The Menu: Enticing dining opportunities around Ireland

Food news with Joe McNamee

The Menu: Enticing dining opportunities around Ireland

The Truefood Academy in Clare is offering a new course, Nutrition4Life, over five weekends (beginning Oct 14/15) with nutritional therapist Colette McMahon at the helm.

Limited to 12 places, it is a hands-on practical course with lunch and refreshments included and is grant aided by the National Organic Training Skillsnet.

Along with the supporting theory, participants will learn to make probiotic soda drinks, healthy stocks and broths, sourdough breads and other healthy baked goods, yoghurt, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, kefir, sour cream, soft cheese, cultured butter and ghee, and the use of healing herbs and spices.

Rocket Deliveries is a splendid new initiative by Kim Elliot, formerly involved in setting up the excellent An Siopa Feirme, in Waterville, Co Kerry.

Rocket Deliveries will offer weekly veg boxes to the people of SW Kerry from a collection point in Cahirsiveen (or delivered to customers’ doors) including locally grown seasonal salad and veg along with recipes from nutritionist and yoga teacher Alex Carey (of Carey Yoga & Nutrition) to cover some of the less familiar items such as romanesco or rainbow chard.

All produce is seasonal and 100% Irish (save the occasional seasonal import with provenance always duly noted) and is grown free from chemicals/pesticides.

A recycling policy is in operation for all packaging. Additional items available include local free-range eggs, honey, jam, herbal teas, muesli, granola, chocolates, and with Kerry Produce luxury Christmas hampers soon available to order online.

There is just one week remaining to enter the Irish Food Writers’ Guild third annual Community Food Award (closing date September 28) to be given to an individual, business, or organisation in recognition of an especial commitment to social responsibility in food, for example, a community kitchen or garden, a food education project, or a food business that donates back to the community.

Other possible candidates could be an ethical food entrepreneur, chef, or retail business.

The inaugural winner was the Bia Food Initiative, based in Cork. Individuals, businesses, and organisations can nominate themselves or others for this award and entry is free.

Early birds may well find time to hook up with the gourmet trail posse, today visiting a variety of local restaurants (including Greene’s, Cask, Arthur Mayne’s, and the Oyster) for the Cork Oyster & Seafood Festival taking place over the weekend with a laid-back jazz and seafood lunch (September 24) on offer in the Metropole.

The wonderful wine and beer writer Susan Boyle will host a farewell sip of summer in L’Atitude 51 (September 27) with a Rías Baixas tasting, an opportunity to sample several truly splendid Albarinos, with some suitable nibbles also available (booking essential).


And still they keep coming, yet more and more splendid new Irish coffee roasters arriving on the scene.

The latest to fill up The Menu’s porcelain espresso cup is another new arrival from West Cork, Shane Kelleher’s Red Strand Coffee.

A splendid barista and longtime regular on the West Cork farmers markets circuits, Shane’s initial releases span the spectrum, from crowd-pleasers such as the sweet, medium-bodied Colombian Alto Del Obispo to a bright Brazilian Fazenda Sao Paulo redolent of chocolate orange and then a delightfully fruity, bergamot-laden Ethiopian Jimma-Duromina for the real speciality fans.

But it is the Costa Rican La Candelilla that is The Menu’s current morning glory, a creamy dark chocolate draught with a crisp acidity and a delicious lingering finish of black fruit berries.


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