You may know the head pastry chef of the Merrion Hotel Paul Kelly, from the Great Irish Bake Off or indeed from many other TV appearances. I know him through the annual Goodalls Best Scone competition. He is, as my father might say, a ‘lovely chap”. He is, in my opinion, a supreme artist and the afternoon tea at the Merrion Hotel is sublime. The specific pieces that Paul has created for his current Yeats Inspired Art Tea are nothing short of superb works of art. There’s only one downside to his work – and that’s the fact that you have to cut into and destroy these amazing creations (when I lamented this fact to Paul himself, he told me that he’d serve mine mashed up the next time – save me the guilt like!).
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being one of the judges (along with Paul Kelly, Catherine Leyden, Sophie White, The Cupcake Bloke and Michael Wall) for the Goodalls Best Scone Competition in the Merrion Hotel. With my fellow judges, we sampled delicious scones made by ten finalists from all over the country. When the judging was over, we joined all the finalists for an afternoon tea fit for a king. Paul Kelly really pulled all the stops out. Oak smoked salmon with horseradish cream, chicken and pesto on sunflower bread and cucumber and cream cheese on chive and tomato bread were some of the savoury delights.Then there was the good old Battenberg which was sheer perfection. The carrot cake ranks high amongst my favourites, not to mention the melt in the mouth scones. I haven’t had clotted cream since my trip to Devon last year and oh how I’ve missed it. Then we moved on to the Yeats inspired goodies. Three little works of art – you can see why I had difficulty tucking into them.. On the left is “Inisfree” – a rhubarb and honey choux bun. The middle (pictured above) is titled “Spectacle” and is a milk chocolate and caramel cremeux with lemon cream. Sheer. Decadence. And on the right is “Mystic” – a vanilla bavarois with strawberry jelly. Yes, Paul Kelly might call himself a chef – I call him an artist..
PS: Huge congratulations to Griffins Garden Centre who went home with the Goodalls Best Scone 2015 title.
To make a reservation for Yeats Tea, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 6030600.
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