Cathy Whitty developed her range of baking products after discovering an allergy to wheat. Feeling the need to bake for her family, Cathy’s breads and bread mixes proved so popular that she now employs several people to make and market them, both in Ireland and internationally.
The range includes Multiseed, Wholemeal, White Scone, Tomato & Herb and Flapjack mixes.
Grangecon Cafe and Foodstore is not, as the name might suggest, in the tiny West Wicklow village of Grangecon. Nine years ago, it was. But these days you’ll find its delicious light meals and excellent coffee served in the nearby town of Blessington.
Confusion about the name aside, this is one of the best cafes in the county, if not the country. There is a real focus on local suppliers, as proudly listed on the cafe website. Staff are delightful. The setting – an ancient schoolhouse – is well-lit, beautifully decorated in rustic style, and bedecked with charming works of art by local artists.
Most importantly, the end product is delicious. On our visit, we ate poached eggs with black pudding and grilled tomatoes, and a roasted red pepper omelette with goat’s cheese. Several rounds of homemade toast and well-brewed tea rounded off an excellent meal.
Here’s the “mission statement” about suppliers from the website:
We strive to buy the very best local food and support Irish producers. Here is a list of some of our suppliers Ballybrado and Doves. Hilda and Dominic Quinn from Castleruddery organic farm supply us with organic salad leaves and seasonal vegetables, we also use Eddie Whelan from Dunlavin for potatoes, apples and rhubarb. Jenny Young from Castlefarm supplies us with organic eggs for our lunch specials. We only use free range chicken from Carlow foods, free range pork and dry cured bacon from T. J. Crowe in Tipperary, and beef and lamb from both Crimmins butchers in Blessington and Myles Doyle in Dunlavin. We source our dry cured lunch ham (which we cook off slowly ourselves with delicious spices) from Dunlavin bacon. Our fish comes from the fabulous ‘East Coast Fish shop’ in Naas town.
The Mystic Celt restaurant is about as locally-based as a restaurant menu can get. All ingredients are sourced locally within a 50 mile radius. All vegetables come from An Tairseach Eco Centre and other local growers. All crab and lobster come from local fishermen and the restaurant uses only use Irish beef.
It’s the dream of proprietors Paul and Sylvia Smith. The description of their restaurant on their website, could easily be the official motto of Strictly Wicklow too:
Recently we have developed a new awareness of the dishes of our ancestors and the confidence to recreate and enrich our native culinary tradition. A new Irish food culture is growing, driven by the lavish bounties of our seas, lakes and the rich land of Erin. Our menu is a celebration of the rich, ancient food culture of a uniquely beautiful land. This is our tribute to the country of our birth, a land where we are privileged to live.
The Tinahely Farm Shop is the brainchild of Philip and Rebecca – former dairy farmers who have now opened up their beautiful south Wicklow farm to the public.
The main building houses a combined farm shop and delicatessen-style cafe. As well as farm produce such as tomatoes and eggs, the shop stocks high quality food products.
Local brands include Cathy’s Spelt products, Uncle Aidan’s Stoneground Flour, Tinahely Honey, and Coolattin Cheddar.
The cafe is decorated in a rustic but smart style – plentiful gingham, inverted metal pales for lampshades, and mini milk bottles for milk jugs – and the menu is similarly charming: fresh scones; boiled eggs; sandwiches.
Regular events are held at the farm. Basket making, vintage car rallies, and tours of the farm are examples of recent events.
Rebecca runs a popular pick-up vegetable box scheme from the farm.
Craigies Cider is an Irish independent cider maker based in Grangecon
Simon Tyrrell and Angus Craigie blend different Irish apples to make a range of delicious ciders.
Craigies’ first cider, the Ballyhook Flyer, is available in a range of stockists. Locally these include the Wicklow Wine Co. in Wicklow town, Moore’s of Grangecon, and Next Door Off Licence in Blessington.