Tag Archives: wine

Drinking Wine at the Kelly’s Resort Hotel

11 Mar
Reception at the Kelly's Resort

Reception at the Kelly’s Resort

Ok, so, this may seem like a smug brag barely veiled as a review but.. no, that is exactly what this is. I was spoiled rotten for a full 24 hours in a lavish hotel and I am unashamedly shouting it from the cyber rooftops of my site.

Last week I was  invited to taste some wines of the Loire valley in the famous Kelly’s Resort Hotel, and really, as a struggling blogger/allotment field hand, who was I to refuse?

Situated in the small port town of Rosslare in Wexford, Kelly’s Resort has that old school charm of a prestigious hotel brought into the 21st century.  I had already heard awed stories from friends and family about their lavish bedrooms, beautiful restaurants, top quality food, afternoon teas, and cheeses served from little trolleys but what blew me away was the way in which we were treated… a strange mixture between best friend and royalty.

Now yes, I am aware that we were treated as such because we were reviewing the place, but as I looked around during our lunch in the Beaches restaurant (which by the way was great, though it was traditional, it was exactly right for the place; classic food done perfectly) I realised everyone was receiving the same treatment. During each course our waitress would return to make sure everything was ok, and a few minutes later we would have various managers making their rounds, asking if everything was alright, how our stay was going and generally making happy small talk. Though initially I found this amount of hospitality over bearing (at one point, asking a waitress where the rest room was, she guided me right to the door and for a moment I thought she was going to join me) I oh-too-soon became accustomed to it.

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Spicy Chicken Wings With Prawn Crackers

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Pan Fried Lemon Sole with Grilled Courgettes

Pan Fried Lemon Sole with Grilled Courgettes

Stuffed Lamb Shoulder

Stuffed Lamb Shoulder

Warm Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Sorbet

Warm Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Sorbet

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis, Crushed Macaroons and Apple Foam

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis, Crushed Macaroons and Apple Foam

After we had settled into our room and had our afternoon tea on the balcony looking over the sea (*insert smug tone) I received a call from reception to advise us that there was a change of plan and instead of taking part in a wine tasting with Arnaud Bourgeois and other guests (It only ran during the week) we would be having a private tasting with Mr. Kelly himself.

Bill (we’re best buddies now, I can call him Bill) was a never-ending fountain of knowledge and brought us through each wine with such passion and enthusiasm and without feeling like we were being lectured. Telling us in depth about the areas where the wine was produced, the style used in that region, how the grapes variety/year/soil all affect the taste and smell of the wine and the characters of the people who make it really brought the wines to life.

We tasted 6 wines in total ranging from a light crisp Sauvignon from Touraine to a jammy sweet bio-dynamically produced red Bourgueil and finishing with a 2010 Clos Des Pape, a very special bottle from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most renowned regions in France. This bottle came from Bill’s brother in law’s vineyard and was one of the most enjoyable and complex wines I have ever tasted. Though I usually find the language used by wine tasters to be flowery nonsense, I could smell the tobacco, liquorice and blackberry jam that was described.

After the tasting we were told, much to my idiotic delight, we could take two of our favourite wines from the tasting for dinner and I have never been happier my companion preferred to drink white wine, leaving lil’ old me to drink the Clos Des Pape (the bottle of which has now has a place of honour on my kitchen table)

Chateau de la Saule

Chateau de la Saule

Voigner

Voigner

Domaine Baron

Domaine Baron

Clos Des Pape, from the owners brothers vineyard

Clos Des Pape, from the owners brothers vineyard

After our tasting Bill brought us to the Marina Bistro, which is attached to the bar, it was a more relaxed atmosphere then the Beaches restaurant where we had our lunch and our waitress was lovely, chatty and had a great knowledge of both the wines and the food menu. The food again was traditional with a nice twist, I had mussels with garlic and my companion ordered a slightly odd combination of Texas style baby ribs with pak choi , stir fried noodles and French aioli, but it actually worked really well. My mussels were perfectly cooked; large, sweet and plump, served neatly in a circle ( though I do prefer to have a messy bowl of shells I can pick my way through).

The star of the meal for me was my confit of duck, on a bed of lentils with champ and a grilled slice of aubergine. Though I thought the aubergine unnecessary, the duck was spot on. Breaking my fork through its amazing crackling-like skin into soft strips of tender meat that fell off the bone, mopped up with the lentils and mash which tasted fantastic with my wine.

After squeezing dessert in (a light chocolate mousse and a really amazing lemon meringue pie) we went to the bar and decided to get a whiskey while we listened to the flamboyant, two-piece band perform an interesting remdition of Shirley Bassey’s “Big Spender”. We wanted something different and the bar man suggested Bushmill’s Limited Millennium Edition, which was great but cost 13.50 each, something we couldn’t really complain about seeing that was the only thing we had payed for.

Grilled Mussels in Garlic Butter

Grilled Mussels in Garlic Butter

Barbarque Ribs with Stir-fried Noodles, Pak Choi and Aioli

Barbarque Ribs with Stir-fried Noodles, Pak Choi and Aioli

Rib Eye Steak with Dauphinoise Potatoes

Rib Eye Steak with Dauphinoise Potatoes

Confit of Duck with Sweet and Sour Lentils, Champ and Grilled Aubergine

Confit of Duck with Sweet and Sour Lentils, Champ and Grilled Aubergine

Lemon Meringue with Raspberry Sorbet

Lemon Meringue with Raspberry Sorbet

White and Dark Chocolate Mousse

White and Dark Chocolate Mousse

The next morning we woke up and went to reception where I was told had an hour massage booked for 11. Delighted, we made our way to breakfast where we chose freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit salad and then a full Irish fry up. Good comfort food served by very bubbly, friendly staff.

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

I made my way down to the spa, which is beautiful and modern, and I was pampered with a body massage with oils of my choosing and my boyfriend was left to use the rest of the spa facilities which included three thermals suits, a mist shower room with heated pebbles and fresh sea water plunge pool.

As we went to check out to get our train back to the city, the manager sent for a car and gave us a box filled with sandwiches, salads, fruit and water “for the journey”.

And with that, two very happy, pampered and full bellied paupers returned to reality knowing that some day (when we become significantly wealthier) we will return.

Kelly’s resorts are currently doing 5 day Spring offers from 475 euro full board per person

Further information can be found on their website

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Happy Birthday to Me!

8 Jan

Before you ask, no, it’s not really my birthday today, actually, it happens to be my darling sisters ( HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!)

However, I am (belatedly) celebrating the 1st birthday of the narcissistic ramblings I call my blog. I’m filled with the same feelings I presume new parents have on their own child’s first birthday, pride, smugness and a slight disbelief that I have lasted a year without killing it.

Alot happened in 2012 for me. I learned how to make scotch eggs, I moved house, 6 TIMES. I learned how to drive, I realised I quite like Dublin after years of being terrified to even walk through it, but, really 2012 was about leaving my terrible call centre job and moving to Italy to work on a farm.

Doing the internship at Spannocchia and subsequently working on a biodynamic vineyard taught me so much about food. Yep, I learned that eating peas freshly picked is one of the sweetest things you’ll ever taste, that you can smell the tell tale signs of a great wine vintage in its first few days of fermentation and that  coughing and spluttering is how to judge the quality of a Tuscan olive oil. But, I also learned the importance of food globally, the horrific practises towards live stock in commercial farming and the unfair, unsustainable and utterly wasteful methods of food production and distribution we have today.

But on the upside it has made me realise what I want to do, so here I am, back in my home town, working in two community gardens and being paid Sweet.Fuck.All, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (well, unless someone wants to give me more money? Hello? Anyone?..)

So here’s to a great 2012 and hopefully a better paid 2o13.

Happy New Year!

Highlights of 2012;

Visiting the hill top village of Colle di Val D'Elsa.

Visiting the hill top village of Colle di Val D’Elsa.

Harvesting saffron

Harvesting saffron

Visiting a medieval castle in Tuscany

Visiting a medieval castle in Tuscany

Drinking a 10 year old Brunello for lunch.

Drinking a 10 year old Brunello for lunch.

Seeing " The Best Genesis Cover Band in Italy" in a beautiful monestry.

Seeing ” The Best Genesis Cover Band in Italy” here.

Eating at Dario Cechini's butchery.

Eating at Dario Cechini’s butchery.

Making chocolate cookies with a fantastic pastry chef

Making chocolate cookies with a fantastic pastry chef

Getting burgers handed to me with beef from our farm and homemade brioche buns.

Getting burgers handed to me with beef from our farm and homemade brioche buns.

Having to go to class and drink wines.

Having to go to class and drink wines.

Making our own Nocino, an Italian green walnut liqueur.

Making our own Nocino, an Italian green walnut liqueur.

Getting to see inside a porcine Aladdins cave of wonder.

Getting to see inside a porcine Aladdins cave of wonder.

Getting to live here for 3 months.

Getting to live here for 3 months.

Getting to eat vegetable we had harvested in the morning for dinner.

Getting to eat vegetable we had harvested in the morning for dinner.

Getting to battle broody hens every morning for our eggs.

Getting to battle broody hens every morning for our eggs.

Having dinner on this terrece every evening during the summer.

Having dinner on this terrece every evening during the summer.

Getting to make our own pizza in a real wood burning oven.

Getting to make our own pizza in a real wood burning oven.

Having lunches like this handed to you.

Having lunches like this handed to you.

Getting to work with these two fantastic women in the garden for 3 months.

Getting to work with these two fantastic women in the garden for 3 months

Foraging my own Chanterelle mushrooms.

Foraging my own Chanterelle mushrooms.

Working during the wine harvest in Colombaia

Working during the wine harvest in Colombaia

Getting look after these cuties (I never look upon a sausage in the same way again)

Getting to look after these cuties (I’ll never look upon a sausage in the same way again)

Eating the most amazing local food.

Having the most amazing dinners.

Learning that Americans aren't as scary as the movies make them out to be.

Learning that Americans aren’t as scary as the movies make them out to be.

Making pasta for the first time.

Making pasta for the first time.

Getting shitfaced on amazing Chianti Classico before noon.

Getting shitfaced on amazing Chianti Classico before noon.

Going to the local market in Tusany.

Buying amazing local produce.

Tasting the white wine 30 days into fermentation

Tasting the white wine 30 days into fermentation

Getting to harvest the 2012 vintage of the most amazing wine have I ever tasted for the two most amazing people I have ever met.
Getting to harvest the 2012 vintage of the most amazing wine have I ever tasted for the two most amazing people I have ever met.