The Menu: Burren Smoked Wild Irish Salmon

Vintage rally to launch new cider

The Menu has passed an entire evening rummaging in the attic for his goggles and kidskin leather driving gloves in readiness for The Great Highbank Proper Cider Run 2013 (May 12), a vintage car rally from Kilkenny to Wicklow, ending with an organic spit roast at Brooklodge, to launch the very first Highbank Orchard Cider. Highbank Orchard Apple Syrup is already one of the finest products to spring from these shores in many a moon and Julie and Rod Calder-Potts have such a way with the forbidden fruit it looks like this cider will also be a most serious proposition — and there are few finer experiences than a serious cider washing down a bit of serious spit roast pig! www.highbankorchards.com

Ballymaloe becomes food writers’ heaven

If you spy The Menu next weekend at the inaugural Ballymaloe Literary Festival, crawling around on belly, strewing hand-polished rose petals before all manner of visiting dignitaries, be forewarned — he is merely engaging in some deep-level supplication at this world’s first literary gathering of some of his great food-writing heroes, people whom The Menu has venerated since first taking paper to pan. Highlights abound but Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, Alice Waters, alongside Joanna Blythman, Jancis Robinson and a fine scattering of the new wave ... well, a weakened but happy Menu will be able for nothing but lying prostrate before them, then perhaps skipping off for some carousing and recovery in party central at The Big Shed. Also check out: chef/writer David Tanis; Nordic Food Revolution with Claus Meyer and Ben Reade; Sandor Katz’s Practical Fermentation demo; Thai Street Food with David Thompson. www.litfest.ie

Slow food in the Burren

Once in the Burren, it can be nigh impossible to leave, and there’s now another splendid reason to remain in the wonderful county of Clare — the seventh annual Burren Slow Food Festival in Lisdoonvarna (May 17-19) with special guest chef Richard Corrigan joining the team at Wild Honey Inn to prepare a special festival dinner. With some fine local producers in the area, including Birgitta Curtin and her delicious Burren Smoked Wild Irish Salmon, and the opportunity to sup a genuine local brew from the Roadside Tavern’s microbrewery. Galway chefs Jess Murphy (Kai) and JP McMahon (Aniar) will be demo-ing, John and Sally McKenna host the Burren Food Forum and there’s seaweed foraging with Ger Talty. www.slowfoodclare.ie

Sensational gourmet jam and honey

The raspberry was only made for jam but it takes a special hand to make a special raspberry jam and Bee Sensations make a very special raspberry jam indeed alongside a whole host of other delectable honey-based products. And in their fine honey, you have the secret of their Gourmet Honey & Raspberry Jam, no sugar, only a deep, smoky honey from their own hives lending a high clean sweetness, allowing that delicious tart raspberry tang to trip lightly across the tongue. Facebook/BeeSensations

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