Grand noshing in Galway City
Giant meringues in a decorative pile. (Necee Regis for The Boston Globe)
GALWAY CITY, Ireland - The cobblestone streets of this medieval city center on the West Coast overflow with restaurants, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, cafes, jewelers selling Claddagh rings, and bookstores.
Shop Street is a pedestrian-only zone, and off this main thoroughfare, where buskers play for euros, you'll find the Gourmet Tart Co.
The small storefront might be easy to miss. It's long and narrow, with a brightly lighted, clean and efficient interior that seems more like sleek New York than old-style Europe. Look for the pink and white sign above the glass transom and step inside for bakery bliss.
On the right, running the length of the shop, curved Plexiglas cases display offerings such as 4-inch tartlets (including apple crumb, chocolate, raspberry, almond, and pear), slices of Black Forest mousse, and whole chocolate fudge cakes. Individual quiches, with a variety of fillings including roasted vegetables and smoky bacon with scallion, are puffy golden pincushions of temptation.
There's a salad bar and the friendly staff also will prepare your choice of deli sandwiches.
The pi??ces de r??sistance are the grapefruit-sized meringues that come plain or streaked with raspberry or chocolate. A steal at about $2.05, these gigantic sweets provide energy for hours of shopping.
Gourmet Tart Co., 7 Lower Abbeygate St., Galway City. 011-353-91-588-384. Quiches and sweets $1.90-$4.50; sandwiches $4.10-$5.80.