Tasty Food Inspired Trips on VM1 Elaine Travel Tuesday

This week as the season of feasting and fun gets under way I’m taking a look at some food inspired Travel. Whether you like to eat or cook food I’ve something for you!

Starting with something wild this foodie stay at one of the Blue Book properties includes some wild game to coincide with hunting season.

Game & Wine Evening with overnight stay at Gregans Castle Hotel, Co Clare

Gregans Castle Hotel in association with Cassidy Wines and Gourmet Game are excited to host a Wild Game and Rhone Wine evening on Thursday November 15th. All of the wild game will be sourced from Eamon Giblin of Gourmet Game in East Clare and will feature Venison, Partridge, Duck and Pheasant. Cooking will be by Head Chef Robbie McCauley and each dish will be carefully paired with wines from Maison Brotte in the Rhone valley, a family wine maker with 3 estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, Laudun and Cairanne. The evening will commence at 7.15pm with a Champagne reception in The Corkscrew Bar followed by a 9 course Tasting Menu at 8.00pm.

Offer includes: 1 Night’s overnight stay with breakfast, Champagne Reception and a 9 course Wild Game Dinner paired with Rhone Wines. Rate is per room based on 2 persons sharing.


Valid From: 15.11.2018 To: 16.11.2018


From: €229.00 per night

For more information please see www.irelandsbluebook.com or contact Gregans Castle directly on 065 707 7005

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Discovering Tapas Break at Ballymaloe House, Co Cork

On Tuesday November 20th, Check in to your comfortable country house room at Ballymaloe House and spend the afternoon relaxing at the house. That evening sip an aperitif by the fire in our Drawing room before a leisurely 5 course dinner at Ballymaloe House. Wake up Thursday morning to the peaceful sounds of the countryside and our award-winning Irish breakfast. Head to the Ballymaloe Cookery School, in Shanagarry, 4 km from Ballymaloe House, and check in by 1 pm, for a light lunch followed by intensive demonstration on the art of Tapas making. The unique combination of taste and convenience Tapas perfect for home entertaining. There are literally hundreds of tapas, so for this course Darina Allen has chosen some of her favourites, which she has collected during her visits to Spain over the years.

Offer includes: One-night B&B and dinner at Ballymaloe House and a “Discovering Tapas” half day course at The Ballymaloe Cookery School


Valid From: 20.08.2018 To: 21.11.2018


From: €295.00 per person

For more information please see www.irelandsbluebook.com or contact Ballymaloe House directly on 021 465 2531

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Do you love Thai food and fancy something really special? TD active holidays have this delicious trip to Thailand for 14 nights….

Explore Thailand with TDactive Holidays including Thai cooking class

From €2,399pp

14 nights

B&B hotel accommodation, 5 lunches & 2 dinners


  • Return flights, transfers, excursions, expert local guides
  • Visit a village in Chiang Mai to meet with a local Lanna family for a culinary class with a difference. The family will teach you about their culture as you select ingredients from their garden including banana, mango, coconut and fresh herbs, before learning to cook the food and eating together. You will also learn how to make small bamboo baskets
  • Tuk tuk tour in Bangkok
  • Long-tail boat journey passing by some of the stunning Kanchanaburi scenery
  • Board the Burma Railway & travel along the most scenic section of the route along the River Kwai
  • Visit to the Thai Elephant Care Centre
  • Explore Khao Sok National Park & wildlife safari

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If you fancy foraging for your food then what about this special stay in Leitrim?

Sample Itinerary

Midweek 2 nights’ accommodation in one of Ard Nahoo’s award-winning eco-cabins with a Continental Breakfast of locally produced organic food. Dinner provided on both nights by Edergole Kitchen.

Day one: Arrive at Ard Nahoo’s eco-cabins.  Experience uisce hour and complete relaxation in tranquil surroundings. Dinner will be provided by Edergole Kitchen that night.

Day two: Breakfast will be self-prepared with the locally produced organic food from your welcome basket.  Start the day with a walk and forage with Leitrim Landscapes Guided Walk trails around Fowleys Falls. Enjoy a coffee and a mid-morning snack en route, provided by the award-winning Organic Centre in Rossinver. You will end your walking adventure at the Organic Centre where you will be treated to a lunch or an outdoor picnic with some delicious delights supplied by their resident chef. In the afternoon you will take part in an activity in the gardens of The Organic Centre with a vegetable tasting tour and a cookery demonstration.

Day three: Continental breakfast prepared from your welcome basket. Take some time out with Yoga which will be conducted by a top class Yoga Teacher – suitable for all fitness levels.

Experience includes: €340 based on 4 sharing two nights midweek

  • Midweek 2 nights’ accommodation with breakfast (continental)
  • Uisce Hour
  • Dinner on night 1 at Ard Nahoo
  • Guided Walk
  • Canoe trip with bushcraft
  • Lunch
  • Supper Club Dinner on night 2
  • Guided walk and foraging
  • Mid-morning coffee and treat
  • Lunch at the Organic Centre
  • The Organic Centre tour and demonstration


  • Drinks – guests to bring their own

Guests to bring:

  • Loose clothing
  • Walking shoes
  • Rainwear

For more information see http://leitrimtourism.com/

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With the Chance to Win a Diamond Pendant



Powerscourt Hotel, Resort & Spa, the iconic five star resort in the heart of Wicklow, has partnered with Boodles Grafton Street, Dublin, to launch their exclusive Christmas Sparkle Afternoon Tea, inspired by diamonds and the festive season.


Renowned for their mouth-watering afternoon tea which is served daily in the hotel’s Sugar Loaf Lounge which boasts views of the beautiful natural landscape; all guests who experience the Christmas Sparkle Afternoon Tea between 26th November and 23rd December will have the opportunity to win a Boodles diamond pendant worth €1,900.

The Christmas Sparkle Afternoon Tea menu, which has been designed by Powerscourt’s Executive Chef, Tony O’Donnell, incorporates the luxury of Boodles into a unique and delicate delight.


When commenting on his inspiration for the menu, Tony said, “we wanted to combine the magic of Christmas with the opulence of Boodles, from the sugar diamond strawberry Christmas tree, to the homage paid to the iconic Boodles gift box, recreated in pastry and glazed in pink, the Afternoon Tea is luxurious from start to finish, with some added festive touches”.


Examples of the menu include:


– Chocolate “Caramelia” Mousse, Boodles gift Box – Caramelia mousse, Crunchy caramel insert, Cocoa sable, glazed in pink with a chocolate Boodles logo

– Pistachio Cream and Strawberry Christmas Tree – pistachio Chantilly cream, fresh strawberry, almond macaron, 50 carat sugar diamond décor


– White chocolate and raspberry Santa Hat – white chocolate mousse, raspberry confit insert, lemon pain de gene cake


James Amos, Boodles Director said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Powerscourt Hotel for the Christmas Sparkle Afternoon Tea and hope that the winner of the Boodles prize will love their diamond pendant.”


The winner of the diamond pendant will be announced in the Sugar Loaf Lounge at Powerscourt Hotel, Resort & Spa on Monday 24 December at 12 noon on Facebook Live. For full T&Cs please review website.

Price will be from €39 pp or €52 pp with glass of Champagne or bespoke Cocktail.

For more information on Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, visit www.powerscourthotel.com or telephone 01 274 8888.


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Cliff at Lyons Chef Experiences – a special treat for food-lovers and a perfect gift

Daily Bread and Garden Walk are two new Chef Experiences at Cliff at Lyons, a blend of history and insight, mixing hands-on experience and guidance, keeping country estate kitchen traditions alive in a contemporary way.

Making bread on wooden table background

Cliff at Lyons, the hotel and country retreat, is set in a collection of historic village houses, a barracks, a forge and an old flour mill, which was the first building in the original village at Lyons. Paying their respects to the village’s founding building, and to the canal-side setting where the original Guinness barges would pass on their way to the brewery at St. James’s Gate, Cliff at Lyons kitchen bakes  fresh Guinness bread daily using local Irish flour.

Daily Bread at Cliff at Lyons begins at 9 a.m. sharp, meeting the pastry chef in The Pantry and putting on your apron to make your own batch of fresh Guinness brown bread. Pop your dough into a pre-greased tin, make your signature mark on top and the chefs will take it away to bake while the local historian takes you on a guided walk of Arthur’s Way Heritage Trail, following in the footsteps of the stout-maker himself and taking in some important historical landmarks along the way.

Returning to the estate collect your freshly baked bread from Trellis to enjoy straightaway, have over lunch or take home with you, not forgetting a copy of the recipe so you can recreate it at home whenever you wish.

Daily Bread at Cliff at Lyons costs €65 per person based on a minimum of two participants, and includes the bread-baking class, guided 1.5-2 hour walk with local guide Breda Konstantine, and three-course lunch in Trellis.

Garden Walk at Cliff at Lyons is an introduction to kitchen gardening with head chef Nathan Dimond. Cliff at Lyons has a kitchen garden adjacent to both the main restaurant, The Orangery, and the all-day dining Trellis Café, and botanicals of all kinds from fresh herbs to earthy greens are important features of the menus.

For head chef Nathan Dimond, the season, the harvest and the morning finds dictate the menu. The vegetable leads, then meat, fish and fowl follow. Born in South Wales, Nathan left home at 16 to begin working in kitchens, starting in London, at Petersham Nurseries. There and then in Chateau Longueville Manor in Jersey,  Nathan’s affinity with hyper-locally grown fruit and veg began, with a three-acre kitchen garden in Jersey meaning the kitchen didn’t buy a single vegetable each year between the months of April and September.

At 12 noon, collect your wicker basket from The Pantry and meet Nathan Dimond in the Potager Garden. Prepare to get your hands dirty by helping chef gather his bounty for the evening’s menu, while Nathan imparts his passion for using the freshest ingredients possible, as well as his knowledge on edible plants and flowers.

Follow him through the raised beds and listen and learn while he leads you through the gardens, tasting a leaf and a berry here and there, all the way to the polytunnels where he’ll talk about the conditions created there to promote growth, then pass over your finds to Nathan who will transform them into dinner for you to feast on in the Orangery that evening.

Garden Walk and Talk at Cliff at Lyons costs €100 per person based on a minimum of two participants, and includes a one-hour garden talk plus a three- course dinner for two in The Orangery Restaurant.

Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, W23 H3NP

T: +353 1 630 3500



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Give thanks for food, give thanks for wine – 

it’s Thanksgiving at The Twelve in Galway


The Twelve is hosting a special celebratory evening of fine food and wine on November 22nd in West, in association with Tindal Wines, designed as a thank-you for the riches of the season and the region, as well as celebrating some recent award wins – it’s a kind of Thanksgiving in The Twelve’s own inimitable style.

With select wines introduced on the night by Harriet Tindal and Pascal Playon of Tindal Wines, and menus designed by head chef Martin O’Donnell, the evening pays tribute to the traditions of the season as well as exploring some of the delicious, sophisticated Italian wines of Antinori and Zenato.

Zenato was established in 1960 and makes wines on the shores of Lake Garda. Antinori is member of the Primum Familiae Vini and the 10th oldest family-owned company in the world, tracing its history back to 1385.

Beginning at 7 p.m. with a prosecco reception of Perlage Organic Prosecco Extra Dry ‘Sgajo’ accompanied by snacks of oyster crackers, aïoli and seaweed from the kitchen and introductions from Harriet Tindal and Pascal Playon, dinner begins at 7.30 p.m.

With each course accompanied by a different fine Italian wine, dinner starts with Uncle Matt’s pumpkin arancini with a Lugana San Benedetto, Zenato, and Connemara ham and smoked almonds accompanied Bramito Della Sala, Umbria IGT, Chardonnay, Castello Della Sala.

Next is the catch of the day from Stephan of Gannet Fishmongers with a Vermentino, Bolgheri DOC, Tenuta Guada Al Tasso, and Green Egg-smoked turkey roulade with chestnut stuffing paired with Chianti Classico Reserva DOCG, Villa Antinori.

With a venison course accompanied by the Botrosecco Maremma Toscana IGT Cab Sauv/Cab Franc, Le Mortelle and a squab course paired with Ripassa della Valpolicella Superiore, Zenato, dessert is given The Twelve spin by the incorporation of the hotel’s own Stout 1 to make an even richer and more luscious version of this Italian classic, accompanied by Recioto della Valpolicella, Zenato, concluding with tea/coffee and petits fours.

Fergus O’Halloran, general manager and head sommelier at The Twelve was recently conferred as a Chevalier of the Order of The Golden Sabre – the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or, the association for those who open Champagne using the most dramatic sabrage method. Sabrage is the opening of a bottle of Champagne by removing the cork and the glass collar around the cork with a single (and very flamboyant!) sweep of a ceremonial sabre, a technique thought to have originated with Napoleon’s light cavalry, the Hussars. As an appropriately celebratory part of the evening’s proceedings, Fergus will be demonstrating the technique on the night.

Celebrate Thanksgiving in an indulgent and enjoyable evening of exploration, an Antinori/Zenato evening with the insight and expertise of two of Tindal Wines’ most passionate and knowledgeable experts and with the delicious partnership between the selected wines and the creative dishes from Martin O’Donnell, head chef at The Twelve.

Thanksgiving at West on Thursday November 22nd is €75 per person for dinner and wine. With special stay the night packages available from €119 per person, tickets are very limited so immediate booking is advised.




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