Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ok, major gripe here. ( Or maybe a major grape!)

Lidl are pretty good. My good lady and I shop there about twice a month. Aldi I know nothing about as I’ve never been there but Lidl offers some exceptional value on the basics like cleaning products, rice, cooking oils, really good biscuits among others.

Lidl also do a good range of wines. Whether they do a range of good wines is debatable. I tried their wine a couple of times last year and was very unimpressed.

A couple of months ago my brother in law and his family borrowed my wife’s car to travel to France and as a thank you brought us back a few bottles of wine among which was a bottle of TARRAGONA BATURRICA RESERVA 2000 from Spain.

It was very nice.

Last week the good lady and I went to Lidl in Mullingar and there it was, TARRAGONA BATURRICA RESERVA, only this time a 2001 vintage priced at €6.99.

As I was savouring the last of my glass this evening I did a google search on it which led me to a Belgian wine site which had reviewed the Tarragona, pronounced it pretty good. They quoted a price as of Nov 1 2007 of €2.39 in Lidl!

That’s almost three times more expensive from the same retailer here in Ireland. Even allowing for the governments €2.00 per bottle tax it is still €2.60 more expensive here.

Isn’t it a great little country.

Having said all that I must confess my rampant capitalist belief that the price (as opposed to the value) of any good is what someone is willing to pay for it. The Tarragona is good value at €6.99.

Another gripe.

Last Sunday four of us, (wife, me and two kids aged four and eight) stayed for one night at the Hotel Kilkenny in (you guessed it) Kilkenny.

After checking in at about 3.30pm we decided to take the kids down to the pool for a while. Before leaving the room I rang reception to book a table for dinner at 8.00pm.

‘How many people, sir?’
‘Four.’
‘All adults?’
‘No, two adults and two children.’
‘I’m sorry, sir, but we do not allow children in the restaurant after 8.00pm.’

After which followed a conversation during which I was told that we could eat in the bar, with our children up to 9.30pm, that she (the lady at reception) did not make the rules and that a kids club was provided where we could deposit our kids while we had dinner without them.

Any time I have taken my kids to a restaurant in Spain or France the welcome afforded them has been superb. A team of waiters descended on us in Fuertaventura a couple of years back and folded the buggy, produced lollipops and, without being asked, appeared with a baby chair which was clamped to the table so that my son (then just 10 months old) could sit at the table with us.

The Hotel Kilkenny reacted as if we wanted to bring a couple of untamed tigers into their eatery.

We did eat in the restaurant. We were accompanied by our kids who were impeccably behaved and we did enjoy a rather fine meal (final bill €137.00). As I checked out next morning I told the manager that I would not be returning.

I can only wonder what European tourists must think of the anti-family ideals at our four star**** hotels!