Food, wine, travel, music
At this stage most fine diners in ireland know how well chef Tim O’Sullivan can cook. As Head Chef at Renvyle House he lures weekenders with tastes of local foods from oysters to mountain lamb and manages taste combinations to perfection. General Manager Ronnie Counihan seems to be omnipresent and his staff echoes his warm efficiency. There is always a member of the owners of the house, the Coyle family, around. Their gentle hand guides guests to a fulsome experience there. I always arrive watching the clock and end up leaving all time pieces in my room. You have no choice but to relax into the Renvyle experience.
A highlights of a well balanced Italian weekend banquet menu on 21 February 2015 was a carpaccio of fillet of beef which Tim salted and added pepper thyme for extra depth of flavour. Served with rocket salad and aged parmesan shavings,the wafer thin slices were as tender and delicious as I have ever tasted, even in Italy! Master of Wine Mary Gaynor chose the wines from the Sensi family portfolio in Tuscany which are imported by J&C Kenny, Galway. It’s worth looking at their list where there are bargains to be found. For this course it was a biological Chianti, the Campoluce 2013. An unexpected red to start a meal, but perfectly well rounded and light to suit the beef and counter the pepperiness of the rocket.
Spinach & cannellini bean soup was finished with ricotta filled tortellini and was accompanied by Trebbiano Toscana 2012. An easy match.
Delicious Mediterranean local sea bass sat on a creamy base of squash risotto drizzled with garlic and parsley oil. Beautifully colourful, it tasted rich, yet light, and was as good as it looked. I loved the pairing with a floral, fruity Vermentino Toscano 2012. This is grape type that can go from dry to full fruited and this one commanded the fruitier end of the spectrum.
Roast loin of Irish veal had a crunchy pistachio and green leaf crust and was served with a wild mushroom cream, potato gnocchi and stem broccoli. A wonderful combination of tastes well served by the Bolgheri 2011.
After all that there wasn’t room for much more, so the semifreddo of hazelnut and cherry was perfect, set off by a sparkling Pinot Noir rosé. For those who had the energy, the digestifs were Limoncello and Nocello (walnut liqueur). Italian cheeses were available for snacking on later.
My pleasure for the banquet was to act as host and introduce and comment on the food and wine. I included some history of Roman banqueting which was often done in a ridiculously lavish style. I was glad we didn’t have to eat large pies filled with kids’ eyes, ears and testicles, boned and stuffed calves’ heads or a salad of goats’ feet. While decapitations were a favourite after dinner entertainment of Caligula’s, it was somewhat more relaxed on this convivial occasion. Congrats to all involved.
Pics here include the Italian ambassador His Excellency Giovanni Adorni Braccesi. Thanks to Alma Feeley, Midas PR (pictured left).