The Menu: Cheese, wine and Fem-Ale

Food news with Joe McNamee.

The Menu: Cheese, wine and Fem-Ale

Food news with Joe McNamee.


After a brief respite for the summer holidays, festival season is back in earnest, beginning with a newbie from Eatyard that is surely set to be a keeper.

The Wine & Cheese Festival (Aug 8-11), takes place in the salubrious surroundings of Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens, with a magnificent selection of boutique wine and cheese vendors, including Green Man Wines, wine-on-tap experts Wine Lab, Cork’s L’Atitude 51, Wines Direct, Quintessential Wines, The Winehouse, Irish producers Kinsale Mead and Graham Norton’s latest release wines.

For the non-wine drinkers, there’s a Five Lamps x Brewtonic Bar serving beers, spirits and low or non-alcoholic drinks.

The cheese line-up is being curated by Sheridans to furnish a fine selection of the finest artisan and farmhouse Irish and international selections, including many Menu favourites such as Corleggy Cheese, Coolatin Cheddar, Cashel Blue and Hegartys.

And that’s barely the half of it. But suffice to say, all hot food available will be heavily cheese-focused.

The Menu recommends one special demo as Kevin Powell (Loose Cannon) attempts to demonstrate how to make ‘the perfect cheese toastie’—though The Menu has already cracked that one.

And once the belly is full and the feet are itchy, entertainment comes courtesy of Cheesy Singalong Social, Sing For Your Dinner karaoke, The Dublin Ukelele Collective, Trinity Orchestra do Abba, R’n’Brie special from Holla Back and Easy Singles speed dating. Sunday is kids day, free for children (0-12) and plenty of kid-friendly entertainment on tap. (


The ever progressive Franciscan Well Brewpub returns with, Fem-Ale Fest (Aug 9-10), its excellent celebration of Women in the Drinks Industry, this year in aid of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork, a timely reminder that the production and enjoyment of fine Irish craft beers is not solely a boys-only club.

Taking place in the beer garden, it will feature a range of Irish beers brewed by the female brewers of Ireland, with 13 breweries attending including Black Donkey, Carrig Brewing and Rising Sons, as well as highlighting women in distilling with distilleries such as Tipperary and Jameson giving talks and tastings, as well as other talks from leading women in the brewing sector.

Live music comes from Cork-based female bands such as KOA and bands from the Angry Mom Collective Cork. Admission free.


Taste of Cavan 2019 (Aug 9-10) at Cavan Equestrian Centre, Cavan Town, offers a fantastic family day out with top chefs, fine local produce, craft beers, ciders and gin, a free kids’ zone, and a dedicated craft corner and this year debuts the Taste of Cavan Wellness Village.

Stars of the show include Neven Maguire (MacNean House) offering his hugely popular ‘Cook Along With Neven’ masterclasses, Weekend AM’s TV star Simon Delaney, and My Gluten Free Kitchen author/chef Gearóid Lynch (Olde Post Inn). (


The Menu, on foot of a recent trip to Limerick, was enjoying a very nice cup of tea while mulling over a possible list of candidates for inclusion in this space, fine products from the Treaty City and its hinterland, when it suddenly dawned on him that he might as well make mention of the tea itself, Cahill’s Breakfast Tea, for it too emanates from the same location, specifically, Cahill’s, of Wickham St, a splendid old emporium first established in 1870 as a tobacco and snuff factory.

This particular brew is malty, full-bodied but not overly tannic, the class of cuppa that will ensure a body is fit to tackle what every the world may choose to throw at them.

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