Forest & Marcy brings its tasting menu to Donegal

Food File: Chef Ciarán Sweeney drops home and Delish Melish expands

The breakfast tray at Breac.House in Donegal, where Forest & Marcy head chef Ciarán Sweeney will be cooking tasting menus for guests.

The breakfast tray at Breac.House in Donegal, where Forest & Marcy head chef Ciarán Sweeney will be cooking tasting menus for guests.

 

From Donegal to D4 . . . and back again

Ciarán Sweeney, head chef at Forest & Marcy in Dublin 4, is returning – temporarily – to his Donegal roots over the summer and early autumn for a series of five tasting menu dinners at Breac.House near Dunfanaghy in the northwest of the county.

Former accountants Niall Campbell and Catherine Burke opened the stunning modern-build as a guesthouse in 2017, and in addition to the statement that the home makes through its striking design and locally sourced furniture and accessories, the breakfast and packed lunch have caused quite a stir.

Breac.House in Co Donegal

The couple make their own butter and yoghurt and these, together with local eggs, smoked salmon, cheese, bread and pastries, slide silently on a tray through a discreet hatch into each bedroom in the morning. A takeaway lunch of homemade soup, bread and cheese, and cake, is also provided.

But now, on selected dates throughout the year, guests will be able to book a two-night package that will include all of the above, plus a dinner tasting menu on one night, cooked in front of them by Sweeney. Pre-dinner drinks and a full drinks pairing are also included in the €650-€700 package price for two people.

“When we decided to do some events, we just loved the idea of bringing a chef from Donegal but working in Dublin – doing really interesting things – and getting him to showcase all the amazing ingredients we have here and use every day in our breakfast and picnics,” Burke says.

Ciarán Sweeney

Sweeney is looking forward to regular trips back home and says his tasting menus will be “based around prime ingredients from the region”. The meal will be served communally at the kitchen dining table, for 10-12 in-house guests.

“I’ll have a few things prepared beforehand such as fermented and pickled ingredients and sauces, but primarily everything will be collected that morning and cooked that night,” Sweeney says.

The dates for the package are June 23rd-25th; July 21st-23rd and 23rd-25th; October 13th-15th and 15th-17th. See breac.house.

A shortbread celebration cake decorated with meringues, marshmallows, fruit and flowers from Delish Melish
A shortbread celebration cake decorated with meringues, marshmallows, fruit and flowers from Delish Melish.

Sweet collaboration

Derval Mellett, maker of stunningly pretty meringues and marshmallows, has expanded her Delish Melish business in a number of ways.

A recent collaboration with Julie Reardon, who set up her wedding and celebration cake business, The Flour Artist, in Glasnevin in 2015, means you can now order a cake that combines Reardon’s cake with Mellett’s meringue and marshmallow decorations.

In addition, Mellett is making celebration bakes in the form of letters or numbers – two layers of almond shortbread biscuit with either marshmallow or cream cheese filling and topping, decorated with meringues and marshmallows, as well as fruit and flowers. The single letter or number cake (€40) is A4 sized and Mellett says it will serve up to 20.

She is also offering monthly meringue workshops at her commercial kitchen in Smithfield, Dublin 7, at which you can learn how to make, flavour and colour meringues. The next one is on May 12th (10am-12.30pm) and the €65 fee includes a light brunch and a goodie bag. See delishmelish.com.

Boyne celebrates its food

Olivia Duff, Tara Smith and Bronagh Conlon at the launch of Discover Boyne Valley Flavours.
Olivia Duff, Tara Smith and Bronagh Conlon at the launch of Discover Boyne Valley Flavours.

There are more than 45 events in the latest edition of the Boyne Valley Food Series, which runs until December. With a new name, Discover Boyne Valley Flavours, and a new food development officer, Tara Smith, the initiative promotes the food and drink producers in the area through a programme of events, festivals and gatherings.

Next month’s schedule includes an apple blossom walk, a fish festival, a Louth food safari and an open night at a brewery. See boynevalleyflavours.ie.

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