The Menu: Splendid evening of fine food in Castlecomer

The Menu: Splendid evening of fine food in Castlecomer
Avalon House Hotel, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, where the recent Food Heroes 2019 dinner recently took place.

LOCAL HEROES

The poor benighted Douglas village in Cork has been in the wars once more, flooded not too many years ago and now recovering from a fresh trauma in the wake of the terrible fire that has left the Douglas Shopping centre temporarily closed.

Douglas Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Saturday morning, will however take place in its usual spot on the concourse outside the centre with market manager Rupert Hugh-Jones promising an ‘extra-special market’ as a show of support for their fellow traders within the centre and the community as a whole and The Menu urges locals to come out in force and bring a little joy back to the heart of Douglas Village (www.douglasmarket.ie)

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Having had the pleasure of participating in a previous outing of same, The Menu can’t recommend highly enough a series (Galtee Mountains, September 15, 22; Glen of Aherlow, Octtober 6) of mushroom identification and foraging expeditions under the expert aegis of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms’ Mark Cribbin. (www.ballyhouramushrooms.ie)

PRE-THEATRE DISHES

Five fine Cork restaurants —Good Day Deli, Pigalle, The Ivory Tower (re-opening specially for the occasion), Paradiso and Isaacs — are offering a special pre-theatre meal experience before Teach Damhsa’s award-winning production, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, at Cork Opera House, (September 10-11), as part of the programme for the very excellent Sounds from a Safe Harbour music and arts festival. (Contact restaurants directly for bookings) (www.soundsfromasafeharbour.com)

OUR TABLE

If ever there was a time to make a pertinent point about the realities of life on the border between North and South in the face of much ignorant and reckless malafoostering from across the water, then Boxty Without Borders (September 15), appears to have absolutely nailed it.

This long table gathering, stretching across Belcoo Bridge, connecting Blacklion, Co Cavan with Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, and led by Olde Post Inn chef/proprietor Gearoid Lynch and John Mulcahy (formerly of Failte Ireland) will see 150 diners enjoy a fine feast of superb produce from the entire island of Ireland including some good old boxty, serving as both a celebration of local and national produce from the entire island and as a timely reminder of the age-old power of food to bring people together in harmony over the table. (www.irishfoodchampions.com)

TODAY’S SPECIAL

Taking a rather different format this week, instead of a single special, The Menu wishes to highlight an entire menu, specifically, one served earlier this week in the very charming Avalon House Hotel, in lovely Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, for a Food Heroes 2019 dinner, hosted by John McKenna with special guest speaker Kevin Thornton and cooked by the sublimely talented Graeme Neville (Dax, Dublin), Peter Everett (Everett’s, Waterford), Stephain Dorilas (Dax, Dublin) and in-house chef Cathal O’Dowd, (Lil’s at Avalon House Hotel).

It was a splendid evening of fine food, company and conversation with many of the producers themselves present and it is a stellar roll call worth citing in full: Hussey Fruit & Veg, Drummond House Garlic, In-house Black Pudding, St Toal Goat’s Cheese, Killenure Dexter Beef, Ard Mhacha Shiitake Mushrooms, Goat’s Bridge Trout, Ring’s Farm, Mooncoin Beetroot, Village Dairy and Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Milk.

The Menu heartily recommends the consumption of any or all of the above.

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