>The Avoca Handweavers story came into being almost 300 years ago in the tiny Wicklow village of Avoca. In its latest form, owned by Dublin business couple Donald and Hilary Pratt, Avoca has developed into a concept store encompassing homewares, clothing, kitchen shops, gourmet foods, and in-store cooking and baking.
The newest Avoca Handweavers store opened recently in Rathcoole, not far from my mum’s home in Dublin. Having already popped into their stores in Dublin city centre and Wicklow’s Powerscourt Townhouse, we were interested to see what they had created on our doorstep.
This large concept store has almost equal square footage given to retail space and dining space. Upstairs a large airy self-service cafe offers freshly made soups, hot lunches, breads and patisserie to the well-heeled local residents, as well as busy business people taking a break from their travels. next door a more formal table-service restaurant offers similar fare in more refined surroundings.
The salads are divine. The Mediterranean tomato and vegetable soup almost needs a knife and fork to consume it. The cakes and scones are so large that we had to share one scone between us (and we like scones). The jam is homemade, runny, and intensely flavoured.
Downstairs, we bought some brown scones for my sister’s breakfast, and the lady at the check-out gave us a taste of a freshly-baked Bakewell slice. The shelves groaned with gourmet pastas and sauces, marmalades and mustards, nuts and exotic dried fruits. I escaped empty-handed only because of Australia’s heavy restrictions on importing food.
I have a feeling that our local Avoca Handweavers will become a fixture in our family outings from now on.