A bit of this and a bit of that

This week I have a few different items to mention and would like to suggest that it might be a good time to shop around for Christmas wine. There are some really good deals available now and also watch out for some up and coming wine fairs such as Cases Wine Fair on the Tuam Road. It is on today (Thursday ) from 6.30pm to 10pm and the €20 ticket will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. There will be 120 wines to taste and cheese from Sheridan’s. As wine makes a really acceptable present I suggest you make an early Christmas present list and note anyone who would like a bottle or two or indeed a full case! If you are buying a pretty expensive wine for a wine lover, ask the advice of the wine shop’s most senior person and usually you will be well advised. We are well served in Galway with wine shops — O’Brien’s, McCambridge’s, Woodberrys, Harvest, Cases, Fine Wines, The Wine Buff, Noel O’Loughlin at Galwaybaywine.com, upstairs over Sheridan’s Cheese Shop, The Vineyard, and the organic wines from Dirk at the Saturday Market in Galway, off Shop Street. In fact, now that I list them all (hoping I have not forgotten any ) I am amazed that there are indeed such a number.

I spotted an interesting deal at McGrath’s butchers in Mervue. It has two special offers; for €20 you get four lamb chops, 1lb mince, a large chicken, a bacon joint, and four chicken burgers. This will feed a family of four for five days. The second offer is €40 and you get a large chicken, joint of bacon, 2lb of mince, roast of beef, four lamb chops, four pork chops, 1lb of sausages, four steak burgers, and a head of cabbage. This will feed a family of four plus for a week. The reason it is proving popular, according to some customers, is that it takes the thinking out of what to buy — you pays your money and done, meat for the week.

A new food market has opened in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9.30am to 6.30pm and among the stalls there I was very impressed with a new and exclusive product from Clarinbridge. It is a selection of smoked shellfish; scallops, mussels, and oysters. The smoked oysters don’t look too pleasing to the eye but the taste and texture is fantastic. If you are a lover of oysters you have to try them, and if you have never eaten oyster or hate the thought of it you will love these — guaranteed. I was surprised by the taste myself and the fact that my 10-year-old polished them off is a guide to how tasty they are. As far as I know this is the only place in Ireland selling smoked oysters, they cost €6 per pack. Thinking about oysters, is it not a shame that we never really celebrate our most famous local food, sure we have the two large scale events, but why not have an oyster event in our streets. We could have Shop Street and High Street filled with people selling every variety of oyster and possibly other local shellfish, and every possible oyster dish one can think of.

The Clarinbridge Indoor Market opened its doors last weekend and the fact that it is indoors was all the more appreciated as it was raining when I visited. Having stood in the rain at a stall myself a few times, I can assure you that it is misery to see your products/produce getting wet or the rain soaking up through your shoes. They still have places available — just call in and ask.

Finally, The Hotel Meyrick (formerly the Great Southern Hotel ) has launched an early bird menu, available from Sunday to Friday inclusive from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. The deal is that you can choose any two courses from the main dinner menu plus a glass of sparkling wine for €25.

For bookings call

(091 ) 564041.

The Clarinbridge Indoor Market.

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