Trip report: Sweet tooth

I’m in a major blogging rut, having lots of trouble writing anything up. But I have tons of photos from the trip that I always planned to share with you, so how about I just jump back in and share a few tasty experiences per post until I can bear to actually write about what I’m cooking?

Today’s offering: Sweets

In Dingle, the town in Ireland where we stayed for the first couple nights (and near where my mom’s family came from), we fell for a fantastic local ice cream shop. The staff members had clearly been told to encourage tasting, and they had lots of ideas on fun flavors to combine with each other. Our favorite lady is in the background here, behind the cutest darn cones in history.

Wonderful local ice cream shop

My combo was a scoop each of sea salt and caramel. This is not surprising if you know how I feel about last year’s trendiest flavor, salted caramel. I’ve been wolfing those french fleur de sel caramels whenever I could get my mitts on them since I first tried them at 13 or so.

Wonderful local ice cream shop

The same shop sold these gorgeous lollipops, which I didn’t buy:

Wonderful local ice cream shop

Up in Plockton, in Scotland, at the Plockton Inn (home of the first edamame/pea salad), we had the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted them anywhere they are on the menu, which in the UK is everywhere.

Best sticky toffee pudding ever

This winter I really do need to finally start making that at home.

A block or two down the road in Plockton, the next night, we ate a lovely meal at the Plockton Shores restaurant, and finished it off with rhubarb pie. Wow, we’re hitting all my weak spots! Salted caramel, sticky toffee, rhubarb…

On the left in the photo is whipped double cream. You could have spread it on toast.

Rhubarb pie!

In France our sugar came mostly from breakfast pain au chocolat, nutella, jam and fruit. These little palm-sized melons came from Morocco and were forcefully chosen for me by the man in the market stand. (“No! Do not pick by smell! Choose by weight! Heavy is ripe!”)

Breakfast melon

One after-dinner exception came from a really cool bakery near the town where we were staying, about which I will write more later. In addition to a regional specialty that I’m dying to recreate, they made Parisian-style macarons, and acquitted themselves quite well.

Macarons

Finally, in Dublin, we followed the strong advice of my friend Laura and visited the famed Queen of Tarts café for lunch one day. Oh yum.

We shared a sandwich and salad, plus a pot of tea, and then in a fit of gluttony each got a dessert.

Queen of Tarts

Ben got a sticky and enormous chocolate cake:

Queen of Tarts

And I, sucked in by a lifetime of reading English novels and salivating over desserts I’d never seen, finally got to try a slice of Victoria Sponge. In this case it was filled with strawberries and cream. It was luscious and I was glad I didn’t have to share.

Queen of Tarts

I know this is kind of a mean set of photos to post, especially in the late afternoon. I know I’m going to go attempt to eat a healthy snack instead of rifling through the pantry for something sweet!

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