The Menu: Supportive sisters

Having three fine sisters himself, The Menu is a great man to hymn the praises of supportive female siblings so reckons the alliance of ‘Three Sisters’ from the South-East, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny.

The Menu: Supportive sisters

In a bid to secure joint-hosting of the European Capital of Culture designation for 2020 is a splendidly innovative move and dearly wishes it a most successful outcome.

The Three Sisters is also the collective name for the three rivers of the region, the Nore, Barrow, and Suir, and the official website is being used as a forum for harvesting ideas for events from everyone in the community.

The Menu believes food and food culture should play a central role in any such bid — submit your thoughts on the matter at

Cooking time

The wonderful Boyne Valley Food series continues with Kids’ Cookery Camps at the Forge Restaurant with chef Pauric White (bookings: 0876617516/046 9245003) while the Slane Food Circle Gourmet Bike Tour by Rock Farm (July 11) sounds like the class of event that may well see the Bould Neidín treated to a prolonged sojourn in the stables as the mode of transport for the 25km food tour to five Boyne Valley farms and producers is the enormously forgiving electric bike.

With visits to Rock Farm Slane, Shlavanstown Organic Farm, Boyne Valley Blue Cheese, Des Crinion Organic Farm and Cockagee Cider and a lunch incorporating produce from all the above, it promises to be most delightful.

And the award goes to...

Bord Bia have put out a call for entrants to its 2015 Food and Drink Awards programme, recognising excellence across in branding, consumer insight, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, export development, innovation, success on the home market and sustainability.

The awards are open to food and beverage products manufactured in Ireland by verified members of the Origin Green programme and trading for a minimum of two fiscal years. Closing date for entries is July 24 (www.bordbia/awards).

Nothing like a little bit of fizz, and to have same from Laurent Perrier at a champagne showcase dinner (July 7) in Restaurant 41, beginning with a champers and canapé reception followed by a splendid four-courser from Graham Neville, sounds the perfect tonic (

Finally, let The Menu congratulate Mark Moriarty on his victory in the international San Pelligrino Young Chef of the Year 2015 competition, representing Ireland and Britain.

Today’s special

The finest strawberries in the world are grown in a regional band that sweeps across Southern Ireland and England, in a climate that provides the perfect balance of temperature and conditions.

In more southerly European climes, it is falsely presumed a penchant for producing some very magnificent fruit equally extends to the strawberry but the more excessive heat and drier climate yields nothing more than a fruit with an identity crisis, overly sweet and with all the subtlety of strawberry-flavoured bubblegum.

This inferior soda pop pales in comparison to the sublime champagne of its northern cousin, a wonderful example of such to be found in Dave Bushby’s Rosscarbery Strawberries.

Better still, pick some up from a stall where his daughter, Lydia, sells exquisite bouquets of her own homegrown flowers.’sRosscarberyStrawberries

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Brehon Brewhouse Killanny Red Ale, 4.5% ABV, 500ml — €3.49-€3.89

Stockists: Matson’s Grange and Bandon; Baggot St Wines; Next Door Kimmage and Raheen; widely available in Carrickmacross (SuperValu, O’Neils) and Co Monaghan generally.

I mentioned the excellent Shanco Dubh Porter here a number of months ago but it is probably a little rich for summer drinking so you need to check out its bottle- conditioned grand Irish ale which works well with a bit of chill on it (but not too much – perhaps around 7C to 8C).

Bottle-conditioned, copper-coloured and pours with a solid fluffy head. Malt and nutty aromas and flavours with a fruity character — particularly morello cherries and red currants — and a crisp chocolate-influenced malted finish.

— Leslie Williams

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