The Food on the Edge symposium (October 22-23) returns with a gathering of chefs and food personages, from home and abroad, assembling in Galway for talks, panel discussions, and masterclasses, led by joint MCs, chef/restaurateur JP McMahon (Galway), chef Matt Orlando (Copenhagen), and Sasu Laukkonen (Helsinki). Other top names include Irish chefs Neven Maguire, Andy McFadden (Glover’s Alley) and Cork-based Takashi Miyazaki. This year’s symposium is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Bourdain, with his former colleague, producer Nathan Thornburgh, recalling their five years working together. Masterclass sessions can accommodate up to 50 on a first come, first served basis, while the Food Village will host 60 of Ireland’s top food and beverage producers. A pop-up Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop will be available for book signings and sales (foodontheedge.ie)
The Burren Food Fayre (October bank holiday weekend) adopts a most on-trend theme of Taste Without Waste. As well as the food market and other family-friendly events, there is an excellent line-up of chefs offering demos and masterclasses including: London-based Irishwoman Anna Haugh, who is about to open her own Irish-inspired Chelsea restaurant, Myrtle; Robbie McCauley, of the very splendid Gregan’s Castle, also in Co Clare, and Niamh Fox of the recently opened Little Fox Café in Ennistymon. (burren.ie)
The Menu is more than happy to make room for a couple of late arrivals, beginning with a very splendid fundraising gala dinner (October 28), on behalf of West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue, entitled ‘Celebration of Land & Sea, taking place at Deasy’s Restaurant in Ring, West Cork, with swimmer Steve Redmond as guest of honour. Diners will feast on a specially conceived menu from Deasy’s head chef, the beyond wonderful Caitlin Ruth. (Tickets from eventbrite.ie)
A previous winner of The Menu’s Munchies, as Food Emporium of the Year, O’Driscoll’s independent supermarket in Ballinlough hosts a French wine tasting (October 26, 3pm-7pm) also featuring assorted nibbles. (jjodriscoll.ie)
The Menu’s Camino of the Bean — a lifelong caffeinated pilgrimage that began probably before it should have, back when his age was still measured in single digits —has taken all manner of twists and turns over the decades, more so in recent years with the advent of a whole new swathe of young roasters and baristas who have done so much to convert a formerly tae-drinkin’ nation into a bunch of coffee zealots. And while he enjoys more and more, the highly individual, even outré single origin offerings from Ireland’s new wave of boutique roasteries, he has recently and greatly relished an old school offering from Java Republic, one of the granddaddies of modern Irish roasting.
Even if he were never to taste so much as a drop of their output, The Menu has long given praise to Java Republic for its enlightened and fully committed policies on Fair Trade and sustainability. A sampling of RuCo (a 50-50 combo of Rwandan and Colombian beans) shows that it’s also working out where it matters most, in the cup. Full-bodied with medium acidity, RuCo works best from an espresso machine, yielding a nutty, caramel brew sporting black fruit notes and a delicious creamy crema, just perfect for when The Menu is in the mood for a soothing breakfast café au lait. (javarepublic.com)
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BEER OF THE WEEK
Matsons, 1601, O’Brien’s, JD OSullivans, Martins Off Licence Fairview, Drinkstore, Redmonds.
A visit to Bradleys, Matsons or Redmonds (or any good beer off-licence) seems to present me with a new Whiplash beer to try. This American style India Pale Ale is not all that new but seems somewhat appropriate to recommend in the run-up to Halloween.
With a good dollop of oat and wheat malt (plus British Floor Malted Pale) this inevitably pours a creamy and hazy gold — bright tropical fruit and lemon zest aromas with pineapple, preserved lemon and soft malt flavours on the palate and a bristling hop freshness on the finish. Initially hopped with Cascades and then double dry-hopped with Ekuanot and BRU-1 hops.