Veal cannelloni at The Tannery, Dungarvan

Last Friday, myself and Niall headed to Waterford for a twenty-two hour pitstop in Dungarvan to catch a snippet of The Waterford Food Festival.

We arrived at 5pm on Friday evening and left at 3pm on Saturday, but, boy, did we fit a lot in.

We enjoyed fresh and local asparagus and rhubarb, grown about 100 yards from where we ate it, and picked that day too.  We slept in one of the loveliest guesthouses we’ve ever stayed in.  We tried freshly shucked local oysters on the shore of the oyster beds from whence they came.  We had a tour of Dungarvan Brewing Company’s brewery and met the owners, while supping their beer at a tender 10:30 in the morning.  We had a fish demonstration as Gaeilge in Waterford’s Gaeltacht.

Not bad for 22 hours.  We missed loads of stuff though.  The Waterford Food Festival was held from the 14th of April until Sunday the 17th of April.  We didn’t get to O’Brien’s Chop House (next time!).  We didn’t get to taste Dungarvan Brewing Company’s Coffee and Oatmeal Stout.  We didn’t get to check out the Farmers’ Market on the Sunday.

Clearly Waterford, and Dungarvan in particular, have got it going on.

Skip the jump for more photos of the ah-mazing Tannery in Dungarvan and of our whistle-stop tour in general.

 

We pulled up in Dungarvan in the early evening and checked in to the Tannery Townhouse at the Tannery restaurant.  The Tannery is run by Paul Flynn and his totally awesome wife Máire, who have built their own incredible mini-empire in Dungarvan.  There’s the restaurant, which is exquisite, and the sister Townhouse, also stunning.  On top of that, and right next door to the Townhouse, they have the Tannery Cookery School, behind which you’ll find the kitchen garden.  It’s the stuff foodie dreams are made of.

Our first sight after walking down the beautiful entrance hall of the Townhouse was the Honesty Bar.  You could help yourself as long as you wrote down what you took in the tab.  I liked that a lot.  I didn’t actually drink anything from it, but it was nice to know it was there and that we, the clientele, were trusted with such a lovely loot of booze.

First impressions of our room.  So beautifully sunlit and tastefully decorated.  It was like being in a really lovely yacht, or beach chalet.  Without any of the seasickness or sand.

We made our way over to the Tannery for dinner at 7pm.  That evening everyone in the restaurant – which was packed by 7:30pm – enjoyed the six course tasting menu at €55 per person.

Beautiful crusty bread to start.  Served in a wee bucket.  So cute.

Our first course was wild garlic Ajo Blanco with grapes and crispy shallots.  Wow.  The grapes kept appearing in the wild garlic soup as delicious slices of freshness, while the shallots gave the whole soup that extra crunch.  The soup is served cold, which made it extra refreshing, as it was a beautifully warm evening.

Next was the cannelloni of veal cheek with glazed carrots and Madeira.  I mean.  What can I say?  It was amazing.

The veal was followed by roasted monkfish with asparagus, samphire and herb butter.  The asparagus was, by far, the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted.  And that’s because it was plucked fresh from The Tannery kitchen garden, having just popped out to say hello last week.  It tasted like a woodland fairy tale.  I’m deadly serious.  It was incredible.  And it’d have to be to outshine that monkfish.

For our main meat course, there was the roast rump of lamb served on caponata with aioli and saffron potatoes.  This was great.  The lamb was juicy and full of flavour, while the fluffy saffron potatoes had me thinking how the hell I would recreate them at home.

And now.  My favourite dish of the night.  Which is saying a lot.  Considering how amazing all of the other courses was AND considering I’m not that much of a sweets gal.  Flipping hell.  This was poached rhubarb (from the Tannery garden of course) with pistachio shortbread, mascarpone cream and a berry sorbet.  I could have eaten, like, four servings of this.  The shortbread was so crumbly and the rhubarb so tangy yet sweet, the mascarpone cream was just downright indulgent and the sorbet lifted the whole thing off to another level of amazeness.  Incredible.

We finished off our evening with chocolate fudge, biscotti and caramel popcorn.  Which was also, of course, amazing.

The staff were so friendly and efficient, just the right mix of formal and relaxed.  My only complaint is that the evening went by far too quickly.

Still, we were happy to go back to our rooms in The Tannery Townhouse for a little bit of a lie down.  We thought we’d have a ten minute nap and zzzzzzzzzzzzz we woke up at 8am the next day.  We were well and truly wiped out by that meal.

We started off Saturday with the continental breakfast included in the Townhouse.  Hanging outside our door were some freshly baked muffins, and in our fridge we found some rhubarb, yoghurt and muesli cups, as well as some lovely apple juice, and a cafetiere full of lovely coffee.  The little green decking table was another part of the room’s decor that gave it that jolly seaside feel.  Loved it.

Our plan for the day was to take a Bus Bia Tour of Dungarvan.  We went for the Beoir and Bia Mara Tour (€12.50 each) which was a bi-lingual tour into Gaeltacht na nDéise.

We started at Dungarvan Brewing Company, where the husband and wife teamed talked us through their amazing business.  And I was able to attain a new record for earliest beer ever, as we tasted their blonde beer, their red ale and their stout at a tender 10:30am.  Set us up well for the day, let me tell ya.

Our next stop was Harty’s Oyster Farm, otherwise known as Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd, in An Rinn.  The family welcomed us with freshly shucked oysters and a glass of wine or Guinness to wash it all down.  By this stage, we were certainly getting giddy.

Baby oysters.  Who knew they started out that small?  Not me!

In the photo below, you can see the vast oyster beds of the Harty Farm.

Our tour finished at around 1pm, after a bi-lingual cookery demonstration by Naoise Ó Cathasaigh using locally caught fish.  It was in a parish hall which brought back a lot of memories for many of us on the tour.

After our taste of fish, we were given a few delicious cakes from Tara’s Bakery in Dungarvan, washed down with some tea served by a few local parish women.

We had time for another sup of Dungarvan Brewing Company’s beautiful beer at The Tannery before running for our bus out of Waterford.  This photo probably sums up how I was feeling.  A little squiffy and very, very content.  And perhaps a little stoned on food.  Lol.

I can’t WAIT to go back to Dungarvan.