations at Kelly’s hotel on December 1st-6th, when a variety of two- to five-day half and full board packages will be available, from €230, including the classes. See kellys.ie
The full hog
A hog roast lunch, with a glass of gluhwein or mulled cider, sounds like the ideal prelude to an amble around the Point Village Christmas market which will open in Dublin 1 later this month. The Gibson hotel at the Point is launching a German food market that will offer a variety of seasonal specialities and traditional German dishes such as smoked kassler pork ribs, spit roast pork with cream potatoes, roast chestnuts and sauerkraut, Bratwurst cooked over an open fire and Jarlsberg cheese tarts, all served in a market stall setting. The “sweet station” will have Black Forest gateau as well as waffles and gingerbread.. The German food market will open every day from November 27th, the day before the Point Christmas market kicks off, from 4pm to 9.30pm, and the Sundays-only hog roast lunch will be served from noon to 4pm. See thegibsonhotel.ie
Grasp the nettle
Nettles are a very nutritious foraged food, rich in magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamins, but if you need convincing that they can be delicious too, pick up a pot of nettle pesto from Fiona and Malcolm Falconer’s Wild About, an artisan food company that makes delicious relishes, pestos, chutneys and syrups in Gorey, Co Wexford. Extra virgin olive oil, gran padano cheese, walnuts, parsley, garlic and lemon juice join wild nettle tips in this product, which Fiona suggests spreading over fish or chicken before baking it, or melting into hot pasta. A jar costs €4.50 from wildabout.ie.