Thursday, July 26, 2012

Richie's not Bluffin' with his Scuffin

A few weeks ago, the people at Goodalls decided to run a competition to see who made the best scone in Ireland.  Now they didn't mean me (although mine are exeedingly good) or your granny, they were talking about coffee shops and restaurants.

Nominations started pouring in thick and fast and despite loving the work of places like The Brown Hound Bakery and their sublime Parmesan Scone, there was only one cafe that I could nominate - Caffe Formenti on Dublin Street in Carlow.  You see, I worked in Carlow for 7 months and Formenti was my local cafe. It's run by husband and wife team Richie Fenner and Christina Caratti, ably assisted by Maya and Milena on front of house.  It's a local institution, even though it's barely 5 years in existence and in a town where businesses are closing every day, it's a shining light.  Richie's scones are called Scuffins and they're a giant scone baked in a muffin tin, so they're deep and crunchy and delicious.  His bestsellers are the mixed fruit but I have a special love for the plain or peach ones which are special order and wreck Richie's head, having to hold back some batter for "that awkward one from up the road".  He loves me really...

Richie's not Bluffin' with his Scuffin...

The competition caught the public imagination with #bestscone becoming one of the top trends talked about on Twitter last week.   A shortlist was compiled from public nominations cast on Twitter and Facebook and was  then voted for on the Goodalls blog, with almost 10,000 votes being cast from around the country. Even though Caffe Formenti has no Twitter account (despite me continually telling Richie how important it is), the cafe regulars used their powers of persuasion via Facebook to get everybody in Carlow and beyond to vote for Richie's Scuffin.  You see Caffe Formenti is much more than a local place to eat, it serves exceptional food, including Richie's lunch specials, and supports local artists with regular exhibitions and great music nights.

Richie and Christina can be found at Caffe Formenti, 20 Dublin Street, Carlow.  Tel 059 9140533.


  1. Every word a true and accurate description of what Formenti is all about - not to mention Richie's generosity of spirit and his beautiful wife's elegant presence - all in all Formenti is a place that makes you feel special - Richie makes the nicest salads in town as well. Succes and continued enjoyment to the owners and staff.

  2. Ah the Scuffin, also known as the Cheerie Up Scone, like its creator, tough on the outside, crusty round the edges, and soft, warm and welcoming on the inside. without Cafe Formenti Carlow would have a little less artistic expression, a lot less community spirit, much less laughter, and big a bunch of hungry Carlovians wandering about aimlessly. Great, food, great team, best practice for how to run a small business. Onward and upward guys :)

  3. Thanks for publicising the scuffin on Twitter, Aoife. We went down to Cafe Formenti to try them last week and loved it! We thought the cafe was great. Although we live in Carlow, we hadn't been in!! We'll be back. You are right - they should be on Twitter!