The menu: Taste of West Cork

Should you be looking for The Menu in the coming weeks then he shall mostly be found atop Neidín, roaming the wonderful wilds of West Cork with a knife in his belt and a skillet on his back for the Taste of West Cork Food Festival (Sept 9-18).

The menu: Taste of West Cork

The enormous programme is too large to reproduce but a few random highlights include a Breton collaboration, Breton by Birth, West Cork by Love, between Eric Theze (La Boheme, Waterford) and Alex Petit (Celtic Ross) in the Rosscarbery hotel.

The Rare Cookery Books Workshop, in Urru Culinary Store, in Bandon, focuses on the legendary Keith Floyd but feel free to bring along any of your rare cookery books and recipes for this round table workshop.

Chef Bryan McCarthy, of Greene’s, in Cork, winners at last weekend’s Food & Wine mag awards, demos in Bandon Farmer’s Market (Sept 10 at 11.30am) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary while Focus on Food features Sally Barnes (Woodcock Smokery) and Avril Allshire (Caherbeg Farm and Rosscarbery Recipes) demonstrating brunch recipes.

ATOWC Food Forum in Baltimore Sailing Club concentrates on tourism strategy and development and is chaired by David Puttnam and speakers include food writer Trish Deseine, recently relocated from France to West Cork, who will discuss “ a vision of food development for west Cork”. www.atasteofwestcork.com

Déise delights

The Waterford Harvest Festival (Sept 9-11) continues to grow in size and stature each year, with over 100 events (80 are free) taking place and this year’s highlights include the Harvest Fit Food and Wellness area, the Harvest Blaa Eating World Championships, Sunset Seaweed Foraging, Tapas River tours, Iyer’s Pop-up restaurant, in collaboration with La Boheme Restaurant and the Flahavan’s Harvest brunch.

Sarah Richards of the Seagull Bakery, in Tramore, will host a Real Bread Ireland demo as part of Sourdough September while Baker Dermot Walsh will oversee the Harvest Blaa Eating World Championships. www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie

Dining al fresco

The Kilavullen Farmers’ Market host a Meal in the Meadow (Sept 10) in the Nano Nagle Centre, seven courses based on the very fine produce on sale at their weekly market although there is provision for an indoor venue should the weather be less than clement ( www.facebook.com/KilavullenFarmersMarket )

Finally, The Menu was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Niall Daly, proprietor (along with his wife Rosemary) of The Chocolate Shop, in Cork’s English Market, just about the finest such emporium in Ireland.

Niall was not only a repository of knowledge when it came to his own stock but also a warm, kind and most entertaining man and he will be greatly missed, not least by The Menu.

Today’s special

The Menu has been flooring ‘pints’ once again, yet another farmer deciding to take the direct route to market, this time Anne and Dan Ahern, farmers from Ballysimon, in East Cork, who are now retailing their own organic, raw milk in gorgeous little pint bottles with a bright red foil cap.

When The Menu was a boy, he lived on a small farm for eight months and during the summer holidays, he would rise at dawn each morning to milk the dozen cows.

It was a task he relished and he deemed the few sneaky slugs from couple of jugs of still-warm milk destined for domestic use back in the house just reward for his labours.

Ahern’s milk has come closest to evoking those childhood tastes, a creamy draught that rolls around the mouth like liquid silk leaving in its wake an impossibly delicious sweetness, a sure sign that the lactose is surrendering its place to an infinitely richer fat content that inspired The Menu to later make the finest panna cotta he has made to date.

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