The good gourmet: The Good Food Gallery
As you enter the Good Food Gallery it seems to be a small food store, cosy and homely with a large fireplace on one side of the room and a counter stocked with cured meats and cheese.
However, as you pass the freshly made breads and head up a few steps, there are little coves packed with various gourmet delights. I have been in a number of times and each time I find little interesting bits and pieces. I picked up some Red Oak Grilling Planks for €12.99 from a company called Fire and Flavor (www.fireandflavor.com). They are two wooden planks that you place in a barbecue or on a grill rack and cook your meat or fish. Once cooked on a plank, the meat or fish gains a traditional aged oak flavour. I have yet to try them out, but in any case they'll make a nice gift.
The layout of the shop is what is most attractive. You walk around tables stocked with various goods and the shelves are nicely laden with various cuisines stocked together. They have a good range of Italian products, including terrific pizza bases, various tomato sauces and the real deal of Italian Prosciutto at €2.74. There is a freezer section stocking some homemade-style dinners, soups and desserts -- all made on site.
One section of the shop is dedicated to wines and all of these, as with the food, come from small artisan producers.
It's the newly renovated back of the gallery I love, where you'll find the café. The roof is pitched so that the light reflects around and the windows go from floor to ceiling. It would make a great homely kitchen.
As I tucked into a really nice bowl of curried parsnip soup and a proper ham and cheese sandwich on freshly made bread, with a light mustard/mayo dressing, I overheard my neighbours saying that this was the best sandwich they ever had and how they were going to purchase a few slices of ham to take home.
As well as serving soups and sandwiches, the Good Food Gallery also has a varied selection of home-style meals including beef lasagna and salad, Moroccan lamb tagine, Tuscan bean stew, and a baked ham and leek quiche, all of which you can buy fresh to bring home as well. The store is now offering all of these dishes and a variety of others for home parties. I have left a few hints with the Frenchman as I am about to turn another year older and hope he will organise a dinner party at home for me where I don't have to do any of the cooking.
I'll keep you posted on the outcome, but I'd start with a tomato, goats' cheese and herb tartlet flavoured with Gruyere cheese and Dijon mustard (€2 each), followed by a beef casserole with roasted diced potato flavoured with ginger and garlic (€6.50 per person), a huge green salad and a selection of cheese. I'd finish with assorted homemade tartlets -- the fillings include lemon meringue, white chocolate with a raspberry swirl, fresh berries and mascarpone cheese, (€2.50- €3.75).
As the Frenchman rarely reads my articles, he normally has to rely on his friends to tell him what I write about. So, this time, I'd really appreciate it if you would let him know my choice of menu.
You're all invited of course!
The Good Food Gallery, Main Street, Kilcullen. Co. Kildare. Tel: 045 484 551