The Menu is very much looking forward to the mingling with the 10,000 or so expected at Cork City Hall for the 2019 Cork and Kerry Food Market (November 1-2), a showcase for splendid food and drinks produced in the two counties.
He will be unveiling his own personal pairings of same on the Friday night as well as hosting highly entertaining blind tastings, at an over-18s event also featuring cocktail masterclasses, Meet the Maker and Master Brewer talks and of course a fabulous spread of produce with myriad beverages to match.
Saturday sees more than 70 artisan food and drink producers offering up their wares as well as demonstrations from six top chefs from both counties, including Kevin Aherne (Sage), Bryan McCarthy (Greene’s), Patricia Messom (The Stuffed Olive) and Chad Byrne (The Brehon Hotel), while Kevin Dundon and The Happy Pear also put in a shift.
Samhain: 5,000 years of Irish Food & Culture (November 1-3) is a new festival from Boyne Valley Flavours and Hinterland Festival Kells,in the Co Meath town.
With a theme of Food and Culture, star guests include Darina Allen, JP McMahon, John and Sally McKenna, Michael Kelly, Niall Sabongi and the Gastro Gays with an intriguing programme that includes: Chef’s Manifesto — There is no Planet B; Forgotten Skills with Darina Allen and the Smokin’ Butcher Hugh Maguire; and ’Food as Medicine’ with Domini Kemp.
Yet another round of Cultivate’s Speakeatsy (November 2), the self-explanatory gustatory gathering with an activist edge, returns to the wonderful setting of Cloughjordan with a meal created by Cloughjordan Community Farm, followed by an after-dinner ‘conversation’ that sees Ella McSweeney talking to Mary Reynolds, nature activist, reformed landscape designer and author of the truly splendid, The Garden Awakening.
The Menu sees sourdough bread becoming an increasingly popular propositionwith a general public at last turning their backs on the pappy sliced pan, a ‘bread’ so nutritionally compromised by its dizzyingly rapid production, it requires ‘fortification’— in other words, the re-addition of nutrients stripped out by the process.
Producing sourdough is an infinitely more natural process, now thousands of years old and requiring nothing but flour and water added to an active fermented sourdough starter and sufficient time to allow the mix to leaven before baking. Sourdough is now so popular, in fact, that most major supermarket chains sell their own ‘sourdoughs’.
The only problem, however, is these are rarely if ever actual sourdoughs, but yeasted breads with pasteurised ‘starter’ added to effect a mediocre mimicking of the real deal and which real bread guru Andrew Whitley has dubbed ‘pseud-dough’, which is why The Menu feels it is so essential to always seek out the genuine article, in this country almost invariably the output of baker-members of Real Bread Ireland.
So he was delighted on his recent expedition to Dingle to spend time in Bacús, the splendidly-named bakery and shop, that is the consequence of owner-baker Orla Gowen’s own Real Bread Ireland-inspired journey in baking, and where The Menu picked up a couple of truly excellent loaves, including the original of the species, a 100% yeast-free sourdough, proved for 24 hours and containing just flour, water, salt and a rye-and-wheat sourdough starter, yielding a delicious, airy loaf with bite and a nutty, chewy, crunchy crust, and if that weren’t enough to be going on with, he picked up some delicious baked confections for dessert including a Chocolate and Guinness cake that would cause a grown man to weep like an infant—not saying that happened to The Menu but you know...