When The Menu heads to Dingle en famille he regularly stays at the very family-friendly Dingle Skellig Hotel.
He may leave progeny in his wake to attend a Wine & Whiskey Discovery Weekend (Nov 25) which includes the first release of new Whiskey expression from Dingle Whiskey Distillery, a rare treat indeed.
The seven-course Winemaker’s Dinner, is hosted by winemaker Federico Dal Bianco, of Masottina Winery, in association with Christy’s Wines & Spirits, and includes matching wines.
Kilkenny’s Ristorante Rinuccini offers something similar with a Taste of Tuscany (Nov 22 & 23), a seven courser paired with fine Italian wines.
The Bite Food Festival (Nov 18-20) returns to the RDS for a second year, showcasing Irish food and beverage producers as well as a range of food experts and star chefs.
Producers include Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchard with their range of wonderful distilled spirits.
The family friendly event also features free cooking classes led by Cook’s Academy.
Our Table pop-up café
For some number of years now, we have ‘hosted’, to employ a rather loose interpretation of the word, asylum seekers from overseas in the Direct Provision system.
One of the cruelest aspects of this system is the prohibition of their right to cook for themselves, stripping from them all responsibility for their children’s nutritional care and education about the foods and culinary traditions of their native homelands.
As they are also forbidden to work and receive a weekly allowance of less than €20 a week, this prohibition is pretty all encompassing.
The Menu knows people who book entire holidays on the basis they will dine exactly as they do at home, down to bringing along the Barry’s teabags — and they are only away for a couple of weeks.
Food is a very personal issue and everyone, at some stage of their lives, will find its consumption assuming a resonance far greater than mere sustenance, providing comfort, confirming identity and reminding the traveller of ‘home’.
Our Table is a pop-up café, in Dublin’s Project Arts Centre founded by activist Ellie Kisyombe and restaurateur Michelle Darmody, which aims to promote change in the system.
Open daily, it is a non-profit food business enabling ex-residents of Direct Provision to receive practical hospitality training to facilitate a move into full time employment.
Our Table also offers off-site catering for organisations seeking to learn more about DP and aims to build a network of potential employers as well as to find a permanent home for Our Table.
The Menu recently put on the nosebag for a very set-in-his-ways Aging Relative who develops all manner of alarming tics and neuroses at the prospect of a meal without spuds.
Now, The Menu is a softhearted old soul underneath it all and had no intention of depriving said Aging Relative of the Tremendous Tuber but was interested in his reaction to specially sourced ‘coloured’ heritage potato varieties revealing pink and purple ‘flesh’ within, all grown by farmer Joe Burns, in North Cork.
Once Aging Relative had recovered from the shock of stumbling upon the equivalent of a coming out party for his beloved spud, he begrudgingly acknowledged flavour and texture were both excellent, pitched about midway on the spectrum between floury and waxy, and he was also rather taken with the notion that coloured potatoes possess health-giving carotenoids and flavonoids unavailable in white spuds.
Should you be in the mood to welcome this rainbow nation onto your own plate, do check out the various farmers’ markets where Burns retails his fine range of vegetables.
Also keep eyes peeled for Joe’s Farm Crisps new multi-coloured potato crisp range, a most wonderful sliced and deepfried version of same following on from their award-winning range of vegetable crisps. www.facebook.com/Joe’sFarmCrisps
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