Cafe Paradiso, eat your veggies (and drink your wine)

Do you know what my favourite thing about my press trip to Ireland was? It wasn’t the fantastic food, the amazing people (both my travelling companions and the Irish we met), the unbelievable sunny days and beautiful scenery or the fact I got to pick all the wines with most of our dinners (although those were all great!). It was the fact that we also had activities! From swimming to lounging around in a jacuzzi to kayaking down the River Lee in Cork, it was such a refreshing change from: get on the bus, get off the bus, eat, drink, repeat. I know, I may be sounding a bit churlish but anybody who’s ever been on a press trip will know what I’m talking about. We also had free time (!) and no 7am starts. A big thanks to Tourism Ireland and Eat Like A Girl for planning such a great trip.  Take note, trip planners. After all that kayaking, I was ready to  continue on with our discovery of Irish cuisine. I wanted to bite into something meaty and hearty. A vegetarian restaurant? My heart sank like a stone to the bottom of the well that was my despair as soon as I discovered we were going to a meatless restaurant. Vegetarian? Ugh, how depressing. I was plotting a room service hamburger upon our return to the hotel before we even arrived at Cafe Paradiso. A small, modern, clutter-free dining room greeted us and as we sat down to order, I got a bit of the cafe history. Cafe Paradiso wasn’t the first vegetarian restaurant in Cork, but it was the first to take vegetarian cooking out of the lentils and rice brigade and serve original and delicious vegetable based cuisine. The Cafe has won much acclaim for it’s modern approach to vegetarian cooking and they source all of their produce locally, mostly from the Gort-Na-Nain Farm, south of the city. They are so committed to using only locally sourced produce that they...

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There’s more to Ireland then Guinness & potatoes – food & wine matching

Ireland has been in the news a lot lately and sadly it´s not for it´s gastronomic delights.  This past October, I visited the Emerald Isle and I can attest to the high quality and just plain deliciousness of their cuisine. The old stereotype might be of potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes but Ireland has experienced a culinary boom in the past few years and  I was invited along with 4 food bloggers, Eat like a Girl, Scandilicious, Gastronomy Domaine and  Simply Splendiferous to see what´s going on. Although food is not my main thing, I do think that food and wine should go together so I was very curious to see what an Irish wine list would look like. I was not disappointed at the Cliff House Hotel. Situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, the Cliff House is a beautiful 5 star hotel in West Waterford and boasts one of the few Michelin starred restaurants in Ireland, the one star, House Restaurant. We had the tasting menu which was matched by their female German sommelier Anke Hartmann. Although Anke was not there that evening, the assistant sommelier, Hungarian Niki Fajd, was on hand to answer my questions. Each course was paired with a wine and was all Irish, from the salmon to the venison. The wines were all European, heavy on the Italian side but a German riesling was matched with a course as well as a Jurancon. The list was well rounded, not too big or small. The hotel had chosen wines mainly from Italy to pair with our tasting menu. I’m not very familiar with Italian wines, sadly, but the ones that Anke picked were spot on. From Sicily, a white blend from Donnafugata, a Veronese red, and a Sardinian red to go along with the German riesling and French Jurancon. The next night we stayed and dined at the Castlemartyr Resort and golf course!!  Castlemartyr is an 18th century mansion which has been renovated into a luxurious spar and resort. It sits next to the ruins of an...

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