The Merry Summer Berries Tour

On Friday night I was delighted to be invited along to the Sligo Tasting Tour – Merry Summer Berries evening. We were just told to meet in The Blind Tiger and expect to have a fun night of food and trip.

I was anxious (nothing new there) but after a couple of sprays of rescue remedy and an invisible kick to myself off I went. If you’ve never been to The Blind Tiger it really is a cool place. By day it’s a coffee shop – check out the mint aero hot chocolate – you can thank me later. By night the shelves spin around, the lights go down and it’s turned into a fantastic cocktail bar. Now I’m not usually a night-time person so it was my first chance to experience the change around – and a cocktail.

My cocktail was non-alcoholic as I had to drive myself home but one night I’d love to stay in town and try the cocktails out properly. After our delicious cocktails we were ushered on board the bus for our magical, mystery, foodie tour.

Our first stop was into a very unassuming business park, my fellow companions were sure the bus had taken a wrong turn but they were wrong as we were welcomed into Lough Gill Brewery. Beer-making has been a tradition in Sligo for over 300 years so it’s fantastic to see a brewery back in the town again. I had a sip of their  Anderson’s Irish Ale, which we were told was first brewed in Sligo in 1820 and the team at the brewery have resurrected it. It was really lovely and I would have it again.

This was my first tour of a brewery and I found it fascinating, the team there are very friendly and welcoming. Tony the brew master is a real character. I’m not going to tell you too much about the place because I think it deserves a separate blog so watch this space.

Back on the bus and heading to the N4 to our next mystery stop. As we neared Collooney I had a fair idea where that would be and I was right as we arrived at Nook. I’m a big fan of Nook, we went there for my birthday. The food is fab and it’s no wonder they are award-winning.  We were given Burren Smoked Mackerel Pate, Markree Farm Veg and Leitrim rhubarb pickle, Donegal Rapeseed Curry oil butter (delicious), fennel toasts, house onion chutney and Cloonconra moiled cows cheese crumble. I’m not a huge fish lover so Ethna kindly made me a goats cheese and strawberry salad with fennel toasts. It was all delicious.

After a lovely meal we were back on the bus again and zooming down the N59, driving alongside the Wild Atlantic Way and almost ending up in a field! When our driver got his bearings we were taken to The Beach Bar at Aughris. This is a gorgeous little thatched pub right on the Sligo coast. Myself and Andy have eaten here before and really enjoyed it, this year it’s been extended and I’m happy to see the character of the place still remains. We were given a choice of three main courses; “A taste of Aughris” Monkfish, Chicken Laska or Slow Braised Lamb, I went for the Chicken Laska which was nice.

We retired into a snug and relaxed over drinks. What I really liked about the evening was meeting and chatting to people who you wouldn’t normally get a chance to. Everyone was very friendly and I had a really lovely time. We were taken back to The Blind Tiger where I’m sure the night went on for the others, if I was drinking I would probably have stayed but I went home and had a cuppa (rock and roll).

If you are looking for a foodie night with a difference in Sligo I would highly recommend this. It’s great craic altogether and I’d actually love to do more things like this. You can find out more about the Sligo Tasting Tours here: http://sligotastingtour.com/

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