Known as the Garden of Ireland, County Wicklow captivates those who pass through with its rolling hills, granite mountains, valleys, and the lakes that lie amidst them, with a coastline of sheltered bays. Many people come here to hike through this stunning landscape, but the county is also one of Ireland’s great draws for gastronomes. By travelling to County Wicklow with Trafalgar, guests can have a taste of Ireland with the celebrated TV chef Catherine Fulvio.
With County Wicklow’s wild landscape and fertile farmland comes a bounty of fresh, natural produce, and local producers who champion the fruits of their land at farmers’ markets and within local restaurants. Wild Irish Game, Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese, and the chocolatier Johnny & the Bean are just a few of these artisans, with many more farmers, foragers and makers providing their own homemade preserves and baked goods, among many more mouth-watering specialties.
This abundance of fresh produce also makes County Wicklow one of the best places to try Ireland’s signature dishes. From Wicklow fishing port, fishermen bring in shellfish such as mussels, crab and lobster, and fish such as salmon, trout and plaice, providing the county with its exceptional seafood. Farmed meat and wild game are both used in one-pot stews with locally grown vegetables and potatoes. These dishes are often served with the freshly baked soda bread Ireland is so well known for.
Catherine Fulvio is one of Ireland’s most famous chefs, having hosted her own TV cookery shows, and with the publication of a number of cookbooks that bring together her Irish and Italian roots. Based in County Wicklow, the chef also runs Ballyknocken House and Cookery School, which is situated on a 350-acre working farm. Catherine is the third generation in the family to live within this farmhouse, which dates back to the 1850s and is filled with its own stories. The cookery school itself is now set up within the farm’s converted milking parlour.
Having won a Cookbook of the Year award, and having had her show aired around the world, Catherine is certainly an expert on the local cuisine. And while she incorporates influences from Italy and Asia into her recipes, she still returns to preparing traditional Irish dishes using locally sourced ingredients, while cooking at Ballyknocken.
Trafalgar guests who visit this farm in County Wicklow have the opportunity to meet Catherine, explore the farmhouse and its surrounds, and tuck into a hearty meal that promises to give them a taste of Ireland. Soup encompassing vegetables from the garden is served with the family’s signature soda bread, followed by a typically Irish dish of beef with stout sauce and vegetables, combining many of the best local ingredients. This is rounded off with one of Catherine’s desserts, such as slow-baked apple and carrot cake with caramel apple sauce and orange mascarpone cream, which is made according to the family recipe.
After dining on exemplary Irish fare within these idyllic surrounds, guests can be sure to come away with a truly unrivalled culinary experience in Ireland.
Experience a taste of Ireland with Catherine Fulvio by joining the Irish Highlights trip, and Amazing Ireland itinerary.