An award-winning restaurant demands superb raw ingredients and fresh produce and, luckily for Wilde’s at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, it’s located close to some of Ireland’s finest award-winning farms, butchers and fishmongers. Here, we take a look at a few of Head Chef Jonathan Keane’s favourite farm-to-fork Irish suppliers and what makes them so special.
Awarding-winning Andarl Farm supplies all of the pork products used at The Lodge. Located in County Galway, just 25 miles from the hotel, the farm is well-respected for its free-range, outdoor-reared pigs. Its farmers, Dave and Diana Milestone, maintain that allowing the animals freedom to roam leads to a better quality meat. Andarl Farm breeds its pigs carefully and provides them with a precise diet, which ensures an optimum fat-to-lean ratio and an excellent balance of taste and texture. Absolutely no additives are found in the meat and chef Jonathan Keane believes so wholeheartedly in the quality and taste cultivated by Andarl Farm that it’s their produce he chose to serve to nearly 1,000 guests at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2017.
The Friendly Farmer
Hailed as Ireland’s only pasture-reared chicken farm, The Friendly Farmer is based in Athenry, 30 miles from The Lodge, and is viewed by Jonathan to produce ‘the best chicken in Ireland.’ Run by Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer has won numerous awards for its chicken, goose and turkey. Byrne’s 35-acre farm, which used to belong to his grandparents, is committed to both open-pasture farming and farm-to-fork transparency and is highly regarded throughout Ireland for producing superb quality poultry.
Kelly’s of Newport
Kelly’s of Newport is regarded by many as Ireland’s most famous butcher, and after 85 years in the business and numerous awards, they’re probably right. Artisan butcher Sean Kelly sources all of the lamb that’s served by chef Jonathan. Each animal must be born and bred no more than 5km from the sea, therefore ensuring the required amount of sodium in the soil, and so influencing the flavour of the meat. In addition, Kelly’s is famous for its superlative black pudding, with Kelly being the first Irishman to be invited to the French organisation of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding.
Begun as a fish stall at Galway’s Saturday Market, Gannet Fishmongers has steadily built its reputation as an outstanding seafood supplier. The company is dedicated to supplying only the finest fish to The Lodge and offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise on seasonality, sustainability and ethical fishing. Moreover, 95 per cent of Gannet’s wild catch is landed on the Wild Atlantic Way, and its produce features at Wilde’s in dishes such as pan-roast turbot and butter-poached cod.
Experience the sensational flavours of farm-to-fork cuisine in Ireland at The Lodge at Ashford Castle.
Image Credits: Lead image © Red Carnation Hotels. Pigs © iStock/ChristiLaLiberte. Free range chickens © Stock/monticello. Scallop and black pudding dish © Red Carnation Hotels.