Its combination of demos/tastings and public lectures/debates, providing sustenance for both mind and body and open to the general public and industry professionals alike.
The irrepressible Patrick Ryan of Firehouse Bread will update all on progress of Real Bread Ireland, an organisation set to make enormous waves on the Irish food scene in coming years.
Chefs strutting their professional stuff include Frankie Mallon (An Port Mor, Westport), Bryan McCarthy (Greene’s, Cork) and Wade Murphy (1826 Adare, Co Limerick) and Kevin Thornton joins Sally McKenna for a seaweed-based Extreme Greens.
Tourism also features heavily, in particular, the model of the Wild Atlantic Way with Brendan Allen of Castlemine Farm one to watch out for and The Menu reckons one of the highlights may well be Ruairí and Marie-Thérese de Blacam, of Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, detailing their experiences as owners/managers of ‘the most memorable’ of the 12 best restaurants in the world, as selected by the Financial Times in 2011.
There is also a seafood demo kitchen, a drinks lab featuring fine Irish craft beers and ciders as well as wine and a ‘streetfood market’. www.thefoodieforum.net
The Menu has his eyes very firmly set on the Temple Bar Taste Trail (Jan 31-Feb 1), as enterprising chef/proprietors Kevin O’Toole (Chameleon Restaurant) and Padraig Óg Gallagher (The Boxty House) have assembled their fellow restaurateurs in this particular quarter of Dublin, to put together an event offering tasters from each for a paltry €2 a dish.
There will be an outing for the inaugural Temple Bar Coddle Cook-off (judges include our own esteemed Leslie Williams & 2FM DJ Rick O’Shea) and, with the Temple Bar TradFest coming to close on the same weekend, tunes aplenty and all in aid of Epilepsy Ireland. Further info email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087-2837473.
Many in the Irish food business, not least The Menu, have long ceased to recognise borders between North and South, reasoning the very best of what we produce is all fine Irish fare. Commendations to Belfast-based Indie Fude who offer much of this same produce via mail order with free delivery throughout Ireland and Britain. www.indiefude.com
The Menu is most partial indeed to a nice cup of tea, loose leaf in a proper pot, thank you very much. But just as the humble cuppa can anchor a body, so can it equally inspire the senses and The Menu is currently relishing the ethereal elevation that comes with each sip of TieGuan Yin Oolong Tea, from Lily’s Tea Shop.
On first sighting, this delicate-looking brew hardly appears up to task but tasting is an entirely different matter. Fruity and floral, mayhaps, but not overly so and with none of the more bitter and tannic properties of traditional black leaf tea, The Menu was left thinking this must be the class of cuppa they drink in heaven. www.lilysteashop.ie
Stockists: Bradleys, Desmonds Next Door, www.DrinkStore.ie , Redmonds, McHughs
Geuze is a Belgian wild yeast lambic beer made by blending three-year-old lambic with around 5% young lambic and encouraging a second fermentation in the bottle. The beer then receives a further maturation of at least six months.
Charmingly, the best before date on my bottle was September 2033 (20 years post bottling). There’s a hazy golden colour with a sour apple and citrus aroma and a distinct yeasty tang. Flavours of musky citrus and sweet-sour apples, and a notably sour lemony finish. Natural wine enthusiasts will love this and it goes particularly well with Asian food.
— Leslie Williams