Tuesday 25 February 2020

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Alternative food celebrations this Christmas!

Wednesday, 4th December, 2019 5:15pm

Christmas parties and team outings are in full swing and pubs and restaurants are busy – a good sign after the meagre years of the recession. Spare a thought for the staff during these busy times – they will be stretched to the limit.

Personally, I prefer smaller gatherings in more intimate settings rather than places for large groups or even something completely different than the usual three-course meal with a glass of mulled wine (nothing wrong with a good mulled wine) – here are some ideas for a Christmas celebration that will have your heart singing cheery carols:

First up is the Friday Supper Club at the Farmgate in the English Market. I had the pleasure of joining the supper club a few weeks back and they have still two Fridays left.

Head chef Pamela Kelly is creating a delicious tasting menu that takes you on a journey through the English Market. At my visit, we had oysters, goat cheese fritters with organic beetroot, smoked fish platter, slow cooked featherblade of beef, chocolate marquis, cheese platter with fig compote – each dish packing the flavour punch Pam is so well known for when let loose.

The excellent wine list makes for a difficult choice but what makes this supper club so special is the intimate setting.

Imagine a long dining table in a dimmed lit room with the mystical quietness of the English market at night. Call 021-4278134 for bookings – please keep in mind that there are a limited number of places available.

If a formal/informal dinner is not your cup of tea – why not combine your outing with learning? This is easily done with a brewery tour followed by a craft beer tasting and maybe a delicious pizza as offered in the Rising Sons Brewery Pub and the Franciscan Well.

The Wooden Spoons Cookery School is offering Christmas Tapas Nights in Killeens near Blarney. Minimum booking of 10 places is required. Email lacitabb@gmail.com for details.

Ballyvolane House is not only a beautiful Irish country house but also a great spot for delicious food. You could give it a try at one of the following two Saturdays with their Faulty Tower Dining Experience. There is a ticket price of €75 includes a three-course meal and two-hour performance. You can either book online or by phoning 025-36349.

Who said that Christmas outings have to be in the evening – why not enjoy a beautiful afternoon tea? I have been recently to the River Lee Hotel and Metropole Hotel for their afternoon tea and left with a big smile on my face.

Longueville House and Ballyvolane House also offer afternoon tea – go back in time and experience your very own ‘Downtown Abbey’ moment!

However you decide to celebrate Christmas – be jolly and enjoy the season of Christmas!

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