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Jul 3, 2009 08:25 AM

Birthday dinner in West Cork

I am co-hosting my mother's 70th birthday in/around Clonakilty, Co Cork this coming May and will likely end up doing the catering with the help of some relatives.

I am wondering if anyone knows what is fresh and locally available in that area at that time of year- is Spring Lamb still around late April/early May? Is rhubarb in season yet? Will I be able to find local producers to purchase directly from since I will be feeding easily 50 or more? I know that food just costs more over there- but is generally a lot better too. I don't know how purchasing alcohol would work.

Any suggestions are welcome!

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  1. Expect to find all the foods that we'd have in northern Europe at that time (Cork has a mild climate so some locally grown stuff should be available earlier than elsewhere). You'll certainly get good lamb. Rhubarb should be around although may not be locally sourced.

    In terms of sourcing, it may be worth an email to the local chamber of commerce: Are any of your guests local to the area? They would, of course, be your best source of information for seasonality and suppliers.

    When we were in West Cork last year, we were mainly eating in restaurants. We certainly found them more expensive than at home but I reckon this was more to do with the killer exchange rate than anything else. Food shops didnt appear to be particularly expensive or, for that matter, have better quality than I'm used to.

    If you're thinking of "local" in the catering, I'd suggest you include the Clonakilty black and white puddings somehow - perhaps in starters. And there is some good cheese - made in a semi-soft French style, IMO.

    I don't understand the alcohol issue. Wouldnt you just buy at the off-licence or supermarket? You may able to find a local supplier who will deal on a "sale or return" basis because of the numbers you're talking about and, perhaps, include the glassware in the deal. If I've missed your point, apologies.

    1. West Cork is fantastic for food produce! Lamb no prob and rhubarb probably. Do some googling on for producers and farmers markets, (eg the Clonakilty market is Thurs and Sun)as for buying direct that should be no problem. Ordering large quantities of meat or fish from shops in advance will not be a problem. Checkout Twomey's butchers and Scally's supermarket for local food. Buy alcohol for about 50 in supermarkets, esp beer, maybe Aldi or Lidl and maybe wine by the case in an off-licence. If they're still in business next May!

      1. Spare yourself the trouble and call on Pearse Barrett at Longfella's Restaurant on the N71 in Rosscarbery. He will put together a wonderful dinner for your guests. It is an enjoyable, clean, well-run place with good food & drink at very reasonable prices only minutes from you. Plenty of parking, too.