The Menu: Farm to Fork the place to get a taste of West Cork

Participating farmers on the West Cork Farm to Fork Tours, a programme designed to introduce tourists to life on a rural family farm, and part of an upcoming Farm to Fork weekend dining break at the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, in West Cork

HOMEGROWN EVENT

The irrepressible Gaz Smith, chef/proprietor of the enormously popular South Dublin restaurant, Michael’s, in Mount Merrion, is to bring his culinary skills to bear on a ‘homegrown’ event (March 11), at GROW HQ, GIY Ireland’s Waterford city headquarters.

Smith will pillage the tremendous gardens at GROW HQ for finest seasonal produce and then will take to the kitchens to produce a special one-off long table dinner for 55 lucky diners. An enormous part of the Michael’s appeal is Smith’s dedication to celebrating the very best of Irish seafood in a manner that leaves him with few competitors around the country and the expectation is he will feature much of the same on his menu for an organisation The Menu considers to be one of the most progressive food activism enterprises to emerge on these shore in recent years. 

Tickets €45, booking essential: www.giy.ie)

TASTE OF WEST CORK

The Celtic Ross Farm to Fork (March 22& 23) experience, in the Rosscarbery-based hotel, in West Cork begins with an welcoming arrival drink but, as Friday dinner is not part of the overall package, the canny diner might check out the very splendid Pilgrim’s or O’Callaghan-Walshe, up in the town square though advance booking is advisable.

Saturday begins with breakfast before heading off on a West Cork Farm Tour (www.westcorkfarmtours.com), meeting local farmers and experiencing rural life on a family farm.

Back at the hotel, afternoon tea with G&Ts should set all up very nicely for an evening’s fine dining as chefs Alex Petit and Shane Deane deliver a truly august West Cork Tasting Menu. Package includes breakfast on Saturday and Sunday with the option of brunch. www.celticrosshotel.com

BREAKFAST AWARDS

One of the very first of the modern Irish food writers and a great stalwart and supporter of the Irish food world, Georgina Campbell returns with her Best Irish Breakfast Awards 2019 acknowledging a particular crucial part of the overall native hospitality experience and with a particular emphasis on highlighting provenance, quality and authenticity, and he is also a particular fan of several of the Breakfast Food Award Winners 2019, particularly, Woodcock Smokery (Fish) and Longueville House (Bread), in Co Cork and Castlemine Farm (Meats), Co Roscommon.

Neither could he disagree with the decision to award Best Brunch to Dublin’s Fumbally Cafe, in a category that grows ever more competitive with each passing year. Best Breakfast winners included: Park Hotel Kenmare (5-star Hotel), Co Kerry; Marlfield House (4-star Hotel), Gorey, Co Wexford; Dingle Benners Hotel (3-star Hotel), Co Kerry; Virginia Park Lodge (Country House), Virginia, Co Cavan; Wineport Lodge (Guest House), Athlone, Co Westmeath; and Bantry House and Garden (B&B), Bantry, Co Cork. (www.ireland-guide.com)

TODAY’S SPECIAL

The Menu has discovered his first new honey of the year, Droumadoun Chunk Honey, from beekeeper Jerry O’Shea’s hives in Abbeystrewery, Skibbereen, in Co Cork.

This dense, rich and deep golden honey hums with floral notes, especially, bramble and gorse, eventually evolving on the tongue into the twin pleasures of caramel and clove and while he and The Progeny have been enjoying a spoonful each morning at breakfast as a tonic against winter’s ailments, he’ll be soon seeking out another jar for they have also taken to spiking myriad other daily dishes and drinks with same, including hot milk, porridge, hot buttered toast and of course more solo spoonfuls at random hours as the mood takes. (Jerry O’Shea 087-9644550)

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