The Menu: Celtic Cook-Off

Celtic cook-off in West Cork

The Menu returns as a judge for the annual Celtic Cook-Off (Sept 10), in the West Cork Hotel, as part of the illustrious Taste of West Cork Food Festival. Representative chefs from each of the six Celtic ‘nations’ (Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittanny, Isle of Man and Cornwall) cook a meal heavy on fine local West Cork produce with one ‘secret ingredient’ allowed from their own personal larder and then serve it up to the judges (including last year’s winner, Donegal man Gary O’Hanlon and Irish cheese legend Veronica Steele) in front of a packed hall of local food fans. The theme of this year’s Cook-Off is “getting people into the business” so young trainee chefs will be heavily involved over the course of the day and maintaining the festival’s primary commitment to West Cork produce, it will also be used as a vehicle for establishing a ‘Celtic Food Network’. The Menu is hard pressed to recall when he had as much fun as last year’s event occasioned and with superb tasters of world class West Cork produce, bubbly and canapés made to the recipes of the competing chefs, it appears this year’s will be bigger and better than ever. www.westcorkhotel.com & www.westcorkfood.com

Food festivals in Coal Quay and Donegal

Festivals abound and the early birds may catch a very late-advertised worm in the Coal Quay Festival taking place today (12pm-5.30pm) in Cork city featuring the Buttera and Cork Shawlies Parade, children’s activities, music, poetry, theatre, photo exhibitions, festival history walk, magic shows, circus performers and, of course, the vibrant little food market. (www.facebook.com/coalquayfestival). A Taste of Donegal (Aug 23-25) is a smorgasbord of edible entertainment with many stars of the Irish food scene cooking up a storm (www.atasteofdonegal.com) while one of the focal points of the upcoming Westport Food Festival (Sept 6-8) is the ‘Articulating A Food Vision for Mayo’ conference bringing together food and hospitality businesses, producers and providers from across the county to brainstorm a strategy for promoting Mayo’s splendid local food culture. www.westportfoodfestival.ie

Horse and Jockey for courses

Pastry chef Jacqueline Lanigan Ryan of the Horse and Jockey Hotel will give one-day hands-on baking courses covering flavoured breads, cakes, mini desserts and pastries, including light lunch and afternoon tea devouring the fruits of your endeavours. The two courses take place on Sept 20 and 21. www.horseandjockeyhotel.com

Tasty treat from Hassett’s

Recently stumbling across a packet of Bailey’s Cream Cookies from the very splendid Hassett’s Bakery, of Carrigaline, the Menu and several of his voracious progeny were greatly taken by the crisp snap and subsequent rapid melting in the mouth of these fine buttery, vanilla cookies. So taken, in fact, they washed down the lot with cold glasses of McCarthy Dairies creamy unhomogenised milk which is really all a body can do under such circumstances. www.hassettsbakery.ie

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