The Menu well recalls his youthful rapture on first viewing the classic gangster musical spoof Bugsy Malone in Cork’s old Palace Cinema, and shall be digging out his spats and three-piece suit for a Skibb Town Hall screening of same followed by traditional Italian antipasti. The Du-Eat-Alon sounds like an exercise in utter madness but there will be most probably be hardy takers for the run-eat-cycle-eat-run-eat format of this culinary version of the duathalon. Chocolatier Alison Roberts double-jobs, at a chocolate workshop and also Truffles and Wine: The Fairtrade Chocolate Story. Another highlight is the Secondary Schools Cookery Competition with West Cork students showcasing culinary skills brought to bear on local produce and it would be most heartening to see local farmers and other similar stakeholders pack the Sustainable Farming Conference to the rafters, for a glimpse at the only sane alternative to the truly unsustainable current agri-biz model of food production. Wild & Organic at Kalbo’s Café in conjunction with Thornhill Organic Farm will show sustainability in action, from farm to fork, while The Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards Dinner recognises food local innovators. And, naturally, The Menu too shall be springing for his raffle ticket to be in with a chance of driving home from the grand finale Around The World in 80 Flavours Street Market in a brand new Volkswagen UP. www.atasteofwestcork.com
Having returned once more to town following his annual sojourn in his West Cork Estate, The Menu believes he may well be developing gills on foot of Herculean feats of consumption when it came to putting away the seafood on a daily basis, exquisite fresh fish, and shellfish straight from the Atlantic. Similar may be had from A Taste of the Bay seafood menu offered in the exceedingly chilled surroundings of Galway’s Hotel Meyrick (www.hotelmeyrick.ie), while Oysters (www.oysters.ie) in the Clarion, in Cork City, continues to do a fine job with its fish-heavy offering. The newly-opened Roan Carrig seafood restaurant (www.berehavenlodge.com) in the maritime mecca that is Castletownbere, operates a commendable boat-to-belly menu and while the superb Good Things Café may be reaching the end of their summer season, they will remain open for Friday evening special set menu dinners and there are still a few places remaining for their Seaweed Class (September 13) in conjunction with Sally McKenna. www.thegoodthingscafe.com
Alison Roberts of Clonakilty Chocolate would merit endless praise for her sustainable, Fairtrade-supporting business model alone, but her bar of Espresso Bean with 72% dark chocolate embodies that spirit in a glorious mouthful of crackling, crunchy, and fruity roasted coffee beans leavened by earthy cocoa tones of excellent dark chocolate. www.clonakiltychocolate.com
Bradleys, O’Donovans, Galvins, Vintry, Martins, McHughs, Dicey Reillys, Donegal.
Brewed in the beer garden of Dicey Reilly’s pub in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, just a few yards up from the statue of Rory Gallagher. Dicey’s also won off-licence of the year in 2013 and 2014 so they are on a bit of a roll.
Sea Sessions was created for the Bundoran Surf, Skate and Music Festival in June and is a bright fruity ale with a good hop bite, yet light (and tasty) enough to work well as a session ale. Watch out also for their dry-hopped new brew North & South of the River.
— Leslie Williams