The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Joe McNamee shares the latest foodie news

The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Joe McNamee shares the latest foodie news


The Menu recently passed a wonderful 24 hours in Dublin for one of his favourite annual beanos, the Irish Food Writers Guild annual awards luncheon at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, at which he and his fellow members acknowledge the excellent work being done by Irish producers and food organisations. This year’s winners upheld the Guild’s tradition (with valuable support from Bord Bia) of anonymously and without favour selecting the very finest that this glorious green island has to offer.

Those recognised were as follows: The Roberts family and their Connemara Smokehouse, Co Galway, for their Smoked Mackerel; Fionntán Gogarty and his Wildwood Balsamics range of fruit- and herb-based vinegars; Nathan Wall, of nitrate and additive free Baltimore Bacon; and Mark Jenkinson, of the Cider Mill, Co Meath, for his organic Cockagee Pure Irish Keeved Cider. Food organisation of the year award went to the McNally Family Farm, Co Dublin, who have been selling their wide range of organic produce in Dublin markets for over 20 years as well as supplying many of Dublin’s cafes and restaurants. The environmental award went to St Tola Goat’s Cheese for their on-farm sustainability farm while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the renowned Ferguson Family, of Gubbeen Farmhouse, in Schull, West Cork.

The IFWG Community Food award presented with the support of Slow Food Ireland went to Sligo Global Kitchen, Co Sligo, which host communal meals for those living locally in direct provision as well as the general public.


Though he is loath to believe it, The Menu is saddened to report that Good Things really do come to an end, with news that Carmel Somers’ wonderful Good Things Café at Dillon’s Corner, in Skibbereen, is to call time after 15 years operating in West Cork. Beginning today (March 17 and on March 24, 30 & 31, between 6-9pm) Carmel will be cooking up farewell dinners for those lucky enough to procure seats and all cookery classes scheduled for the rest of 2018 will take place in the upstairs space. All is not lost however for the splendid Perry sisters from Glebe Gardens will be taking over the lovely premises to open Glebe Gardens Café, set to run in tandem with their original Baltimore-based mothership. What’s more, the Perrys (who take over on March 26) are happy to honour all outstanding vouchers for Good Things.


The 3rd annual Cork Coffee Weekend (March 23-25), a celebration of the city’s thriving independent coffee sector returns with another programme of events taking place in local independent coffee shops, with new arrivals Priory, Warren Allen and SOMA signing up for the first time. As it is a non-commercial, non-sponsored and entirely voluntary event put together by Bean Evangelists Eoin Kennedy and Caroline O’Keeffe all events will be listed on participating venues’ own social media pages (see #CCW18 on facebook, Instagram and Twitter) but parents in need of a jolt of joe will find a child-friendly programme in Café Velo and the Atrium, at The Mardyke Arena.


While The Menu very much enjoyed the recent Irish Food Writers Guild Awards lunch, he confesses to having taken equal pleasure in sharing a selection of St Tola cheeses, later that afternoon in nearby Toner’s pub in the company of St Tola’s cheesemaker and proprietor, Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith. He particularly enjoyed a feta-style cheese, a creamy, salty concoction of firm, springy texture and tangy notes.

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