The Menu: Food fairs and festivals you won't want to miss

Food news with Joe McNamee

Burren festival

The Menu has made mention before of his great grá for west Clare and feels no shame in doing so once more, particularly as it is in connection with the lovely Burren Slow Food Festival (May 10 to 12), in Lisdoonvarna. It may be small but it is perfectly formed and alongside the food producers and farmers’ market that is a treasure trove of crafts and fine edible fare, a rolling roster of guests from the culinary world deliver tastings, demos and workshops, while a seafood buffet on Inis Oírr, the Burren Slow Food pop-up restaurant and a pop-up cafe and family buffet offer plenty of nibbling opportunities. Also worth checking out is the Sustainable Living Festival (May 11 to 12) at the National Botanic Gardens including demonstrations, market and food stalls, soapbox talks, kids’ activities, and exhibits from community groups and businesses.

Real Wine Fair

The Menu’s great comrade, Pascal Rossignol, celebrates the 20th anniversary of his wonderful Le Caveau wine company, marking the occasion by bringing the The Real Wine Fair Ireland (May 15) to Dublin’s Chocolate Factory, celebrating the artisan growers who farm organically or using biodynamic practices producing splendid wines that have completely upended the tables in the wine retail business over the last decade or so. Over 30 winegrowers will be pouring and presenting wines to consumers, trade and press, even offering the general public (4.30pm-7pm) the chance to roam across an enormous range of some of the finest such wines being produced today. The Menu can only manage a glass in one hand if a choice foodstuff resides in the other and both the Fumbally Cafe and Loose Cannon Cheese & Wine, two fine institutions, will have that end of things covered. For those who miss the day itself, keep in mind that the entire month of May is Real Wine Month, showcasing organic, biodynamic and natural wines around the country. (

Food trail

The Menu extends sincere apologies for an egregious error in the engine room of his brain which caused him to recently bring tidings of Cork Midsummer Festival’s renowned Long Table Dinner when in fact this year it is being put on ice in favour of a walking food trail version of the same thing, a chance to sample food from several of the city’s excellent eateries. Walk the Long Table is in fact a walking tour led by chefs Trisha Lewis (Jacob’s on the Mall) and Ali Honour (Ali’s Kitchen) featuring the food and faces of Ali’s Kitchen, Crawford and Co, Dockland, Electric, Isaac’s, Jacobs on The Mall, Nash 19, The Farmgate Café and The Imperial Hotel. (Takes place twice daily, June 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21.)

Today’s special

The Menu’s pre-natal diet went heavy on the Fry’s dark chocolate peppermint creme and subsequent to his great emergence, he was the only infant of his peers to have any predilection at all for dark chocolate though only so long as it possessed a minty ‘soul’. And so it came to pass that he came across Handmade Chocolate Mint Creams from the Chocolate Garden of Ireland: this rendition of an old classic combo, mint and dark chocolate, is divinely delivered in a crisp shell of dark chocolate.

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