Pause awhile to savour Kilkenny food

The Menu has Neidín hitched up and is heading for beautiful town of Kilkenny for Savour Kilkenny Food Festival (Oct 24-27), another shining Irish example of ‘Place on a Plate’, with fine local growers and producers at the forefront of a food revolution. 

Can the Critics Cook? sees a trio of (very brave) Irish food critics, including The Menu, swap verbal knives for the real deal and engage in a cook-off instead of critiquing the efforts of others. The Menu fears the attendance of more than a few chefs nursing still wounded egos, all very keen to engage in a spot of front-row gloating. An always-splendid programme also includes a call for all native ‘Cats’ (amateur and professional) to join in the Night of 1,000 Feasts (Oct 26) and host a community meal to fundraise for the Town of Food project. www.savourkilkenny.com 

Sunday morning coming up

Noting the brunch menu for the tastefully-appointed new addition to the Cork hospitality circuit, Goldberg’s Bar & Kitchen, on Victoria Road,The Menu’s appetites are sufficiently whetted that he shall be heading out as usual next Sunday to fetch the papers but will make no mention of any actual return, instead hopefully stealing a few blissful hours of gustatory solitude in what was once Cork city’s Jewish quarter ( www.goldbergs.ie ).

Longueville House, Amanda Neri and world-class seafood

With summer memories shrivelling in the new-found chill, a drinks reception and evening supper in Longueville House (www.longuevillehouse.com) followed by some post-prandial sipping in front of the open fire, while local chanteuse Amanda Neri a-serenading, sounds a most efficacious way of banishing any winter woes and with Neidín already in the harness The Menu shall then hasten to one of his most beloved dining destinations, Flemings’ Restaurant, for their annual Seafood Extravaganza (Oct 24), donning his black tie and wetsuit, or whatever is appropriate attire for indulging in world-class Irish seafood in this little oasis of culinary calm on the fringes of Cork city ( www.flemingsrestaurant.ie ).

Clever clogs come up with a culinary curriculum

The Menu believes young children should begin a culinary curriculum to set alongside the Three Rs from day one. Transition Year Food Education Programme, The Future is Food, focusing on the best of local produce, is now available to secondary schools. www.ncaa.ie & www.tastecouncilofireland.com 

Today’ Special

The Menu regularly stocks up on vegetables from Joe and Sandra Burns, of Ballycurraginny Farm and keeps a keen eye and even keener belly on progress in the development of their Joe’s Farm Vegetable Crisps, so he was not surprised at their Gold Medal in the Savoury Snacks category (and Best in Farmer’s Market for Co Cork) in the Blás na hÉireann awards. Flavoured with nothing more than sea salt, they make for a fine nibble alongside an Irish craft beer, say Stag Bán from the wonderful Nine Deer Brewery, in Ballyvourney. A body gets fulsome bang for their buck with not one but three flavours in every bag: an ethereal essence of parsnip at the top of the range; the sublimely more earthbound yet still delicate sweetness of beetroot; and finally the deep and chewy caramel of carrot. www.facebook.com/joesfarmcrisps 

Beer of the week

Dan Kelly’s Cider, 4.5%ABV; 500ml, €4.49

Stockists: Matsons; Bradleys; No 21 Coburg St and Midleton; Baggot St Wines; Vintry; McHughs; Mace, Drogheda; Conways, Ratoath

Made from apples on the 80-acre McNeece farm near Drogheda. The hand-picking prevents bruising, and Olan McNeece is convinced he gets cleaner, fresher fruit flavours. The cider is wild yeast fermented and no sulphites, acids or sweeteners are added.

A blend of Dabinett and Bramley with lovely bright apple and pear aromas and lingering rich fruit on the palate; lightly sparkling and with a dry complex finish. Also watch out for the limited edition, aged, Fiona’s Fancy, their excellent, spicy sister cider.


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