Cara Magazine’s Eoin Higgins goes Wild in the Country and discovers the natural attraction to Macreddin Villages Wild Foods Masterclass
Foraging. Something about that word excites the Explorer, the Girl Guide, the Cook in me. And sunny Ireland has the goods – in abundance. Not so sure which part of the hedge to choose? Not sure what to do with those leaves once back in the kitchen? Brook Lodge Hotel at Macreddin Village is home to Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant (see their truly free-range chickens, above) and they have recently launched a Wild Foods masterclass. Over two days, participants will have the opportunity to discover, prepare and eat seasonally found ingredients – apparently, we have access to over 327,000km of hedgerows across the country: wouldn’t it be nice to know not just what to pick, but also how to cook or preserve it?
Classes run twice a month; the next one commences June 13. Prices (€195 per two people sharing; €230 for single places) include accommodation, breakfast and tuition. For more information, including a full timetable or to book, phone 0402 36444 or visit www.brooklodge.com
The BrookLodge Hotel & Macreddin Village, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow
The kitchn.com recommends Evan Doyle & Biddy White Lennon’s “Wild Food” book as a resource to Newbie Foragers
Nature’s Harvest, Gathering Cooking & Preserving
Written By: Evan Doyle & Biddy White Lennon
‘In this combination field guide and cookbook, Irish writer Biddy White Lennon and chef Evan Doyle focus on the wild foods commonly found in Ireland. From hedgerow to seashore, they share advice for when and how to forage, where to look, how to pick, how to prepare, and how to preserve. This is primarily a book for people living in or traveling to Ireland, but those who are interested in foraging culture around the world might also enjoy it.’
Natural ingredients are everywhere and they’re yours for the taking according to Evan & Biddy’s new book.
See articles attached from Sunday Times March 03rd: Evan talks of when he opened his first restaurant and used wild food ingredients to now in The Strawberry Tree, the ONLY Certified Organic & Wild Restaurant in Ireland. Just this week the chefs of The Strawberry Tree restaurant collected 27 black bags full of wild garlic, all of which will be preserved in jars and used in the restaurant.
We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the BrookLodge was the winner of the “Best Culinary Hotel” award at the Good Food Ireland Awards in The Shelbourne Hotel last night. RTE’s Mary Kennedy hosted the awards, and they were presented by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD. It’s a fabulous honour, particularly when you consider the calibre of the other nominees, which included The Shelbourne, The Merrion Hotel, The Cliff House Hotel and Kelly’s Hotel.
The awards are of particular importance in our on-going efforts to attract discerning food tourists from overseas, as Good Food Ireland is by far and away the leading marketing and promotion grouping for Food Tourism in Ireland, with Redmond O’Donoghue, its Chairman, also CEO of Failte Ireland.
Added to our big three awards so far for 2012 – Georgina Campbell’s “Business Hotel of the Year”, “Best Customer Experience” award at the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medals 2012 and the RSVP Magazine “Best Resort Spa 2012”, we think it highlights the commitment and expertise of our fantastic team.
In the nomination for the award, Good Food Ireland said “When you enter the world of BrookLodge and Wells Spa, you walk into paradise. Yes this place is in its own private little world. Here at Good Food Ireland, we call it heaven. Macreddin Village is in the heart of the Wicklow Valley. You drive in the gate and there it is, a gorgeous village tucked in among the trees, quite out of the way from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet only a short drive from the busy motorway that takes you to Dublin. BrookLodge lies at the centre of this…”
Last night we were delighted to be awarded the Failte Ireland “Best Customer Experience” in the extremely prestigious Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medals 2012. And on Monday we were told we had won the “Best Resort Spa” in RVSP Magazine’s 2012 Spa Awards AND the “Restaurant of the Month” in Bord Bia’s Just Ask Campaign. Needless to say we are very chuffed and honoured.
At the Taste Council Summer School here in the BrookLodge, the Government was urged to protect food labelling terms such as farmhouse and artisan. Read all about it in the following article in The Irish Times by Alison Healy.
It’s coming to late summer and early autumn and it’s the perfect time for some great country walks. Last weekend’s Irish Times and Sunday Times featured two different Wicklow walks, both of which commence very near Macreddin, and are repoduced below. Why not try them out, and if you fancy a bit of spoiling afterwards, well you know where to come… (They are also linked in PDF format below, in case you want to print them out – enjoy)