Wintery Avoca visit

Good evening!

How many of you have heard of Avoca Ireland?
If you haven't, you are about to fall in love. 

Avoca began as a mill where farmers could weave and spin their wool in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1723. Business boomed and throughout the 1920s and 30s they were known across the country for their brightly-hued warm woollen throws and blankets. 

However, by the 1960s it had fallen into disrepair. The looms were silent, the mill stopped creaking. Until…..

A couple named Donald and Hilary Pratt took over the Handweavers Mill in 1974, and brought a fresh new look to the company. Orders soon piled in and they began to expand into clothes, homeware, books, beauty and food!

I recently visited the Avoca Store in Belfast, NI, on a wet and rainy Wednesday, and it cheered me right up! One of the highlights is the delicious food that they serve - and you can even buy fresh bread and tarts to take home.

The minute you walk in, the smell of bread hits you in the face. It looks like a treasure trove - distressed wardrobes filled with all kinds of books, tables topped with precariously-balanced glasses and mugs, piles of throws and gloves sitting inside an old suitcase… There are clothes, candles, jewellery and cooking utensils galore; you'll have to drag yourself out! 

Mum, my sister and I had been busy shopping all morning and we felt that we needed a reviving lunch and a chance to put our feet up. We hit the lunch rush but it was definitely worth the wait! Mum chose a Mediterranean vegetable feta wrap, sissy picked a sausage roll; and I went for homemade tomato soup and wheaten bread. 
(Wheaten bread is one of those things you think everyone knows until someone asks you to describe it. Then you realise that it is a bread unique to the Emerald Isle! Basically, it's a soft loaf - possibly like a bran loaf - slightly sweet and crumbly. It has a decent crust and tastes delicious toasted and spread with butter and jam, or with soup and cheese. Recipe will follow, I promise!)

For dessert, we decided to share a fruit tartlet - beautiful buttery pastry with a light créme pattisière and fresh fruit. 

 Here are a couple of highlights from my visit:

Some of the excellent cakes and puddings on show.

Home-made mince pies; Christmas isn't over yet! 

More sweet treats!

 As I'm still new to the blogging thing I haven't quite got used to taking pictures so freely!  I'll try to get more photos for the next time, promise. 

If you've been intrigued by the sound of it, do give their website a visit to find a store near you. You won't regret i!