When people think of Ireland, they don't generally think about fabulous food or delicious sweets. They think of Guinness and fish and chips obviously, and green green pastures and grazing sheep. They think of music and pubs and soft misty mornings and warm friendly people.
But I have to say that while visiting Ireland last November, I experienced all of the above--yes, even the fabulous food and delicious sweets. (I also experienced rain. But that's another story.) This being a blog about sweet treats, I'm here to tell you that I found Galway an especially sweet town. The first shop I happened upon was the Gourmet Tart Co. where I spotted the pedestal platter full of those incredible looking strawberry meringues in the window (pictured above) as soon as I started up the street for my one day of shopping. However, I decided to wait to purchase one until on my way BACK to the car. Mistake. Big mistake. Actually on any trip, this is a Cardinal Mistake (CM). Never, never, NEVER ASSUME you will be able to find your way back to any particular spot you see ever again-- whether to take a photo, or purchase something you spotted in the window. Of course, if I had been with my girlfriends, this would never have occurred in the first place. They would have reminded me. But I was with my family. At any rate, you guessed it. When I returned to the shop (I did find it again), and went in to buy my meringue, the shop girl sadly informed me that they were sold out. And while the ones in the window were still displayed, she told me they were not fresh. (I was ready to take one of them. I mean, meringues stay fresh for days I wanted to tell her.) Need I say I was crushed? I was. Luckily, I was not leaving Galway until the next afternoon. The next day I bought and ate the meringue as soon as I got to the shop. And it WAS well worth waiting for!! I have not had such an exceptional meringue since. It was on par and in fact superior to a few meringues I have eaten in Paris. I would love to know how they managed to get the strawberry jam swirled so perfectly in them
Galway had several other bakeries as well. I visited Griffin's several times as they sold jars of orange marmalade made with Irish whiskey and I wanted several to bring home for gifts. Also, the fam discovered if you bought a cup of tea there, they threw in these delectable mini scones that simply melted on the tongue. One of my sons talked me in to buying a wedge of some chocolate covered confection with dried fruit too (dried fruit always raises a red flag with me). But it turned out to be quite yummy. In fact, so yummy, I wished I'd bought more. Two other bakeries I also checked out were The Oven Door (a cute little shop) and Goyas--where the wedding cakes in the windows were darling and decadent and different than any I've seen here in the USA.