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Extraordinary coffee and chocolate

Extraordinary coffee and chocolate

We are on the home straight now in our series on our collaborations and this time we turn to two of our favourite things - coffee and chocolate. Championing local is a very important part of everything we do here and this is very much at the heart of our food and drinks offering.

For all of the key elements of our breakfast tray, picnic offering and in room treats we look to those operating at the very top of their game. So for our coffee, we are particularly lucky to have amazing local coffee roasters, The Shack Coffee Company, just across the bay to work with and for our chocolate, it is simply had to be the amazing Keane sisters at Bean & Goose in Wexford.

As lovers of coffee, we really wanted something that would compliment the wide variety of taste and textures that appear each morning on our breakfast tray. As we adopt an almost Japanese approach to breakfast with lots of small individual items to taste covering the full spectrum of flavours from salty and savoury to creamy, tart and sweet, our coffee really needed to be designed to deal with all of those flavours and to compliment them. We began working with Tom and Min from The Shack from our very first season and created over that time The Breac.House blend.

At the beginning of each season, we have had one of those fun days where we go through menus, do different coffee tastings and generally chat about our mutual obsession. And of course because we use cafeterias for serving and in the guests own servery this needs to be factored in. Each year has brought a subtle change to the blend and this year we really feel that its pretty close to perfect. So this year's coffee is a 3 bean blend with a particularly beautiful bean from the Marcela region of Honduras, produced by Flor Azul Comsa. The additional beans in the blend are from Costa Rica and Columbia. The combination of the 3 beans results in a chocolate sweetness with a bright nutty lingering finish. As we use mostly cafeteria, we also find some lovely hints of orange due to the slow process. It works beautifully with the salty elements of breakfast but we also find that the sweet treats at the end of breakfast bring out the chocolate notes a little further.

Moving on to our bespoke little chocolate bars - no guest treat area would be complete without some quality chocolate. Again we wanted something that was inspired by our surroundings, created by a world class Irish business using the finest of ingredients. For this, we were absolutely delighted that sisters Natalie and Karen Keane of Bean & Goose agreed to do bespoke "bar beags" for us. The girls set up their chocolate making business in 2014, originally testing the market for chocolate using the various food markets in Dublin. Bean and Goose chocolate is made using the complex and rich flavours of single origin chocolate paired with flavours and ingredients that reflect and celebrate the Irish seasons. The girls have a passion for using seasonal, natural ingredients and it makes sense to us to use what can be grown in Irish gardens and can be foraged locally. Surrounded by countryside heavy with elderflower, lovage, gorse, and blackberries they are inspired by their herb garden full of lavender, mint, bay, fennel, rosemary and thyme. They also have summer fruits and orchard trees growing nearby. Finally they often have the pleasure of using edible flowers such as violas, marigolds, borage and scented roses. Simply their surroundings are their inspiration.

So when I started describing to the girls, our surroundings and what inspires us, as well as the Atlantic Ocean on our doorstep, I sent them an image of the beautiful wild flowers of Horn Head in early summer. So the bars are very much inspired by the yellow and blue of the flowers and of course the sea salt of the Atlantic resulting in saffron sea salt and cornflower bars using organic cacao beans from Ecuador. All yours to enjoy during a stay with us.

For more detail on the amazing story behind Tom and Min's coffee adventures see The Shack. For more chocolate inspiration from the Keane sisters see Bean & Goose

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