Once again, friends, apologies for staying away so long. We’ve been surprisingly busy around here, and add to that I was without my laptop last week while all the nasty malware got wiped (along with Windows!). Enough said.
Now that I’m back online, I’ve been dying to tell you about an outing Frank and I took a couple weeks ago to Duleek, Co. Meath. It’s just 15 minutes away by bus, but can you believe we’ve never stopped there?
The main purpose was to check out one of the monthly Farmers Markets at Sage & Stone, which have come highly recommended to me from many respected folks (with a special shout out of Thanks to my friend Julie Anne!). We weren’t disappointed! Not only is the Sage & Stone shop and cafe a delight to browse, but the outdoor market set in a lovely rural setting was very enjoyable. We browsed the stalls, tried the fare, chatted to friends and strangers alike, and drank in the sporadic sunshine. It was a great little Saturday getaway to be sure.
The tents and stalls included artisan bread, specialty cakes and sweets, sauces and pickles, Irish cheeses, local apple juice, fresh fish and hand-cured meats. There was even a gourmet tea stall, where a young woman put as much care into brewing each pot as a painter would put onto a canvas. Then there were stalls with crafts, plants, veggies and even homemade toiletries! It was a great range and everyone seems very friendly and passionate about what they did.
As I waited for a sausage and rasher sandwich, I chatted with the woman who brought the homemade smoked meats to the market, and it was really interesting and eye-opening to hear how the supply and demand for things like this works. I think that’s part of what made this market so unique – I actually felt like I was as much an imporant part of it by being a consumer as I would be if I were a seller. I found it truly enjoyable to learn things about food while I was enjoying the incredible tastes and smells – it’s not every day you use your brain while you’re filling your belly!
We brought home many yummy treats, but out of all the amazing things I tried that day, one of the most delicious was a generous chunk of “Hot Irishman” fudge from Man of Aran fudge-makers. It’s silly, I know, but I took good fudge for granted when I lived in America – it’s easy to find here, but rarely is it nice to eat (my own failures included!!!). This stuff from Man of Aran was fantastic, soft, sweet, decadent… wish I had some to munch right now!
After we had seen all we could at the market, Frank and I wandered back down to the main street of Duleek. It was a lovely day for a walk and we had fun exploring some beautiful ancient ruins of a church up on the hill. We wandered back down to a pub to have a pint while waiting for the bus, which we enjoyed before a large wedding party descended on the bar after us! All in all, a nice day out, and a nice change from our normal weekend routine.
I hope I get to return, definitely to the Sage & Stone shop, but also to their food and craft markets. This also whetted my appetite for more of the fabulous food markets that go on around the country – I’ve heard wonderful things about the ones in Waterford and Cork especially… hmm… might just have to take a trip!!!
The next Farmer’s Market at Sage & Stone will be August 27 – if you haven’t been, don’t miss it!