Food File: The weekly food news round-up

A gourmet relay with Relais & Châteaux, fish, chips and mushy peas . . . in a pie, and orchard blossom walks

Relais to rock 'n' roll
Relais & Châteaux celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and the group's 35 Irish and British member properties are each creating a tasting menu to mark the occasion. The celebrations kick off at the Cliff House Hotel in Co Waterford (above) tomorrow, and continue until September, when Hibiscus, Le Gavroche and The Goring host a gala London finale.

Over the next four months, an autographed first edition of each menu will be bound in a Relais & Château album and transported by the chef responsible – by road, sea or air – to the property hosting the next leg of the relay.

Tomorrow's launch at The House restaurant at the Cliff House will be a seven-course tasting menu (€95, or €400 for two including b&b), after which head chef Martijn Kajuiter will pass the baton to his counterpart, James Coffey, at the Park Hotel, Kenmare (May 9th). Philip Brazil takes over at Sheen Falls Lodge (May 10th), and a two-night package including six-course menus and accommodation in both hotels costs €395 (dinner only, €85).

Marlfield House is the venue for the penultimate Irish date on May 22nd, when Ruadhan Furlong will be cooking a six-course menu of Kilmore Quay fish, Wexford lamb and Slaney veal, local strawberries and cheeses. The menu here includes a Champagne reception and wine pairings, and costs €120, with b&b from €90 per person sharing.


Ballyfin Demesne is the final stop on the Irish leg of the tour, on May 24th. The package here is open to residents only and includes lunch, a guided tour of the house, pre-dinner drinks, a five-course menu with wine, and accommodation (€1,260 per room).

From here, the anniversary album will travel to Ynyshir Hall in Wales. To make reservations for the anniversary celebrations, contact the individual hotels.

New temptations from M&S
M&S recently opened a deli in its Blackrock, Co Dublin shop, selling raw and cooked meat products, cut-to-order cheese and charcuterie, pasta made on the premises daily, and roast chickens in butter-basted, piri piri and sweet chilli varieties. The rotisserie is working overtime to try to keep up with demand for these (€6.49 whole, €3.89 half and €2.29 quarter). If you miss out, these new Gastropub fish and chip pies (€5.19) arrived in M&S this week. The butter pastry case is filled with minted pea puree, cod in bechamel-based tartare sauce, topped with chips and smoked sea salt.

Apple blossom walks
Next Saturday, six apple farms around Ireland, including Con Traas's The Apple Farm in Cahir, will be welcoming visitors for a Blossom Walk open day, organised by Bord Bia and the Irish Apple Growers Association. There will be no admission charge. The growers taking part are in Tipperary, Cork, Carlow, Wexford, Waterford and Meath . For addresses and times, see