Archive for October, 2011

Workshops at Wild&Slow2011

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The following are some of the great workshops that will be be happening throughout Wild&Slow2011. 

For details on Wild& Slow2011 see HERE

  • Blackberries and beyond
    Ireland has 327,258 km of common Irish grass verges and hedgerows. In this workshop, Evan Doyle and Biddy white Lennon will concentrate on what is available there for free, where to look for it, and when it is best harvested, using the Wild&Slow templates to bring participants through each season.
  • Photo-stalking in The National Park
    This will involve hiking several miles in and around Wicklow, to stalk and photograph the resident wild deer herd and feathered game with photographer, Frank Doyle. Photo competition of participants work, with judging.
  • I am the Pheasant Plucker
    Game handling master class given by Mick Healy, of Wild Irish Game and Licensed Game Dealer. The workshop will centre round the vast variety of wild game that Ireland has to offer. With examples of feathered and furred, the workshop will explain how this precious resource can be harvested with a sustainable approach.
  • Feathered game tasting workshop
    of our native game. 1, 2, 3 week hung pheasant cooked for parallel tasting by Ross Lewis, Chapter One. The main aim of this will be to ascertain the effects of traditional hanging methods, on palatability, textures and taste.I am the Pheasant Plucker
    Furred game tasting workshop
    …of our native game. A tasting of rabbit, hare and venison. Three classic game meats, prepared for evaluation. Derry Clarke, l’Ecrivain, leads the attendees through this workshop, highlighting their differences in taste and texture.
  • In The Net
    A Wild Fish Workshop. Exploring seasonality, sustainability and fisheries management. This workshop will also give an overview of the current Irish fresh and tidal fisheries. Presentation by Mick Murphy, licensed traditional wild salmon, snap-net fisherman.
  • Medicinal Foraging
    Presentation by Herbal medicine academics Freda Wolfe and Clodagh Mulvey, members of the IAMMH (Irish Association of Master Medical Herbalists). This workshop will explore information gathered and used in mainstream medicine and holistic medicine from more than 400 plant species.
  • A Gamekeeper’s Story
    Retired Head Gamekeeper, Keith Wooldridge, from Ballinacor Estate, outlines his lifetime work, with preparations in spring through to winter shoots, emphasis on habitat, and environmental management. This will aim to inform attendees on the multi annual cycles involved with managing an estate.
  • Black and Blue. and Red all over 
    Matching game with wines workshop. Martina Delaney, Sommelier at l’Ecrivain and member Irish Guild of Sommeliers, serves tastes of Irish Game, accompanied by some of the worlds “gamiest” wines.
  • Back to the Basics
    A workshop where Darina Allen, Ballymaloe, will focus in depth on the traditional methods of preserving as used by our grandparents for pickling, drying and potting that gave them tastes of summery fruit in jams well after the trees were bare, cured meats and fish in the darker months, and allowed them have vitamins and minerals while nature slept.
  • The Sweetest Thing
    Three generations of bee keeping, production of wild honey and the state of the honeybee not just in Ireland, but internationally, outlined by Philip McCabe, President of the Apimondia European Commission, with tastings of honeys both from home and abroad and an insight into its traditional medicinal properties.
  • The Low Tide
    Enda Conneely, South Aran House & Fisherman’s Cottage, Inishere, just beside Ireland! Enda introduces a workshop on the sustainable harvesting and preserving of our native seaweeds and seaplants and their uses.
  • In The Pantry
    A guided visit and insight workshop on Macreddin Villages unique Wild Foods Pantry, by Evan Doyle, Tim Daly and Mary Bulfin. An understanding, that keeping what you have foraged is at least as important as collecting it, with tips on how to best keep your harvest into the following season allow us to “cheat” nature.
  • Holy Smoke
    In this workshop, Ed Hick, Hicks Pork Butchers, will outline the principles of curing and smoking. With the focus on wild Irish venison, preserving it by this traditional method and an organoleptic tasting of 3 month dry cured and beech wood smoked Wicklow venison.

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Wild&Slow2011 is sponsored by:



Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Harvest time is always the best time in the Kitchens of The Strawberry Tree, not alone have we got our Farmer Producers bringing in to us the fabulous bounty of their years labour…. but, also our Wild Food Pantry is bursting at the seams with harvested wild food goodies for The Menu. Exciting times for any Kitchen that has to be totally reliant on the seasons; this is the time that our chefs can flourish with Irelands natural harvest…can it get any better!

Well, yes it can and it has done so every winter since The Strawberry Tree opened its door for the first time. We always find ourselves watching the calendar in the Kitchen at this time of year, counting the days down to midnight on October 31st, when for a brief period every year the Irish Game Season opens and our menu transforms totally into a celebration of the largest variety of Wild Game that any menu in Ireland has to offer.

From the heady scent of braised pheasant, the deep dark flavour of slow-cooked venison to the delicate taste of Woodcock and Snipe, a contented reliance on nature’s gifts is as Strawberry Tree as it gets.

And Natures Gifts they are, She gives us a bounty of Wild Foods every winter: Venison, Rabbit, Pheasant, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Woodcock, Snipe to name a few…but its Nature that decides when these will make star appearances on the menu of The Strawberry Tree, not us!

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The Irish Times Magazine, Saturday Oct 15th. 2011

Monday, October 17th, 2011

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BrookLodge wins “Business Hotel of the Year”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

We mean business! We’re delighted to announce that the BrookLodge is the recipient of the “Business Hotel of the Year 2012” award at the Georgina Campbell Ireland Hospitality awards, that took place yesterday, October 11th, at Bord Bia’s HQ in Dublin. It’s a nice one for us, as not many people realise that as well as being a food, spa and leisure destination, we also have a big following in the conference, meetings & events market, both in Ireland and abroad.

Ireland’s longest-running hospitality accolades, the Georgina Campbell Awards are completely independent. They are not commercially driven and in no way affiliated with trade associations or marketing groups; there is no charge to establishments for recommendation or any element of the awards process. Every year Georgina Campbell and her team of experienced assessors comb the country’s hotels, country houses, guesthouses, restaurants, pubs and cafés, seeking out the best consumer experiences.

The citation for the award was as follows:

Food tourism and agriculture may be the hot white hopes for recessionary Ireland, but many of our best establishments are identifying other equally attractive niche markets and, along with several other categories in these awards, business tourism is a key one.

Former winners of this award have been hotels offering outstanding facilities for conferences and business guests, along with varying attributes that make the venue especially attractive, including a scenic or especially convenient location, great food and ancillary leisure activities for delegates. But this year’s winner not only has all of those – a beautiful rural location, excellent business and conference amenities and back up services, loads of down time activities (challenging or relaxing, as required), and a stunning food offering – they also have an extra ace up their sleeves, in the form of a Green-Meet programme. This hotel is renowned for its innovative and ethically-inspired approach to food and hospitality, and they have rightly identified that ‘hosting an environmentally responsible meeting is an important statement about your company’. To the hosts this all comes naturally – they have been doing it for years, and full details are given on their website; to most customers it will come as a refreshing new idea, a rewarding way of giving added value to their event, or any business stay. A great contributor to the business and conference market in Ireland, this an especially worthy winner of the Business Hotel of the Year Award.


The BrookLodge & Wells Spa Macreddin Co Wicklow

BrookLodge Macreddin Village Green-Meet Programme

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The Irish Times, Saturday Oct 08th, 2011

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

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Wild&Slow 2011 at Macreddin Village

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Slow Foods Ireland’s, Wild&Slow Festival 2011, will take place in Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow on Saturday and Sunday, November 19th & 20th.

For details of Workshops at Wild&Slow2011 see HERE

Presented by Slow Food Ireland and celebrating all that is good about Irish foods – fresh, local, traditional & wild – in a WinterFest Style Market, that will run from afternoon into crisp dark evening.

Picture yourself wandering down a frosty winter street in a rural and picturesque Irish village, your breath hanging foggily in the air, and your hands warmed by blazing wood-burning braziers and a cup of spiced, mulled wine. Imagine the feeling of a unique European Winter-Fest style market, here in Ireland. So now, visualise rows of wooden stalls lining both sides of the street, with hundreds of homemade foods on display. This is the culmination of Wild&Slow 2011, an exciting national event, which is designed to showcase and celebrate the best of wild foods that the Garden of Ireland has to offer. 

In addition to the fantastic Wild Foods that will be on sale from the stallholders, there will be Wild Workshops, Tastings, Talks and Demonstrations…something to spark the interest of all.

The Wild&Slow Festival promises to be a great weekend, and if you want to really spoil yourself, why not stay a night or two? B&B is available in BrookLodge on Fri, Nov 18th from €65 pps and on Sun, Nov 20th from €55 pps, with Dinner available both nights in either The Strawberry Tree or La Taverna Armento. Bookings can be made online at BrookLodge Reservations.  If you’re interested in becoming a member of Slow Food Ireland, you can get details by emailing

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Wild&Slow2011 is sponsored by:


Wild Foods Foraging – What, Where & How?

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Wild Foods Foraging is a unique and rewarding pastime, and a brilliant way excuse to get out in the fresh air, no matter what time of the year it is, or what the weather is like. It’s also a great excuse for getting the kids out from in front of the telly or off the computer games.

The PDF’s below are designed for any ‘Joe Soap’ to use…. The ‘What it looks like’, the ‘How to find it’, the ‘Irish history behind it’, the ‘Traditional methods of preserving it’ and the recipes are all there.

You can keep the finished product for you, your friends and family through the dark winter months, or you can set-up a stall (or share one) at Slow Foods Ireland’s, Wild & Slow Festival 2011, will take place in Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow on November 19th & 20th. (more info to follow)

N.B. Please follow the Charter for sustainable harvesting of Wild Foods, to ensure that we can all enjoy nature’s free bounty for generations to come.

Wild Foods – Bilberries

Wild Foods – Ceps

Wild Foods – Crab Apples

Wild Foods – Elderberries

Wild Foods – Elderflowers

Wild Foods – Garlic

Wild Foods – Rowanberries

Wild Foods – Sorrel

A Charter for the sustainable harvesting of Wild Foods

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