The good gourmet: 64 Wine
While the kids are at school in the morning it's nice to catch up with friends, and 64 Wine in Glasthule is a great little find.
As you enter you can browse the wine shop, but in the back is a small deli counter and hidden behind that is a den. In some ways it resembles a wine cave or a beautifully crafted, old wooden boat. The tabletops are mostly made from wooden wine boxes and the chairs are mismatched -- all old with either worn or torn coverings, some even with their stuffing hanging out. It's really cosy and feels extremely private.
An Americano, cappuccino or latte all come in one manageable-size cup -- it's Illy coffee and excellent. In the morning they have a selection of pastries and, come noon, all the sandwiches arrive from the kitchen upstairs; they're good, hearty and on Italian-style bread with plenty of filling.
We shared the following sandwiches: ham and cheese with tomato and lettuce; roast beef with tomato and cheese (€4.50); and chicken in ciabatta (€3.50). All were made with a really nice mayonnaise and a little grain mustard.
They also serve a cheese plate for €10 or a charcuterie plate for €12, a Caprese salad (€10) and a chicken salad made with smoked meat. As it's a wine shop, you can of course enjoy some excellent wines with your lunch, by the glass or bottle.
64 Wine also stocks a small variety of specialty gourmet goods, mainly French and Italian, including fresh olives, olive oils, biscuits, sauces, pastas and stuff that would make up a really nice antipasti platter.
Another great reason to venture to Glasthule is of course Cavistons Food Emporium. It is second to none when it comes to fish. All the fish used in my television programmes and in the pictures in my books come from here. Their produce is always extremely fresh and just beams at you.
I got a couple of Gurnard fillets, an ugly yet inexpensive white fish that I simply wrapped in foil with a slice of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper and baked for 10 minutes in the oven. This we ate with a very nice organic wine, Falerio Dei Colli Ascolani 2008 (€10), recommended to me by 64 Wine.
I also noticed that Cavistons stocks what I consider the best chicken in the world: Margaret McDonnell organic chicken (€16.95) from The Curragh. Okay, so I am a little biased as she is my neighbour and I buy direct from her. Admittedly I pay about €3-€4 less, but don't forget the cost of my diesel to get there! Roasted with a little butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper, it makes for an excellent chicken and any friends who have come to dinner and tasted a Margaret McDonnell have insisted on taking one from my freezer.
As I headed back to the car I picked up a box of juicy and sweet Spanish clementines (€4.99) from The Punnet fruit and veg shop, and I could not resist ham hock (€5.95) from Peter Dunne butchers, which made a tasty pea and ham soup that's still feeding us.