Thursday 29 October 2009

selling out or cashing in

1 of the recent Mintel reports that Richard didn't mention in his post of 9th Oct was the Impact of Cross- Border Shopping Ireland August 2009 It's an emotive issue, currently taking up acres of newspaper column inches: "25% jump in cross border shopping" and "Shopping in North to cost exchequer 430m in lost tax" are just 2 headlines from the last few days. So should we all be patriotically avoiding the temptation to go north or is it a question of you'd be mad not to when the price differences are so glaringly extreme? On a recent visit to londonderry our taoiseach was late for a meeting with the North's 1st minister. Peter Robinson was overheard to remark. "Perhaps Brian is taking advantage of favourable exchange to do a quick bit of shopping". A typical dry Belfast comment

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Cafe en Thames

just back from a few days at a disappointing conference in London. I was staying in Hammersmith and felt it only right and purely (of course) for reasons of research took dinner 1 night in the highly thought of River Cafe. which gained its reputation from relying on top quality produce harvested and used freshly in season. It was a delight and treat, the flavours crisp pure and true. The service from moment of arrival relaxed, genuine, professional, wthout being over powering snotty or snooty. And not at Dublin prices. Do we have any placement students there?
While food is usually best taken in company I think it was better that night that i was eating alone as it really helps you savour every moment and mouthful. And what was on offer last wednesday.....? 1 example from each course:
Anti pasti: Capesante in padella - scottish scallops seared with anchovies chilli capers, majoram & aubergines.
Primi: Zuppa di Zucci - New season's chestnut, pumpkin & farro soup with pancetta, rosemary and xtra virgin olive oil.
Secondi: Branzino ai ferri - chargrilled fillet of wild sea bass with salsa verde, slow cooked fennel and roast trevise. (thats what i had)
Dolci e Gelati: Stracciatella ice cream.
and then there was the Formaggi: from La Marche, Sardegna, the mountians of Veneto, matured in the ground, for 7 months, under grape pressings. And don't get me started on the wine.
All the books from the River Cafe in our library can be seen here
Another interesting culinary experience i had the week before was with the monks of Glenstall abbey. There was company alright at table - the only problem was everyone eats in complete silence - just like the library. And even they have their own cookbook.

Friday 9 October 2009

What are we like - now?

For a detailed, scientific analysis of how recession-hit Irish tourism and food consumers are behaving, it is hard to bertter the findings of a recent batch of market reports put out by Mintel, the market analysis and forecasting specialists, and available in DIT.

These include reports on:

Healthy eating (September 2009)
Premium food and drink (August 2009)
Short breaks market (July 2009) and
Food tourism (May 2009)
(click on headline above for link to these)

The reports certainly confirm that Irish consumers are counting the pennies. However, good quality, like good value for money, is continuing to command loyalty, and so it is reasonable to suppose that businesses which deliver those things are not suffering as much as others.