Taste Kilkenny – Episode 5: The Truffle Fairy
A couple of months ago, I was down in Kilkenny to wrap up my food series for the county. As it happens, it’s not finished yet as I’ll be back down in May for a cheese making course (but more on that later). Anyway, you might remember I went to visit Goatsbridge Trout farm where Mag Kirwan gave me the grand tour. My next stop was The Truffle Fairy shop in Thomastown.
But first, I met the lovely Frances Walsh for lunch in Tally’s, where I hoovered their garlicky avocado mash on sourdough toast and drank some great tea while we caught up and put the world to rights. Great little place for a light lunch. The menu is small but everything was absolutely gorgeous. When we were finished, I was still a bit early for my meeting with Mary and so I took a walk through the village and explored the small SVP shop. Great choice of clothes and I walked away with 3 news tops for less than a tenner. Bargain. The weather was dull but the town is very charming and I enjoyed my quick ramble. By the time I returned to the shop, Mary was kindly waiting for me to show me around.
As you can see from the above photo, the shop is at the corner of the road and easily found by its beautiful stand out colour. It’s a small place where most of the space has been given to the chocolate, and that is how it should be. There are couple seats squeezed in and some tables outside if the weather permits it.
What struck me first when I walked in was the beautifully strong smell of chocolate. One of the many specialties of the house is there hot chocolate. Like you can go in a coffee house and order different types of coffee, well here, at the Truffle Fairy, you can do the same with hot chocolates.
Mary was very generous with her time and brought me to the back of the shop which is where the kitchen is. And it’s so small. It’s hard to imagine that so much chocolate can come out of such a small space. But it’s so well organised, everything has a place and everything is in its place. As you can see from the photos below, it even have a chocolate tap. You will be relieved to read that I behaved properly and did not just shove my open mouth under the tap. It was touch and go for a while but I managed to contain my gluttony.
We had a lovely long chat and the one thing I took from Mary is how passionate she is about baking and chocolate. Her ethos is simple, she creates chocolate with the best ingredients in an ethical and sustainable manners. In addition, Mary does not use palm oil at all. And that, dear readers, speaks to my belly, my heart, my soul and my wallet. Mary talked me through her plans for the shop and since I visited, I am delighted to report that there is now a second shop (which I haven’t visited yet) in Kilkenny city.
Before I left, I treated myself to a few bits. Obviously I had to buy a hot chocolate because you can’t possibly leave The Truffle Fairy without trying at least one of them. I bought a mixed box of truffles as a gift for my friend’s birthday. And I treated myself to a few truffles for a way home. And maybe a slice of the gluten free chocolate cake. Just in case like.
I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to chocolate and some of Mary’s truffles are way out of my comfort zone. I was never one to like fruits in my chocolate, so I wasn’t brave enough to try the lime or raspberry and chocolate truffles but they were flying off the shelf. I love a few nuts but frankly, I’m happiest with great chocolate and a bit of sea salt or maybe just a touch of good chili for heat. The range of chocolate on offer at The Truffle Fairy is truly huge for such a small shop. And wether you are an adventurous person or a bit more conservative in your chocolate taste like me, you will find something there to make you smile.
My advice is simple, don’t be passing by that shop and sampling one of the finest chocolates on offer in Ireland. You will now find the Truffle Fairy in Thomastown and Kilkenny city as well as in a few markets throughout the year. So treat yourself to truly delicious Irish food.