The Charm of the Irish, to be sure
Ireland Avoca at Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Wicklow Tel: +353 1 204 6066 Cafe:+353 1 204 6070, the answer to Quiz Question #3
This is a photograph of Powerscourt House, just south of Dublin, the back of which overlooks the Sugarloaf Mountain and the Wicklow Hills. When my little sister, Beccy, moved near here over ten years ago to raise her young family, this Stately Home, ravaged by a 70's fire, was no more than a shell. The estate would always attract visitors, though, for it's beautiful gardens.
As Beccy's family has grown, so Powerscourt House has been rebuilt. Every time I visit, I am happy to spend some of my time in this place. I love it. It has many happy memories of me watching my nephews and niece as they grow up. And just in case you think I've forgotten what this blog is meant to be about, let me tell you the the Avoca Cafe, inside the house, has some quite stunning food on display.
It's huge! Just look at the size of that pie. Click on the picture to get a full faceful.
If nothing else, I would take a dessert over savoury at the Avoca Cafe. Look at the banoffi pie in the middle. It's enormous, the biscuit crust is almost as deep as a regular pie. These dishes make American-sized portions look wimpy in comparison.
They even sell Mars Bar Cake which just happens to be one of Beccy's favourite things to make at home. I haven't cooked it, myself, in a while, although I made quite a few friends with it when I first came to the States. I'll ask her if she'll mind me sharing her recipe with all of you some time. Perched on top, there is a little shortbread-man...
...which, despite his trying to hide the fact, my youngest nephew seemed to quite enjoy.
Avoca is a family-run company that started as a Mill over 280 years ago. Read their history here. Today the company is still thriving and in addition to the Cafes, they have the most wonderful array of small boutiques. At Powerscourt, the shopping experience is unique as Avoca spread into a maze of rooms inside the house, each one dedicated to a different collection.
One room is filled with soaps and things that smell nice. Others sell beautiful clothes. The largest room sells their signature handwoven rugs and beautiful baskets. My sister sent me a gorgeous orange basket last Christmas which I use every time I shop at the farmers market.
There is a room full of things for the children and another that sells candies, chocolates and Jams like the one I brought back as a gift for Alice. Although Avoca don't make everything they sell, the goods they source are all top quality and usually colourful. It took a lot of willpower for me not to buy everything on display in their kitchen accessories section, there wouldn't have been enough room in my suitcase. Still, I couldn't resist finding space for this vivid little set of egg cups.
If you find yourself in Ireland, and you are looking for a decent Cafe lunch and a wide range of gifts for others or, more importantly, yourself do try and find time to visit Avoca in at least one of their locations.