I know I “may” have waxed lyrical about the food since I moved here. I know also that the food in Ireland has improved immeasurably in recent years but holy cow – the fish in Wexford. Not only the fish, the tomatoes, the strawberries and the spuds. The spuds, namely Wexford Queens bring terroir to a whole new level. Put that in yer pipe Frogs, and smoke it. Wexford Queens grown in sandy soil with sea breezes sweeping over them. There is nothing to compare. Nothing as good. Nothing on the planet.
Did I mention the fish? The fish. Oh my God. I live down the road from Mickey the Winch in Arthurstown. He was the owner of the Pere Charles that sank with the loss of five men. Since then he’s never gone to sea but started a smokehouse, Ballyhack Smokehouse smoking wild and farmed salmon. He also sells fish weekly in my local village but if you miss that, you can pop down to his house.
Moving to Wexford from Meath where the only place to get good fish was in a super little but wholly inaccessible fish shop in Navan. It was a brilliant shop but it was a hike and parking was a nightmare. So much so that I only went a couple of times a month and stocked up. Here, I can get fish daily almost and it’s only a 5 min drive.
I get local, seasonal and mostly chemical-free veg from Ronan’s Farm Shop in New Ross. I also get Wexford free range pork and bacon (sadly not organic) and organic chicken. The chicken is from Regan Organics and is second to none. They do duck eggs as good as my own. That’s always my marker. Do they do it as good as I do? Few do, but they do.
The Nutshell café and health food store in New Ross are terrific for all the other organic dry goods. They order me in 5kg bags of organic strong flour. I make all my own bread because the only decent bakery is in Tramore (Seagull Bakery). I also make my own focaccia and brioche burger buns that I keep in the freezer.
I often take a spin up to Gorey on a Saturday to the market there where they always have a great selection of in season vegetables. Then pop into Partridge’s for a coffee and an almond scone with the mammy. After that a potter around the shops. Gorey has to be one of the best shopping towns in the country.
I buy chips of jam strawberries from Green’s and make pots of strawberry jam. It’s become a summer tradition. I’ve since discovered a local strawberry grower – Danescastle.
But it’s not only great ingredients, the local restaurants and pubs are pretty great too. Such a joy when you don’t feel like cooking or have unexpected visitors.
I’m pretty spoiled by having Roche’s of Duncannon who do the best fish and chips and Yellowbelly beers down the road.
I’ve spoken about The Hollow Bar up the road as well that do great fish and have a gin and tonic menu to die for. Not to mention Aldridge Lodge and Dunbrody (which I’ve yet to sample).
Wexford has pretty great food. It doesn’t have the fame of Cork or even West Cork but that’s because no one is shouting loudly. I aim to change that.