Déise delights on The Menu in west Waterford

As The Menu is wont to say, ‘time flies when you’re having food’ and 52 columns later, The Menu today celebrates its first anniversary. And, as it all began last year with Dungarvan and the West Waterford Festival of Food, it seems entirely appropriate to kick off this most auspicious day with further tidings of a town and festival most dear to The Menu’s heart.

As always, it remains a most family-friendly way of putting on the nosebag, and the ‘Busanna Bia’, bus tours of the culinary west Waterford hinterland visiting top local producers sounds like a splendid way of passing a day before taking to Shanks’s Mare for something similar in the evening, the Restaurant Trail, for a starter, main course and dessert in any of the participating venues. All sorts are up to the food-writing lark these days, none more scurrilous than The Menu, but the splendid John and Sally McKenna of McKenna’s Guides remain at the head of the posse and will be giving a talk on the exceedingly arduous job of being a food writer. And, best of all, says The Menu, the massive all-day farmer’s market in the town square where The Menu will kick off with the dawn breakfast before putting in a stint helping out his good friend Clare O’Brien on her fine stall, Gan Gluten. Do drop in to say hello! www.waterfordfestivaloffood.com

Happy Meals can be kids’ play, just watch

The Menu is never done harping on about the value of dragging the kids into the kitchen for instruction about the most essential of life skills — that of knocking up, and then putting on, the nosebag! Now, hot on the heels of Jamie and Delia, Cliodhna Prendergast presents her web-based cookery show specifically about cooking for and with the childers. Her own three young ‘uns do a fine job of showing how it is possible to involve your progeny in every step of the culinary process, from farm to fork, so to speak, to knock up some real ‘happy meals’. www.breakingeggs.com

All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale

There’s nothing like the Chowder Question to greatly vex The Menu, for he has witnessed heinous culinary crimes in that particular arena. But down in the fine town of Kinsale, the annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off (Sunday, Apr 21) is seeking chefs from every county in Ireland to compete to make the finest chowder in Ireland, with the general public doing the judging. www.kinsale.ie

Seymour’s original shortbread

The Menu’s Scottish grandmother was a great woman for the shortbread and would, in rare moments of unbridled generosity, throw the occasional shaving The Menu’s way, fostering a life-long addiction. A study in humility, from humble appearance right down to unassuming name, the best shortbread requires little more than flour, sugar and butter to reveal true inner majesty. So, when The Menu doffs a cap to Seymour’s Original Shortbread, in particular, a nerveless under-sugaring that somehow just about stays on the right side of perfectly sweetened and no more, you know he’s saluting a contender! www.seymours.ie


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