April 30, 2014

The Boyne Valley Food Series kicks off this May Bank Holiday Weekend

The Boyne Valley Food Series is an innovative food adventure! Its aim is to highlight Meath and Louth's rich selection of artisan producers, small food businesses and restaurants during the summer and autumn months.  This will be done through a series of fantastic events that will take place from May right on up to September. 

The Boyne Valley Food Series kicks off this Friday in perfect time for the May bank holiday weekend. You could go on a blossom walk in Grove Orchard or get fancy with fish at the Seafood Festival in the Bective, Kells. On Monday the Electric Bike Foodie Tour is happening and it consists of a one day 25km tour by electric bike with stops at a wonderful selection of artisan producers.

Throughout the rest of the month there will be BBQ demonstrations, beer tastings, gourmet nights and a big Festival of Food. Some of the events are free, others are not, so check out the website here for more details. You can also find them on Facebook here.

Have a fabulous bank holiday weekend and let's welcome the summer in with style!

April 10, 2014

A Traditional Afternoon Tea at Ariel House

One of my missions in life is to sample as many afternoon teas in Ireland as possible. It’s a slow, sugar filled but very enjoyable activity! There are the old reliables in Dublin such as the Westin, the Westbury and the Shelbourne where generations of women meet and wile the afternoons away. Then there are places like the Clarence or Fota Island Resort that do great afternoon teas but that aren't the first to spring to mind when trying to think of a place to go. Then once in a while, a place you never knew existed, comes along and makes all your inner Downton fantasies come true and all without breaking the bank!

This place is Ariel House, a beautiful Victorian house located in the heart of Ballsbridge. I first got to experience the beauty and hospitality of Ariel House at an event way back in December. The place looked wonderful with a giant Christmas tree in the living room and roaring fires in the fireplaces. I knew then that I had to return with friends and family and share this special place with them. 

So on a bright sunny Saturday in February Mrs G and I met up for one of our usual sessions. By sessions I mean copious amounts of tea, cake and three hour long gossips! We were seated in the beautifully bright sun room with a view of the Aviva and their Victorian garden. One of the first things that just made us go ‘Aww’ were the table settings. It was beautifully laid with delicate china and our inner Cath Kidsons were screaming 'I want to bring this all home'!! 


First up were the sandwiches with delightful cucumber ones, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and mustard and ham all on offer. There was more than enough for the two of us and after them we were ready to get stuck into the sweet stuff of which there was an abundance. 


Plate after delicious tiered plate arrived at the table. There were vanilla melting moments, plum and frangipane tart, scones, tea brack, coffee cake, strawberry shortbreads and more. We also got an amazing chocolate dessert which I thought was a great addition. One of the lovely things about what you get served for afternoon tea is that a lot of the recipes are from Irish cookbooks such as ‘Like Mam used to Bake’ or Rachael Allen. There was a stack of cookbooks on the windowsill beside us and I have to admit we did flick though them to see if we could find our favourites of the day.


The staff in Ariel House were fantastic and we had a constant supply of tea and coffee brought to us throughout our stay. We were so well looked after that we didn’t even feel the time pass. Before we knew it we had sat there for three whole hours chatting about everything under the sun. As my friend said it was like having a wonderful visit to a friend’s house. It was one of the most relaxing afternoon teas I have ever experienced. Afternoon tea cost us €17.50 each which is one of the best priced ones around. I am a bit loathe to let this great afternoon tea secret out of the bag but it’s ok because I have already booked my next visit back with 14 friends and family in tow!

Ariel House
Address: 50 Lansdowne Rd, Dublin 4 
Phone:(01) 668 5512

April 03, 2014

April's Food Festivals & Events

There is a proper touch of spring in the air today and hopefully this bodes well for the month of April. There is lots happening around the country and with Easter in between it is a very welcome month and not just for all the chocolate that has been promised! Have a good one and make sure you get out and about and shake off those winter blues!
If you would like to have your food event or festival added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) gmail.com. Dates are always subject to change so please check the event website before getting all geared up to go out!