Hello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @pulseprni or email firstname.lastname@example.org
G SPOTS! GOES GIRO-TASTIC
You need to be living under a rock not to know that the Giro d’Italia kicks off in Belfast today – but it’s not just the 150 + countries that have been preparing for this sporting spectacle, it seems that most of the country have been painting their towns pink to celebrate.
Out on my travels I’ve seen everything from a pink horse, rows of pink trees, a flock of pink sheep, a pink haired Mayor and pink H&W cranes. Being a foodie, or really just a person that likes to eat food, I have selected a mix of Giro culinary gems you can enjoy this weekend. So whether you’re watching at home, out cheering on the cyclists, or even stopping for a break while out on your own bike, there should be something here to tickle your tastebuds.
First out of the blocks is Treat Boutique on Wellington Square, (@treatboutique2) who is turning as much of its delicious sweet treats and drinks pink. My favourite is the Raspberry Ruffle cheesecake, which is so tasty that you could very easily eat the whole thing in one swoop and still want another one – mamma mia! If you fancy something slightly more Italian, close your eyes when you are eating the pink Limoncello tart and you could be sitting in the sun filled cafe in Sicily – bellissimo!
One of my favourite city centre venues (especially if the weather is good) is the Ivory in Victoria Square (@theivorybelfast). The outside space is very inviting, with plush couches and great views of the city. It’s getting in the swing of things with an Italian inspired menu starting from £15.95 for two courses and including Porcini mushroom lasagne and Carpaccio of rose veal. It will also be serving themed Belfast-Trieste prosecco and a special 9.5 Giro d’italia pink wine. If you are feeling adventurous, there will also be two spin bikes on the balcony and diners can have an attempt at the quickest time, for a chance to win some great prizes.
If you are in Belfast on Saturday morning, there is a fun way to see the Giro sights and enjoy more culinary delights. Yes, the very talented gang at Kabosh (@KaboshTheatre) have brought back the RMS Titanic chef, Barney for his gastronomic tour of the city centre. The tour has a special Giro price of £10 per person (ticket only) and it is a great way to learn about the history of the city and sample some great artisan food along the way.
If you are keen to see more cycling, then follow the route up to the North Coast. If you get a little peckish along the way, I have two hidden gems that have created uniquely pink ideas. In Bushmills the now infamous Hip Chip on the main street is serving pink cod – no it’s not a new species of fish, its pink food colour added for maximum Giro-tastic effect. Also on the menu is a North Coast speciality, Yellowman, but for this weekend only maybe it should be called Pinkman! Because yes, you’ve guessed it, this North Coast favourite has been painted pink too. It is available in Portstewart at Sheila’s Sweetshop (@sheilasshop).
All’s left now is for me to get my pink clothing out of the wardrobe and head down to the City Hall for the @girostart2014 later. We if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em – ciao!