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Treats from several counties as diners sit down to 'best of Irish'

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese had promised to showcase the "best of Irish produce" at last night's state dinner in Dublin Castle, and was true to her word.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip joined 170 dignitaries sitting down to a menu that included Clare salmon, Wexford beef and Meath strawberries.

The menu, which was devised in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One restaurant in Dublin, featured starters of smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse and a variety of vegetables from Denis Healy's farm in Wicklow.

The main course featured a rib of beef from a farm in Wexford as well as ox cheek and tongue from a butchery in Dublin.

The black pudding was sourced from Kanturk in Co Cork while the potatoes came from the "McNally family farm" in Co Dublin

The mouthwatering dessert included Carrageen set west Cork cream with Meath strawberries, oatmeal biscuits from Belfast and an Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue.

There was also an extensive cheese plate for anyone who was a glutton for punishment.

It included a "hard Comte-tyle cheese made using raw cow's milk from the Tiernan's own herd of Montbeliarde cows" in Co Louth.

The only area of the meal without an obvious Irish connection was the wine list.

Irish Independent