The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Chef Ross Lewis launched a splendid publication celebrating the speciality food producers of west Cork at Cork County Hall. 

At the launch of the West Cork Artisan Food Guide, at Vertigo, County Hall.

With Cork County Council rowing in behind ‘A Taste of West Cork’ festival initiative, the guidebook was written by Kate Ryan of Clonakilty-based and features a wealth of producers, growers, cheesemakers, farmers, bakers, brewers, and distillers, all grouped by location.

Samples from some of the featured producers at the event included delicious Scotch eggs from Paul Philips of West Cork Pies and intriguing chocolate (free of dairy, gluten, and refined sugars) sweetmeats from Hungry Crow, currently occupying the Start-Up Stall in Cork’s English Market. (Book is €5 from selected stockists, see

Cats get crafty

The Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival (July 5-9) is a splendid way to pass a few days, sipping and snacking. With more than 40 Irish breweries serving up over 180 beers last year, the festival is hoping to breach that target this time round.

As well as hosting events in the local craft-friendly pubs and Costello’s Brewery, look out for a few of the more unique and intimate offerings off the beaten track. ( or

Streets ahead

The Menu is very partial to dining on the hoof and is delighted with the slow but steady increase of street food dining options popping up around the country, not least at many of the markets.

Should you have a particular favourite, perhaps you might consider nominating them for the very first Irish Street Food Awards, with the eventual winner going on to represent Ireland in Berlin in the European Street Food Awards Final.

Ten finalists for the Irish awards will be invited to trade at Beatyard Festival, with the punters choosing their favourite to fly the Irish flag abroad. (entries and nominations taken until July 7;

Living it up in Limerick

With Angela’s Ashes The Musical (July 6-15) opening in Limerick, The Strand Hotel is offering a special overnighter including pre-theatre dinner, tickets to the show at the Lime Tree Theatre (seven-minute walk from the hotel) and breakfast (

The White Horse Grub Club’s monthly supper club returns (July 6) to the Ballincollig gastropub and music venue with a Caribbean-influenced three-courser from head chef Shane Nugent, all for €20 a head (

The Samphire Restaurant, at the Garryvoe Hotel continue with a Thank Cod, It’s Friday series each weekend until the end of August, as chefs Kevin O’Sullivan and Shayne Deady accept the challenge of producing a seafood dish from a box of mystery ingredients and serving it up to diners every Friday night. (


Though The Menu’s progeny have a phenomenal grá for the porridge, come summertime, even they falter at the prospect of a hot breakfast.

The Menu makes a fair old granola himself but is always open to any new arrivals to the marketplace, not least when they prove suitable fare for coeliacs or those with any similar serious allergies to gluten.

Despite being gluten and wheat-free, Bowl-a-Granola’s Honey & Cinnamon granola does not for a moment suffer from any perceived ‘lack’, as beautifully toasted gluten-free oats, flaked almonds, and sunflower and linseed seeds offer finely calibrated crunch, barely sweetened by coconut, cinnamon, and dried fruit, especially delicious sprinkled atop a bowl of homemade yoghurt and Dave Bushby’s fresh strawberries from Rosscarbery.



Modern Family star Sarah Hyland has kidney dysplasia: What to know about the condition

5 Christmas foods that go back further than you think – and 1 that doesn’t

Strictly Come Dancing: 7 backstage beauty secrets from Tess Daly’s make-up artist

Christmas visitors, log fires and central heating overload – how will your houseplants survive?

More From The Irish Examiner