The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Nigel Cotter, winner of the 2nd Market Lane Culinary Scholarship.

The Menu is delighted to see the very excellent Neighbourhood initiative, offering consumers who otherwise might not be able to attend the actual markets themselves, the opportunity to shop online at their leisure for the finest of local farmers’ market fare and collect same at a pre-arranged collection point on one specific evening of the week. The latest arrival to the ‘family’ is in Watergrasshill at the increasingly intriguing O’Mahony’s, an old family establishment undergoing a very welcome revival as a gastropub under Máire O’Mahony and Victor Murphy, formerly of House Cafe at the Opera House.

Producers available at the Watergrasshill Neighbourfood include: Fitzgerald butchers, Kilbrack farm, Knocklara farmhouse cheese, Eight degrees brewing, Longueville house beverages, Future Orchards,Yummie foods, Square garden, Adams eggs, My Goodness ltd, Olives west cork, Yum Gelato, Saturday pizzas, Bread & Roses and Organic republic with more to follow. Collection time 5-7pm, each Wednesday. (


The AllTech Craft Brews and Food Fair (March 14-16), an annual celebration of some of the very best of genuinely Irish beers, ciders, whiskeys and gins, returns for another Paddy’s Day outing at Dublin’s Convention Centre with extensive ‘soakage’ opportunities courtesy of a range of fine food offerings, along with live music and entertainment as well as the Six Nations rugby also ‘on tap’ via three humongous screens, all sounding like an enlarged take on The Menu’s own living room over the course of that same weekend!


With the capital becoming the global epicentre of all things green for Paddy’s Day, the Dublin-based St Patrick’s Festival includes a Food Village (March 14-18) in Merrion Square billed as a celebration of Irish produce and global flavours including a Gaeltacht area, Céilí Mór, circus and science shows, children’s readings and discos, live music, village hall talks, street theatre and a World Food Market, with producers including: Cloud Picker Coffee Roasters, Dough Kitchen Pizza, Shaka Poké and Arctic Stone ice cream.


Fáilte Ireland and Chef Network have launched a series of online business tools, the Chef Action Plan, enabling chefs to increase commercial efficiency with no sacrifice in food quality. The tool, developed in tandem with top Irish chefs, covers smart purchasing, effective control of food costs, smart management of labour, and efficient waste reduction. Access is available to all pro and student chefs signed up to [ur;=][/url]. Congratulations to butcher-turned-CIT culinary student Nigel Cotter, winner of the 2nd Market Lane Culinary Scholarship 2019 and a €3,000 bursary enabling him to progress to the college’s Dept of Tourism and Hospitality’s National Chef De Partie Apprenticeship Programme at CIT.


While these are most exhilarating times to live in for the Gourmand Gael with a seemingly endless flow of fine new food products coming into play and with an Irish hospitality scene always up to speed with the necessary culinary technique to incorporate same into the ongoing development of a modern Irish cuisine, there is a sometime danger that this constant striving for the ‘new’ comes at the

expense of the ‘old’, neglecting the classics for no other reason than they are not ‘on trend’, as the marketing bods would have it, which is why The Menu was delighted to pick up a truly old-school condiment at Douglas Farmers’ Market, a jar of Primrose Cottage Picalilli. With his memories of same stretching back through the millennia to his childhood, The Menu relished the crisp crunch of the tangy pickled vegetables (including carrot, courgette and cauliflower) simply yet so elegantly spiced with mustard and turmeric, the crowning glory on a sandwich of Norse Rye Sourdough Rye and Knockanore Oakwood Smoked Mature Cheddar.

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