Fiori di Zuca, which means pumpkin flowers, is a new venture from four women, three from Italy and one from Ireland. They describe it as a friendly and creative Italian café which is open seven days a week from 10am to 7pm. It is located at the end of Lower Dominick Street near the river and at the rear of the building that houses the new indoor market. Having chatted to Barbara and Roberta I think they may have just the right formula for the times we live in.
All the food is cooked each day by the owners, served by the owners, and if you make a mess, it will be cleaned up by the owners. There is no hired help other than kind family members who have helped to set it up. It is not a fancy sit down for the evening place, it is a drop-in and eat nourishing food place, with food served in large quantities at amazing prices. The menu is mainly vegetarian, but the picture here shows the beef lasagne with thyme roasted potatoes, a slice of foccacia smothered with homemade pesto and side salad for a stunning €6.95 — this must be the best value food in the city. If I were a student or eating on a budget surely this large portion would keep me going for nearly two days, and it gets better, you can even have a half portion for €4.
There are four main courses each day and several homemade cooked desserts. I tried the ricota cheese and chocolate cake and if ordering again I would ask for it to be warmed a little, served with cream for €3, it was excellent.
The coffee machine had not arrived yet but they will be serving good Fair Trade coffees for €2. Wine will be arriving soon and it is planned to sell it at equally good prices. You really have to admire these four women and I think they deserve to be supported as several dishes I sampled — quiche, lasagne, parmigiana, and the stuffed vegetables — were delicious. The stuffed peppers and stuffed Portobello mushrooms are available at the counter for 80 cents each or two for €1.50, and I suspect these will be added to once they get up and running properly.
They also do take away for 10 per cent discount.
I really wish these women all the very best and I hope it develops into a thriving eatery where great prices and good homemade food will bring lots of customers.
On a different topic, Cases Wine Warehouse on the Tuam Road has just announced its online ordering service at www.cases.ie and delivery in the county is free. They are also having their second anniversary sale and some of the reductions seem to be top class value. The very popular Wolf Blass President’s Selection Chardonnay is on offer at €7.97. I have never seen it for less than €14 anywhere in Ireland. The Joseph Mellot, Menetou-Salon is great value at half price, €9.62. This wine is better than many Sancerres and is made right next door to Sancerre. The Chateau Citran is a great red from the Medoc and priced at €19.95, it would be a great wine to buy in now for Christmas.
If, like me, you are fed up with the overpowering wines from the New World, then try Château L’Apolline; it is a Merlot blend from Bordeaux and a great match with roast beef, lamb, or stews. Price €12.95 or as part of a mixed case €9.95. Staying with the reds, Château de Mansenoble is a Merlot and a lovely satisfying wine from the Languedoc, it is a great food wine to match red meat or cheese, price €13.95 or €10.95 as part of a mixed case.
Moving to whites, I quite like the Foundstone unoaked chardonnay from Australia, it would be a lovely wine to have as an aperitif or at a reception/wedding. It works well with grilled fish and is priced at €9.95 or €8.95 as part of a mixed case. Lastly, a grape that I really like is Torontes and Cases have one called Andeluna, it is a great match for Asian food or indeed to drink on its own. It is very reminiscent of Gewürztraminer, without being too overpowering. Price €11.95 or €10.45 in a mixed case of 12.
Lastly, an interesting lecture will be happening in the Galway City Museum on Saturday September 26 at 11am. It is all about the sense of smell and will include a discussion on molecular gastronomy. The presentations will be given by David Jackson who has been a chemist in the R&D division of Diageo for 10 years. If interested visit www.meetforreal.ie