A fine old town to put the nosebag on, at the best of times, Spandex eating pants will be the order of the day with edible opportunities at every corner, including an extended food village at Spanish Arch and food trails throughout. Along with cooking and baking demos, foraging trips (including sea foraging on Galway Bay), there are talks, tastings and tours to local producers. The Gastronomy Guys perform molecular gastronomic shenanigans in the Gaslight Bar & Brasserie, Hotel Meyrick, while a Paleo Dinner Party cooked by the owners of Sauvage Berlin at 37 West Café threatens to bring out the inner-caveman in The Menu. www.galwayfoodfestival.com
Whenever The Menu hears a fellow Gael bemoaning his lot and trotting out the old line that there’s ‘never anything to do’ on our Glorious Isle, he prescribes the surest remedy he knows for such ill-informed waffle: a trip to the incomparable Burren followed by a splendid evening at the Wild Honey Inn. The only thing better in The Menu’s book is to pass a whole weekend doing same as part of Burren in Bloom (May 16-18 and 23-25), a package including guided walks with the excellent Tony Kirby when the exquisite wildflowers are at their finest and packed lunches, two nights B&B and a fine, fine dinner at Wild Honey Inn, one of The Menu’s most favoured eating establishments. email@example.com
The Menu was delighted to hear that an old favourite of this column, Veronica Molloy of Crossogue Preserves, won a deserved gold for her Lime & Tequila Thick Cut Marmalade, beating off 2,000 other entries at the World Original Marmalade Awards held in Cumbria. The Bia Sasta Critics’ Club next wield the cutlery followed by the pen at Club Brasserie on April 17 (biasasta.blogspot.ie). And finally a quick nod to some of the more fresh-faced arrivals on Grub Street: Aroi, on Limerick’s O’Connell Street is the latest arrival, serving the nation’s ongoing love affair with Asian-style street food, while The Menu passed a pleasant Sunday afternoon sipping Earl Gray in the very pleasant and cosy surroundings of The Workshop (theworkshopcork.com) just around the corner from the ‘planespotter’s corner’ at Cork Airport and also enjoyed a very pleasant Cheese Toastie in the newly-opened Sunbean Café on Cork’s Union Quay.
The Menu’s hitherto impregnable pantheon of Great Irish Cheeses has been well and truly breached by his latest discovery, Humming Bark, a Vacherin-style production from Carrigbyrne. Encircled in a strip of spruce bark, this soft, washed-rind marvel spills forth a dense, salty yellow cream that a body could happily eat forever but it is the sweet, lingering raspberry notes that elevate this already splendid cheese to a place alongside the truly exalted company on The Menu’s Golden Cheeseboard. www.carrigbyrne.ie
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Dalliance 2012 Cider, 5.8% ABV, 375ml — €4.59-€4.99
Bradleys, Next Door Clonakilty, Drink-store D7, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Jus de Vine Portmarnock Wine importer and winemaker Simon Tyrrell recently released the second vintage of Craigies’ Ballyhook Flyer cider but he has also released a new cider called Dalliance which is closer to a sparkling wine in style.
Dalliance is made from dessert apples (e.g. Elstar, Falstaff). Pale gold colour, bright apple and pear aromas with fine streams of bubbles. Crisp apple and citrus flavours with a pleasant tart kick on the finish. A food cider that would go well with roast chicken or even seafood. — Leslie Williams