Ballycotton festival to host local chefs

That hidden jewel of East Cork, Ballycotton, will be hopping this weekend as the Seafood & Shanty Ballycotton Festival (May 31-June 1) brings together fine local chefs, splendid seafood straight from the pier and excellent family entertainment.

including kids’ pottery and puppet shows, an amateur photography competition, a very splendid ‘Freedom of Ballycotton’ competition (prize: two nights B&B at the Bayview Hotel; lunch at Pier 26; Music/dinner at the Blackbird/The Field Kitchen; Fish & chips at Skinnys Diner; lunch at the Schooner and a gallon of beer at McGraths) and, of course, tunes galore! www.ballycottonshantyandseafood.com

Community spirit at Street Feast

Leeside citizens may have chanced upon an impromptu gathering, as the mayor and a small party dined al fresco yesterday on the Grand Parade, heralding Street Feast (June 15), an excellent initiative combining food and the local community. To obtain DIY pack for ideas, advice, printable posters and flyers, see www.streetfeast.ie

Sherry back its rightful place

International Sherry Week continues the elevation of one of The Menu’s preferred beverages to its rightful place in the grand scheme of things, with a tasting and tapas in L’Atitude51 (June 4@7.30pm) just one of several events nationwide. (www.latitude51.ie / www.isherryweek.com) Congrats due to this year’s winners of the estimable Eurotoques Top Irish Food Producers, as chosen by some of the finest chefs in the land, including J Hick & Sons, Achill Island Sea Salt, Wild Irish Game Ltd with The Menu especially gratified to see his excellent Cork-based friends at Ballyhoura Mushrooms and at Toonsbridge Dairy rewarded for their splendid endeavours (www.euro-toques.ie) and best of luck to chefs Frank Walsh and Rory McHugh, West Bar, Westport, winners of the Kinsale 2013 All-Ireland Chowder Cook Off, representing Ireland in the 33rd Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-Off (June 7), in Newport, USA with piscine guru Martin Shanahan along to provide spiritual guidance.

Today’s special

Believing any eating experience begins with the eyes, The Menu fell head over heels for Alistan Munroe’s Jamaican Jerk (conceived in Jamaica, made in Dublin) before he ever first opened the jar for, if a more exquisitely designed food livery comes his way any time soon, he shall devour the lot. The contents were equal to the allure of their outer attire. Jerk, a West Indian marinade, may be alien country for most Gaels but once tasted, will never be forgotten, especially when combined with BBQ wood smoke. The Menu used it to marinade fine chicken thighs and legs in a bag overnight and on the following ‘fresh’ summer evening, with U-Roy on the turntable and an Eight Degrees Amber Ella to hand, he cooked it low’n’slow over glowing embers and for half an hour the mulish kick of Scotch Bonnet chillis, the sulphurous notes of scallions and garlic and the high, sweet spicy tang transported him to an infinitely balmier location, quite some way west of an Irish suburban backyard. www.munroes.net

BEER OF THE WEEK

Dungarvan Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, 500ml — €3.49

Stockists: Widely available, eg: Matsons, Bradleys, O’Donovans, Next Door Raheen, World Wide Wines, Deveneys, O’Briens.

Mahon Falls is Dungarvan Brewery’s spring beer named after the waterfall created by the river Mahon in the Comeragh Mountains. Rye beer is not new but this is made in the US craft style — a sort of Rye-PA with complex use of hops and punchy flavours.

Golden red colour with delicious fruity aromas and a slightly smoky flavour — perfect for a BBQ. Dungarvan also suggest Lavistown & Brewer’s Gold cheese and I would add Coolea and mature Killeens.

— Leslie Williams

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