Monday, 30 November 2009

The “Spirit” of Chrismas, December 13th

The “Spirit” of Chrismas - A Slow Food Members' Event

A Celebration of Slow Food and a traditional Irish Christmas “Spirit”

Please bring a dish -
(Starter, Vegetable/Vegetarian Dish or Dessert)

And, if you can,
Some Christmas “Spirit” home-made if possible! (Sloe Gin, Home-Brew, Home-Made Wine etc.)

Sunday, December 13th, 3-6pm

Cnoc Suain
Cultural Hill Village
Moycullen, Co. Galway

Kate on 087 9312333 or Cáit on 087 2311580
ASAP, or Very Latest December 9th!

See below for directions


Galway - Moycullen - Cnoc Suain
(20 minute drive from Galway)

From Galway, take the N 59 to Moycullen. Turn left at the Forge Pub Turn left again at Centra. Continue for 5 miles until you come to the Cnoc Suain sign (approx. 1 mile (1.6 km) past the forestry).

Route 2
Galway - An Spidéal - Cnoc Suain
(30 minute drive from Galway)

From Galway, take the R336 - turn right at An Spidéal (Spiddal) village crossroads (opposite church) and continue along the road for 5 km (3.5 miles) through open bogland. As the road dips, you will cross over a small bridge and pass two houses 100m apart on your left-hand side. You are now approaching the entrance to Cnoc Suain, also on your left, approx. 50 m from the second house. Look out for the smal Cnoc Suain sign.

Mushroom Hunt Report

Slow Food Galway’s recent Mushroom Hunt and Connemara Lamb feast was a huge success. Over 100 people congregated at Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre despite the weather to forage around the woods near the village of Clonbur.
Soup and bread were served before the group had an introduction to mushrooms by our expert Louis Smith. They then set out from Clonbur village on the recently opened wood walk which extends all the way to Cong. The rain came down in bucket loads but the foragers spent almost two hours searching.
On return to the centre an inspection of the mushrooms gathered was carried out and these were cooked up for everyone to taste. All the hunters were then treated to a feast which included the spit roasted lamb donated by Hugh Musgrave, a hill farmer in Cleggan.

The feast was truly a slow one as the lamb had been cooking for about six hours and the line to get food was long and slow due to the large crowd but everyone agreed it was worth the wait.
All the food was prepared by the Galway Slow Food members some of which come from as far away as Clare Island and Tullamore.

Thanks to everyone who helped and participated and thanks to everyone at Petersburg who withstood the onslaught of over 100 slow food and mushroom fans!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Shrooms anyone??

Mushroom Hunt and Slow Food Harvest Feast

Slow Food Galway is holding a Mushroom Hunt followed by a Lamb Spit Roast Feast on Sunday 18th of October in the Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre, in Clonbur, Co. Galway.

The day starts off at 12pm at the Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre with soup and bread to stave off any hunger pains. The mushroom hunt will then take place in the woods at Clonbur and will be led by GMIT lecturer, Louis Smith, one of Ireland’s leading mushroom experts. Participants will learn to recognise and pick the delicious edible varieties of mushroom that we have in our fields and woods and the results of the foraging will be cooked later in the afternoon by the Slow Food chefs.

Following the mushroom hunt, the group will return to Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre for a Slow Food feast. A whole roast Connemara Hill Lamb will be turning on the spit, ready to eat together with a selection of vegetables, salads and, of course, mushrooms. The feast will finish with a variety of desserts prepared by local Slow Food members.

The cost for this special event is just €5 to encourage anyone attending to become Slow Food members themselves … yes that €5 covers everything!

And ... please bring suitable walking and all-weather gear for the mushroom hunt!
The feast will be taking place indoors, but you do need proper outdoor gear for the woods.

Slow Food is a non-profit, organisation that was founded in Italy in 1989 to promote the appreciation of good food and to counteract fast food, fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and the local producers who supported them

Slow Food Galway holds food-centred events to give members the opportunity to enjoy the best of local produce prepared to the highest standards. Events to date have included a Connemara Lamb evening, a traditional wood-fired pizza event, a wine tasting evening and there are more in the pipeline. For more information on Slow Food Galway you can go to

To book your place at the Mushroom Hunt and Slow Food Feast, telephone 087 9312333 or 087 2311580.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Slow, Delicious, Yummy Food & WINE!

Another wonderful Galway SlowFood event last week!
The tone of our evening last Thursday (September 24th 2009) night was one of sharing. Sharing knowledge about great wines, sharing talent with great culinary skills, and sharing food.Marcus Wright from Lawson's Dry Hills Winery in New Zealand, on a whirlwind 'Euro tour' stopped over for a night in Galway to break bread with fellow food and wine lovers and to help educate our palates on his fine creations. Although it was a 'school night' the attendance neared twenty people and what a night it was!

Local baker (Ron Wise) and chef extraordinaire (Kate O'Dwyer) tinkered and toiled with the fruits of their labour to provide us with a feast fit for Kings. Everything from the Gorgonzola Autumnal Pear Pizza to the unbelievable winter squash roasted readily in the wood fired cob oven - there was not a hunger pang to be felt for days after this event.

As is typical with our Galway SlowFood events, many of the members toted along a covered dish and the local harvest flavour really shone through.

A special word of thanks goes to Kate O'Dwyer who grew a lot of what we ate and really needs to be dubbed Ms. Local in our opinion, also to Cáit Curran who donated a lot of the produce and Cobie for the wonderful smoked eel, and of course to Ron & Móna Wise who opened up their home (and pizza oven) for this event. To all others that participated and brought food, printed flyer's, took the photos etc. Go Raibh Mile Mile Maith Agat!
Lots more photos to look at here:
That is all we have to report for Galway SlowFood for now!
Check back soon for our upcoming events:
October 18th 2009, Lamb Roast and Mushroom Hunt
December 13th, 2009 The Spirit of Christmas at Cnoc Suain.
January 2010 Meeting of the Minds - members meet at Ard Bia, Spanish Arch

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A lesson in some fine wine?

Lawson's Dry Hills Winery,
Marlborough, New Zealand.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at 6:30pm
Ross and Barbara Lawson founded Lawson's Dry Hills in 1992, they had been growing Gewürztraminer grapes for other wine companies on their Alabama road vineyard since 1980.

Their first vintage, which included the Gewürztraminer grown on the Alabama road vineyard, was just fifteen tonnes and was managed by Ross from the old tin shed on the property, which is still standing and forms part of the winery cellar door. Their Gewürztraminer has gone on to be recognised as one of the country's finest and has firmly established Lawson's Dry Hills on the national and international wine stage.
Other plantings soon followed and the company now produce a benchmark range of Marlborough wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, as well as outstanding Gewürztraminer.

All the grapes for Lawson’s Dry Hills are sourced from Marlborough's Wairau, Waihopai, Omaka and Brancott valleys. The Lawson’s have a very simple company philosophy –
"To produce Marlborough wines of great character at a fair price"

Lawson's Dry Hills has one other distinction, they believe that it was the first winery in the world to seal all it's 750ml bottles with a screwcap as a means of avoiding cork tainted wine.

To kick off our evening we will begin by sampling the Sauvignon Blanc. Aromatically the wine is an intriguing blend of passionfruit,lemongrass and floral notes with freshly cut herbs and red capsicum(bellpaper) adding complexity.Crisp acidity gives the palate its typical Marlborough zing whilst highlighting the wines mineral qualities and adding to its great length.Flavour wise,passionfruit,pink grapefruit and lime dominate.With bottle age, the barrel ferment component will become more evident providing rich tropical characters to the palate.

When it comes to enjoying a riesling the nose on this one displays a lovely mixture of citrus and stonefruit aromas with floral/spice notes adding complexity.The palate is light and freash with zingy acidity and a long clean finish.This wine has just enough residual suger(6g/L) to balance the wine's acidity whilst remaining crisp and dry.

This Pinot Noir amalgamates a mixture of black cherry,dark chocolate and exotic spice combine to produce a delightfully complex nose.The palate is elegant with good concentration and soft tannins showing blackberry,coffee and vanilla flavours.

Marcus Wright


Having acquired a love of good wine whilst working as a research scientist, Marcus in 1997 moved onto a vintage Cellarhand position, next Cellarmaster and eventually a Vintage Winemaker for Montana in Gisborne, NZ.

He then went to South America to work the 2000 vintage in Chile for Vina San Pedro and finally onto France with a vintage in the Loire for Jacques Lurton.

Marcus returned to NZ in 2001 with his partner and soon to be born son (having now added a daughter) and took up his position with Lawson’s Dry Hills helping to create elegant, fruit focused wines receiving top accolades for the aromatic team.

“My passion is for producing fantastic wines. I enjoy doing this in a well organized manner leaving nothing to chance. Experience in a wide range of wine companies from NZ to Wineries in Chile and France has given me the tools and knowledge to produce very good wines at all levels.”

We are fortunate that Marcus will join us for the evening to teach us all about these fantastic wines!

As with most of our events this will be a 'Pot Luck' style evening where all attendees will be asked to bring a covered dish of something they have thrown together that has been produced/sourced locally. In addition this event is sponsored by Febvre Wines.
Thursday September 24th, 2009 - 6.30pm

at the home of

Ron & Móna Wise

Rockhaven, Rockwood


County Galway

Contact information for reservations

091 739 624

Monday, 4 May 2009

Learning about Lamb!

With the sun shining across the Connemara landscape a bevy of local Slowfoodies from all over Galway descended upon McGeough’s butcher shop in Oughterard to ‘Learn about Lamb’. Established by James’s father Eamonn in 1971, we could sense thisbutcher shop is run with huge family pride.

James himself has a masters in Butchery (Germany) and perhaps that is where his love for ‘all meats air dried’ has stemmed from. To start off our afternoon, James invited up to sip on a sampling of wines he had opened, whetting our palates for what would come later. He then proceeded to teach us all about Irish Lamb.

We learned about the differences in local Irish lamb (from other counties like Mayo, where he currently buys from) and local Connemara Lamb which is only ‘in season’ in September! This came as a surprise to most of us, as the assumption was that all lamb was ‘in season’ for spring.
After learning all about the different cuts of lamb, James then took us ‘around back’ to where the afternoon took on a whole new level of interest! James is Butcher of note when it comes to air drying meat in Ireland. His operation is one of the slickest we have seen and certainly the cleanest. He walked us through his production line sharing with us the process of how he and his team handle each product from start to finish. Everything from the boot scrub machine at the main entrance, to the exact temperature of the water for cleanup all the way to the musty meat smell that greeted us as we gazed in awe at his hanging hams, and little lambs. Thanks James!
What a day of learning! Anyone hungry?

Dinner with a slice of Irish Culture Pie followed immediatley at the lovely and serene site of Cnoc Suain. Some may think that Dearbhaill Standún and her husband Charlie Troy were mad to attempt what they have wholeheartedly accomplished when they took on the dream of Cnoc Suain. The warmth and welcome we were received with when we descended upon this historic hill village to sample some local lamb dishes (prepared by two local chef’s) was only a continuation of what was turning out to be one of the most enjoyable SlowFood events we have had. With welcoming personalities and Dearbhaill’s gift for story telling, we learned the story about Cnoc Suain (Restful Hill) and how it is fast becoming a most popular haven as a Centre for Cultural and Natural Heritage. With a passion for landscape and culture so evident, this exudes what Connemara is to us Galway folk!

With each SlowFood member (and guests) toting along a covered dish of one of their favourite recipes, we were set up to have the most delectable evening. James McGeough had donated a stuffed and rolled breast of lamb and a leg of Lamb from County Mayo as he does not have access to Connemara Lamb until September. SlowFoodie, grower and Editor of Organic Matters Magazine, Cáit Curran had located a leg of ‘hill lamb’ from a friendly famer by the name of John Molloy, in Clonbur, County Galway who graciously donated a ‘local leg’ to sample! A smattering of baked fennel, roasted red cabbage with lamb jus and a winter vegetable casserole rounded off our dinner with plenty of crusty bread from one of our favourite bakery’s—The Gourmet Tart, Galway.
The consensus was unanimous. We could only determine the fact that both Lamb dishes tasted divine! Although there was ample amounts of wine on hand for those that did not have to drive home, there was an urgency to get the licked clean plates cleared so we could launch an attack on the sweet stashes that were waiting on the sideboard in the dining room at Cnoc Suain. With the aroma of coffee flooding the room we wrapped up the evening nicely with some amazing treats. An Organic Pear Crumble, Coconut Buttermilk Cake, Orange Almond Flourless Cake and locally sourced Rhubarb Crumble.
After each person ate every piece of dessert on offer, Charlie Troy offered to give a little tour of Cnoc Suain. A little stretch of the legs around this enchanted hill village with the sun setting along the Connemara skyline was the best way imaginable to wrap up this wonderful day.
Thank you, Dearbhaill and Charlie of Cnoc Suain. See you in November!

Tasty Regards,
SlowFood Galway.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Celebrating Grandmothers Day in Galway!

It was quite a dreary day in Galway, but that did not stop all our Grannies from stepping out in style to share some recipes and methods of tasty treats they have been cooking up for many years. Kay Nicholson of Renmore, Galway arrived with a few of her Grandchildren in tow, joining Joan Colleran and her offspring.

Together with the help of SlowFood Convivium members they demonstrated the perfect pastry making methods, followed by a scrumptious Apple Tart. Some Ginger cookies were baked and decorated and even a few queen cakes were thrown into the mix.

Although these considerate Grannies have baked these items for as long as they can remember they have never used a recipe. They were kind enough to share their methods and secret ingredients with us so we can preserve a little of their talent and commemorate the inaugural Grandmothers Day in Ireland.
In addition to all the sweets and pastries a sampling of Spring Nettle Soup was on the stove and enjoyed by all in attendance—even the children! A great day was had by all and special thanks goes to Cáit Curran (Organics Matters Magazine) for arranging the use of the Enterprise Center in Ballybane, Galway.

In addition a great big Go Raibh Maith Agat goes to the entire SlowFood Galway Convivium board members (and spouses) for all their help in the planning, preparation, execution and clean up of this event!

Looking forward to the next one!