Saturday 18 November 2017

Enjoy all the foodie fun of the Fayre

Aoileann garavaglia

My first introduction to Stradbally Fayre was at a point-to-point race in Tipperary, where they had an outside catering unit selling burgers/sausages, chips and the like. Although I had packed a picnic, the burgers and chips looked excellent. It was a toss-up between organic beef burgers in a really nice bun topped with lettuce and tomato served with homemade, hand-cut thick chips with their skins, or my ham sandwiches.

Guess which one the kids wanted? So the picnic was brought back home and we all had burgers and chips, and, boy, were they good.

I then discovered that it's a family-run business. The father runs Coolanowle Organic Meat, available at farmers' markets in Kilkenny, Portlaoise, Carlow, Greystones, Leopardstown and Ranelagh and also from www., which delivers to your home.

Intrigued by the delicious organic burger at the races, I had to visit the café and foodhall. The latter sells some locally produced jams, honey, biscuits, Ballycross juices, homemade breads and baked goods, plus the Frenchman's favourite chocolate spread -- Wicklow Fine Foods Luxury Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread, while the café serves a terrific breakfast and has a good-value lunch menu.

I had a 'mini breakfast' (€5.95), which comprised an excellent- quality and properly cooked (not deep-fried) sausage, a thick slice of nice bacon, a delicious slice each of white and black pudding, toasted homemade brown bread, a free-range egg and a proper cup of filtered coffee.

If you were a little bit hungrier, the jumbo breakfast has all the above but also comes with mushrooms, beans and tomato (€8.95).

As well as the fried breakfast, the café offers a breakfast wrap, panini, bagel or sandwich (€4.50), and steaming-hot porridge served with either honey or maple syrup. I'll definitely be back with the kids as there is plenty of room, and they also have homemade pancakes with syrup (golden/maple/honey) for €4.50.

I noticed a terrific playground at the other end of town, so a stop at the café and a trip to the playground would make for a really nice day out -- not forgetting Stradbally Forest Park, which is just up the hill from the playground; a great place for picnics, walks and amazing views.

The café also serves a great-value lunch, including country-size portions of feta cheese and sundried tomato tartlet, chips and any drink for €8.50; a roast breast of chicken with gravy, homemade chunky chips and salad for €9.95; and some of their dad's organic roast beef with potatoes and vegetables for €11.95.

Another element of the business is the catering. They offer a variety of hot dishes, all for about €6.50 per person, or a buffet with some Coolanowle organic roast beef (€26.95 per kg).

Or have them bake a Brady's traditional ham (€19.95 per kg), which, along with a couple of their salads (about €9 per kilo), would make a really nice homemade buffet for any special occasion.

Irish Independent

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