From cafes to cake making, celebrating the Irish diaspora and following a snake trail, there’s plenty going on this St Patrick’s Day weekend …
VISIT: Nespresso, Duke Street, Dublin
Dublin is now the second most coffee-obsessed capital in the world (after Amsterdam) and if you need a caffeine fix do pop into Nespresso’s Dublin boutique, where you’ll find it has a chic pop-up inspired by Victorian pubs with a traditional wooden bar, leather bar stools and lots of greenery. Customers will be able to try Nespresso’s latest coffee launch for its Vertuo system, Barista Creations Flavour Whisky Essence. This new limited edition, non-alcoholic coffee brings a whisky flavour to a smooth and mild double espresso blend. For more information, visit www.nespresso.com.
MEET YOUR FOOD HEROES AT: Me Auld Flower Food and Drink Festival
If regular food festivals are not your bag, the upcoming Me Auld Flower Food & Drink Festival, from March 16-19, may change your mind. Taking place in the Dublin City Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market in Smithfield, Dublin 7, it’s billed as “a modern take on Irish food and drink culture” where visitors can expect bright ideas and bold flavours. The line-up includes a who’s who of Irish and international cuisine, with talks and demos from Aimsir’s Jordan Bailey, ex-Marcus Wareing alum Shauna Froydenlund, Dungarvan’s Paul Flynn, Goldie in Cork’s Aishling Moore and Will Beckett from Hawksmoor – which is due to open soon on Dublin’s College Green. The event will feature a mix of restaurants such as Bahay, Big Fan Bao, Mark O’Brien, Bites by Kwanghi, King Sitric and many more with demos from esteemed chefs such as JP McMahon, Fingal Ferguson and others. For more information visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
WANDER: Birr Castle Demesne, Co Offaly
Consistently in the top ten places to visit in Ireland, follow the slithering snakes at Birr Castle Demesne this weekend, which will lead visitors through the gardens and adventure playground, home to Ireland’s tallest treehouse. If you find any of the snakes Saint Patrick left behind, you’re in for a chance of some sweet treats! This Snake Trail takes place from Friday 17 to Sunday 19, from 9am to 5pm each day. In addition, for science or astronomy buffs, the Gallery Challenge, takes visitors through the Demesne’s seven Science Galleries. A visit to the oldest darkroom in the world (with its hologram of Mary Rosse, the Third Countess) is the perfect prelude to afternoon tea in the cafe; www.birrcastle.com.
ENJOY: The I.NY The Ireland/New York Project at Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
These two shows, which open and close the St Patrick’s Festival celebrations at The Guinness Storehouse, comprise artists and creatives who explore and celebrate the relationship between Ireland and New York. One is an exploration of the changing nature of the Irish community in the city since the beginning of the century. The other, is a celebration is of one of the best records ever made by an Irish producer, David Holmes’ Let’s Get Killed, built from sounds and samples recorded from across New York by the artist. On March 19, producer, DJ and sound tracker, David Holmes, will be joined by broadcaster, John Kelly, for a conversation and performance in the Liberties venue, followed by DJ set from Billy Scurry. A limited number of free tickets for each show are available through www.thisisiny.com.
MAKE: A St Patrick’s Day Chocolate and Guinness Cake
Rich in colour and flavour, it’s topped with a creamy frosting and a healthy dusting of cocoa powder. Slice, serve and sláinte!
250 mls Guinness stout
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400 g caster sugar
150ml sour cream or crème fraiche
2 large free-range eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
275g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
125 mls heavy cream
Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit and line a 23cm/9 inch cake tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large, wide saucepan, add the butter and heat until melted. Take off the heat.
Add the cocoa powder and sugar into the butter, Mix well.
Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and pour into the butter mixture. Finally sieve in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Mix until combined,be careful not to over-mix.
Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 mins to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin or on a cooling rack.
Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve the icing sugar and corn flour and then beat to combine until light and fluffy.
Add the cream to your desired consistency of frosting that you like.
Spread the top of the cake with the delicious frosting. Enjoy!
The cake and recipe are from Avoca; www.avoca.com.