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Sally's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

The Sourdough Starter Allowance

Every keen baker knows that looking after a sourdough starter is more complicated, more time-consuming and more frustrating than looking after a child.
Sourdough starters are unpredictable, capricious, disappointing and – occasionally – utterly inspiring. They dominate your thoughts, your waking hours, and your concentration.
In this way, they perfectly resemble the act of rearing children.

North Coast Smokehouse

A sense of identity, a sense of place, a sense of culinary brotherhood, is slowly moving across the north coast of Northern Ireland. From 'Derry through to Coleraine, from Portstewart onto Portrush, then from Bushmills to Ballycastle, the region is claiming a just uniqueness.

Basilico Restaurant, Oranmore, Galway

Paolo Sabatini knows both the Italian art of cooking, and the Italian art of eating.
He knows that to cook well, you must first source your foods with precise care, so his menus celebrate the West Coast champions – Gannet fish; Achill mountain lamb; Friendly Farmer poultry; Brady's beef; Green Earth organics. And with these peerless foods at his fingertips, he then waves that culinary magic that ushers in the “gift of making art out of life”, as Marcella and Victor Hazan describe this marvellous alchemy.

Restaurant of the Year

Restaurant of the Year - Harrys Shack
Harry's Shack got hammered twice in 2014, Firstly, by its customers who – literally – ate every piece of food the restaurant had until there was none left to serve. Harry's had to issue a warning for people to stay away.
Secondly, the big waves of December 10th,  2014 hammered this beautiful beach shack. Harry's had to issue another warning for people to stay away.

Book of the Year

Book of the Year - Slainte by Caroline Hennessy & Kristin Jensen
Slainte is an important book, in a year of many exceptional books from Irish cooks and writers, because it digs beer out of the ghetto, and outs it as a cultural and culinary artefact that is essential to good living, good cooking, good eating and good drinking. Caroline and Kirsten have performed the most valuable work of cultural exploration and explication, in a book that is a joy to read.

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Wine Person of the Year

Wine person of the Year Alain Kerloc'h
Alain Kerloc'h makes the business of sourcing and serving great wines seem as simple as breathing. When you eat in Ox, you simply place yourself in his hands, and the wine experience he delivers is spectacular. Best of all, he is calm and quiet with his expertise, and devoid of the pretension that mars so much of the world of wine.


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