The Menu: Food festival frenzy

One of the great ironies of the ‘Edible Erin’ calendar is that the arrival once more of a new school year coincides with the busiest time of the year for food festivals, the season really beginning around now.

The Menu: Food festival frenzy

The Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival (August 21-23) is a last chance to kick out the jams before a return proper to the groves of academe and all the attendant school-related activities, with a short spell in wonderful west Clare, drinking Irish craft beer, dining on some of the very excellent local produce and listening to splendid tunes ( www.doolinbeerandroots.com ).

It is also the end of the summer for the splendid Boyne Valley Food Series, the final event, Lady Well Fete (August 23) in the grounds of Slane Castle.

The unique series has linked food events in the Boyne Valley region throughout the summer and a proper old-school garden fete. www.boynevalleyfoodseries.ie

YOUGHAL WONDERS

The Menu has, since childhood, been very fond of the lovely if too-often neglected east Cork seaside town of Youghal, so is greatly looking forward to the Youghal Medieval Festival (August 23).

There are myriad events and displays, reflecting the incredible history of the town and its surroundings, including battle re-encactments, archery and birds of prey but of especial interest will be some medieval cooking displays and the sampling of fine local foodstuffs ( www.facebook.com/YoughalMedievalFestival ).

It appears Indian Summer Weekend (August 21/22) at Tattersall’s Country House, in Co Meath, may yet be the closest poor sodden Gaels get to a bit of summer heat this year, with a short season of Indian-themed films and spicy snacks from Kerala Kitchen. www.tattersallscountryhouse.ie/movies

Early birds may struggle to book a grooming appointment for pooches hoping to star in the Annual Dog Show at today’s Kilavullen Farmer’s Market (August 15) but it is still worth nipping along for some lovely local produce at the Nano Nagle Centre ( www.KilavullenFarmersMarket.com )

TODAY’S SPECIAL

A serendipitous encounter while summering on his sumptuous West Cork estate saw The Menu come into possession of a fabulously innovative new Irish food product, Sea Bee Tree’s Muesli with Irish Seaweed.

Ever since, he has been bounding out of bed each morn to break his fast on any one of the three varieties, chock-full of fine Irish ingredients along with a few judicious imports.

The Raspberry & Apple makes for a lovely bircher, soaked overnight in Knockmealagula Apple Juice with a nice blob of Glenilen Natural Yoghurt stirred in prior to consumption, while the fruit & nuts (apple, raisins, sultanas, roasted hazelnuts & almonds) is delicious with hot milk and a little extra honey for The Menu’s exceptionally sweet tooth but his favourite is probably the exotic spelt, with the addition of mango, papaya and coconut adding a delightfully tropical aspect to the heretofore rather damp summer, and the splendid Irish seaweed adding a near- imperceptible saline shuffle.

And the entire kit and caboodle is so ridiculously healthy, to boot — the seaweed, in particular — that an utterly reinvigorated Menu plans to take up jogging just as soon as the bould Neidín’s gammy hoof has heeled. www.seabeetree.com

BEER OF THE WEEK

Eight Degrees Barefoot Bohemian, 4% ABV, 330ml — €2 - €2.49

Stockists: Bradleys, Galvins, Carry Out, McHughs, Baggot St Wines, O’Briens, widely available.

Another well-crafted beer from 8 Degrees Brewing in Mitchelstown. Barefoot Bohemian began life as a summer seasonal in 2012 and is now one of the most popular beers in its core range, particularly on draught (if your local doesn’t stock it ask them why not?)

Described as an “unconventional lager” by the brewing team I have to agree — given that this Czech-style Pils actually has flavour; packed with peppery Saaz and other noble hops. It has a hazy gold colour, with touches of pepper, spice and citrus.

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